I have an iTunes playlist titled “Cognitive Dissonance”, and it is filled with all kind of earthy folk music that could very well be the soundtrack to any American vagabond’s life. Musicians like Owen Pallett and Fleet Foxes, who see the world as it is, pick at percussion instruments with the feelings of old mountain men from the 1900’s – and find their way into the laps of audiences all around the globe.
Add a young west coast street musician named Frank Fairfield with his old-fashioned GQ looks, a reedy voice and clawhammer banjo skills into the neo-folk music category – to put out exactly what good folk music does. He just performed in the wee Doune The Rabbit Hole Festival in the UK this past weekend, and can make just about anyone smile.
There’s not much to explain about Fairfield’s second album “Out on the Open West” other than how real and jaw dropping of a sound it is – it features several guests and he wrote most of the tunes himself. Each song captures the sound and feelings of a nostalgic inspiration – old tunes that Fairfield grew up with and loves. Raw talent and foot-stomping delight. But That’s Alright croons a sweetness and a sadness, Out on the Open West shows off various instrumental talents, and Texas Farewell couldn’t be a grander goodbye to the south. Tom Marion and Willie Watson are excellent accompaniments with strings in full force.
This album is another excellent achievement for Fairfield, a necessary listen for fans of folk music. This could very well fit the soundtrack to anyone’s life out on the open road, or going from one transition to another. Frank is born out of time and his voice is amazing – don’t miss him perform if he ever stops in your area.