Amaury Faivre – 2020
Self-Release – 2020
11 tracks; 37 minutes
Amaury Faivre is originally from Besançon in Eastern France. He won the Swiss Blues Challenge and thereby competed in the 2017 IBC, reaching the semi-finals. He has previously played in electric bands and duos but is here solo, doing everything himself, playing guitar, banjo, mandolin, harmonica and percussion, as well as recording, mixing and producing the album which is made up of entirely original material.
The album opens with a short harp hoe-down instrumental “Amuse-Bouche” (translation – a small appetiser offered by the chef ahead of the meal) before we get our first taste of Amaury’s vocals as he sings of wooing the “Wrong Girl”, resulting in him having to flee town. The harp adds a blues feel to the mandolin accompaniment but Amaury’s vocals are quiet and he does have a slight accent, so you need to pay attention to catch the words so it is good that the lyrics are helpfully reproduced in the sleeve notes. The plaintive tone of the harp is very effective in creating an atmosphere of sadness on “Sister” before Amaury lightens the mood with the jaunty country blues of “Kinda Girl”: “Well the one I met, one I can’t forget, she came to me, an angel I did not expect, and I fell in love with so much grace”, lyrics which show that Amaury has an excellent command of English. “Heart Of Stone” has some fine picking and slide work, another song in which Amaury seems to have fallen under the spell of a woman who does not want a long-term relationship.
Mid-point in the album Amaury sings one song in his native tongue and “Invité A Danser” tells the amusing story of how he wants to take a girl to the dance but his Dad won’t give him the car keys as Amaury sets a great groove on slide, harp and percussion. Back to English for the bluesy “Mary Mae”, another femme fatale who has tempted Amaury, before “Even More”, a song that seems very personal as Amaury sings of coming home to his wife and child and the tough life of the musician earning barely enough to buy groceries. Back to the country blues sound for “Pouring Rain” on which Amaury’s child Marius makes a charming cameo appearance on backing vocals. “Best Thing For You” expresses a degree of self-doubt about the road chosen before the album closes with “Watch Her Sleep”, an instrumental with high register harp over stately acoustic guitar.
Fans of well-played acoustic music will find much to enjoy on this disc.