Tucson a favorite stop for singer-songwriter Charlie Faye

Singer-songwriter likes the vibe here
2013-05-09T00:00:00Z Tucson a favorite stop for singer-songwriter Charlie FayeGerald M. Gay Arizona Daily Star Arizona Daily Star
May 09, 2013 12:00 am  • 

Austin singer-songwriter Charlie Faye took her time during her 2010 concert stop in Tucson.

The gig was part of her "slow tour," which found her in 10 different cities over the course of a year.

Faye, who felt she needed to build a fanbase on the road, spent a month in each city, where she performed gigs and recorded songs with local musicians.

Tucson was her first stop.

"At that point, I wasn't sure my plan was going to work," Faye said in a phone interview from Austin. "But I was pleasantly surprised. It really exceeded my expectations."

Faye, who performs in Tucson Saturday, sublet a home in Barrio Viejo for the month and took up residency at Club Congress, with the blessing of several gigs from Congress entertainment director David Slutes.

"I was struck by the unique approach she had to developing her career," Slutes said. "It was something I felt compelled to support."

"David made Tucson happen for me," Faye said. "He understood what I was trying to do. There was nothing in it for him or the club. He didn't have to take that risk, but he did. I'll never forget that."

While in town, Faye recruited local musicians for her shows.

She approached drummer Winston Watson, a national touring artist and member of Saint Maybe, on the recommendation of her musical colleague, guitarist Charlie Sexton.

Laura Kepner-Adney of the folksy Silver Thread Trio went to Oberlin College with Faye and provided harmonies during her shows.

Faye also sought out the talents of longtime Tucson guitarist Gene Ruley, whose résumé includes time spent with the River Roses and the New Drakes.

Sergio Mendoza served as Faye's bassist.

Mendoza appreciated her methods so much that he has taken to recruiting horn players into his band, Y La Orkesta, in the cities in which he plays.

"She's a very positive person and a brilliant thinker," Mendoza said. "She has a really clear vision of what she wants to sound like."

While in Tucson, Faye recorded the song "Broken-Heart Maker" from her 2011 album "Travels With Charlie" at WaveLab recording studio, with Mendoza and Calexico's Joey Burns and John Convertino.

"I loved the whole vibe of Tucson," she said. "It is the closest I'll ever get to see Austin in the 1970s. It is at a stage in development where some really cool, creative stuff is going on."

The Old Pueblo started Faye off on the right foot for her "slow tour."

From Tucson, she traveled to Los Angeles, up the Pacific Coast, across the country to New England and then south to Austin, hitting cities all along the way, including Portland, Ore., Milwaukee, Burlington, Vt., and Shreveport, La.

"I wanted variety," she said. "I was curious about a lot of these places. Like, what can you see in a place like Boulder, Colo.? I chose them all for different reasons."

Faye said Tucson was one of her favorite stops. She enjoyed hanging around downtown and becoming a short-term regular at places like the Food Conspiracy Co-op and Plush.

Faye was pleased to see a decent number of people coming out to see her final show in town during her tour.

Her time spent in Tucson resulted in both fans and friendships

"When I come back through, I know I'll still have things in place, friends that I've made," she said. "I hoped professionally this would work out, but I had no idea how much it would benefit me on a personal level."

if you go

• What: Charlie Faye in concert with Billy Sedlmayr.

• When: 7 p.m. Saturday.

• Where: Club Congress, 311 E. Congress St.

• Tickets: Free.

Contact reporter Gerald M. Gay at ggay@azstarnet.com or 807-8430.

Copyright 2014 Arizona Daily Star. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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