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Biography

Richmond Fontaine was an American four-piece rock and alt-country band based in Portland, Oregon. They were active between 1994-2016 and recorded eleven studio albums, four live albums and two EP’s.

The band was formed in 1994 by guitarist / lead vocalist Willy Vlautin and bass player Dave Harding at the Portland Meadows horse race track. Known for Vlautin's incredibly rich and evocative lyrics, several of Richmond Fontaine's songs relate to horse racing specifically and gambling generally. This is largely an artifact of Vlautin's upbringing in Reno, Nevada, a place that is heavily referenced in his lyrics, along with Portland, the U.S. Western states in general and occasionally Mexico. Vlautin is also an acclaimed novelist, having written two respected books, The Motel Life and Northline. As a fiction writer, he is often compared to Raymond Carver and Charles Bukowski while his lyrical style is inspired by the narrative style of Australian artist Paul Kelly.

Musically, Richmond Fontaine cited influences such as Gram Parsons, X (U.S. band), Green on Red and Dave Alvin and they are often regarded as part of the rock alt.country movement that includes bands such as Drive-by Truckers, Slobberbone, Grand Champeen, The Damnations and others.

For reasons of touring patterns, and heavy support of the high-brow music press in the UK, Richmond Fontaine were consistently more successful in Europe than in the US.

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