RF Shannon is the psychedelic-folk project of Shane Renfro. Having recently returned to the US from a European tour playing alongside Jess Williamson supporting Kevin Morby, Renfro is gearing up for the release of his new full-length album, Trickster Blues, due for release May 4th via Fuzz Club in Europe and Cosmic Dreamer in the US.

As the release approaches, Renfro has unveiled the latest single from the album, ‘Tooth Ache’ – a jangling, pensive cut that combines soulful Americana and spectral desert blues that have been left to bask in the Texas sun for just the right amount of time. Talking about the track, Renfro explains: “Tooth Ache is about being comfortable in your own skin, having the self-awareness to take it slow. The arrangement is steeped in an early 70s soul sound because that music has a mellow groove that just feels good. I tend to feel like all is right in the world when I’m slowly driving down old country roads with the windows down, so this song is kind of an ode to that vibe. I wanted to write a good backroad song.”

RF SHANNON

Trickster Blues shows a new side to RF Shannon, which is largely born out of an urge to approach this album differently to his debut, Jaguar Palace, which was listed in Noisey’s 30 Best Overlooked Albums of 2017. “The process was a drastic shift from the one we took with ‘Jaguar Palace’ and I was hooked. It was a blast all of the time. We kept a quick pace due to external circumstances via random or otherwise inevitable interruptions, so we learned to take what we could get. If a take was good, it was a keeper, we didn’t second guess it. In just four days we had demoed the majority of my new material and it just felt so right.”

The final product of the seize the moment approach behind the writing and recording process echoes the themes Trickster Blues attempts to dissect. “The lyrics are about acknowledging consequences and saying “so what”, the reward is worth the risk, etc. It’s about feeling a pull, a calling, and dedicating to it hell or high water, whatever that may be. Its the heart of it all.’’ Renfro continues. “To be able to listen and say “that’s it, that’s the song. It is what it is, and we like what it is” sounds a little underwhelming in that sense, but that’s what I wanted. I just wanted the songs to speak for themselves. Our old material is challenging and dense, and I love it. I love the spaces we have created. But I wanted to record songs that could just stand alone and be what they are.”

RF SHANNON

Born out of natural and self-imposed boundaries, the final product is an album that lives in the sonic space between desert blues and old-school R&B. At times heavy like a jackhammer while maintaining the velvety vocal deliveries of RF Shannon, Trickster Blues is an album that embraces the natural indecision surrounding the songwriting process and goes with its gut decision every step of the way. By working on the principle that if the first impression of a song is good enough at the moment then it is good enough to be the final product, Trickster Blues paints a portrait of Renfro’s truth and his truth alone. “Maybe it’s a terrible mistake, maybe its better this way. I think that’s what this record will always mean to me. That’s kind of the Trickster in a way. Many different facets, and much more than I can say in this context, but the name conjures a sort of pure whimsical mischief, a dose of raw wild impulse that reminds you to laugh at whatever it is that’s happening, or else it’s laughing at you. Either way, you end up with something to learn.”

Demoed in four days in Marfa and recorded in two in Lockhart, Texas with the help of Jesse Woods and Will Patterson, the album is demanding in its immediacy while providing a raw and profound insight to the raw sonic & lyrical landscape Renfro & Co have crafted. Trickster Blues is due for release on Fuzz Club and Cosmic Dreamer May 4th.

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