Having amassed a cult following over the last five decades, Bill Fay is symbolic of the stark contrast between the current state of music and how difficult it was to gain exposure in an era where the popularity of an artist, or lack thereof, could stifle a career at the drop of a hat. The British songwriter released two albums and a single in the late 60s and early 70s, but was dropped by his label due to a failure to generate the necessary fanfare or acclaim to subsist in radio’s golden era. More than thirty years after, Fay has seen a steady rise in stock, garnering the respect of critics, a certain subset of listeners and such revered artists as Nick Cave and Jeff Tweety. It’s acclaim that’s long overdue, especially as an artist whose music is rife with a passionate and accessible spiritual grandeur.
“Be at Peace With Yourself” is the momentous gospel centerpiece of Life Is People, Fay’s fourth album in 42 years — a song that manages to embody profoundly spiritual nature of his music through intangible optimism and penetrating beauty. It’s engrossing yet delicate, straightforward yet penetrating; But ultimately, it’s a song representative of an artist who, in his late 60s, sounds as introspective and absorbing as ever — as if no one’s ever heard him play, or ever will.
From Life Is People; Out now via Dead Oceans.