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TROY FAID - Live By Numbers

TROY FAID - Live By Numbers
Gin House Records

The title Live By a play on the idea of the children’s colouring books, ‘Paint by numbers’ in which the picture is already drawn....and almost all need for creative, individual thought is eradicated...” This is from the promotional material that came with the album and it just sums it up. I looked up Troy Faid on YouTube and was immediately taken in by the urgency in his singing and playing.

He’s no choir boy - his voice has bits in and it's precisely those bits that make it interesting. He doesn’t shout, he doesn’t preach, he doesn't whine. This really is good music and Troy just sings the way he is. His diction hints at Lennon and a bit of Madness (in more ways than one...)

I’m a vocalist and a lyrics freak so that's what I listen to first. Socially engaged lyrics can be too cryptic or too personal or too angry. But, while there is the aforementioned urgency in the music and his voice, Troy’s songs don't sound angry or bitter, just very real, as if he knows what he’s talking about. And from what I can fathom, he does. He’s had the experiences, he’s read up on people and life and he means what he sings.

The music is brilliant. John Renbourn and Bert Jansch come to mind - great swing, multicultural influences and the arrangements are simple but very effective. You can hear both the music and the lyrics, because there's a great balance in the mixing and mastering.

There's a lovely mix of instruments too which makes for a very special and unconventional sound. Troy plays a banjo, its cousin the African kora and the guitar. Adam Richard on the double bass is a great musical backbone and Patrick Bannon, a modest and highly skilled drummer. With Kieran O’Malley’s lovely simple lines on the fiddle, this is a combination that will keep you interested because of the many possibilities they explore.

It’s not just folk, or just singer songwriter music, it’s not just anything. It’s beautifully different and that’s rare these days. While this album clearly has strong liaisons to folk, it could easily elbow its way into the current pop charts.

I’m not going to rave too much about his instrumental skills which are brilliant, or dissect every song and tell you what it’s about. Find out and let Troy tell you for himself. There’s something on this album to reflect anyone’s life and the thoughts we all have about society and its diseases. Troy just doesn’t keep it in his head. He’s found the best way I’ve heard in years to be out loud about it.


Annemarie de Bie

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This album was reviewed in Issue 102 of The Living Tradition magazine.