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Music

Fairbanks & the Lonesome Light Face Inner Conflict in "Pieces" Video (premiere)

Photo: Barbara Frigiere

Fairbanks & the Lonesome Lights' Erik Flores reflects on his time recovering from a drinking problem and the dual lens through which he viewed the issue in the latest cut from off of 2017's Nothing to Escape.

2017's Nothing to Escape found Erik Flores at one of life's great intersections. Newly sober, recently relocated, and a first-time father, Flores' move from Los Angeles to Austin was as spiritual a path to take as it was physical. Teaming up with fellow singer-songwriter Amelia Rose Logan for the project, Flores has used the wistful eloquence of their Americana sound to reflect on his own victories and indiscretions, in large part interwoven with his recent journey into relinquishing himself from alcohol's grip. "Pieces" may be the best example of this from off of the latest Fairbanks & the Lonesome Light record, chronicling Flores at a crossroads as he navigates his way between the selfish pleasures and unfettered destruction that came from the duality through which he viewed his addiction.

As Flores tells PopMatters, "'Pieces' is one of those songs that kind of wrote itself out in a very short amount of time. I was just at the beginning of my decision to try and steer away from drinking and was wrestling with the two versions of my drinking reality: The romanticized freedom and beautiful chaos that was doubtlessly real on the one hand and the terrifying ugliness and fairly un-poetic destruction that was becoming undeniable on the other."

"This little place that I describe in the song seems to still have both elements floating around in it: an identifiable romantic notion of throwing caution to the wind and embracing the visceral gamble and a sort of self awareness that the dream is starting to show frayed edges and is coming apart at the seams letting the light of a painful reality peek through. At the end of the song is a declaration that in both worlds, at my best and at my very worst, the single unwavering thing was my love for everyone, even the ones I hurt along the way, and the unlikely hope that maybe they saw that love, despite all my behavior to the contrary…. It's a dangerously vulnerable song, and I considered not recording it, but Amelia gave me the assurance I needed to put it out there."

The song itself drives forward, albeit subtly, and captures the emotional essence of Flores grappling between these two visions of his problems. Logan's vocals add layers to the tune's graceful, plaintive presentation as pedal steel delicately washes over the track in tinges here and there. The accompanying music video is fairly picturesque, conveying the emotions bubbling beneath the surface of "Pieces" with eloquence and serenity indicative of Flores' inner battle. It's a potent pill to swallow, but Fairbanks & the Lonesome Light's audience is all the luckier for being able to embrace songwriters who wear even the hardest truths on their sleeves.

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