When Charleston singer-songwriter Becca Smith was a student at the College of Charleston, she took a course that was entirely centered around The Beatles. She also took a creative writing course in which she wrote a story focused on a character named Francie Lou, who was wanted for murder during the time of westward expansion in the United States. Both of those classes helped to influence the new song from Becca Smith that we’ve got premiering this morning, which is the first single off her upcoming debut album I-26.
“The Murder Ballad of Francie Lou” is a musical adaptation of the short story that Becca wrote at the College of Charleston. The song offers a stylistic nod to The Beatles’ song “Rocky Racoon”, yet subverts gender roles commonly found in western stories by placing a woman in the role of midwest outlaw. “The Murder Ballad of Francie Lou” was recorded by James Frolio (of Big Yen), who has also been working with Becca to record the rest of her album.
Because of the visual nature of “The Murder Ballad of Francie Lou”, Becca says that she had wanted to create a music video for the song for a long time. To do this, she enlisted the help of her longtime friend Cameron Campbell to handle videography. The video for “The Murder Ballad of Francie Lou” was Cameron’s first-ever videography project, but you wouldn’t know that from watching the video. We’ll likely see more of Cameron’s work in the future.
For costumes and setting, Becca reached out to both the College of Charleston and The Royal American, who were both happy to help. The College let Becca borrow some old western costumes, and The Royal American provided the setting of a midwestern saloon. The video was shot in the hours before Royal opened, with a cast of Becca’s closest friends, and even a horse.
Becca Smith’s debut album I-26 will be released digitally on Tuesday, July 24th, with album release shows on July 26th at New Brookland Tavern in Columbia with Logan & The Kidders, Passenger Pigeon, Brooks Herring, and Katera, and July 28th at Tin Roof in Charleston with Lindsay Holler and Becca Leigh.
Watch the video for “The Murder Ballad of Francie Lou” by Becca Smith below, and see the posters for the shows below that.