On May 22nd Robert Francis will release his Vanguard Records Debut Strangers in the First Place, which is a dazzling collection of backroads-style folk songs that took about a year and a half to make. He asked PopMatters to premiere the acoustic live-take video for the closing track off of that album, “Dangerous Neighborhood”. He also offered an interview to shine some light on the record, the song, and his past. After a short talk it became painfully obvious that Francis was born into the world of music.
Talking about growing up with music as a young child Francis frequently spoke out about his mentor at a very early age and most prominent influence, Ry Cooder. “It was always extremely important to learn things firsthand from Ry, whose teacher was Robert Garry Davis. Ry would talk about paying Robert Gary Davis 10 cents to just sit in a room with him and watch him play guitar. Which is the same kind of thing I’ve had the honor of doing with Ry. He really taught me a lot about music and a lot about soul and how important the song is. I really tried to translate that.”