Vintage soul is on the rebound. Of that, there can be no denying.
St. Paul & The Broken Bones. Anderson East. Leon Bridges. All of these gents are making waves and turning heads with songs and sounds that originated in the 1950s and 1960s, inspired by the likes of Otis Redding, Wilson Pickett, and Sam Cooke.
Not to be outdone, singer/songwriter Charlie Faye, of Austin, Texas, is elbowing her way up to the table, offering up a most pleasant reminder that girl groups won’t be denied a seat at the vintage soul revival.
Charlie Faye & The Fayettes – Charlie, joined by fellow singers BettySoo and Akina Adderly – draw inspiration from groups like The Shirelles, The Ronettes, and The Supremes, female powerhouse groups all that topped the charts throughout the 50s, 60s, and 70s and achieved worldwide acclaim.
Earlier this month, Charlie Faye & The Fayettes released their eponymous debut record, a collection of songs that could easily serve as your singalong dance party soundtrack of the summer.
I recently caught up with Charlie Faye while she was on her way to New York to chat vintage soul, singing with the girls in her band, and vintage fashion.
BRO – Vintage soul is in the midst of a comeback. What drew you to this particular sound?
CF – I’ve always loved 60s soul and the girl groups of the 60s. I’ve been listening to that stuff since I was a kid. And in the past few years, I’ve just gotten deeper into the Stax catalog. After my last solo record, it seemed like everything I was writing sounded kind of like those simple old soul songs. So I made a conscious decision to make a whole record that felt like that.
BRO – Can you describe that moment when you first sang with BettySoo and Akina and you knew you were on to something good?
CF – Yes! BettySoo and I have been singing together for years, so as soon as I had the idea to do a girl group, she was on board. Then, just as we were looking for a third girl for the band, Akina sent me a message on Facebook, so we invited her over to the house for the three of us to try singing together. And she was just amazing. Also, BettySoo and Akina have a really similar way of working out parts. They’re both super pro. I think the three of us together have something pretty special. Plus, we’re all the same height, which is hard to come by when you’re 5’1″.
BRO – We are featuring “Eastside” on this month’s Trail Mix. What’s the story behind the song?
CF – “Eastside” is a song I had been wanting to write for a long time. I got the idea for the song when I realized, for some reason, that it’s always the east side of town that starts off as the more run down side of town, and then it becomes the super hip side of town. Why is that? East Austin. East Nashville. The east side of L.A., the East Village and Lower East Side of NYC. So I was carrying this idea around for a few years. I brought it into a writing session with Eric Holden and Dave Raven and they came up with the rhythmic and melodic backbone for the song, which in turn inspired me to finish the lyrics.
BRO – One record you would recommend that I snag that really defines your love of this sound?
CF – Oh, that’s tough. I would recommend getting the Stax box set – The Complete Stax/Volt Singles. You could dive into that thing and not come out for a year.
BRO – 60s fashion . . . “Oh, yes!” or “Goodness, no!!”
CF – Well, if you’ve seen our photos you already know my answer to this one. Hell yes!!
The tour schedule for Charlie Faye & The Fayettes is a bit quiet right now, but that should be changing soon once this new record catches fire. For more information on the band, when they might be hitting the road and a stage near you, or how you can get your hands on the new record, please direct your browser to their website.
Also, be sure to check out “Eastside” from Charlie Faye & The Fayettes on this month’s Trail Mix.