Quick Q and A with Amy Fairchild

A very observant music critic once said that Amy Fairchild had the ability to “touch with subtle power.”  Being able to reach out to listeners with voice, instrumentation and an engaging presence is a gift and Amy has it.  Pure vocals, gritty songs, and tons and tons of melodic swashes to grab your sweet spot.

To learn more about Amy Fairchild, visit her website.

Here’s a video of Amy singing the title track of her latest CD “Nobody’s Satellite.”

Amy will be appearing at the me&thee coffeehouse in Marblehead, MA as part of a Tribute to John Prine on February 16, 2018.

Who or what first inspired you to start writing your own music?

I think what was instrumental for me was hearing Shawn Colvin’s Steady On in 1989. I’d been inspired by many writers/artists growing up, mostly folk (Beatles, Dylan, etc.) and my parents played lots of jazz around the house (doesn’t really reflect in my playing or writing don’t think!). I studied piano from the age of 5 and was always singing, from day 1, but it wasn’t until the late 80’s that I started wanting to write. I remember lying on the floor with headphones on and something just clicked. I had to write. Happened pretty quickly as soon as I picked up a guitar and then promptly quit college!

What are the best and worst parts of being a performer? 

No one showing up, gear not working, working to promote the show (without management and doing it on my own) endlessly. Those things aren’t fun. And I guess the best part is when you have that moment where you feel utterly free from self-consciousness and everything is clicking, in the middle of a song or a show. The trick is to make that last, and not try and control it, for one more minute or one more show.

You’ve garnered many accolades and awards for your songwriting over the years.  Your music obviously touches a chord with people.  Can you recall any particular moments when your soul took flight and you felt that you were connecting with your listening audience? 

One gig in particular comes to mind. I was opening for Pat Benetar at Meadowbrook in Gilford, New Hampshire and must have played a pretty strong set because there were 75+ people in line up the hill to buy CDs and get my autograph, It kinda freaked me out actually, but I do remember the feeling that I was connecting with something bigger than me and bigger than the music at that gig. And it wasn’t just because it was a big venue and there were lots of CD sales and people…I just felt connected with my soul. Shortly after that I took a little step back from pushing myself out there and self-promoting. Sometimes I question and wonder why I did that. I think I wasn’t ready, in some way.

Tell us about your most recent recording, Nobody’s Satellite. For starters, what does the title mean?  😉

There is a song on the record called “Nobody’s Satellite.” I wrote it for my sister who at one point was struggling with getting out of other people’s orbit and more specifically, my Dad’s orbit. My Dad was a strong character and they had a close, sometimes too close, the relationship that didn’t necessarily serve either of them well at times. Towards the end of his life, she was realizing this more and more and I wrote it for her to encourage her to break out emotionally. It’s now a very bittersweet song since losing him this past April. It’s one of my favs on the record (if I’m allowed to say that).

You’ve seen the music industry change in many ways during the more than two decades you’ve been involved.  What are your thoughts on how best to support the arts?

SEE. LIVE. MUSIC…including the show at Me & Thee on Feb 16th! Live shows are the only place I sell CDs anymore and where we as artists that aren’t huge stars stand a chance of making a little cashola.

What does John Prine’s music mean to you? Do you have a favorite song that moves you?

I became aware of John Prine’s writing through Bonnie Raitt’s version of “Angel from Montgomery”. It was one of the first songs I learned on guitar. He’s one of the best lyric writers (as we all know) and knows how to be funny and poignant/devastating at the same time. Not easy to do. I love “Sound of the Speed of Loneliness” which I’ll be doing on the 16th.

Please listen to a podcast about this John Prine Tribute show.