Raised in Los Angeles as the youngest member of a music-filled household, indie folk singer/songwriter Robert Francis benefited from a diverse musical climate thanks to his pianist/producer father and his songwriting sister Juliette Commagere. Family friend and acclaimed stringmaster Ry Cooder gave Francis his first guitar at age nine; seven years later, the Red Hot Chili Peppers' John Frusciante accepted Francis as his only guitar pupil. The unique education paid off as Francis released his 2007 debut, the musically diverse One by One. When it came time to record a second album, however, the songwriter chose to scale things back. He assembled a small band and recorded Before Nightfall in one week. ~ Andrew Leahey
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