Frank Fairfield is a young man and old time folk musician who plays fiddle, guitar and banjo while singing and hollering. An unbelievable word of mouth sensation who channels the spirit of another era in his spellbinding live shows.
From California, USA, Frank sings tunes he has worked hard to collect from around the world as well as his own well-dusted ditties. His eclectic sets feature soaring hillbilly ballads, arcane rambling songs and murder ballads delivered in a reedy tenor with that irresistible American Primitive quality. Still in his twenties but steeped in the pre-War Americana of Mississippi John Hurt and Dock Boggs, he cut his teeth as a street performer in LA and has the raw intensity and quick-fingered technique to make your hairs stand on end. Alternating between banjo, fiddle and guitar, he performs a different set of traditional songs and originals each night, drawing on his encyclopaedic knowledge of the American folk canon.
Fleet Foxes handpicked him to open for them on their 2008 US tour and since then he has found fans elsewhere in Ry Cooder, CW Stoneking, Charlie Parr and Grammy winning producer Chris King (Charley Patton, ‘People Take Warning’ box set). He has released two albums on Tompkins Square (home of Michael Chapman and James Blackshaw), a collection of traditionals on 2009′s eponymous album, followed by Out On The Open West (2010), featuring his own originals and a cast of guest musicians. Both picked up rave reviews across the board. An ardent 78 rpm collector, he has also compiled a selection of rare and unheralded gramophone recordings from around the world entitled Unheard Ofs & Forgotten Abouts on his own Pawn imprint.
“A young Californian who sings and plays as someone who’s crawled out of the Virginia mountains carrying familiar songs that in his hands sound forgotten: broken lines, a dissonant drone, the fiddle or the banjo all percussion, every rising moment louder than the one before it.” – Greil Marcus
“One of America’s best conduits of antiquity” – Pitchfork
|16/08/14||Frank Fairfield in Glanusk Estate, UK||Green Man Festival|