Who is Shelly Fairchild?
Back in 2005, I heard a song by a singer I had never heard before. The song was You Don’t Lie Here Anymore and the singer was Shelly Fairchild. I was struck immediately.
I shouldn’t have cared about this song. Nor should I have cared about this singer. I didn’t like country music much at all, especially country music in the mid-2000s. Yet this song and singer intrigued me.
I tried to explain it to myself and to others, but I couldn’t really figure it out. I tried to justify my liking this song due to the fact that, if you removed the guitar twang and fiddle, this song would not have felt out of place on Headbanger’s Ball in the late ’80s (admittedly a super fun time in my musical enjoyments). But that wasn’t the only reason and I knew it. My desire for personal understanding turned this question into a quest and one I eagerly set out upon.
To begin, I decided I had to figure out who this singer was. At the time, Ms. Fairchild was being lumped in with a bunch of other young female country artists the country music industry was trying to push as the next … something … the next Gretchen Wilson perhaps? A young, slightly rowdy woman to allow other women to be rowdy vicariously?
But maybe not. Because then came the FHM issue with Ms. Fairchild posing with seven other young country ladies dressed in various states of lingerie. This fold-out cover included people like Kerry Harvick, Jennifer Hanson, Lauren Lucas, Catherine Britt, Jessi Alexander, Jamie O’Neal, and Tift Merritt. (If any of these ladies are popular and talented, I honestly mean no offense, I am just not familiar with many country music artists. And this magazine issue did not prompt me to check them out.) The FHM cover story came across like “Midwest Burlesque” rather than serious musical interest.
So what to do now? Was Shelly Fairchild a wild southern gal just wanting to sing about having a good time? Or was she a wannabe pin-up model trying to make it based on her good looks? Confused, I listened to You Don’t Lie Here Anymore and realized that she is neither of those things. Those things were publishers and promoters and managers and music industry folk who wanted to fit her into some pre-established role. That song, that voice, did not say the same things.
I bought Ms. Fairchild’s debut album with Sony Records entitled “Ride” because the only way for me to solve this riddle in me was to hear more from the artist. Admittedly I was not expecting a lot. As I mentioned, I was not really a country music fan. Given that this album seemed to come straight out of Nashville, I was concerned that I had just been tricked by a single song and the rest of the album would leave me flat.
I was wrong. In fact, I was very happy to be wrong, as this album caught me by surprise, even though I was wanting it to be good. Is it a perfect album? I’d say no, but again, my personal preference would like a little less “country” in my country music. But it is a very good record and a very intriguing beginning.
In the name of continuing this story of discovering why Ms. Fairchild touched upon my personal aesthetic, I believe it is only fitting to include a song-by-song review of “Ride” here. I will write about and provide a personal rating of each song on the album to try to make some sense of this all. To be fair, I will do this song-by-song review as I listen to the album again today, in 2017, to see if anything new bubbles up.
“Ride” by Shelly Fairchild (2005)
1) Kiss Me – Kiss Me starts off the album a little slow, a little lackadaisical. A song in the middle of an open field as the ants start in on the picnic lunch. However, about midway through the song, Ms. Fairchild opens up her voice and starts belting out one helluva vocal. By the song’s end, we have been put on notice – this woman can sing her guts out! Rating: 9/10
2) Ready to Fall – The second song on the album is a more uptempo number penned by Nashville songwriter Lisa Carver. A lyric early in the song states, “Your heart is full of tumbleweed and brimstone.” That description works very well for the vocal tendencies of Ms. Fairchild on this ditty. A little bit of vocal twang worked through an old juke joint late-night show, this song kicks in at the start and keeps you dancing and singing along. Rating: 10/10
3) Tiny Town – The internet is a funny place. When I first heard of Shelly Fairchild, I went online to see what other fans thought of her. Not surprisingly, I found a lot of support for her and recognitions of her “Ride” album. In particular, I found many fans who liked this song. It confused me then and it confuses me now. Not that this song is bad, but given what came before it and what followed it on the album, this song is definitely the one where I zone out. It’s good, but it is surrounded by great, making it seem a little less than it might actually be. Rating: 7/10
4) You Don’t Lie Here Anymore – Even now, I do not know if I can explain why this song is so good. But it is. Go listen to it. Multiple times. Rating: 10/10
5) I Want to Love You – Where do you go on an album after a standout track that rocks hard? Simple, you slow it down with a passionate ballad. And as tempted as I am to say this is the same power ballad trick 80s hair bands pulled, Ms. Fairchild’s big vocal provides a genuine emotional pull which raises this song’s game. Rating: 8/10
6) Eight Crazy Hours (In the Story of Love) – We get softer still with this song. An aching maternal story alongside some acoustic guitar and what is that, a sad dobro next to some strings? Is it a good song? Yes. But somehow, even now, 12 years after I first heard Ms. Fairchild sing it, I still just don’t buy it. Shelly Fairchild has a voice that is young and full of life. This song is meant for a weathered vocal of experience. She does the best she can to make it resonate, but frankly, it is hard to believe that she believes in the song she’s singing. Not the strongest point on the record. Rating: 6.5/10
7) Down Into Muddy Water – Now we get back into the swing of things with this Dennis Linde song. Linde, best known, to me at least, for writing the Elvis Presley hit Burning Love and the Dixie Chicks’ hit Goodbye Earl, puts another rocker into good hands here. Ms. Fairchild tears this one up and I can almost hear her voice shaking the whiskey bottles behind the bar as she ends her set with this. If it weren’t for You Don’t Lie Here Anymore, this would be the song I’d be mentioning to all my friends. Rating: 10/10
8) Ride – The title track of the album is next and Ms. Fairchild rolls out this highway journey of a song. Name-dropping Freebird and Harley-Davidson is a little too on the nose for me, but still the song takes all the right turns. Still, when I put this song up against other modern country tunes, I would return to this one each time. Rating: 8/10
9) Time Machine – Another song that sounds like it could have been a hit for Warrant or Ratt or Kix or Cinderella. And before you laugh, I do not mean that as a bad thing. I would have been rockin’ with Dokken if this was released on the Bill and Ted’s Excellent Adventure soundtrack back in the day. Does that put the song into a fairly clichéd category? So what. Rock on, dude! Rating: 8.5/10
10) I’m Goin’ Back – By this point on the album, I have obviously realized this is not the “typical” mid-2000s modern country album I might have been expecting. And while this song tries hard to pull me back into the honky-tonk, the attitude Ms. Fairchild is able to bring out through the less than inspiring lyrics redeems it into something more fun than you’d expect. This is the closest to Ms. Fairchild trying to be Gretchen Wilson as the album gets, and that’s for the best. Rating: 6/10
11) Fear of Flying – We wind down the end of the album with a slower number blowing its way through the hanging laundry out back of some dusty farmhouse. This song is not wispy at all though. This is the person in the farmhouse turning their stereo up as high as they can with the windows open. You may not hear the whole song solidly, but you can definitely hear Ms. Fairchild belt out the choruses allowing you to sing along as loud as you wish. And there is nothing wrong with ending a debut album on a positive note like that. Rating: 7.5/10
Overall, this album has a lot going for it. I can see where some die-hard country fans wouldn’t like it. I can see where some poseur country fans wouldn’t like it. I can see where some others wouldn’t like it. To put it as best I can, this is a very good album with a lot of very good songs (and a few great ones). This isn’t Bob Dylan or The Beatles, but it also isn’t disposable bubblegum. It is an album that showcases a new artist and it sounds like she has something to say.
Listening to “Ride” again leaves me with the same feeling I had back in 2005 – it is good, really good, but somehow seemed a little inauthentic. Maybe it has too much Nashville sheen. Maybe it is trying too hard. Again, it is a good record, but I want more. I feel like the course in Shelly Fairchild is incomplete and I need more data. I need more music, more opportunity to listen to that voice and try to decipher the artist through the art. Six years would be the wait.
In 2011, when the announcement of Ms. Fairchild’s new album, I was beyond excited. I bought it and downloaded it the minute it was released. And I loved it. In fact, it impressed me so much that I was inspired to write a little review of it. It was the first review I had done since my college DJ days, but I wanted to do whatever I could to help bring people to this record. I will freshen up that review below while working through this album song-by-song as well.
“Ruby’s Money” by Shelly Fairchild (2011)
To start, this is an exciting album! What I mean by that is that this is one of those albums you listen to, move to, let it infect you, and then after it is over you wonder if really experienced all that. The last time I had that feeling was the first time I heard Nikka Costa’s 2005 album, “Can’tneverdidnothin’.” I think it is a fair comparison actually. Both Costa and Fairchild have an insane amount of vocal and performance talent that has been sadly overlooked by much of the music listening public. Costa has a little more urban R&B in her voice where Fairchild has a bit more southern swamp, but both of them shake your soul like a lonely thunderstorm in the middle of a summer night.
1) Love Revelation – The album starts with a funky rocker. This song has the sound of a mission statement. A declaration that the artist has arrived. Ms. Fairchild is taking every listener to church with every big note and gospel charge. There is a certainty in her voice, an announcement that she is here and you will not be able to ignore her. This is a song that will definitely get you out of your seat in a live setting and have you primed for more. Rating: 9.5/10
2) You Said – This sounds almost like a follow-up to You Don’t Lie Here Anymore from “Ride” but without the countrification. It rocks with a slighter tempo, but commands attention. In fact, this song would not sound out of place on a Kelly Clarkson album. Add in some well placed vocal flourishes and this song stands out as one of the highlights of an album full of highlights. Rating: 8.5/10
3) Like I Tried To – The bar is closing. It’s last call. As you sit and stare into your whiskey, you realize the place has emptied out quickly. Faintly, you hear a lonely, bluesy ballad coming from the stage. Or is it from inside your mind? Wherever it originates, the volume grows and resonates in your head. The tears will fall as the glass in front of you is emptied. This is the ballad of your broken heart. Rating: 10/10
4) What You Gonna Do – This song went back and forth for me. It sounds like it could be a Christina Aguilera song. And not “Genie in a Bottle” Aguilera, but post-“Dirrty” Christina. The one with full command of what she wants to say and how she wants to say it. The mid-tempo might have thrown me a bit, but this song could probably rock all sorts of ways in a live setting. Rating: 7.5/10
5) Try the Truth – From the choppy guitar chords to begin the song, you realize this is not “Country Shelly” anymore. The horns punctuate Ms. Fairchild’s vocal ferocity perfectly. The song is almost heavy in its production and works very well. Case in point? A fiery guitar solo mid-song? Seriously, perfect. I was wrong before, THIS is the song that is the follow-up to You Don’t Lie Here Anymore from “Ride.” Whoever broke this poor girl’s heart, shame shame! (But thank you for giving her the incentive for songs like this.) A true standout. Rating: 10/10
6) Here’s Your Box – Here is where the album hits one upside the head. Thus far, “Ruby’s Money” had me digging the rock/soul flair I was hearing. Nothing prepared me for what was coming next. As the CD switched over to track #6, I was greeted with was a gospel-infused number that sees Ms. Fairchild preaching to whoever will listen. At 2:07, she unleashes a nine second wail which prompts the band to fall into a joyous revival and the song ends up in the dust of a hot southern town on a Sunday afternoon. Simply an amazing song and my favorite on the album. Honestly, the record is worth buying just to hear this song once. Rating: 10/10
7) Somebody Pick Me Up – Now we enter ballad territory. Sort of. This is less ballad and more confessional singer-songwriter territory. Perhaps everyone has a side to them where these songs originate. Not a bad song by any means, it is very touching and lovely. Additionally, it functions as a nice break in its sequencing. You are given a chance to catch your breath after the incredible Here’s Your Box and prepares you for the wallop the rest of the album will pack. Rating: 7.5/10
8) Take Me Down -When Take Me Down starts, you start to get a little concerned because you hear that twang in the guitar. Are we starting to move back into the countryside? If nothing else, the concern comes because thus far we have been on a modern soul train that was barreling along smoothly. But very quickly you calm your worries and immerse yourself in the definite Melissa Etheridge vibe of this song. In fact, this song would not have felt out of place on any of Melissa Etheridge’s better albums. Roots-rock in the best sense. This is what the result of Ms. Fairchild’s country urges could be in that it sounds “real.” Rating: 8.5/10
9) I’m Just Sayin’ -As if Ms. Fairchild was reading my mind after the last song, she cranks up the funk for this number. Wow. With a horn section having a ball, Ms. Fairchild sounds like the magic love child of Tina Turner and Janis Joplin conceived during a Sly and the Family Stone concert. This is a perfect argument for my Nikka Costa comparison earlier. If you are not bouncing when this song is on, I have to assume that you had red hot pokers shoved into your eardrums as a child. Rating: 10/10
10) Love Everybody – Sometimes albums are just solid through and through. Sometimes albums are made to listen as a whole and do not lend themselves easily to singles. While “Ruby’s Money” is amazing start to finish, there are a few songs that work completely unhinged from the album concept. In a perfect world, Love Everybody would be an anthem for anyone who wants to be happy. It would be an unifying song, bringing together fans from all genres to just shake it out and feel the spirit of the world. It would be bid on by every major corporation to be include in commercials and movies and TV shows and everything. It would be played constantly to the point of over-saturation. But no matter how ubiquitous it would become, you would always dance and sing along with it. This is the first song I heard from the album when fans picked it to be the lead single. It is just too good and it is a perfect example of why the current state of the music industry sucks. This song should have put Ms. Fairchild on every talk show, on every stage, and on every radio. It is destined to be one of Shelly Fairchild’s signature songs. It is not just good for what ails ya, it is the answer to your auditory prayers. Rating: 10/10
11) Baby Love – I am going to make what might be an odd analogy here, but give it a shot. Remember in 1978, Van Halen released their first album and Eddie Van Halen broke all the standards for guitar rock in the process? You would listen to that album all the way through and were in shock of Eddie’s guitar playing. Then the last song, On Fire, came on and it seemed like Eddie just threw every bit of wizardry in there that didn’t fit on any other song. Just because he could. Baby Love is Ms. Fairchild’s On Fire. Just when you thought you were listening to all she has, Ms. Fairchild unleashes this blistering onslaught. A rousing song with gospel-tinged backing vocals, the lead vocals reach through your ears and somehow make their way to your lungs. There they make a home in your rib cage as you feel your heartbeat begin its own funky rhythm. A pure delight and an essential bring-it-home song. Rating: 10/10
Overall, Shelly Fairchild’s”Ruby’s Money” is an excellent and enjoyable album. I threw a lot of names/influences/similarities out there during this review, but that doesn’t mean Shelly Fairchild is derivative at all. She is her own, unique artist who recalls old-school funk sensibilities with layers of gospel and soul mixed through a blues pastiche and blasted out of the rock speakers of a Ford Mustang convertible speeding down the back roads of Mississippi.
“Ruby’s Money” is a full-fledged album. It has varying feels and moods. It has different tempos and rhythms. It has incredible individual songs and taken together it is much more than the sum of its parts. It is an album in full measure and it holds up against anything I have heard in many a year. This isn’t a debut album, but it sure as hell sounds like a statement album. An album of purpose to announce that Shelly Fairchild is on the scene and taking no prisoners.
As you can tell, I was, and continue to be, thoroughly impressed with “Ruby’s Money.” I began the wait for Ms. Fairchild to become a household name. I was looking forward to seeing her name on the marquee at famous music halls and large arenas throughout the world. I was sure that the rest of the world would hear what I heard in that album. I was sure that the rest of the world would hear what Ms. Fairchild put of herself in that album. I was confident that I had discovered the mystery of why I was drawn to the work of Shelly Fairchild from the beginning. The “country” aspect of her first record didn’t deter me from her music because, as I thought “Ruby’s Money” showed, she was more of a soul singer than anything.
But, as happens so often in life, as time passed, I started to think maybe I was more clueless than correct. I didn’t hear about Ms. Fairchild headlining any big festivals or getting network television specials. I didn’t hear about record labels clamoring to sign her to long-term deals. I didn’t hear new artists list her as an influence. In fact, I heard little at all.
So I started my own bit of research. I started asking people whose opinion on music I respect what they thought about Shelly Fairchild. Most of those people did not recognize the name or remember . (Problem #1 identified!) Others who did recognize the name would refer back to the “Ride” album and normally name Tiny Town as a pretty good song, if they remembered correctly. Almost no one knew about “Ruby’s Money.” (Problem #2 identified!) Instead of harping on the record industry and marketing and all that, I decided to just add to my research methods.
I began playing some of Ms. Fairchild’s songs to some people. I would normally play some from “Ride” and some from “Ruby’s Money” so they would get a good feel for her work. If I played songs individually, the response I would get was almost always positive. But when I would play them together, I would get a look of confusion. A look of “that doesn’t really sound like the same person.” A look of “keep that funky soul away from my country” or “shut that country off and play some more of that bluesy goodness.” A look of “who is this Shelly Fairchild person?”
And so, I was back to square one. Maybe I was wrong and did not really “get” what Ms. Fairchild was all about. Maybe my own biases against modern country music made me foolishly devalue “Ride” and, in turn, place my own interpretations onto Ms. Fairchild’s interests and musical home.
Sadly, my self-assessment felt like it received confirmation when Ms. Fairchild announced that she was to begin work on a new album and that it would be a return-of-sorts to the country sound of her first record. What was I expecting, after all? Ms. Fairchild is a small town Mississippi girl and has never shied away from that fact. Maybe country music really was her love and where she wanted to make her voice known.
Maybe I was just hurt that she would put herself back into that world. That “country music world” for lack of a better term that had not treated her well previously. A world where she was seen as a commodity and not an artist. A world that would support someone as long as they followed the behavior of what that world considered appropriate. A world that did not seem to be very accepting at best and willing to destroy people’s careers at worst. A world where “bro-country” is a thing. A world where stories (regarding the fans and crowds, not the artists) about racism and sexism and homophobia and nationalism and more seemed to come out weekly. This hurt, because I truly felt that Ms. Fairchild, the singer who wanted a Love Revolution and wanted to Love Everybody, deserved a stage where more open-mindedness could shine through. But maybe I was just an old cynic now and shouldn’t begrudge anyone trying to make a living.
I contributed to the PledgeMusic campaign to fund the new album because it was for her. I wanted to hear anything Ms. Fairchild would sing, regardless of the genre. I wanted to help in any way I could to get that voice out there. Also, I wanted to get a definitive answer about who Ms. Fairchild was as an artist. I mean, honestly, this was a singer who had two albums and who I have never been to see live, so why would I list her as one of my all-time favorites? I was hoping the new album would help show me the answer.
When the album was released in 2016, I listened to it straight away. Like a scientist, I was hoping an answer about the mystery of Shelly Fairchild would reveal itself. Instead, Ms. Fairchild decided to confuse me even further, but in the best of ways. Here is my review of “Buffalo.”
“Buffalo” by Shelly Fairchild (2016)
1) Muddy Water – A thoroughly-enjoyed song from Ms. Fairchild’s debut album “Ride,” Muddy Water gets a reworking here as a lead off track. For an album I was worried would be a return to “country music,” I was very happy to hear that this song not only retained its rollicking nature but also brought out its blues heart even more. A wonderful way to start a record. Rating: 10/10
2) Damn Good Lover – This little rocking song fits into a guilty pleasure category for me. It definitely has some of the old party atmosphere attitude and is a lot of fun. However, when I listen to this song, the initial reaction that comes into my mind is a bit off the wall. But in keeping with the thought that current country has a lot in common with 80s hair metal, it might make some sense. To describe this song, I would say that it is a slightly more country version of some David Lee Roth solo work. And, again, that is meant as the highest praise. Rating: 9.5/10
3) Lies – A bit of the funk returns for this song and that is a very good thing. As big as Ms. Fairchild’s voice is, I wish she would open it up even more on this song. By the end of the song she sounds like she is about to fight, stalking the stage looking for an outlet to her frustration. Love it. Rating: 9/10
4) Mississippi Turnpike – On “Ruby’s Money,” I mentioned that the song Take Me Down sounded like Melissa Etheridge and that was a good direction for Ms. Farichild’s country leanings. That line was still in my head when I heard this song and I thought, “Well, if it isn’t going to be Melissa Etheridge, Bonnie Raitt is not a bad route to go.” Seriously, this bluesy number sounds like it should be next on the setlist of any Bonnie Raitt concert. You may argue imitation does not make a unique artist, but I would argue that the ability to stretch oneself around varied styles allows an artist to create their own world and make it large. Rating: 9.5/10
5) House on Fire – Just as I think Ms. Fairchild is most comfortable in the blues/soul atmosphere of Melissa Etheridge or Bonnie Raitt, she throws this Mary-Chapin Carpenter singer-songwriter ache of raw emotion on record. The vocals are a little more pristine than Ms. Fairchild tends to showcase, but that fragility makes the song lilt its way into your subconscious in the most brilliant way. I lean more towards uptempo numbers, but this one sticks with you. Rating: 10/10
6) Ready to Fall – Another song resurrected from “Ride,” this song has been rechristened with swamp mud in some back alley pool hall. It still has all the power it had 12 years ago and Ms. Fairchild’s voice adds a slight bit more gravitas this time around. This version is less a number you are going to jump up and dance to and more of a song playing as you get into a knock-some-heads brawl. The little bluesy scatting Ms. Fairchild tosses into the mix adds another perfect layer of grime to this song’s skeleton. Rating: 10/10
7) Unholy Spirit – We slow down again and get “Serious Shelly” on this song. No one should complain though, as this stark piano-and-voice tune sounds like a single spotlight surrounded by shadows of despair. Ms. Fairchild’s songwriting has always been solid and a secret weapon in her arsenal, but this song transcends that weapon into poetry. A beautiful realization of pain and another song which should, in any non-screwed up world, make Ms. Fairchild a superstar. Rating: 10/10
8) One Mississippi – The eighth song sounds like someone threw a stick of dynamite in the studio and everyone just used the energy to blow out the speakers. The song sounds like a neighbor to cowpunk and would be a standout at a Jason and the Scorchers show. This entire album has been amazing thus far, but then this song comes on and floors me. This one is worth the wait and will probably wear out the repeat button on your stereo. Rating: 10/10
9) Why Can’t We Carry Each Other – Another gospel-esque beauty of a song, the peace and love felt on this song ties it strongly to Ms. Fairchild’s oeuvre. Unfortunately, this song feels at once timely and at one with struggles in the past. It is a great song and would be perfect to hear as we stand or march for positivity. It does slow the album’s momentum a bit, but when a song is this good, you realize that’s just picking nits. Rating: 9.5/10
10) Start Walkin’ – This song sets the pace right away, never slowing down. In fact, the walkin’ turns into a bit more of a gallop along the way. A very surprising and heavy breakdown around the 1:45 mark reminds you that this is not just someone trying to pull off a modern-day boogie-woogie. The rave up at the end is also spectacular in its noisy glory. Rating: 9/10
11) Goodbye to the Rest – And with this song, we wind down the emotional travels Ms. Fairchild has taken us through on this album. Sufficiently bombastic with a heart underneath to keep it grounded, Ms. Fairchild enlists Jeremy Lister’s vocals to complete the magic of the song. A very fine way to end a very fine album. Rating: 8.5/10
So we are back to this – Who is Shelly Fairchild? Can I conclude that Shelly Fairchild is a country artist? Is she a soul singer? Is she a blues singer? Is she looking for whatever genre will put enough food on the table? Is she a singer/songwriter? Is she a roots-rock performer? Is she, as I’ve seen her describe her style, part of this loosely defined “Americana” genre? Is she a rock star? Is she Janis Joplin? Is she Tina Turner? Is she Patsy Cline? Who is Shelly Fairchild?
But more so, I am left with more questions. As I listen to these albums again, review and re-review them, write about them, and ponder over them, there are new questions I feel I must answer. And that may answer the first question. How is it possible to make three albums, which sometimes do not feel of the same artist, and have them be so damn good? How is it possible that if I rated the albums from 1-10, they would rate 8.23 out of 10,9.23 out of 10, and 9.55 out of 10 respectively? How is it possible that if I rated every song on these three albums from 1-10, there would be 14 of 33 songs rated 10 out of 10?! How could one artist, not named Prince, be able to make me feel this way about her music, especially since it was never marketed to my typical likes?
I like to think that my tastes are pretty good and I like to think I am a pretty intelligent person. As such, I have come up with this – labels are meant only to limit, not enhance. The music industry wants to label artists so they can focus their marketing dollars and get a good return. But one person being labeled as more than one genre risks splitting potential profits from another artist on their roster. So a label gets thrown on someone in the hopes that myopia can help drown out creativity.
The same goes for life. If a child gets labeled a problem, everything they do is shaded with that label. If a strong woman fights for what she deserves, she gets labeled negatively in order to minimize her concerns. Even the opposite direction creates issues. If someone finds success in one field, they are never considered a potential expert in another, regardless of what they do. When you label anything it automatically loses its chance to grow into anything more.
Even when doing things independently, retail outlets still require one to label their work. The way out of this dilemma seems to have only one solution. I have decided to stop trying to label Shelly Fairchild’s music. I no longer care what the record companies, the music industry, or the retail world choose to define her records. Just saying those words feels like those limitations have been lifted. It feels like freedom from an archaic institutionalized system of branding. If you don’t believe me, try it. Stop labeling something. Anything. Just one thing. And watch how much more it can be for you.
I recognize this is starting to drift into a philosophical treatise, so I will return to the main focus here. Now that I do not feel the need to label Ms. Fairchild’s songs, can I finally answer the question of who is Shelly Fairchild? Ms. Fairchild is a Mississippi woman. Ms. Fairchild is an accomplished singer. Ms. Fairchild has toured with superstars, backed up superstars, and has done things her way on her records. Ms. Fairchild started performing early as she was raised with her entire family singing. Ms. Fairchild has great hair. But do any of those things define Ms. Fairchild?
I have heard Shelly Fairchild say that she is love with music. I love that. But even that doesn’t complete explain Ms. Fairchild to me. Except for one thing…
If Shelly Fairchild is in love with music, then I have to say that Shelly Fairchild truly loves herself. Through her art, she doesn’t “make” music, she is music. Her voice is music. Her phrasing is music. Her choices are music. Ms. Fairchild, through her songs, displays confidence and power, as she should. Her strength is infectious and her passion shines through her performances. She is in love with music and music is in love with her. For they are one in the same And that is the answer for me.
Who is Shelly Fairchild? She is music and all that music is. May she continue to explore herself and her creative angels so we may all enjoy the world she inhabits. Let us love everybody and be at peace. Hopefully Shelly Fairchild will continue to be the soundtrack we all need.
To purchase a physical copy of “Buffalo” or “Ruby’s Money,” please visit Shelly Fairchild’s webpage at www.shellyfairchild.com. If you are interested in a physical copy of “Ride,” Amazon or your local record store might be your best bets. For those of you who are streamers, Ms. Fairchild’s work can be found on iTunes or Amazon. Enjoy!
Tags: Bonnie Raitt, david lee roth, Mary-Chapin Carpenter, Melissa Etheridge, Prince, Shelly Fairchild