12 Songs, 43 Minutes

EDITORS’ NOTES

Most alt-country artists (Jeff Tweedy, Ryan Adams, Rhett Miller, etc.) usually drop a few good twangy albums before taking off their boots to walk over the Americana stepping stone towards other singer-songwriter sounding pastures. Robert Francis makes the leap on his impressive sophomore album, Before Nightfall. He punctuates this overt stylistic morphing on the title track from 2007’s One By One which appears here sounding much different, now void of any country tinges and echoing hints of Bruce Springsteen’s “I’m On Fire,” with the darkened piano parts and that lone drumstick keeping time on the snare’s rim. The only vestige of twang appears on the pensive ballad “Climb a Mountain” where Francis’ family friend Ry Cooder lends some of his gauzy slide-guitar. The rest of Before Nightfall plays like a post-adulterous cigarette; the opening “Darkness” and the lovelorn “Junebug” are shadowy and satiating, especially the latter with its memorable falsettos and the more passionate moments in the former where Francis’ voice breaks like a young Bono.

EDITORS’ NOTES

Most alt-country artists (Jeff Tweedy, Ryan Adams, Rhett Miller, etc.) usually drop a few good twangy albums before taking off their boots to walk over the Americana stepping stone towards other singer-songwriter sounding pastures. Robert Francis makes the leap on his impressive sophomore album, Before Nightfall. He punctuates this overt stylistic morphing on the title track from 2007’s One By One which appears here sounding much different, now void of any country tinges and echoing hints of Bruce Springsteen’s “I’m On Fire,” with the darkened piano parts and that lone drumstick keeping time on the snare’s rim. The only vestige of twang appears on the pensive ballad “Climb a Mountain” where Francis’ family friend Ry Cooder lends some of his gauzy slide-guitar. The rest of Before Nightfall plays like a post-adulterous cigarette; the opening “Darkness” and the lovelorn “Junebug” are shadowy and satiating, especially the latter with its memorable falsettos and the more passionate moments in the former where Francis’ voice breaks like a young Bono.

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