By Marc Vera
Updated August 21, 2007 at 12:00 PM EDT

Yesterday, while going through the stacks of CDs on my desk, I pulled out a record by Robert Francis. Within seconds, I was smitten. Initially, I thought the record was an ode to Mercury Rev’s Deserter’s Songs, but I was mistaken. I immediately had to know who was this guy was and how he wrote such a deep and introspective album. After making an even bigger mess of my desk, I found out that he was the only student ever taught by John Frusciante (of the Red Hot Chili Peppers), once received a guitar from Ry Cooder when he was 9, and is only nineteen years old! Interesting.

His album, One By One (out today, on Aeronaut) is the perfect example of the new indie folk. To me, his simple instrumentation and slightly smoky voice, brings up images of a slow, dusty, post-break-up road-trip through west Texas. The emotion he conveys while singing resembles that of a hardened performer who has been on the scene for decades, paying his dues in grimy bars where no one cared what he played. His songs are both depressing and uplifting. In my little world, that’s better than perfect. So perfect, in fact, that I’ve listened to this record at least 10 times over the past two days.

Check out “Mama Don’t Come” and “Love For Me” and let me know what you think. Does he have that special something? Or have I finally lost it?