Bill Fay

Ask Bill Fay about his relationship with his instrument and he says something revealing, not "Ever since I learnt to play the piano", but "Ever since the piano taught me..." What the piano taught him was how to connect to one of the great joys of his life. "Music gives," he says. And he is a grateful receiver. But, it makes him wonder, "Who is the sender?" Fay - who after more than five decades writing songs is finally being appreciated as one of our finest living practitioners of the art - asserts that, for him, songs aren't actually written but found. Shown a simple piano piece by his sister-in-law when he was around 15, Fay began exploring how it worked and opened up a whole new world, the realm of chords. Once he'd discovered their emotional power, and how finding the right blend of chords and harmony made him want to sing melodies and conjure words, he became immersed in that world, and has been ever since. He recorded two phenomenal - and completely different sounding - albums, Bill Fay and Time Of The Last Persecution for Decca offshoot Nova in 1970 and 1971, which were largely overlooked at the time, but whose undoubted power sent out enough ripples to find important admirers many years later. Among them was label owner Colin Miles who reissued them on CD in 1998 and thereby alerted a new generation to Bill's work. After 27 years of neglect, people like Nick Cave, Jim O' Rourke and Jeff Tweedy were praising those records in glowing terms. Tweedy even began covering Fay's Be Not So Fearful at Wilco shows. Another original fan of those early albums was James Henry, a Californian Vietnam veteran who somehow came across them and found something in the spiritual ruminations of a young man from North London that resonated with him. He passed his enthusiasm on to his son Joshua who grew up to be a producer and who, in 2010, contacted the elusive, almost reclusive Fay and asked if they might make some new recordings. Touched by the unexpected connection his music had made with this young man in Nevada City, Fay agreed. Henry recruited world-renowned engineer Guy Massey and a crack squad of musicians, including current, in-demand players Tim Weller, Matt Deighton and Mikey Rowe, and Bill's cohorts from the Decca days, Alan Rushton and Ray Russell. This pan-generational team proved a perfect conduit for Bill's work and the results, released as Life Is People in 2012 were breathtaking and lauded around the globe. Now that team, with some new additions, has convened for a second album. Cut in just 13 days in Konk Studios, North London, Who Is The Sender? sees Bill expanding upon themes he has touched on from the beginning, spiritual and philosophical questions, observations about the natural world and the people in the city he has lived in all his life. You can hear them in Garden Song, the first song on his debut album in 1970 and in Underneath The Sun and How Little on this album, with its refrain "It's all so deep." The joy and sadness are indeed deep in this material, which Bill describes as "alternative gospel". Though it clearly stems from his belief, he doesn't seek to proselytise or convert anybody, but just hopes to share the concerns he puts into the words and the feelings that he receives from the music: "Goodness, beauty, comfort. If something gives in the world, that's a good thing, isn't it? Maybe that's what music wants to do."

ALBUM ANNOUNCE // Bill Fay ‘Who Is the Sender?’ Out 4/28, Watch “War Machine” Lyric Video



Ladies and Gentleman, Bill Fay is back. His new album Who Is the Sender? is the much anticipated but hardly-dared-hoped-for followup to 2012′s revered Life is People, which was Bill’s first solo studio album in 41 years. His new record Who is the Sender? is out April 27th (Europe) / 28th (North America).

Listen to the second album track “War Machine” now by watching the lyric video above (directed by Phil Poole) or here on YouTube / Dailymotion including scenes from the new album’s recording sessions in Ray DaviesKonk Studios in North London. The song is also streaming on our Soundcloud here.

About the album title –
Ask Bill Fay about his relationship with his instrument and he says something revealing, not “Ever since I learnt to play the piano”, but “Ever since the piano taught me…” What the piano taught him was how to connect to one of the great joys of his life. “Music gives,” he says. And he is a grateful receiver. But, it makes him wonder, “Who is the sender?”

You can pre-order the new album via SC Distribution / Dead Oceans, iTunes, Amazon, and your local record store.

Click read more to see album artwork and track list.
Read the rest of this entry »

Bill Fay Gives His Last Interview of 2012, Self-Titled Album Now Available at Midheaven Mailorder


We had the immense pleasure of releasing Bill Fay’s first studio album in over 40 years back in August. Today, we share his final interview of 2012. Bill sheds light on his plans for the future, influences on Life is People and life in general. “I personally need to believe that this world just can’t go on and on and on in the way that it goes.” Read the interview at Aquarium Drunkard!

Midheaven Mailorder just announced the availablity of Bill Fay’s self-titled debut, originally released in 1970, on their site. 4 Men With Beards is reissuing the album on 180 gram LP. You’ll find it HERE.

Year-End Love for Bill Fay

“Intimate piano balladry from an English folk-rock elder who spent his 40 years away from the recording studio gathering the wisdom that makes his music so generous and graceful.”NPR’s 100 Favorite Songs of 2012

#6 Best Album of 2012 at Uncut

#3 Best Album of 2012 at MOJO

“Arriving 41 years after Fay’s last original studio album, Life Is People represents the return of a prodigal son you never knew existed.” – Top 25 Albums of 2012 at BBC

Bill Fay Performs “Never Ending Happening” Live

Many have asked for a live performance and alas we are excited to share this gem of a video. Bill Fay visited the BBC’s Later with Jools Holland last week and delivered a beautiful rendition of “Never Ending Happening.” It’s a single from his album Life Is People, recently listed at No. 3 on Mojo Magazine’s Best Albums of 2012. Enjoy above!

Bill’s Life Is People is now available at Amazon, SC Distribution and iTunes.

Bill Fay performs on BBC’s Later With Jools Holland — TONIGHT!

We’re delighted to announce that Bill Fay is performing on tonight’s episode of Later With Jools Holland!

Pre-recorded earlier this week at the BBC’s Broadcasting House, this is the only TV performance Bill has ever done and a very rare piece of footage of him playing live. The show airs at 11.50pm GMT on BBC 2 and BBC 2 HD and will be available on the BBC Later YouTube channel for a month from tomorrow.

And in other great news – Bill Fay’s new album ‘Life is People’ has been voted #6 in Uncut magazine’s best records of 2012!

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