Richmond Fontaine : We Used To Think The Freeway Sounded Like A River

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Richmond Fontaine are from Portland, Oregon, playing brittle and evocative alt-country with lyrics that draw powerful and sometimes troubling portraits of life along the margins of the contemporary American West. Equal parts Uncle Tupelo and Charles Bukowski, or Ryan Adams’ Whiskeytown meets the gritty realism of Heartworn Highways, Richmond Fontaine is the brainchild of singer, guitarist, and songwriter Willy Vlautin, born in Reno, NV.

At 16, Vlautin formed his first band, but after several years he became disenchanted with the limited opportunities to play original music in Reno, and moved to Portland, in 1994. Not long after he relocated, Vlautin met bassist Dave Harding; discovering their shared enthusiasm for the Blasters, the Replacements, and Hüsker Dü, Vlautin and Harding decided to form a band, and recruited drummer Stuart Gaston to form the first lineup of Richmond Fontaine.

After gigging locally, the band recorded their first album, Safety, for the local Cravedog Records label in 1996. Lots of West Coast touring and a few trips to the East and Midwest followed. In 1997, the band recorded and released their second album, Miles From, and set out on another nationwide tour. By the time their third album, Lost Son, came out in 1999, Sean Oldham had replaced Gaston on drums; their fourth album “Winnemucca” soon followed.

With a now solid line up and a common goal, the next brace of albums were to define not only their style, but the underground alt-country sound of America. The classic “Post To Wire” (which was named 4th best album of the year by Uncut behind Brian Wilson, Wilco, & Loretta Lynn), the pared down “The Fitzgerald” and the landmark “Thirteen Cities” all met with critical acclaim both sides of the Atlantic.

The new album, seen as the band’s most accessible yet, was produced once again by JD Foster (Calexico, Richard Buckner, Laura Cantrell), who was at the helm for the last three albums. Multi-instrumentalist Paul Brainard steps in with pedal steel, trumpet and piano and the core line up of Willy Vlautin (guitars, vocals), Sean Oldham (drums, vocals), Dave Harding (Bass) and Dan Eccles (guitars) remains.


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    We Used To Think The Freeway Sounded Like A River

    DIV018LP
    180g Single LP
    1st November 2009

    Side 1
    1 We Used To Think The Freeway Sounded Like A River
    2 Northwest (Instrumental)
    3 You Can Move Back Here
    4 The Boyfriends
    5 The Pull
    6 Sitting Outside My Dad’s Old House (Instrumental)
    7 Maybe We Were Both Born Blue

    Side 2
    1 Watch Out
    2 43
    3 Lonnie
    4 Ruby & Loul
    5 Walking Back To Our Place At 3AM (instrumental)
    6 Two Alone
    7 A Letter To The Patron Saint Of Nurses