Giving Richmond Fontaine’s Northwest Folk Songs A Listen

by | Jan 13, 2010

Richmond Fontaine is a four-piece alternative country band based in Portland, Oregon. Like Franz Ferdinand or Jethro Tull, the band is named after a real person but their namesake was not famous prior to being adopted by the band.

I was handed the band’s 2009 release, We Used to Think the Freeway Sounded Like a River, by Aaron Draplin last week.

John Dworkin at Blurt says, “A few of the songs on ‘Freeway’ deserve special mention and ‘Lonnie’ is one of them. Its crackling distorted rhythm guitars throwing off sparks, detailed melodic hooks, and attention to dynamics recalls Shawn Colvin’s ‘Get Out Of This House,’ but with more of the rough edges left in.”

I’d compare the song “Lonnie” to several by Drive-By Truckers, but it’s funny because no other track on the album sounds like “Lonnie.” What the other songs do have is plenty of story. In fact, Willy Vlautin’s dark, story-like songwriting, has helped the band achieve critical acclaim at home and across Europe.

Vlautin is also an author of two novels, with a third on the way. Here’s a promotional video for his new book, Lean On Pete, due in April in the U.S.

MP3 Offering: “Lonnie”