July 3, 2010
When Charlie Faye, a New York native now based in Austin, played Rockwood Music Hall earlier this month, it was at the midpoint of a ten-month tour whose concept is pretty much unprecedented: to support her new album Wilson St., she’s playing ten cities – and living in each one for a month. In locales ranging from LA to Burlington, Vermont, she’s setting up residencies, enlisting local musicians to back her up, and recording new material for her next album. At Rockwood, Faye delivered her songs with a vocal clarity and strength – shades of Neko Case, Chrissie Hynde, even Patti Smith – that suggested an untold number of gigs in her recent past. A few days later, at an office in the Meatpacking District, she talked about her monthly “miniature life,” her New York roots, and what she’s learned along the way.
JM.com: So this is kind of like intermission for this tour, would you say?
Charlie Faye: Yes. I’ve done five, and I have five to go.
JM.com: How do you feel?
Charlie: I feel like, you know, half the time I’m on the greatest adventure of my life, and half the time I’m doing something completely insane and I don’t know why I’m doing it. But that’s part of the adventure.
JM.com: What’s a day-in-the-life?
Charlie: I get somewhere at the beginning of the month, I move into wherever I’m moving into, I spend the first few days really by myself exploring, getting my bearings. Then I start meeting people. In that first week, I’m sending emails, making phone calls to friends of friends: “Who do you know in Burlington?” “My drummer’s friend’s brother is a guitar player.” So I’m gonna call that guy and have coffee with him. Then the first gig – I’ll probably do it solo or with one person I’ve brought on. Then by the second week it’s getting more exciting and social. I’m making friends and I’m putting together the band, and the third week is usually heavier in terms of more gigs, maybe some regional touring, and the fourth week is crazy ‘cause that’s always when I do my recording for the month. So I have that last gig, the recording, saying goodbye to everybody. It’s like one miniature life. A month-long life.
JM.com: Are you traveling alone?
Charlie: I’m traveling alone. And the crazy thing is, I’m originally from New York – I didn’t even start driving until I moved to Texas three years ago. So for me to be doing this solo cross-country trip is pretty nuts.