Charlie Faye’s last album, 2013’s You Were Fine, You Weren’t Even Lonely, reached No. 16 on the Americana Music Association’s airplay chart and earned her a “Songwriter of the Week” designation from American Songwriter magazine’s website. This time around, Faye switches gears from solo singer-songwriter to front woman of all girl group, Charlie Faye and the Fayettes. Channeling the 1960’s (think Ronettes, Shirelles, Supremes) the threesome are a welcome throwback to Motown’s soul-pop era which they capture perfectly on their debut.
The collection contains eleven breezy gems largely about love and relationships (all written or co-written by Faye) that merge honest, pay-attention lyrics with irresistible melodies delivered by Faye’s warm, sweet - never over the top sugary – vocals and the Fayettes (Betty Soo and Akina Adderley) pitch perfect harmonies.
On opener “Green Light” Faye encourages a suitor not to hold back, a sentiment delightfully echoed by the Fayettes as they harmonize “make your move.” That’s followed by “Loving Names” which finds her appalled by the overuse of sweet nothings, particularly now that an ex is saying them to someone else, the melancholy ballad “Carelessly” which has her wondering if he knows how much he is hurting her and if so, requesting to “cut me loose,” the simply divine “Heart” and “Sweet Little Messages” a tune that will have you swinging and swaying.
Faye steps outside of relationships on the funky, horn-laden, “Eastside” which comments about an area of town losing its identity to “progress” as she sings, “Nothing against all the current events on the Eastside/I know all things change and no one’s immune to the times” before returning to them on the irresistible “Coming Round the Bend” where she sings, “Years of life go by like the pages in an ordinary book.”
The album is rounded out with a serious R&B lean on “One More Chance” where she realizes she let a good thing go and if given another chance “Won’t mistake it for something I wouldn’t give anything up for,” and (personal favorite) the driving “See You Again” where she’s a woman with a mission: “Don’t matter where or when/I’ve made up my mind I just gotta see you again” before closing out with the wonderfully hopeful “It’s All Happening” that chronicles failed relationships before finally finding and accepting true love. “….but now the words of love ring true just like this song I’m singing to you.”
Don your shift dress, pour a whiskey sour and spin this gem of a record that lands Charlie Faye & the Fayettes firmly in the foreground of this retro-revival.