A singer who seems to have been born knowing how to carry a tune but with the rarer gift of knowing how to go straight to the heart of a song.
Fay’s first two solo albums, Looking Glass (2010) and Orfeo (2012), won Fay many accolades as well as a nomination for the Horizon Award at the BBC Radio 2 Folk Awards. Fay’s choice of material and the delivery of it, reflect a rare sensitivity and appreciation of the tradition whilst remaining naturalistic and highly distinctive.
Where Looking Glass showcased her rich and unadorned voice, Orfeo saw Fay confidently fronting a stellar supporting cast: The Hurricane Party. Consisting of some of the finest folk musicians working today; Andy Cutting (button accordions, melodeon), Rob Harbron (English Concertina, fiddle, vocals), Sam Sweeney (fiddle, viola, cello, nyckelharpa, vocals) and Roger Wilson (fiddle, guitar, mandolin and vocals). Plus special guests Jon Boden and Martin Simpson.
As well as her burgeoning performance career, Fay is also an academic, lecturing in Music at the University of Sheffield, specializing in the role folk music plays in the construction of communities. With her unique combination of performance and academic talents, it was perhaps inevitable that she would take the initiative with The Full English, a groundbreaking project sponsored by the English Folk Dance and Song Society. For the first time many of the finest early 20th century folksong collections can be found in the most comprehensive searchable database of British folk songs, tunes, dances and customs in the world. To mark the launch of the project, Fay assembled The Full English Band, pulling together half a dozen of the top talents on the English folk music circuit for an evening of songs and tunes drawn from these unique collections. They include legendary players Seth Lakeman, Martin Simpson, Nancy Kerr, Sam Sweeney, Rob Harbron and double bassist Ben Nicholls. This super group toured for 2 years including many major festivals and released a self-titled album, again on Topic Records in 2013, winning Best Group and Best Album at the 2013 BBC Radio 2 Folk Awards and earning Fay a nomination for Folk Singer of the Year.
Fay’s latest album Old Adam is a fresh and original exploration of how we use songs, stories and music to understand what it means to be human combines vision, inspiration, dedication and outstanding musicianship to draw an act of tender poignancy.
Her longstanding band, The Hurricane Party, expands to include members of The Full English, including fiddle, concertina, banjo, guitar, percussion and bass. At times sparse and contemplative, at times with a festival stomp, the music is captivating and engaging with plenty of choruses and vibrant interaction with the audience.
Bringing new arrangements to old songs, Fay continues in her exploration of the incredible repertoire that is the English tradition pushing at the boundaries of our engagement with music.