Formed in 2006 by Robin Pecknold (lead vocals/guitar), Skyler Skjelset (guitar/mandolin), and Casey Wescott (keyboards/mandolin) alongside rhythm section Bryn Lunsden (soon replaced by Craig Curran) and drummer Nicholas Peterson (replaced by Josh Tillman in 2008), Fleet Foxes’ unique blend of Indie Folk, Chamber Pop, and Americana caught the attention of critics and audiences alike when they began releasing their music via social media (anyone remember MySpace?) shortly after their formation. By the release of their second EP, SUN GIANT (2008), Fleet Foxes had become critical darlings. Later that year, they issued their self-titled album to great acclaim. The release ended up on the top of many critics’ ‘best of’ lists and has since been acknowledged as ‘one of the greatest debut albums of all time.’ Not just an American hit, FLEET FOXES (the album) became an international success as well.
Fleet Foxes released their sophomore album, HELPLESSNESS BLUES, in 2011. Yet another international success, the album hit the Top 10 in the US, UK, Australia, Belgium, Canada, Ireland, the Netherlands, and Sweden while landing at #1 in Norway. However, things weren’t going smoothly behind the scenes and after touring the album, Josh Tillman (who had joined in 2008) left the band in 2012 (later reinventing himself as Father John Misty). Fleet Foxes was then put on hiatus as lead vocalist Robin Pecknold relocated to New York to purse his undergraduate degree at the Columbia University School of General Studies. The group reconvened in 2016 and began work on their third album, CRACK-UP, which was released the following year. The album received universal acclaim from critics as did their 2020 release, SHORE. And then the COVID-19 pandemic hit…
With the band being sidelined thanks to lockdowns, Robin Pecknold focused his attention on performing a livestream in Brooklyn’s St. Anne & the Holy Trinity Church. Recorded in December 2020, A VERY LONELY SOLSTICE is the result of that acclaimed live set featuring songs from the SHORE album as well as songs from Fleet Foxes’ back catalog and two cover versions: Nina Simone’s “In the Morning” and a new arrangement of the traditional “Silver Dagger.” Although the show was initially available for streaming, it is finally being released on physical formats (CD and vinyl LP) for the first time. The church acoustics turn the songs into haunting musical prayers (of no denomination) and lift them to new levels. More tender than ever before, songs like “Wading in Waist-High Water,” “Tiger Mountain Peasant Song,”, “Helplessness Blues,” and “A Long Way Past the Past” are stripped to their musical core – vocals and guitar – and are rebuilt through emotions and atmosphere. Instead of missing the band and trademark vocalists, you’ll hear these songs in a whole new light. And that just may have been the intention all along.
A VERY LONELY SOLSTICE