If Peter Cooper, he of Eric Brace & Peter Cooper, is involved in something, then it well behooves us to pay close attention 'cause that cat and his pard have issued no end of great tunes and CDs. Anything his rather considerable aesthetics rest upon will likely be a gem. In Fayssoux's I Can't Wait, co-produced by him and Thomm Jutz, that presupposition is repaid, vindicated in spades. The choice of Fayssoux McLean, though, was, I suspect, not all that difficult to arrive at, as she was the favored background vocalist for Emmylou Harris, herself also a singer striking of aspect (sigh!) and sonority. Listening to this CD, one understands very quickly why Emmylou put Fayssoux in the line-up: her voice is gentle as rain and, just like that wondrous element, seeps right into the listener with subtle beauties and wistful memories.
On I Can't Wait, Fayssoux's true wont is far more folk than country and of rare vintage, patient, knowing, and kind while quite aware of the state of things and their not always ideal presence. For various reasons, I'm minded of Gordon Lightfoot and Harry Chapin as well as Emmylou and a restrained Linda Ronstadt as McLean tackles a great collection of songs by Merle Haggard, Tom T. Hall, Mose Allison, and others, not to mention five written and co-written by her. The accompaniment is spare, precise, and lovingly crafted, wrought by a collection of fine musicians brought in specifically for those qualities.
Haggard's Mama's Hungry Eyes gets the true country treatment, though, while Hell on a Poor Boy is lightly jazzed, Bill Withersy with a lightly mello-rock temperament, as warm and breezy as an Eagles summertime cut despite the song's title. Fayssoux's own Find Your Own Light brings out the Lightfoot in her more markedly. Ragged Old Heart, her second solo comp, however, waxes old-timey, almost Leon Redbonesque, bouncy, bright, and just the slightest bit sassy, most probably due to Justin Moses' fiddle.
And, dammit, will someone puh-leeze tell Cooper to share his side-writerly wit with the rest of the world, not just us crits? He's the Garrison Keillor of folk music, and the words he pens for the Red Beet label's promo lit just crack me up, this release no exception, bringing much fresh air to the sometimes convoluted task of poring over technicalities and credits. Pete!, it's a cold world out there lately, bubba, and people are in need of a good laff…as many as they can get actually.
Edited by: David N. Pyles
Copyright 2014, Peterborough Folk Music Society.
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