Robert Francis and his Americana-leaning album Amaretto is set to release May 1 on Aeronaut Records. The album, which was somewhat of a surprise release, features top-tier guests (Ry Cooder, Marty Stuart and Terry Evans) in support of Francis.
Robert Francis benefited from a diverse musical climate thanks to his pianist/producer father, his songwriting sister Juliette Commagere, and his Mexican mother, who sang native ranchera songs around the house. He was also Red Hot Chili Peppers’ John Frusciante only guitar pupil.
The 11-song collection was inspired by an old memory spurred by a lonely moment in a new city.
“When I was eight or nine, I took art lessons from the brilliant painter, John Brosio,” Robert Francis said. “The first still life I ever attempted was of an Amaretto bottle my Dad kept on the kitchen counter. When I moved to Nashville, I didn’t know a single soul. I was out there totally alone. One of my first afternoons there, the sky lit up a boozy, amber color and that still life popped into my head. That was the beginning of the whole album.”
While not a single from the release, Robert Francis said that his father played a role in his favorite track on the album, “How Long.”
“I wrote ‘How Long’ a few months after my father passed. He was a big boxing fan. In fact, he obsessively recorded every boxing match on Beta/VHS tape since the early 70’s and I still have them all. He passed away four days before the Mayweather/ McGregor fight, and we’d really hoped to watch it together,” he said. “We had a complicated relationship, as many fathers and sons do, but were very close.”
The other tentpole song of the album is one that came exceptionally fast for him.
Robert Francis described “Other Side of Heaven” almost as a song without thought to complete.
“‘Other Side Of Heaven’ is a flagship song for me,” he said. “I wrote it quickly – stream of conscious lyrics about accepting the end of your youth while not forgetting where you came from. ‘You’ve gotta’ hold on like a tire swing/when you’re on top of it/you can see everything.’”
American Songwriter is proud to offer its readers — and fans of Robert Francis — an exclusive stream of the entire album.