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Video Rewind: Robin Pecknold of the Fleet Foxes “Katie Cruel” unplugged

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    Two years after we were first awed by the baroque harmonies of Seattle’s Fleet Foxes EP, Sun Giant and the highly acclaimed, self-titled debut album, band member Robin Pecknold says a new album is set to be released in December 2010.

    It’s about time. But what can we really expect this year?

    Instead of focusing on a new album during 2009, Pecknold and his sister Aja Pecknold, formerly Seattle Clubs Editor for Seattle Weekly, and Morgan Henderson of Past Lives have been working on a side project they call Rainbow Fang. Since leaving Seattle Weekly, Aja Pecknold has also become the band’s new manager—and (unrelated, but notable) the girlfriend of drummer J. Tillman.

    Tillman has also been making a name with his solo act that was a hidden secret before joining the Fleet Foxes. In fact, he makes the rest of the band looks slow with two albums (Year in the Kingdom and Vacliando Territory Blues) and a single released in 2009.

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    But there’s reason for the delay. The creativity process cannot be rushed. In recent interviews Pecknold says he is no longer satisfied with some of the work on the first release, which could mean a different direction for 2010. He says to expect something less upbeat and more “real.”

    Before taking a break to work on the new album, I got to catch an intimate show up in Bellingham, Wash. Pecknold’s personality shined as he greeted friends waiting in the ticket line and held side conversations with the audience during the show.

    At the encore, Pecknold came back out without the rest of the band and seemingly on the spot decided to perform an unplugged version of “Katie Cruel”, a traditional folk song that dates back to the Revolutionary War and was later recorded by Karen Dalton on the album In My Own Time. The performance showed Pecknold’s timeless talent and gives us an intimate moment with a glimpse of what it would be like to sit around a campfire with him.

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