Cult singer-songwriter Bill Fay streams two songs from his first album in 41 years

Fans of Wilco are probably at least vaguely familiar with Bill Fay, whose song “Be Not So Fearful” Jeff Tweedy sang in the 2002 documentary “I Am Trying to Break Your Heart,” and pops up from time to time in Wilco’s set lists. It’s a beautiful tune from one of pop music’s most retiring figures: Fay is deeply reclusive, releasing a pair of albums in the early ’70s and then largely fading from view — until now.

Fay returns Aug. 21 with “Life Is People,” his first album of new material since 1971. Though he wasn’t releasing them, Fay never stopped writing songs, and “Life Is People” culls tunes from decades worth of homemade demos. The singer even returns Wilco’s favor with a sparse, haunting version of “Jesus, etc.,” and Tweedy lends vocal support to the lovely song “This World.” Both songs are streaming to preview the album, which conveys a sense of downhearted yearning that is flat-out riveting.




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