Richmond Fontaine’s frontman, Willy Vlautin, has already established his credible talents as a songwriter and novelist, he was described by the independent as mining a lost seam of American writing. His debut novel, 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. It therefore seemed inevitable that these two creative fields, which are not exactly opposites, would somehow intertwine beyond songwriting. Richmond Fontaine’s tenth studio album, The High Country, brings the two together in the form of a song novel. A tale featuring characters, scenes, as well as snippets of radio and spoken word passages.
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).
Amazon UK: The High Country
Books: Books by Willie Vlautin