Bill Fay, Life Is People

Jayson Greene

By Jayson Greene

on 12.03.12 in Reviews

Life is People is the first new record from Bill Fay since 1972, a British singer-songwriter whose beatific and keenly observed music might remind you of Randy Newman or Wilco. It’s a worthy addition to a small but hallowed canon of material. Wilco have covered him over the years, and he returns the favor with a solemn, still rendition of “Jesus, Etc.” Fay’s voice is ragged, pleading, and gentle, and his music sits in a glowing pool of “Hallelujah” chord changes and restrained, soul-inflected touches. It has a numinous simplicity that feels healing; when he enlists a gospel choir to swell up on the chorus of “Be At Peace With Yourself,” you find that suddenly you are.