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Kalyn Fay

Good Company – 2019 (Horton)

Reviewed by Jim Hynes

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CDs by Kalyn Fay

It's Kalyn Fay's weary, gentle, and oft-ethereal voice that's so totally captivating on her second release, "Good Company."

She's a Cherokee singer-songwriter exploring her unique relationship to her home state. She writes about its values, the people, the land and the dichotomy of its presence and the distance she needs to keep from it, given her ancestry. Although there are no outright mentions of her indigenous background, her music and lyrics are different from a classic country type like Carter Sampson. Maybe it's the contrast of her soft vocals and genuine femininity against some hard-hitting guitar solos. In any case, she puts her own unique, and ultimately lovely stamp on her music.

"Good Company" was recorded live and mixed in Little Rock, Ark. with multi-instrumentalist Jesse Aycock (Hard Working Americans) producing. Fay speaks of the album as a reverent portrait of the prairie and the people in it - a "love letter to the place I have know best." Yet, perhaps impacted by her recent relocation, many of the songs are about the romance of travel and transient existence as a means of self-discovery.

We hear this in the lyrics of the title track - "We're all just looking for something/something to love, something to leave" as four background singers serve as rather quiet choir. Other highlights include the aching "Wait For Me" as she sings longingly "Will you miss me when I'm gone?" Her yearning is reinforced by the weeping pedal steel and ambient sounds throughout, but especially so in "Long Time Coming." There's the clear love for her native state in "Oklahoma Hills" (her original, not the one you may be thinking about), and her lone cover, Malcolm Holcombe's "Dressed In White," treated as a singalong.

If you missed Fay's debut, don't miss this one. It's whispering beauty is heartfelt.