At some point most of us go through a period when the meaning of home becomes unclear. Often it comes after you move away from where you grew up: Suddenly your childhood home doesn’t feel like home, but neither does the new place you live in. Eventually things settle down and a person or a group of people invoke a level of comfort that you equate with home, or a dwelling or a city becomes so familiar that you couldn’t think of being anywhere else. But for that stretch of time when home is ill-defined, you ache for clarity.
This wistfulness coats Kalyn Fay’s sophomore album, Good Company. Throughout the 11 tracks — ten original tunes and one cover — the Oklahoma singer/songwriter longs for comfort while reconciling with the meaning of home: “I’ve been thinking of home and I don’t know what that is,” she sings on the rocky track “Oklahoma Hills.”
For many of her songs, Fay is at a crossroads. “I’m restless in a landlocked state,” she sings on “Come Around.” A sentiment that’s echoed on “Highway Driving” when she admits, “I have no place to go, nowhere to run.” But Fay is never content to stay uncertain; she always pushes herself to find a resolution. In the chorus of “Come Around” she is determined to find steady ground, and then on “Highway Driving,” she resolves to “find someone to ease my mind, have a little fun.”
This unease that Fay struggles with, and often overcomes, is bundled into an easy melange of folk, country, and rock sounds. Fay’s distinctive voice is at the center of Good Company. It’s husky but soft and she moves dreamily alongside pedal steel, keys, and guitars. Midway through “Baby, Don’t You Worry,” a guitar riff gently transitions into an accordion solo before Fay steps back up to the mic. On “Long Time Coming,” the haziest of the bunch, a pedal steel twists and curls like a stretch of highway while additional instrumentation gives off a hazy effect similar to heat waves radiating from hot asphalt.
On the album’s title track, an alt-country tune that would make an excellent addition to your next road trip playlist, Fay provides the clearest display of what she wants. Here she contemplates her future and then plainly, and encouragingly, shares what she’s after: “I’m just looking to settle on down with some good company.” When you’re at a crossroads, Good Company feels like just that.