As of right now, there are 4 singles in the Bill Fay 7-inch singles series from Dead Oceans–Steve Gunn, Julia Jacklin, Mary Lattimore, and this one by Kevin Morby. On them, each artist covers a song by Bill Fay on the A side with a Fay’s original recording on the B. These four singles were presented as companion pieces to Dead Ocean’s release of Bill Fay’s Still Some Light, a two-part release which features 1970s album demos and 2009 home recordings.
Let’s take a listen to the original track from that album:
For this single, they pull Fay’s version from the new Dead Ocean’s release, where it finds a comfortable place as the final track on Still Some Light Part 1: Piano, Guitar, Bass & Drums. Fay’s version here is the home recording, which is obviously less crisp, precise, and detailed than the studio version from Time of the Last Persecution.
Here’s the Still Some Light version for comparison:
Kevin Morby Covers Bill Fay
For the cover, Kevin Morby takes Bill Fay’s classic song and really gives it his own sound to the point where “I Hear You Calling” SOUNDS like an original Morby track! That’s the sign of a truly great artist–when covers sound original.
Here’s Morby’s rendition of Bill Fay’s track:
In addition to Morby on vocals and acoustic and electric guitars, you have a super solid backing band.
Robin Pecknold of Fleet Foxes joins Morby with Nylon Guitar and backing vocals. Studio drummer Josh Adams lends his percussive expertise–Adams has worked extensively with Fruit Bats.
And Jarvis Taveniere joins on piano, bass, electric guitar. Morby has quite an extensive history with Taveniere, as Morby was once a member of Woods, a band Taveniere is still involved with. After Morby collaborated with Vivian Girls’ Cassie Ramone to create the band The Babies, Jarvis worked with the group recording most–if not all–of that band’s releases.
On the Dead Oceans website, Morby has a great quote about the impact Fay’s music has had on him:
Bill Fay exists as a secret handshake amongst us musicians. Those of us familiar with his body of work are obsessed with it. When I first heard him, years ago, I felt as if I was rediscovering something I had lost and had long been looking for. It’s an honour to be able to cover one of my favourite songs of his.
Morby also released an excellent new album in 2022. You can find This is a Photograph on Amazon too.