Erik Flores and Amelia Rose Logan’s songs as Fairbanks & the Lonesome Light are like modern dime westerns—gritty exegeses that float elegantly on pedal steel as driven, electric, rocking country. Sometimes the detached hero and the despicable outlaw in their songs are one and the same.
Looking back, principal songwriter Flores realized many of the songs on their new LP, Nothing To Escape (out 8/25), are about his old drinking habits. “I quit drinking a couple years ago,” he says, “right around the time we started making this record. That seems to be a big undercurrent.” While Fairbanks & the Lonesome Light’s new album isn’t overtly about sobriety, it’s often about the excesses that come along with addiction.
Flores and Logan knew each other from Austin, Texas, so when they both ended up in Los Angeles it was natural to band together and explore the scenes nested within the city. Their songwriting relationship began when they were the last two standing at parties and they’d sing to greet the sunrise. Logan complements Flores intuitively on harmony and strings. Their creations are gentle cosmic country, their harmonies vintage and organic like you’d expect to hear from Emmylou Harris and Gram Parsons. While Flores writes most of the songs, he’s learned to trust Logan’s talents, and relies on her to edit them. “She can change a word or a phrase here and there,” Flores says, “and it opens up the heavens.”
After years in L.A., Flores and Logan were starting a family and heading back to Austin when they got a call from producer Raymond Richards (Honey Honey, Local Natives) about recording Nothing To Escape. Richards’ insight and experience were a perfect match for Flores and Logan. “I have a pretty good vision of where I want things to go musically,” Flores says, “but when I do finally let go and let someone take the wheel, at least part of the way, I’m always grateful.” The album took about a week to track, thanks to Richards’ hustle. His vision turns Fairbanks‘ gentle cosmic country into an experimental wall of Americana sound. “In the end,” Logan says, “he made us sound more like ourselves.”
Glide is premiering the lyrically incisive “Revelation” off Nothing To Escape (below), a composition that masterfully mixes pedal and electric guitars to create a wondrous setting, creating visions of dreams lost and dreams yet to realize. Flores’ warm earnest singing reflects Ryan Adams at his most delicate while carrying shades of Jason Molina’s stark and confessional vocals.
“Revelation” is more of a story than a direct line into my specific personal experiences…a story built around some personal outlooks to be sure, but a little more open ended,” says Flores. “A lot of the meaning in this song kind of brought itself to light in maybe a subconscious sort of way. I was focused in on the little story and only when I pulled back to see it play out in its entirety did I notice what it was reflecting back at me from my own inside world. It deals with the end of the world…or a world…or some sort of finality, maybe our mortality and how to process that inevitability. Convincing everyone that celebrating life while we’re here is the answer, and maybe secretly not subscribing to your own philosophy… waiting quietly for the all consuming mystery to arrive and wondering how you will actually cope with its tremendous gravity.”
“With “Revelation,” I feel maybe we were drinking from the Gillian Welch, Levon Helm and ’70s Dylan well when we recorded this one. Not on purpose, it’s just what was in the water that day and I guess what came bubbling to the top.,” continues Flores.
“One of my favorite parts of this recording was the result of a last minute decision by producer Raymond Richards to get our mutual friend Brian Whelan to come in and play a little piano. I’d only ever seen him play guitar on his own stuff and knew he had been Dwight Yoakum’s side guy for a while. It was a really cool surprise when he started playing to the track and in one or two takes nailed the piano solo, which I still think is one of the special little moments on the record.”