Texan songwriter RF Shannon, born Shane Renfro, wrote an introduction to his last album, Hunting Songs, released back in 2014. "WE, THE OVERSTIMULATED CHILDREN OF THE NIGHTLIFE, ARE BEGINNING TO FEEL THE WAVE DISTORTIONS FROM GENERATIONS OF SUBTLE STRUCTURAL MANIPULATIONS," he wrote. "WE CRY OUT TO ANCESTORS WHO NEVER KNEW US AND PARADE LIFEWAYS UNLIVED[…] SO I SING AS A BOOTLEGGER AND ROUGHNECK WHO CHEWED TOBACCO AND PULLED PENNIES FROM MY EARS. THAT'S ALL I KNOW OF GRANDFATHER RF SHANNON, SO IM PIECING TOGETHER A LINEAGE FROM THIS."
All this, the capital letters, seemed at first to be at odds with RF Shannon's delicate voice, the gentle country slides of his guitar, and the occasional sweetness that bled from his chord progressions. But the noise of those capital letters and his loud identification as "A BOOTLEGGER AND ROUGHNECK" could be found in the bold snare cracks and reverb swishes of the record, swirling around his lonesome steadiness.
It's clear, too, on "Had a Revelation," premiering on Noisey today. It's the latest track from his new EP,
, out October 21 on Keeled Scales. Again, Shannon's voice is half-drowned in the mix, swamped by an echo; the gathered guitars—some delayed, some so distorted as to sound sinister—remain the capital letters of the track. But get up close to the speakers and you'll hear that concern for tangled histories: "Do you change with the seasons? / Do you cling to the past?"
The video for the track, shot and directed by Daniel Hill, captures the grandeur of the country vision, from the blinking lights of the bars and fairgrounds to the solitary open expanses. Renfro is away from his computer this weekend—something that shouldn't seem odd or exceptional, but does—but he wrote us a note last night about the making of the video.
"The video was shot after I had just relocated from Austin to Lockhart. I've been cultivating a piece of land out there for the last few years and decided to make the jump to a slower-paced life. Lyrically and visually, the video is about adjusting to a different way of being. It has sort of an understated humor and desperation that's a fairly true reflection of trying to embrace solitude after leaving the city. My good friend Daniel Hill made the video. We shot it out in Lockhart around Cinco de Mayo, there was a festival on the square and all this Tejano and Cumbia music blasting in the bars, so we just tried to keep up."
Watch the video below and keep an eye out for Other Trails.
Lead image by Jesse Woods.
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