Seven the Hard Way
Charlie Faye & the Fayettes
Picks 2 Click: Local septet of acts braces for SXSW
Charlie Faye & the FayettesSXSW showcase: Sat., March 19, 8pm, Saxon Pub
Is the world ready for more Sixties girl groups? That's what Charlie Faye wonders with her upcoming album, her fourth since moving to Austin a decade ago. Backed by BettySoo and Akina Adderley, two talented locals with careers of their own who harmonize with Faye as the Fayettes, she's retooled a classic sound with an ear for today. No flashbacks, just pop with a hint of soul and a twinkle in her deep brown eyes.
"I always wanted to make a record like this," she explains. "On the last record, [2013's] You Were Fine, You Weren't Even Lonely, there were two songs that were kind of in that vein, 'What's So Special' and 'Stone in the Road.' They were more soul songs, and after that my writing kept going more and more in that direction. I then made a conscious effort to write like that."
Music business vet Ron Dante (the Archies and other pop projects) heard You Were Fine and passed a copy to famed producer/manager Peter Asher (James Taylor, Linda Ronstadt). Asher liked what he heard and contacted Faye by surprise.
"He wrote an email that just floored me," she remembers. "I thought, 'Peter Asher wants to hear what I'm going to do next? Well, it better be good.'"
Dave Way (Fiona Apple, Sheryl Crow, Christina Aguilera) produced the disc in Los Angeles with studio vets, including bassist Eric Holden (Bodeans), drummer Pete Thomas (Elvis Costello), and keyboardists Roger Manning (Jellyfish). Soo and Adderley then added perfect accompaniment. The results sparkle, and the fact that all three women top out at 5-foot-1 makes for an adorable visual package.
"As it progressed, I could picture what it would look like," says Faye. "I wanted it to be more of a group and less me with backup singers. I'm flabbergasted that either of them are so excited to sing with me. It's really just a huge compliment because they're both such incredible singers and artists. "