Heartbroken twice, years apart, same night

Frank Fairfield at Pickathon 2009

Frank Fairfield sat alone on stage this past Sunday night. There were three monitors and a microphone, but none of that gear was plugged in. His quiet voice was sincere as it drifted over the banjo. His right foot kept time, his left leg swung freely. He sang of poor Benny, a sad old tune that relates the tale of a dying boy. The thirty people in the room were absolutely silent, caught in Frank’s spell as they slipped back in time 150 years.

A few miles away just one hour later, Future Islands, the new-wave trio from Baltimore loaded with synth and bass lines, had the sold out crowd of 300 souls bouncing. Sam Herring’s vocals worked the crowd to a frenzy and then lulled them back to quietude. Heartbreak arrived here too, but it was more love lost than the sick child kind. It was a quicker trip back in time, but on the same night, in the same little town.

Future Islands at Pickathon 2011

all content © 2011 Tim LaBarge

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