Robert Francis returns with his new album Fire Engine Red, coming May 13thon Aeronaut Records. The eight-song release was produced by Robert himself at Sunset Sound Studios in Hollywood, CA and Testa Studios in Leon, Mexico, with engineering and mixing by Martin Pradler (The Pretenders, Jon Spencer Blues Explosion, Ry Cooder).
The album’s title track will serve as its lead single, the video for which makes its debut today courtesy of BlackBook Magazine.
Fire Engine Red shows Robert continuing to mature as he further refines his gift for vivid and romantic storytelling, and is as emotionally deep a record as he’s ever made.
This was not an easy album to start or to finish, but an unlikely source helped redirect him into a world of new inspiration, getting his creativity back to its peak. Describing the catalysts for the album, Robert explains: “While recording in L.A., a writer for Vice Magazine, Aldo Monterrubio, flew out to interview me about the ups and downs of the music industry. We spoke mostly about the struggle and maintenance that is required of artists to continue to create in a climate that is usually not in our favor. Being in Los Angeles at this time had me uninspired. Aldo suggested I come to León, Mexico and so I did.
Recording in León felt more like the deep South than the South does today. This WAS Muscle Shoals. There was no tourism, no musical history, nothing but a city of stucco houses, corrugated steel roofs, thunderstorms and 10 cent beers. As I began to spend more time in León, I couldn’t help but be affected by the culture. I started writing MORE songs. This time instead of writing for ‘myself,’ I started writing ‘out of myself’ for other people. The result of this is Fire Engine Red.
We are living in an incongruous era. Pop music is bigger than ever. Our voting system is rigged. A billionaire promoting violence can be president. The oldest cities on earth are being leveled. This is a warm record and I wanted it to feel like somewhere you can escape to when everything else is too much.”
Fire Engine Red is available for pre-order from iTunes now. And as a gift to fans, Robert has made a free download of the album track “Milk & Honey” available HERE.
This is Robert’s sixth studio album and his first of new material since 2014’s acclaimed Heaven. He also surprised fans this past December with the vintage jazz standards platter Valentine that pays homage to the great Chet Baker.
Robert previewed songs from Fire Engine Red on his just completed European tour and hometown residency at The Silverlake Lounge in Los Angeles. Summer U.S. tour dates are currently being plotted.