What movie was that...?

13 November 2011

Nine Pound Hammer, a Frank Fairfield music video

directed by Keith Musil

I have been puzzling over this young man for the past year or so, trying to figure him out. The personae. The stylistic immersion. The dogged devotion to tradition. Part of me wants to love him so, to shout his praises from the rooftops. And yet part of me wonders why? Perhaps it has something to do with the fact that Mr. Fairfield has yet to release an album of original songs, which means I am left with a collection of new recordings that sound as if they were discovered on the shelf of a West Virginia root cellar. Authentic though they may sound, I wonder if the inspiration is genuine, or if this is a case of simple, albeit astounding, parroting of the ethos of a era gone by. Anyway, I thought I would share this and ask you all these questions. What do you think?

Regardless, the music video is stellar. Wonderful work, Mr. M.

While I'm at it, I'm going to share Mr. Fairfield's live performance of one of my very favorite songs, Rye Whiskey. Those of you who share my affection for this type of music can hear a wonderful version from the great Lee Sexton in the amazing doc, Searching for the Wrong-Eyed Jesus. It's one of my favorites films.


  1. At first glance I thought this was going to be a column in praise of that great (almost unknown, sadly) beer-drinkin' band, Nine Pound Hammer. Alas, it wasn't to be. Still, you then mentioned the Jim White movie, so I cheered up again.
    I like Americana a great deal, but not really this trad type, a la The Handsome Family (kinda). I'm more of a Jim White, Neutral Milk Hotel, Slim Cessna's Auto Club type of guy.

  2. How are you B.C. ?
    Once again you've been featuring a bunch of stuff about which I know little or nothing, hence the lack of comments, but I have kept an eye on all your recent posts.
    I know you're a man who loves documentaries and road movies and there was a very decent documentary on BBC 4 here in the UK last night.
    Presented by Rich Hall it was called Continental Drifters and featured the history of American road movies, from The Grapes Of Wrath, through our favourites Two-Lane and Vanishing Point right up to more modern films such as Thelma And Louise.
    I'll post the link to the BBC website, if you've got 90 minutes to spare over the weekend you might want to watch it on the i-player.
    Take it easy!

  3. Thanks for the recommendation, Paul! I am doing very well, thanks for asking. I tried hunting down this documentary, but no luck yet. I'm not allowed to view anything on the i-player over here in the states (damn rights agreements!), which means I will have to find it elsewhere. So far, not in the usual places (Netflix, YouTube, Hulu), but I will trudge on until I find it.
    PS Any reader on this side of the pond with any help for me on this, I would be much obliged.

  4. You are definitely speaking my language with Neutral Milk Hotel and Slim Cessna's Auto Club, Colin. In fact, one ill-advised night, after several bottles of beer, I sent Mr. Jeff Mangum a pleading email that implored him to attend my wedding. Not my finest hour, but I regret nothing! Though my fiancee was none too impressed, I should have truly loved a reply from the man himself, even the inevitable no.
    There is a strong connection between myself and traditional mountain music, though the ability to articulate this connection has always alluded me. Something akin to surfers and their love of the search for the perfect wave, I suspect, though I have never surfed before.

  5. Ha! I did something similar, trying to get The Ass Ponys to reform for my wedding. Mangum's going to be playing over here in March next year, but I'm not sure if I'll go or not. So much time has passed, I'm thinking I want to remember his music as it was, not as it is.


What do you think?