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We Used to Think the Freeway Sounded Like a River

5 customer reviews

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Audio CD, September 29, 2009
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$15.72
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$15.72 & FREE Shipping on orders over $35. Details Only 2 left in stock. Ships from and sold by Amazon.com. Gift-wrap available.

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We Used to Think the Freeway Sounded Like a River + Winnemucca + The Fitzgerald
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Editorial Reviews

We used to think the freeway sounded like a river is the eighth album from portland us alt.country critical favourites, richmond fontaine. It is the third australian release through nonzero records. Mind-blowing reviews from the uk press. 5 star, full-page review in october uncut.


1. We Used to Think the Freeway Sounded Like a River
2. You Can Move Back Here
3. The Boyfriends
4. The Pull
5. Sitting Outside My Dad's Old House [Instrumental]
6. Maybe We Were Both Born Blue
7. Watch Out
8. 43
9. Lonnie
10. Ruby & Lou
11. Walking Back to Our Place at 3 A.M. [Instrumental]
12. Two Alone
13. A Letter to the Patron Saint of Nurses

Product Details

  • Audio CD (September 29, 2009)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Arena Rock
  • ASIN: B002LWJ5YM
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #176,322 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Mick. H. on October 25, 2009
Format: Audio CD
I was introduced to Richmond Fontaine by a friend and have so far only listened to Post to Wire, The Fitzgerald and some of 13 Cities. I thoroughly enjoyed all of those, however this one is something special. Although similar in its storytelling style, this CD stretches the boundaries a little further, musically. There are some lovely trumpet lines on track 4 which is a stand-out. The piano is also used to great effect at various times. I love listening to Willy Vlautin's character driven vignettes and his singing-speaking style suits his subject matter perfectly. I was immediately drawn in to the worlds he creates and found the journey thoroughly rewarding by the end. I have heard some wonderful music in this vein over the last 12 months; The Felice Brothers, Magnolia Electric Company, The Jayhawks, The Drive-By Truckers and The Silver Jews to name a few, but this one shades them all for mine. Loved every minute of it, and cant wait for the next one.
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Format: Audio CD
There's an old Paul Simon song titled "Some Folks' Lives Roll Easy." It begins by telling the listeners that some people end up living the good life. Yet Simon quickly gets to the heart of the matter: "But most folks' lives, they stumble/ Lord they fall/ Through no fault of their own/ Most folks never catch their stars." Willy Vlautin's songs on Richmond Fontaine's brilliant new We Used To Think The Freeway Sounded Like A River (El Cortez/Arena Rock) are about these same "most folks" Simon sings of. Not only do Vlautin's characters miss out on "catching their stars" as in Simon's tune, but that same sky those stars shine in is caving in on them. Freeway is a collection of alt-country rockers and ballads for the accidental underachiever.

Many have written about Vlautin's sparse lyrics. But that can be an understatement. They're often so spare as to be nearly invisible and the song comes at you like an apparition - a sleight of hand formed out of thin air. You don't notice the weight being accumulated until it hits you like an oncoming car. Part of this effect comes from the writing's tone being a sort of blue collar vernacular - more like voiceover dialogue from a gritty indie feature than lines of poetry. And Freeway truly reads like minimalist narratives. Maybe it was an inevitability for Vlautin's sparseness to come to this: The song "Watch Out" has just a single sentence as its lyric. And it works: "Watch out or your heart will be nothing but scars." Just a friendly warning against ruining your own life.

Though comparisons to Son Volt, Charles Bukowski, Springsteen, or even an updated Walker Evans are not unwarranted, it should be understood that Richmond Fontaine and Willy Vlautin's songs are not overly derivative in any way.
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Format: MP3 Music Verified Purchase
After hearing only this album - and not many times yet (twice), I conclude - "Imagine that Wilco had lyrics that told stories about people, places & things (throughout an entire album)". That could** give a listener a good sense of what to expect from this CD...(?), it should be said, they are original enough to stand apart from Wilco though, but nobody would deny the similarities - I don't think anyway - 'less they feel it an insult - tho I would not! Wilco really came into their own throughout the years.

** = could - or maybe you'll hear something very different or maybe you never heard Wilco? Then this Band/Album description/review doesn't help or give you anything - but after hearing a few tracks and looking into this band(and finding out they have a geographically limited reach, it seems, commercially speaking & [now... I could be wrong] they seem a h3ll of a lot smaller than Wilco - I'll say this about Richmond Fontaine's "We Used to Think the Freeway Sounded Like a River" : this here album is very warm - made/makes me think of cold nights with the prospect of a nice warm bed.

gladly pay $8.
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By jimbo on December 7, 2013
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
We used to think the freeway sounded like a river is another excellent record from Richmond Fontaine. "Barely losing" out to thirteen cities as my favorite RF album.
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By T. Markus on August 25, 2014
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
A great, atmospheric CD of songs about the disaffected working class and those just scraping by. Nice late-night music.
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