Following up on last year’s EP, Nick Peay has released his new four-track album, Feathers & Fables. The album is a snapshot in time, which features Peay at his songwriting best with Blues-spiked, Alt Country musicality and lyrical matter that waxes and wanes between melancholy and upbeat optimism. Throw in Folk and Americana leanings and the album serves as an archetypical EP of the Singer/Songwriter genre.
How To Play “Life & Love & Us” by Nick Peay:[youtube 6UU2k9SruPs]
The Alt Country rocker “(Two Miserable) Mockingbirds” opens the album (and the “Bird” theme that runs through it) with Blues-tinged electric and backing harp. Peay’s vocal delivery meshes nicely with the bent notes of guitar and harmonica with ever so slight percussion work in the background. Fuzz-laden guitar opens the demure “Mockingbird” after surrendering to the acoustic melody, bolstered by more slight percussion in the form of congas. The slide work in the verse interims is technical and tight and serves as appropriate segues within the body of the song. This one (as with the former) is dominated by emotive, anecdotal lyrical matter that shows Peay’s songwriting prowess. “Home” fits the darker, down tempo side of the album with the ubiquitous acoustic melody leading the way down a dark hallway of more emotive lyrical matter. This is a track of self-contemplation… thinking man’s lyrics, if you will. The eerie harmonica work at the midpoint, though terse, is no less haunting and certainly fits the feel of the track. Finally, “Fly Away” brings the album full circle, lightening the mood of the former track and stays in keeping with the lyrical theme. Again, Peay relies on his weapon of choice, acoustic to lay down a strong, flowing melody with his vocal delivery resting neatly on top. Intermittent electric fills tie verse to chorus as the song plays out to its conclusion.
Peay may not have had luck with his last outing as OK Zombie, but sometimes the demise of one thing can prove fortuitous in another aspect and such is the case on Feathers & Fables. This is an example of an artist allowing himself to be guided by emotion and allowing the music to take the course it is supposed to. Nothing feels contrived or forced; more raw and organic and I will go out on a limb and say, these songs are as they should be. The emotive songwriting and the simple, yet poignant musicality paired with tight production work make this one damn good listen. Nick, stay solo… you’re clearly shining at it.
by Christopher West – firstname.lastname@example.org