MusicRecord Reviews

Bill Fay: Life is People

If before you read this you knew much about Bill Fay, well that makes one of us. Life is People is, after all, his first release in more than 40 years. And the early stuff is out of print.

It stands to reason that the older a not-really famous artist gets, the less likely he is to see a half-full glass, or a future that isn’t completely Mad Max. And his creative output would probably reflect this new awareness—of our mortality, depravity and our poor planetary stewardship.

Bill Fay isn’t afraid to haunt a listener with dark imagery (“Big Painter,” “The Never Ending Happening”), but he isn’t completely without hope. In an effort to change the trajectory of our hellbent handbasket, he recognizes, we’ll need resiliance and love (“Be At Peace With Yourself”) and megadoses of mercy from the man upstairs (“Thank You Lord,” “Jesus Etc.”).

A cursory review of the contemporary musical landscape finds teen angst and hypersexual bubblegum sticking to our shoes; there wasn’t a less than secular AARP perspective in indie rock until Fay reemerged on the scene old and enlightened. I would be remiss if I failed to mention Jeff Tweedy’s (Wilco) appearance on “This World,” the only track on the album that maintains a more than narcoleptic pace.