Based in Portland, Oregon, Richmond Fontaine was a four-piece American rock and alternative country band. Between 1994 and 2016, they were busy, releasing eleven studio albums, four live albums, and two EPs.
Richmond Fontaine’s songs, which are supported by the lyrics of their main vocalist and lyricist Willy Vlautin, frequently conjure images of Reno, Nevada, Portland, the Western United States, and Mexico while narrating tales in a manner that critics have compared to Raymond Carver’s. The ensemble has named artists like Gram Parsons, X, Green on Red, and Dave Alvin as influences.
Richmond Fontaine began touring the Pacific Northwest live circuit after forming in 1994 to support their first three Cavity Search Records releases. The band started performing regularly in Europe and the UK as they gradually gained popularity there. The majority of the core musicians and producer J. D. Foster have collaborated on multiple albums over the course of ten years. The group is named after an American expat known as “a burned out hippy” who rescued bassist Dave Harding from his car when it became stuck in the Baja California Peninsula’s desert.
Through a song that appeared on a Vinyl Junkie Records ‘Loose’ compilation that was made available in the UK, Richmond Fontaine first became well-known outside of the United States. The fourth album by the group, Winnemucca, was released independently after that. The band joined Decor Records in Europe in 2003, and their popularity was greatly influenced by their next two recordings. Influential magazine Uncut named both of their sixth album The Fitzgerald (2005) and fifth album Post to Wire (2004) “masterpieces” and declared each of them “Albums of the Month” selections. The majority of American critics have been positive, however some have also noted the band’s sonic resemblance to Uncle Tupelo.
Thirteen Cities, the band’s 2007 CD, was well-received throughout Europe. This was followed by the films The High Country in September 2011, We Used to Think the Freeway Sounded Like a River in August 2009, and You Can’t Go Back If There’s Nothing To Go Back To in March 2016.