Bill Fay Group Tomorrow Tomorrow and Tomorrow

Although far from being one of the most well-known songwriters of his generation, in recent years Bill Fay’s work has found some important new champions, most notably Wilco’s Jeff Tweedy. Fay released only two barely-recognised albums around the turn of the ’70s, but since their reissue on CD, his enigmatic history has prompted a reassessment of his work. In this context, Tomorrow Tomorrow and Tomorrow is a treasure trove for recent Fay converts, as it collects previously unreleased sessions from 1978-81. Given that time period, it is probable that if these songs had been released then, they would have quickly been forgotten too, but hearing them today is a revelation. Instead of taking a traditional singer/songwriter approach, Fay’s fragile keyboards and vocals are accompanied by an alternately sympathetic and adventurous backing trio. Guitarist Gary Smith is an obvious Robert Fripp devotee, but overall the sound is surprisingly similar to Wilco’s recent work in its shambolic transparency. But then there are Fay’s lyrics. On songs like "Strange Stairway,” "Spiritual Mansions,” and the title track, his Zen-like views on life and existence are nothing short of uplifting, transcending all time and place. Although a clutch of rougher sounding demos sandwiched in between the more polished tracks may have been better placed at the end of the disc, TT&T is still a remarkable piece of musical archaeology, and will undoubtedly swell the ranks of the Bill Fay cult. (Durtro Jnana)