So I’ll be one of the first people to come out and admit that I have a hard time really enjoying contemporary christian music. Christian rock tends to bore me to tears and I’d much rather be listening to some Grateful Dead than most of the stuff that comes on my local christian radio stations. I’m not going to call out any names of christian bands I don’t like, and I don’t want this to become a segment when use this time to build myself up as some kind of music snob. Instead I want for this segment to be a way is to simply share with you guys some of the rare and often undiscovered christian gems that rarely get attention. To kick this off I could think of no better album than Bill Fay’s “Life is People”
Bill Fay is an English singer, songwriter, and pianist that (despite his 40 year music career) has only ever released four albums. “Life is People” was his 2012 release and is probably the best stuff he has ever produced. His music is unabashedly christian in nature and subject, but the lyrics have a depth and sincerity that can often be found lacking in the monotonous and vapid contemporary christian music that gets radio play today.
His style is reminiscent of Bob Dylan or Leonard Cohen in that the strength lies in the lyrics and most of the songs performed are very simple singer and instrument numbers. His songs vary in the amount of studio production that was put into each of them, but even the most “cleaned up” songs still maintain a sense of realness and naturalness that I personally look for in music.
These songs are not all worshipful songs. Some are haunting, painful, and many are written with a mix of darkness and hopefulness that those familiar with the christian faith know is nothing new. There’s also a sense of wonder and awe that I love. In his song “The Never Ending Happening”, Bill marvels at the ever-changing universe around him while reflecting on the majesty that is the meta-narrative of existence. He concludes that simply playing a part of the big story is astonishing to him. It’s a beautiful song and one of my favorites on the album, though it is hard to pick out which one I love the best.
“Thank You Lord” is another favorite of mine that comes off almost like a Psalm in many regards. Bill reflects on the simple gifts of God be it the creation around him or the gift of Christ’s sacrifice on the cross. It’s a haunting tune about thankfulness, and in the end he concludes that he has nothing more he can ask of God except that He might show his family and loved ones the same mercy and blessings he has received in his life. The song is very simply lyrically speaking, but there’s a sincerity to it that wins me over.
I could talk about each and every song on this album, but I’d rather you experience it for yourself. I’ll end by talking about “Healing Day” which is probably the track I’ve listened to most from this album since I got it back in 2012. This song is a quiet, but joyful song about looking forward to the healing day when all things will be made right and all wars, suffering, and pain end and the majesty of Gods creation is brought back into it’s full and perfect form. I love this song so much. It is inspiring, hopeful, and uplifting in all the right ways and it manages to avoid like it’s trying too hard.
I’d highly suggest giving this album a shot. If your music tastes are anything like mine I doubt you will be disappointed by this album.