Rory Faithfield is a believer. He believes in the power of music for change, in the power of the individual to create both conscious and unconscious worlds with which to combat the negative, in the power of choice. Stuck in Sydney and looking into The Abyss, he decided to trade inertia for action and headed to Ireland and a new life. With it came a new attitude and a new style of music, to which he has taken like a duck to water: folk.
Well, not exactly folk. More folk-pop, if you will, for he has a touch with the melody, you see. Add to that his sensitivity and an ability to write scenes which at times capture the very essence of life and you have Circle Dance, his own personal response to the world, wherein he presents a strange combination of dark and light and does it so well that you don't really realize what is happening until… Until you really listen. Beneath that pleasant voice and behind those deceptively beautiful and occasionally almost danceable songs is an eerily mystifying view of life. Somewhere deep within those songs are some very disturbing thoughts and pictures, but he writes so damned well and always with hope that you at first don't notice.
He dedicated Follow the River to a friend, Carolyn Stevens, who died shortly after being diagnosed with a brain tumor, but it's not at all negative. He sings Song For Joe in an almost camp meeting tone (you would not be at all surprised to hear a crowd break out during the chorus singing "Singin' alive alive oh" because it has that hootenanny aura), but as far as I can tell it is about the ongoing conflict in Ireland. Hope From Hell, I assume, is about his move from Sydney to Ireland, a move which may have saved his life, and it is presented here in a very Iain Matthews-like manner as an upbeat folk-rocker.
Where Faithfield really shines is as a lyricist. Each and every song has been honed to virtual perfection, words written for a reason and not just thrown in to capture the beat. Not once does he make a fatal error of rhyming when it sounds awkward or not rhyming when the rhyme is needed. Not once do you cringe because the words are too mundane or stick out. He writes seamless lyrics, matching phrases and words to the mood. It is not at all easy to do, but he makes it seem easy. He even rhymes "sea" with "fait accompli" and you hardly notice. I did, but that's because it fit perfectly.
I suppose if Faithfield couldn't write melodies, this would fall flat. Or if he couldn't write lyrics. Or play guitar. Or produce. But he does all of those things and does it so well that every time I hear this, I'm impressed. I do wonder about one thing, though. The reviews I checked out made reference to Faithfield sounding Irish, and I do hear it a little here and there, but not to any great degree. There is no brogue and it certainly has little Celtic influence. I'm not complaining, I'm just saying. Actually, I don't even care. I like it just the way it is. I wouldn't change a thing.
Edited by: David N. Pyles
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