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Local Singer-Songwriter Ronnie Fauss Signs With New West

There have been some notable record deals inked among North Texas artists in recent years -- Jonathan Tyler & the Northern Lights on Atlantic and Midlake on Bella Union pop to mind -- and as of February 10, Dallas-based singer-songwriter Ronnie Fauss joined the ranks of regional artists with serious national backing. After flying to Los Angeles, Fauss signed a three-record deal with New West (home to Old 97's, Steve Earle, Robert Ellis, John Hiatt and Tom Morello), completing a courtship that started more than a year ago.

National tour dates will be a part of the push once the record is released, most likely in the fall, but Fauss used the last week or so to handle basic tracking at Audio Styles in Colleyville. Tomorrow, Fauss leaves for Nashville to handle the rest of the recording with the help of some top-notch fiddle, banjo, organ and pedal steel players under the watchful production eye of Sigurdur Birkis, who also happens to handle drumming duties for country rocker Will Hoge.

It was during a December show at the Prophet Bar when Fauss opened for Hoge and the two agreed to work together should the opportunity arise. "I met Sigurdur before the show and we hit it off," says Fauss. "We've stayed in touch and become friends, and decided to make this record."

Over the six days of recording this week, Fauss says new versions of some of his older songs will be rearranged for inclusion, though new material will make up the bulk of the album, tentatively titled Back Country Ballads, which will be released on an imprint of New West. And even though the past couple of years have seen Fauss self-release four EPs, for his full-length debut, he's not worried.

"As excited as I am, I don't want to hurry things," says Fauss over the phone. "We're going to take our time with it, for sure."

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