Kalyn Fay – ‘Good Company’
By MIKE RITCHIE
Kalyn Fay’s second release is an out and out gem – I praised her debut album two years ago in this manner and have no hesitation in doing so again.
Good Company is a beguiling, thoughtful, honest collection of warming, flawlessly-performed songs with Kalyn’s captivating, smokey vocals wonderfully supported by a band playing in an endearing and effective manner, who can kick in hard when they need to or, equally, maintain a dipping and weaving sound cushion that enhances it all, gloriously.
Now exiled in Arkansas (the album was recorded in Little Rock) studying fine arts, the Cherokee gal from Oklahoma is looking wistfully towards her home state with fond memories and she openly describes the 11-track album as “a love letter to the place” she has known best.
Her roots are deep and affectionate so the songs focus on the travails of leaving while yearning to be in familiar surroundings, problems of identity, failed romances, growing up, longing for the land and the prairie.
These are languid, tender and genuine offerings that register immediately, such is the passion of the vocals with their Cat Power-like bar-room tones.
The gorgeous title tracks gets things stylishly under way, setting the tone for what is to follow. “We are all just looking for something / something to love / something to leave” is Kalyn’s message here.
Highway Driving, shifts up a gear. It’s all chunky, muscly guitar and insistent bass with the dusty vocals eased out over four minutes and 40 seconds. And I bet I’m not going to be the only one to draw comparisons to Mary Gauthier in the singing on Baby, Don’t You Worry, where wisps of accordion drift tastefully into earshot.
As we move through the album, the pace can be defined as decidedly calm and meaningful with no punching-the-air-dramas to encounter. Fools Heartbreak is underpinned by a subdued organ leaving Kalyn’s voice to hypnotise as it does on every song.
On Alright In The End, the band works background wonders as she mournfully and beautifully sings, heart on sleeve: “The stars that are shining bright over Tulsa / I hope they are shining over you, too.” Dressed In White brings the album to a sleepy, deeply satisfying conclusion with the singer snuggled under the same cosy duvet with her band – led by the album’s producer, Jesse Aycock, it also includes able helpers such as John Fullbright, Carter Sampson, Lauren Barth and Jared Tyler.
Opening up to let Kalyn Fay’s seductive folk, rock, country homage to Oklahoma seep into your soul is impossible to resist and, in truth, why would anyone want to? Good Company is all too enticing and sublime not to savour.