Richmond Fontaine

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Richmond Fontaine
Richmond Fontaine in 2005.jpg
Background information
OriginPortland, Oregon, United States
GenresRock, Alternative country, punk rock (first three albums)
Years active1994–2016

Richmond Fontaine was a four-piece rock and alternative country band based in Portland, Oregon. They were active between 1994 and 2016 and recorded eleven studio albums, four live albums and two EPs.


Formed in 1994, Richmond Fontaine started touring the Pacific Northwest live circuit to support their first three albums released on Cavity Search Records. Gradually gaining attention in the UK and Europe the band began regularly touring there. Most of the core musicians and producer JD Foster have worked together for a decade, and produced several albums. The band is named after an American expat, "a burned out hippy", that had helped bassist Dave Harding when his car was stuck in the desert in Baja Mexico.[1]

Richmond Fontaine first gained exposure outside the USA through a song that was included on a Vinyl Junkie Records 'Loose' compilation[2] released in the UK. This was followed by the band's self-released fourth album, Winnemucca. The band signed with Decor Records in Europe during 2003 with their next two releases proving pivotal to the band's success. Both were made "Albums of the Month" in influential magazine, Uncut, which named both their fifth album Post to Wire (2004) and sixth The Fitzgerald (2005) "masterpieces".[3][4] U.S. critics have been generally complimentary but have also cited the band's musical similarity to Uncle Tupelo.[5][6] Like many bands in this genre past and present such as Willard Grant Conspiracy, The Gun Club, and Green on Red, Richmond Fontaine were arguably more popular abroad than in their own country, particularly towards the end of their career.[7]

Underpinned by lead singer and songwriter Willy Vlautin's lyrics, Richmond Fontaine songs often evoke imagery of Reno, Nevada, Portland, the Western United States and Mexico while telling stories in a style that critics have compared to Raymond Carver.[8][9][10] Musically the group has cited influences such as Gram Parsons, X,[2] Green on Red[11] and Dave Alvin.[12]

Vlautin is also a published writer. His first novel, The Motel Life was published in 2006, followed by Northline in 2008 and Lean on Pete in 2010. Northline included a soundtrack CD by Willy Vlautin and Paul Brainard. The novel was well-reviewed by George Pelecanos. Vlautin has also had stories published in literary journals such as Zembla, Cold Drill, Southeast Review, and Chiron Review.

The band's 2007 album, Thirteen Cities, received positive reviews across Europe.[4]

On August 17, 2009 the band released their ninth studio album, We Used to Think the Freeway Sounded Like a River. [1]

In September 2011 the band released their tenth studio album, The High Country.

In March 2016 the band released their final album – You Can't Go Back If There's Nothing To Go Back To.



Previous members[edit]

Selected Discography[edit]

Studio Albums

  • Safety (1996)
  • Miles From (1997)
  • Lost Son (1999)
  • Winnemucca (2002)
  • Post to Wire (2004)
  • The Fitzgerald (2005)
  • Obliteration by Time (2006)
  • Thirteen Cities (2007)
  • We Used to Think the Freeway Sounded Like a River (2009)
  • The High Country (2011) (UK chart peak: No. 115)[13]
  • You Can't Go Back If There's Nothing To Go Back To (2016) (UK Album chart peak: No. 65) (UK Country chart peak: No.1)
  • Don't Skip Out On Me (2018) - Instrumental soundtrack to the Willy Vlautin book of the same name. (2018)


  1. ^ Vlautin, Willy (2008). "PS". Northline. Harper Perennial. p. 4. ISBN 978-0-06-145652-7.
  2. ^ a b Interview: Richmond Fontaine (Willy Vlautin) by Stav Sherez
  3. ^ Richmond Fontaine -
  4. ^ a b Richmond Fontaine - Thirteen Cities - Review - Archived 2007-12-19 at the Wayback Machine
  5. ^ St. Louis - Music - Richmond Fontaine
  6. ^ "Richmond Fontaine: Lost Son: Pitchfork Record Review". Archived from the original on 2008-05-26. Retrieved 2007-11-19.
  7. ^ Richmond Fontaine[permanent dead link]
  8. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2006-10-25. Retrieved 2006-12-10.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  9. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2006-10-25. Retrieved 2006-12-10.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  10. ^ allmusic ((( Miles From > Overview )))
  11. ^ Richmond Fontaine: Lost Son -Ink Blot Magazine
  12. ^ "[[Willy Vlautin]] interview on the official website of writer, Laura Hird". Archived from the original on 2007-10-07. Retrieved 2006-12-10.
  13. ^

External links[edit]