West Coast old-time multi-instrumentalist Frank Fairfield might sound a bit like he belongs on a bill with a Jimmie Rodgers, a Lefty Frizzell or a Hank Snow, but he is in fact a modern-day fella — even if he doesn't maintain his own Facebook page. Anyhow, Fairfield will breeze through — or saunter into, more likely — The Stone Fox tonight, where he'll be joined by familiar local sideman and Cleft Music honcho Loney John Hutchins. (Good to see Mr. Hutchins out in front for a change; hear some of his tunes here.) Go-to guy Stephen "Goose" Trageser wrote a Critic's Pick about tonight's shindig for us, and blammo, here it is:
You’d be forgiven for thinking of the banjo and fiddle as instruments of torture, stripped of their heritage by retooled emo acts looking to add some grits-n-greens authenticity to their caterwauling. Los Angeles native Frank Fairfield may don pomade and high-water pants, but he shows clear reverence for the traditions encoded in the 78rpm records in which he’s steeped himself. He first appeared on the radar as an opener for Fleet Foxes, whose Robin Pecknold was transfixed by Fairfield’s approach; we can relate, having checked the corners of our room for a hidden Victrola when Fairfield came over the stereo. Fairfield is a robust man in his mid-twenties, yet his tenor captures the sound of a person worn by the hardships of sharecropping, mining, or any work where the benefits are disproportionately distributed. There is no dulling of the rough edges that come from channeling anxiety and frustration through a prized instrument, lending Fairfield’s work a haunting aura. Revival is one thing, and carrying on a tradition another, but Fairfield is just getting warmed up, leaving us with a great deal to anticipate, and a spellbinding experience to share here and now. —STEPHEN TRAGESER
Starts at 9 p.m., and it'll cost you $10.