Premiere: Luke Francis’ “Go Home” Is a Heavy-Hearted Stroll Through Palm Springs

Luke Francis © Jake Gombis
Luke Francis © Jake Gombis
Seattle singer/songwriter Luke Francis exposes his pained heart and heavy soul in “Go Home,” a wistful and melancholy folk song that aches from the inside out on a long walk through Palm Springs.
for fans of Adam Melchor, Harrison Whitford, John Vincent III, Ethan Tasch
Stream: “Go Home” – Luke Francis

For such a sunny, scenic destination, Palm Springs has never felt quite as a melancholy and lonely as it does on Luke Francis’ new single.

And as these things tend to go, it has nothing to do with the city itself; Hollywood’s Desert Playground remains a desert playground filled with sights to see, great places to eat, and plenty of things to do… but none of that matters when your heart is heavy and your mind preoccupied. Francis could have been anywhere – Disneyland; Sonoma; the observation deck of the Space Needle; and it wouldn’t matter, because in that particular moment in time, his head was detached from his body, dwelling in a weight that no amount of sunshine and glorious dry heat could ever shake. The singer/songwriter exposes his pained heart and heavy soul in “Go Home,” a wistful and melancholy folk song that aches from the inside out. Capturing a headspace full of tension and dread, Francis reminds us that, while home is where the heart is, it’s not necessarily where we always wish to be.

Go Home - Luke Francis
Go Home – Luke Francis
Walking around in the desert
by the hotel parking lot

Everybody else here
looks about as old as God

Walking along the pavement
It is what it is

Blues run the game
never hit quite like this
Well I don’t wanna go home
If I’m not in the clear
I don’t wanna go home
But I can’t stay here

Atwood Magazine is proud to be premiering “Go Home,” Luke Francis’ second song release of the year and the latest single off his upcoming debut album, Saguaro (independently out May 24). Actively releasing music as a solo artist since 2021 (his aptly-titled debut EP Handful of Songs came out in March 2022), Francis is a former member of Washington State-based Americana band FRETLAND, whom Atwood Magazine previously praised as “a hybrid in-between the rock and folk spheres, with a definitive predilection for heavy beats, massive outpourings of tension, and subtler nuance.”

Led by frontwoman Hillary Grace Fretland, the group enjoyed success in the folk/Americana music scene, and released two studio albums together (2020’s self-titled Fretland and 2021’s Could Have Loved You); when the pandemic ground their otherwise busy touring schedule to a halt, Francis took the newfound alone time as an opportunity to begin what he calls his “soul-searching solo project.”

Luke Francis © Jake Hanson
Luke Francis © Jake Hanson

Ironically enough, while he continues to call Seattle his home, Francis credits the places and spaces outside the Pacific Northwest as a major inspiration for his debut album.

“I chose ‘Saguaro’ as the title of the record because the saguaro is such a distinct emblem of a place, the southwestern US, where several of these songs were born and drew energy from,” he explains. “Each of the places which I was writing about on this record – Tucson, Indiana, Los Angeles – have these emotional associations for me. The hot, tan-colored light and dark green artificial lawns of Palm Springs, for example, have become connected to the feelings of struggle and sadness I was having there around the partnership I was in at the time, the realization that it might not be sustainable anymore. Naming these places in the songs gave me access to those feelings again, and a way to move through some of them.”

Francis paints a particularly vivid and vulnerable portrait in “Go Home” as, against the lush backdrop of Palm Springs – and with his acoustic guitar and a warm, emotive pedal string as his companions – he languishes in his own cold, poignant, and painful depths:

I could lay down in the fake grass
I could go back to the bar
I could try finding a place
where I don’t care anymore
That I try fixing things
and then I watch them break
That I tried being tender
That I knew the stakes
Well I don’t wanna go home
If I’m not in the clear
I don’t wanna go home
But I can’t stay here

“‘Go Home’ is a straight shooter,” the artist tells Atwood Magazine. “It’s about a day I spent walking around in Palm Springs with my headphones in feeling really out of place where I was, but also afraid to go back home and face some things in my relationship at the time.”

“The next day I did indeed return home to Seattle and started writing this song on the plane ride there. When it came time to record, getting to collaborate with Harrison Whitford on it was one of the most special parts of making this record.”

Luke Francis © Carter Vliem
Luke Francis © Carter Vliem

What does it really mean, when we say we don’t want to go home?

It means our safe space has been broken, either by us or by another, and our sanctuary is no longer the refuge it once was. Palm Springs is a temporary shelter from what seems like an inevitable eventual storm our narrator must face; he knows it, and he conveys that angst, that longing, that dread, and that somber acceptance of a truth he can’t avoid as much as he can’t deny.

We often play out similar scenarios in our own lives as well, though we don’t all end up somewhere on Palm Canyon Drive as a result. Luke Francis has, through this latest single, captured a relatable, albeit painful part of love and relationships. Life isn’t always pretty, and it’s always easier to avoid a situation than to confront it head-on, but with a little bit of perspective and introspection, we can go back home and face whatever and whomever we need to face, ready for any and all outcomes, knowing that we tried our best and did what needed to be done.

Saguaro - Luke Francis
Saguaro – Luke Francis

And if that preparation entails a quick visit to the world-famous Forever Marilyn statue outside the Palm Springs Art Museum, so be it. With folk songs as sweet and soul-stirring as “Go Home,” Luke Francis could take us just about anywhere.

Stream “Go Home” exclusively on Atwood Magazine, and get lost in the tender warmth and aching depths of this beautiful, brutally honest enchantment.

Luke Francis’ debut album Saguaro is out everywhere May 24, 2024!

Stumbling off the main drag, her name in the stone
Her face all full of sunshine I find Marilyn Monroe
With people crowding around her / I join in with the rest
And like everybody else I take a look up her dress
Trying for a moment’s thrill I guess, a souvenir
Well I don’t wanna go home
But I can’t stay here

— —

:: connect with Luke Francis here ::
Stream: “Go Home” – Luke Francis

— — — —

Go Home - Luke Francis

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? © Jake Gombis

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