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Quintessential Album Series :: Before Nightfall :: Robert Francis

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A Little History:

Before Nightfall is the second released album of artist Robert Francis. It was released in 2009 with Junebug as lead single followed by Keep On Running. Both were also released as video clips.

This is Robert Francis’ first album on a major label. In an interview with Redefine magazine, Francis said that darkness was a major theme on this album. The album has many lyrical references to darkness and past heartaches and memories wrestled over “in the dark”.

Robert Francis (born September 25, 1987 in Los Angeles, California) is a multi-instrumentalist, Americana singer-songwriter. His debut full-length album One By One was released in August 2007 by Aeronaut Records, gaining him notice for its “emotional darkness and musicality“.

His sound is distinguished by his “bright, gravelly baritone”,  often conveying the emotion of a more “hardened performer“.

The song Junebug from the album “Before Nightfall” was released as a Free Single on iTunes in 2009.

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What Makes This “Quintessential” to me?

A lot happened in 2009, more than I sometimes realize, or maybe more than I want to sometimes remember. There was love and there was loss, there was light and there was darkness, and there was a lot of starting over. There are people who came into my life around that time that I pushed away because life was heavy and I had a hard time sifting through my emotions enough to let in anything, or anyone, new.

I made some choices that were big and life changing while in that head and heart space, and I have come to realize that what I needed more than anything was time and space, and no decisions. But life doesn’t always work out that way, and we often do not do the things we need to do.

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Music though, it was something I needed and did not push away. There are about six different years in my life where I can vividly remember the music I listened to being part of what got me through. Times when the music was not just a soundtrack, or something I enjoyed, but also a lifeline, a coping skill, and a vital part of keeping me, well, me.

The first time I heard Robert Francis it was at a house in the hills above Santa Monica beach. I could smell the ocean, wafting in through the open windows. I was browsing through music choices and came upon Before Nightfall and asked “would I like this?”. He said yes, yes I would like it.

I didn’t just like it, though, no, I immediately loved it, especially the song Junebug. There was something in the story that got right in to me, under my surfaces, and stayed. I couldn’t stop thinking about it on my drive home the next morning, and all through the day. I ended up going out and buying the album, and it stayed in my car’s CD player for months afterwards.

I think the dive into darkness, and into the past, through these songs and stories, appealed to me. The songs sang to the broken pieces inside of me, the ones that were trying so hard to heal. Some of the songs, too, like Nightfall and Mescaline, spoke to the fear in me, and my urge to run from things like love. Maybe it wasn’t the best decisions I was making, and there were things, and people, I left that I would later regret, but at the time it was who I was, and the way my life needed to turn and shift – and Before Nightfall was the album I needed to hear.

I still love the album. It still makes its way into my car, and through my headphones, and into my life. It is definitely a for-life, “quintessential” album for me.

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My Top 5 Favorite Songs:

1. Junebug

“I remember everything.”

2. Mescaline

“Your a lone disaster,
your heart beats faster,
when its with mine.
Your a likely story,
morning glory,
on the vine.”

3. Nightfall

“Honey,
I’ll be gone before the nightfall.”

4. Do What I Can

“I listened to the shadows,
hanging pictures,
we were drifters.
We’d get too close,
and then you’d drift away.”

5. Keep on Running

“Decisions I made,
losing you to the narrowing light.
I always loved you,
you knew I always loved you.”

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