Published Feb 13, 2019A history and a half fuels Kalyn Fay. As a Cherokee artist raised and living in Oklahoma's Bible Belt, faith, space and identity are ever-present themes in her work, which also pull romance and loneliness into the mix. Good Company takes all the conflict of her 2016 debut, Bible Belt, and plunges deeper into her home state.
Folk staples thrive here. Twangy guitar settles behind vocal-forward tracks, while Fay's brandy-warm voice delivers heartbreak in variation. "You know I'm a strong believer that everything must change," she croons on the guitar-punctuated "Faint Memory," "But since you left it's a crying shame." There is a touch of Kathleen Edwards in the rasp, a sense of Gillian Welch in the linger. The sentiments may be familiar, but if we know anything, it's that heartbreak is eternally mineable.
Folk as a genre historically brings the poetry of the human condition to the forefront, and in this Fay is successful. She celebrates space on "Oklahoma Hills" and works through loneliness on "Wait for Me." She captures the feeling of speeding along an empty night-time highway on "Highway Driving," which is perfectly assisted with vocal harmonies, a wail of a guitar, and organ and fiddle assistance that propel it as one of the record's strongest tracks. Here, and on album closer "Dressed in White," exist a grander sense of experimentation that showcases her growth as a musician.
Good Company is a cohesive record that celebrates folk and country conventions and brings a vitality to the treatment of space, but is at its strongest when risking instrumental variation and complex harmonies. (Horton)