Frank Fairfield: A One-Man Folk Revival

Frank Fairfield i i

hide captionUnheard Ofs & Forgotten Abouts is a compilation album drawn from Frank Fairfield's personal collection of 78s.

courtesy of the artist
Frank Fairfield

Unheard Ofs & Forgotten Abouts is a compilation album drawn from Frank Fairfield's personal collection of 78s.

courtesy of the artist

Hear Songs From The Studio Session

Frank Fairfield may have an old folk sound, but he's just 24, and he hails from California's central valley — not Appalachia.

He plays banjo and fiddle music, and has opened for acts such as Fleet Foxes. With his Brylcreem-parted hair and high-waisted pants, he brings an old-time aesthetic to his old-time music. On his self-titled first album, released last year, he plays the standards of the American folk repertoire — songs that have been played by many artists over generations. He also writes his own songs, but stops short of calling himself a songwriter.

"I piece together a thing or two or mash up one thing with another or make something up," Fairfield says, "but I wouldn't call it songwriting. Ira Gershwin was a songwriter. I'm just a kid that writes songs."

Fairfield says he thinks the banjo's reputation has suffered as of late, but argues that it can be a sweet and warm instrument. He adds that playing American folk music was a natural place to start for him.

"I'm just picking up where [music] left off and just keep playing and see what happens from there," he says.

Fairfield's latest project is a compilation album, titled Unheard Ofs & Forgotten Abouts. It showcases the work of other artists he discovered in his personal collection of old 78s from around the globe.

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Frank Fairfield's Pawn Records Presents Unheard Ofs & Forgotten Abouts

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  • Album: Frank Fairfield's Pawn Records Presents Unheard Ofs & Forgotten Abouts
  • Artist: Various Artists
  • Label: Tompkins Square
  • Released: 2010
 

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