One could be forgiven for thinking the music of Frank Fairfield on first listen could perhaps be that of an Alan Lomax recording from the 1930's. Likewise Fairfield could easily be wrongly identified as an Appalachian bluegrass troubadour from a bygone age, when in fact this guy is a twenty something year old from California. His appearance is that of a man who could have stepped off a time machine, with hair parted and usually wearing tweed suits that look like they could have been tailored in another era. He has played support to Fleet Fox's on their last US tour, a far cry from busking around the streets of LA previously.
His debut self titled album released in 2009, can be found on the New York based Tompkins Square record label and is a joyful listen for any fan of American roots music.
In November 2009 Fairfied appeared live on KEXP radio for an interview and session, this is a video clip of that show with him playing 'Rye Whiskey' which is nothing short of outstanding..
It is no surprise also that Frank Fairfield is an avid 78rpm record collector, so much so that last year he released a compilation cd of 16 favoured tracks that covers worldwide gramaphone recordings from 1916-1964. It includes dusty selections from as afar afield as Japan, Kenya and Indonesia along with various regional pockets of the U.S.
You will also find this collection called 'Unheard Ofs And Forgotten Abouts' on the Tompkins Square label.
This clip is again another piece of the KEXP radio live session, here he plays the Appalachian folk song 'Cumberland Gap' a song that is thought to have been penned in the latter part of the 19th century and first recorded by a Tennessee fiddler called Ambrose G Stuart in 1924..