“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
California-based fiddle, guitar, and banjo player, and ardent 78 collector Frank Fairfield has made his living as a musician, often found playing on the streets of Los Angeles. Handpicked by Fleet Foxes to open their U.S. tour last year, Frank released a 7″ on Tompkins Square and recorded his self-titled debut album. His 7″ won over tough critics and purists like Grammy winning producer Chris King (Charley Patton, People Take Warning box set), Phil Alexander (Mojo) and Greil Marcus, to name a few.
From Liner Notes by John Tottenham:
“Few questions can be satisfactorily answered about Frank Fairfield, mostly because he keeps to himself. He seems to be at once very open to share his insights, but yet in no way willing to give away his secrets. He was born in the San Joaquin Valley of California. He speaks of his grandfather leaving Texas to pick crops around the country, a constant traveler, a musician, who eventually “got religion” and settled in Kettleman City, Kings County as a pastor. Dust storms, tumbleweeds, cotton crops. . . this imagery has been richly cultivated in Fairfield’s young mind. Somewhere along the road Frank Fairfield finds himself and begins to play his grandfather’s old fiddle, picks up the banjo and gitbox, and starts playing the tunes of old with great conviction, learning many songs from the collection of rural gramophone records he has hungrily hunted down.”