Episode #65 featuring Willy Vlautin of Richmond Fontaine

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Willy Vlautin of Richmond Fontaine making himself at home in The Helm. Photo by Anne Marie for Local Hero Media.

Stream or download Episode #65: Episode 65 w/ Willy Vlautin

For 20 years, Richmond Fontaine has been the vanguard for Portland’s alt-country scene, earning worldwide acclaim for their dramatic, steel-infused Western soundscapes and the one-of-kind storytelling of singer Willy Vlautin. That’s why we are thrilled to share this interview and performance by Mr. Vlautin, recorded at our home base, The Helm.

Now entering the last chapter of their fantastic run, RF has just released their final album, “You Can’t Go Back If There’s Nothing To Go Back To,” available now on Fluff & Gravy Records. On this episode of That Much Further West Podcast, Willy shares a few solo performances of songs from the new record as well as some thoughts on the end of the Richmond run and the impact the band has made over the years.

Willy takes us back to his roots growing up in Reno, Nevada, and how he came to find great music from the Los Angeles underground during his teenage years. Asked to pick a few tunes that were influential during that period, he selected songs by Los Lobos, Tom Waits and The Pogues (this episode was taped on St. Patrick’s Day).

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Willy the lefty sharing a few of the instant classics from the new Richmond Fontaine record, “You Can’t Go Back If There’s Nothing To Go Back To.”

He also talks about the evolution of his songwriting, introducing different storytelling techniques and voices and shifting points of view to advance his richly detailed lyrical ideas. As author of four critically acclaimed novels, Willy talks about how many of his longer literary stories start as song ideas — indeed, many of the characters from his great books first show up in songs by Richmond Fontaine. Listen closely as Willy reveals the title of his next novel.

We wrap up the episode with the handful of RF classics from the body of their 10 great albums — a quick primer for what is unquestionably one of the greatest bands in Portland history (see the playlist below). Also, check out the video for one of the band’s awesome instrumentals, “El Tiradito,” from the album “Thirteen Cities,” captured at WaveLab Recording Studios in 2007.

The band will be heading to Europe this spring to promote the new record and will do some touring over the rest of the year in what appears to be Richmond Fontaine’s swan song, so be sure to pick up a copy of the new record and keep an eye out for when they roll into your town. You want to miss one last chance to see this legendary band.

Here’s the playlist from Episode #65 featuring Willy Vlautin of Richmond Fontaine:

$87 And A Guilty Conscience That Gets Worse The Longer I Go, Richmond Fontaine
Wake Up Ray (Live In The Helm), Willy Vlautin
Three Brothers Roll Into Town (Live In The Helm), Willy Vlautin
Will The Wolf Survive, Los Lobos
Shore Leave, Tom Waits
A Rainy Night In Soho, The Pogues
Don’t Skip Out On Me (Live In The Helm), Willy Vlautin
Lost In The Trees, Richmond Fontaine
The Warehouse Life, Richmond Fontaine
Give Me Time, Richmond Fontaine
Always On The Ride, Richmond Fontaine
Winner’s Casino, Richmond Fontaine
The Kid From Belmont Street, Richmond Fontaine
Through, Richmond Fontaine