Published on December 4th, 2012 | by Andy Whorehall4
Bill Fay – Life Is People
Life Is People is the third full-length release from Bill Fay, and the first official collection of new material that the seventy year old composer has put out since 1971′s Time Of The Last Persecution.
The resurgence of Fay’s two early seventies records in the last decade-plus by a younger generation of musicians and key publications (MOJO) prompted producer Joshua Henry—a young fan of Fay’s seventies output through his father’s record collection (according to liner notes by Fay himself)—to successfully invite the artist to record a new set of songs.
Fay’s compositions are primarily piano and vocal based vignettes turned over to Henry from years of home recordings. Veteran players. along with Henry’s production and key engineer-mixer, Guy Massey, hold up Fay’s wise, warm and observational delivery. Equal amounts of life’s lyrical tribulations and triumphs weave throughout the album’s dozen songs; ideas of God, war, religion, earth, the universe and mankind are common themes held together by Fay’s overwhelming sense of mortality.
Remnants of war, the aftermath, and life’s rebirths in There Is A Valley; the ‘little girl with giggling eyes’ in Big Painter; dichotomy in motion with waves crashing and famine lurking—along with all that is good about nature—contributing to our own end (someday, sometime) in The Never Ending Happening; the jovial pop-bounce between two workingmen and mutual admirers, Fay and Jeff Tweedy, in This World; an epic, gospel-fueled-goose-bump, center piece with, Be At Peace With Yourself—and so goes most of the record.
Joshua Henry’s careful production and attention to the songwriter’s compositions are as much a tribute to the artist as they are to time that’s passed. This record could have been recorded in 1972 or 2012; what’s important is that it was recorded at all. Life is Peoples ultimate message is that Fay feels lucky to be alive after all these years—despite what he’s seen on the TVs and around him—and we should too.
Any questions needing answers to the artist’s whereabouts in the last 40 years—most spent like you and me, working all sorts of jobs to get by—are all contained within the 12 songs that make up Bill Fay’s first complete record of new material in four decades. Life Is People is the result of many people—peers, musicians and fans—finding the artist again; however, judging from a listen this focused and aware of life’s fleeting beauty, Fay hasn’t been lost at all.
AW | Andy Whorehall
Andy Whorehall (SM)
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