Richmond Fontaine : The High Country

An operatically tragic tale is told in Richmond Fontaine’s tenth studio album, The High Country. More than a concept piece, the Portland, Oregon four-piece have crafted a song-novel, in which a gripping tale is spun with fully fleshed-out characters, changing scenes, snippets of radio and spoken word passages. It’s a spectacularly unique album.

Richmond Fontaine’s frontman, Willy Vlautin, is a published novelist whose 2006 debut, The Motel Life, has just been turned into a major motion directed by the Polsky Brothers and starring Dakota Fanning, Stephen Dorff and Kris Kristofferson. With Richmond Fontaine’s latest album, he’s combined that story-telling prowess with his songwriting gift to stunning effect.

Set in a rural logging community in Oregon, The High Country is a gothic love story between a mechanic and an auto parts store counter girl, whose secret love inspires an effort to escape the darkness of the world that surrounds them. It’s a world of drugs, violence, madness, loneliness and desperation set against a backdrop of endless roads and the remains of a forest brutalised by logging. In this story of light versus dark, Vlautin has woven a tale where screw-ups and freaks terrorise the lives of innocents.

From stark, romantic ballads and dialogue sequences to raw Northwest garage rock and cinematic songscapes, this album sees Richmond Fontaine’s musical trajectory soar far beyond their cowpunk roots, ably assisted by producer John Askew (The Dodos, Karl Blau).

Nothing to do with Diverse but well worth mentioning to you vinyl fans is that ahead of the album’s release, the track Lost In The Trees will be released as a single. Existing outside of the direct narrative of the album, it’s described by Vlautin as “a song about doing drugs in the middle of nowhere and getting lost,” though the 7” single package does come with a set of documents that flesh out the world of The High Country, including a bumper sticker from KSAW logging radio and a beer mat produced to locate the tale’s missing girl.

Available to buy

Richmond Fontaine : The High Country

Album Information
180g Single LP.
26th September 2011

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  1. [...] sold out by now. Anyway, definitely one to look for. Couple songs up at my song of the day link. Richmond Fontaine – The High Country @ Diverse Also the new one from Richard Buckner has been getting lots of play. Great record. Some other not [...]

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    The High Country

    180g Single LP
    26th September 2011

    1. Inventory
    2. The Girl On The Logging Road
    3. The Chainsaw Sea
    4. Let Me Dream Of The High Country
    5. The Mechanic Falls In Love With The Girl
    6. The Mechanic’s Life
    7. Angus King Tries To Leave The House
    8. The Meeting On The Logging Road
    9. Claude Murray’s Breakdown
    10. The Eagles Lodge
    11. Driving Back To The Chainsaw Sea
    12. Lost In The Trees
    13. On A Spree
    14. Deciding To Run
    15. I Can See A Room
    16. The Escape
    17. Leaving