Richmond Fontaine

Thirteen Cities

This latest effort from Richmond Fontaine stretches out like a dusty, two-lane highway during a desert sunrise. Drawing from the Tucson surroundings where it was recorded, Thirteen Cities oozes Southwestern isolation. Reno native Willy Vlautin, in a voice akin to that of Jeff Tweedy’s, sings (and sometimes tells) deceptively simple stories of painting houses, motel living and the melancholy searchings of lost souls. Austere murmurings of pedal steel, harmonica and subdued trumpet, organ, piano and drums accompany him. A boisterous Mexican ranchera enlivens the album. Lonely Reno motels, such as 777, Oxbow, Time Zone and Westward Ho make brief cameos. The album release is May 22. Vlautin appears at Fallon’s Oats Park Arts Center on April 27 to read from his debut novel The Motel Life, released by HarperCollins on April 24.