Rock and Reprise.net
Every once in while an album comes along that you like not just because of the production or the voice or the songwriting, which is why I went out of my way to get a copy of Heather Fay's Scrape Knee'd Girl. After sampling a few tracks on her , I heard something I could not quite put my finger on, something beneath the music itself. A handful of listens and I knew what it was. Heather Fay is the Scrape Knee'd Girl. No, it's not a teaser for the album. It just is. She sings and writes like a young girl with scraped knees, vulnerable yet trusting. It's that simple.
You basically get two Heather Fay's here. One encompasses full band and full sound, a little more sophisticated, if you will. I attribute those mainly to Eric Lichter, who produced the album and plays all instruments (and they are many) with the exception of Heather's guitar. The arrangements are first rate, most notably on the softer ska of Breaking My Heart and the slow rocking 5:15. Layering a slew of instruments, including multiple keyboard and guitar tracks, is never as easy as it sounds and Lichter handles the chores well, keeping the background background and not letting it get in the way of the voice. The other is Heather Fay herself, basic and alone, which is where she shines. Don't Cry and especially California Days stand out, remnants of the late sixties folk sound worked into the fabric. Unplugged and solitary works for her and allows the scraped knees to show.
While her voice is, shall we say, a bit untrained, she more than makes up for it in her phrasing. These songs from the heart are sung from the heart and it sounds it. Call her a work in progress, as are most of the musicians working these days. She might have a ways to go, but it will be interesting watching her get there. Scraped knees or not, this is a good start.
Frank O. Gutch Jr.