Robert Francis has just dropped his second full-length record, Before Nightfall, but it's his first on a major label. And as he spends a few days in New York City with his cronies from Atlantic Records, the frosty November weather is just another reminder that he's thousands of miles away from his hometown and inspiration: Los Angeles.
"When you're in a city like L.A. or New York... they're fast-paced cities that can tear people apart," Francis explains. At only 21-years-old, Francis not only chooses his words carefully, but each one exudes insight beyond his years. Insightful words combine with insightful sounds and vocals on Before Nightfall. The record steers clear of what other 21-year-olds seem to be peddling these days with vocoder voices and electronic beats. The music itself lends a fresh outlook on what can only be described as soulful alternative with a heavy helping of classic rock; National Public Radio (NPR) has already compared Francis to the likes of Townes Van Zandt and Steve Earle. Francis' voice radiates an authentic, haunting sound that reaches not only into the soul of the listener, but into his own, as well. Every note drips with a drawling sadness of the past but simultaneously conveys an urgency to cultivate an optimistic future. A listener doesn't need to know anything about Robert Francis or his music to feel like he or she has been touched by his voice and his story. Before Nightfall takes listeners through a 12-track chronicle of Francis' love life. "It's centered around a singular relationship that was set in L.A. that haunted me and consumed my life for about five years," reveals Francis. While he has no problem identifying the inspiration for his new album, his boldness recedes when asked to identify who this muse is or the problems surrounding their relationship. "A lot of the record is about growing apart from the person you love," says Francis. "Time changes people, especially when you fall in love at an early age and you both are still growing and changing. The theme of 'Junebug' is the dissipation of a relationship. There's a lot of nostalgia on the record for better times." INTERVIEW CONTINUED BELOW