Fayssoux Starling McLean is best known to country fans for her gorgeous harmonies on some of Emmylou Harris’s iconic 70s recordings like ‘Green Rolling Hills Of West Viginina’. She was silent for years, but re-emerged in 2008 with a well-received solo album. The follow-up, on Red Beet Records, is a lovely country-folk confection mixing some well-chosen covers with her own new songs. Her rich, warm voice is tastefully supported by acoustic backings.
The soothing title track is a lovely inspirational song written by Kieran Kane (once of The O’Kanes) with Sean Locke and Claudia Scott. The ballad ‘When The Thought Of You Catches Up With Me’ was previously recorded by its writer David Ball, but Fayssoux brings a new delicacy and sweetness to it which works beautifully.
A lovely understated version of ‘Mama’s Hungry Eyes’ is a real highlight, with Fayssoux convincingly selling the story as though it was her own. Donna Ulisse’s delicate harmony is the perfect ornamentation. ‘Some Things Are Too Good To Last’, written by Jim Lauderdale, is another fine song with sweet harmonies.
‘I Made A Friend Of A Flower Today’ a very charming folky duet with Tom T Hall, who wrote it. This is another favorite track for me.
‘My Brain’ has a jazz rhythm and the vocal is a bit breathy. ‘Hell On A Poor Boy’ (written by poet R B Morris) is bluesy in a wistful way.
Fayssoux wrote a number of the songs with musician/journalist Peter Cooper and/or Thomm Jutz. ‘Golightly Creek’ is a nicely observational song about finding peace by returning to her birthplace.
‘Running out Of Lies’ is a melancholy depiction of the permanent damage caused by earlier heartbreak:
A temporary fix left a scar that’s everlasting
‘The Last Night Of The War’ has an authentic traditional folk feel with its post-Civil War setting.
She wrote ‘Find Your Own Light’ solo, and this is a deeply introspective song about finding oneself. ‘Ragged Old Heart’ is a little more upbeat with a bright tempo, although it too deals with a damaged individual.
This is a lovely record, drawing deeply from the wells of the best country and folk music.