22 August 2005

bill fay - "be not so fearful" (from the bill fay lp, available for purchase here)

a brief timeline:
11/1974. nick drake dies, aged 26, of an overdose of antidepressant medication.
1994-1996. debuts albums are released by the likes of elliott smith, belle & sebastian, and the elephant six collective.
11/99. volkswagen begins airing a cabrio commercial, featuring nick drake's "pink moon."
12/01. drake's "fly" is used by filmmaker wes anderson in the royal tenenbaums.
03/02. wilco begins playing bill fay's "be not so fearful" in concert.
2002. devendra banhart releases his debut; sufjan stevens begins his fifty states project w/ greetings from michigan.
03/04. joanna newsom releases her debut.

what i'm trying to demonstrate w/ the above is the moving away, likely commercially motivated (no pun intended), from nick drake, in favor of new icons--someone less prolific, perhaps even more troubled, and w/ wacky religious beliefs to boot! thus, judee sill and bill fay--and, to a lesser extent, gary higgins, who may be w/o faith, but is not w/o his adherents (comets on fire recently covered his "thicker than a smokey.")

i've not taken to higgins or sill (in the same way that i haven't taken to stevens, banhart, and newsom), but i dig--is that the word?--i dig bill fay. some of his stuff is marred by kitschy orchestration (says the richard harris fan), but songs like "be not so fearful" would be v. difficult indeed to mar, even by solo acoustic tweedy (but i kid wilco). indeed, in the case of "be not so fearful," the orchestration only enhances: the rising strings behind the line, "and when you wake up you will find you can run" enables a very simple sentiment to take wing. it's but a mere five seconds, but, based on evidence so far, i wouldn't trade it for the whole of stevens's proposed enterprise.

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