There's a black and white photograph of Robert Francis on the cover of his new record "Before The Nightfall", showing him sleeping in bed with his hands folded across his heart, as if in prayer, but it's probably just the way they ended up. It captures the innocence of a private moment and it seems completely natural to be privy to it. His songs are just the same, an open invitation into a well-lived and deeply considered life, laid bare and delivered in a sometimes quivering, sometimes booming baritone. Francis is 21 and has been playing in bands in his native Los Angeles since he was in third grade. He lost interest in guitar playing at one point, only to be coaxed back with some guitar lessons from Red Hot Chili Peppers' John Frusciante. I love this record, have listened once straight through, and I'm going to cue it up again.