There was confusion about the details of the alleged incident, and witnesses, including ones Faircloth herself named, said she was never anywhere near Oberst on the night she claimed the event had taken place.
(From the outset, Oberst vehemently denied the accusations.) Over time, other parties came forward claiming Faircloth had an extensive history of misrepresenting herself online.
“I associated being vulnerable with people being able to say a bunch of crazy shit about you.” Faircloth (whose real name is Joan Elizabeth Harris), a then-26-year-old North Carolinian, initially came off as sympathetic.
But as her accusations gained attention, her credibility came into question.
Oberst is 36 and shows some signs of rock-and-roll wear and tear.
His dark hair has hints of gray; his fingers are nicotine-stained.
“I could hear how emotionally distraught Conor was.” After Nonesuch Records releases Ruminations, Saddle Creek, the label that Mogis co-founded, will put out early Bright Eyes recordings in a comprehensive boxed set of that band’s work, The Studio Albums: 2000–2011.
Which means that this fall, as Oberst fans reimmerse themselves in the plaintive and emotionally harrowing songs that first made him famous, they will also be getting to know a new collection of similarly raw tunes written during one of the most difficult periods of the singer’s life.
In his denim vest, black jeans, and boots, mirrored Wayfarers hanging from the neck of his T-shirt, Oberst looks like an older but not particularly grown-up version of the sensitive boy wonder he was when he first emerged from the heartland a decade and a half ago, a persona subsequently name-checked in Jonathan Franzen’s Freedom as shorthand for privileged 21st-century idealism.
The whole vibe of this house, which matches Oberst’s current vibe in general, is that of a kid whose parents have been away for the summer and left him the credit card and the key to the liquor cabinet.
“It’s truly just me playing by myself,” he says of the ten austere tracks, written and recorded on a whim while snowbound last winter.
“When I first heard the demos, I was a little worried,” Mogis says.
“My grandpa was a pediatrician, and for years his name was in the phone book,” Oberst says, reaching down from the couch to pet one of his dogs.