Local singer-songwriter Shelly Fairchild, a longtime favorite of the LGBT community, has just released a new album. Her long awaited new album, Buffalo, is the songstress’s third full length album. It was about two years ago when Fairchild announced this new venture. She started a campaign with Pledge Music to fund her new work, but the process was a long one.
Fairchild explained: “It took so long to make. I launched the pledge campaign two years ago, and normally a pledge campaign usually lasts six months or a year at the most. I was so fortunate to have patient fans. I really wanted to get it right. I wasn’t happy with what I had in the beginning. I thought I was, but I recorded it and it was just not right. And I couldn’t put out something that wasn’t 100% what I wanted to say. It was like the story wasn’t finished being told yet, after the six-month mark or the year mark. The full scope of where I was hadn’t come out at that time. Everyone was so patient.”
Sometimes, a singer becomes attached to a song, especially when it’s one that fans respond to so well. “Ready to Fall,” a song she has played at every show I’ve seen and still can’t get enough of, has been re-recorded, re-produced, and re-vitalized for the new album. Written by Lisa Carver and originally on her first album with Sony, Fairchild still feels this song needs to be heard.
“I just love it so much. I always pull it out when I am playing my shows… I went into the studio, originally with Martina McBride, who has been super supportive of me. We were listening to songs, and she went to the studio with me to kind of help me navigate through the layers and find out what I wanted. John McBride was the one that engineered that song. I also had some incredible players on there too. David LaBruyere played bass, and he played for John Mayer for years. Derek Phillips was on drums. I had Leroy Powell, and he’s just incredible. He used to play with Shooter Jennings for a long time and now he does his own thing. Then I had a guy named Mike Hicks on keys, and he’s just super awesome.”
When asked if that was going to be the first single, she said she had other plans. “We’re actually shooting for Mississippi Turnpike to be the first single. Which, I didn’t write that one either. There are only three or four songs on the record that I didn’t write, but it turns out it’s just hitting a chord with everyone. It has that more Bonnie Raitt feel. It’s something people miss hearing. I know I did. When I first heard it, I had just gone through a tough time in my personal life. I was headed home to Mississippi to get a re-charge with my family. And my producer Carey, who’s one of the writers on the song sent it to me. Because it’s about going back home.”
As she was talking, you could hear her voice crack, as if she were about to cry. “It was almost like I wrote it myself literally. I called him back and told him we had to cut it. And we did and everybody loves it. It just feels like the right song to put out first. We’re testing it out, letting people hear it and getting feedback.”
Hearing the hurt, I was curious to see what she wasn’t telling me. I asked her if she felt comfortable going into detail a bit more. “I went through a breakup. It was a tough breakup, which if you care about somebody and love somebody they’re always going to be tough. I was with her for about four years, so it was tough. There was a lot tied into it too. When you have that much in the relationship, but you feel like you have to make a decision for yourself, that you think is a healthy decision for your own mind and heart and soul, you know? You’re walking away from someone you care about and you don’t want to destroy completely because they’re a significant part of your life and a significant part of your journey. And I’ve unfortunately had a few of those that broke my heart.”
“But somehow, I’ve managed to kind of come back around and be friendly with my exes, so I’m hoping that’s what the future holds here, even though that’s tough to do sometimes,” she added. “I feel like everyone should just love each other and be kind to each other in whatever capacity that is. Even when it’s difficult, it’s like, in the end, what else matters?”
Asked what she wanted her life to be like after this loss, she replied, “Right now, I’m just married to my career and this music right now. It’s the first time in a long time that I’m able to just focus solely on that…” She added that in the industry it can be difficult to have relationships because of the focus required to make a living in music. “And not just partnerships. It’s tough on your family, it’s tough on your friendships, because sometimes people take a back seat to the music, and the career, and the travel and everything. There is a balance somewhere, but it’s just a constant struggle to find it.”
That focus on her career has been taking her places, though. “I’ve always just wanted to be on the road. That’s how I want to make my living. I want to play my music for the people in different towns. I want to be a gypsy... I want to travel and I want to sing. So, Martina McBride asked me to open some shows for her, because she is so supportive of this record. She just wants me to have the best shot that I can to be in front of people … and I’m hoping we can build on that. I’ve got new management, so we’re just going to see where we can take it.”
Fairchild is also aiming to see her songs back on the air, perhaps in a transition to Americana. “I don’t know exactly where it will fit, because I feel like it’s probably more Americana than just country. But that’s honestly perfect for me... I know there’s some rock in there, some blues, soul, and there’s country, like singer songwriter stuff. I just feel like the genre of Americana is very wide. Most of the artists I love and listen to are considered Americana artists, and I’d love to join that crew, if possible.”
“I did an interview with Bill Cody (from 650 WSM-AM),” she added, “and he’s invited me back. I’m friends with Storme Warren, and we’re talking to him about doing some stuff with The Highway (Sirius-XM station). We’re in conversation with Spotify about some things, and there are some cool things possibly happening. And I keep putting it out there, every day I just speak that into the world. ‘I want to be on the radio, I want to be on tour,’ ya know? I see myself doing these things, and doing it in a bigger way than I’ve ever done it before. Just because of my level of commitment to it.”
Fairchild knows, however, that in this age of digital connections, word-of-mouth remains key for artists looking to build their reach. “One of the main things I’m interested in figuring out is my reach. I don’t know how people find my music. If somebody likes my music, I just hope they share it. Because that’s how I find music that I listen to. So I’m hoping the more I talk about it, the more people hear it, the more people know that it exists. I want my music to be part of what people care about and what they like. I’d love for that to be what this record does.”
Stampede over to your favorite music downloading site to purchase Fairchild’s new album Buffalo. And if you like it as much as I do, be sure to share it. You can also find her website, which includes her touring schedule, at www.shellyfairchild.com.