Saturday, 9 February 2019

ALBUM REVIEW: Kalyn Fay - Good Company: Horton Records (Out on February 15th)

Occasionally there are records that come along with your name stamped all over it. Reasons can vary from striking individuality to striking resemblance, but something clicks. First impression need not be the sole arbiter when concluding that an album means something to you. However, it can play a major part, especially in a world when you are forever in listening distance of competing new sounds. The desire to hit the keyboard when first taking in the new album from Kalyn Fay only bubbled away as it compelled a few more plays before hitting loop status. The fact that GOOD COMPANY moved into a familiar zone proved only a positive, as it quickly became one of the standout releases in the first six weeks of the New Year.

There is something in the water (or dust) in Oklahoma that breeds singer-songwriters with an edge to how they transit their words to a musical piece. Right across the eleven tracks and forty-seven minute playing time, the moment seizes and hooking into the dusty earthy vibes ripens the album for serious enjoyment. From somebody who bought into the magnetic sounds of Carter Sampson, the spill over into Kalyn Fay can only be down to the Okie psyche.

A little digging into the background made the picture a little clearer with Jesse Aycock, who toured last year with Carter Sampson, producing the record to join some of the dots. It also transpires that Kalyn deeply embeds into the vibrant music scene of her home state and thus clarity emerges. Adding to the spice is further input from the highly talented John Fulbright (what happened to his solo stuff?) and another Okie in Lauren Barth who made up the touring trio with Carter and Jesse last year. Yes, Carter does appear as well.

Picking out special tracks from this the second album from Kalyn, and another release on Horton Records, is full of options, though the underlying feeling is just to let it play through. Obviously, the title track ‘Good Company’ is one song to champion, understandably in light of the first impression made. Yet this is probably eclipsed three tracks in with the sublimely adorable ‘Highway Driving’ – so Carter Sampson in comparison. You can instantly make your mind up on the delightful ‘Come Around’ by clicking on the attached video, although this is one buy where you won’t be asking for your money back.

The quality link through tracks like ‘Oklahoma Hills’, ‘Faint Memory’ and ‘Dressed in White’ runs seamlessly and without a dip. Interestingly, the latter is the only track Kalyn Fay did not write on the album, instead this one comes from the pen of Malcolm Holcombe, a firm favourite for folks in the UK.

Consistency also exists in the studio arrangement of sounds utilising a mélange of guitar, keys, accordion and percussion, plus assorted strings. Together they blend well with the main vocals and the plethora of harmonies that lend a hand to many of the songs.

One suspects that GOOD COMPANY is going to stay around for a long time, thus allowing for the discovery of further nuances. Ultimately, this album takes you wherever you want to go and it is to the credit of Kalyn Fay that she had made such a strong recording set to connect with so many new fans. Keep exporting the good stuff Oklahoma.