The decades-long highly regrettable Playboy / Rolling Stone critwhore Dave 'Anyone Else Wanna Buy Me?' Marsh woke up for a minute or two recently and recognized Amy Fairchild's virtues in a very clever blurb: "If there still was a recording industry, this would come out and would be such a big hit you'd be sick of her by now". Heh! Good one, Daveyboy, and waddaya know? Even dessicated mutts can still growl out a line or two every 10 or 20 years despite long-term Stopped Clock Syndrome. Now if only Marsh's buttbuddy Robot Christgau could manage same. And I think we've all given up hope on David 'Fanny Was The Best Rock Band Ever!!!' Frickme, haven't we? Yeah, like 40 years ago. God, the state of modern criticism, especially in the hands of Geritol rehab dinosaurs!
Where was I? Oh yeah: Amy Fairchild. There's indeed a copious bundle of talent here along the lines of Janis Ian, Paul Simon, Sheryl Crow, Carole King, Carly Simon, Helen Reddy, and so on, even some James Lee Stanley. The key lies in her lyrics: intelligent, lamentive without burbling, self-possessed, and often clever. She can pack a lot of punch in just one terse line ("I'd rather be kissing in the kitchen right now"—geez, why do those 9 simple words make me so weak in the knees?) within a catchy-hooky pop tune a la Keane, a touch of Dramarama, cribbed Neil Young (Peter Pan—it's a good cop, too), and various others. Sorry, I haven't listened to rock radio for 30 years, hence am unknowledgeable of who the latest clones of Madonna, Springsteen, and Petty are, else I'd list those too.
Am I too tongue in cheek? Perhaps. Pop music has a way of bringing that out, but this is indeed a good disc, mindful of Edie Brickell, Katrina & the Wave, and similar acts. I have quite a few like it in my permanent collection, so don't think my smart-assery is overly cynical. I don't eschew the genre, I just find I have to wrestle with it now and again. When it succeeds, though—October Project, Nuclear Valdez, Barnaby Bye, etc.—yow!, VERY nice indeed, and there are quite a few chart picks on this disc. I've no clue whence Ms. Fairchild hails, the promo lit wasn't terribly explicit, but this is her fourth outing, and the indications are that she spent a goodly while in the folk realm, which I'm quite sure is what imbues her work with a certain gravity.
Edited by: David N. Pyles
Copyright 2014, Peterborough Folk Music Society.
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