Peter “Blewzzman” Lauro © July 2021
Since over the last twenty years he’s played on some eight hundred stages, in twelve countries on three different continents, there is a chance that some of you may be familiar with a French blues artist named Amaury Faivre. If by chance you were at one of those performances, you most likely saw him playing as a duo, with a full electric band, or even with a symphony orchestra. All that, of course, was prior to the Covid-19 pandemic. During lock down – while most of us were eating and watching Netflix – Amaury wrote eleven new songs; did all the musical arranging; produced, mixed and recorded the project on which he sings, plays harmonica, guitars, mandolin, banjo, and percussion. That said, he appropriately named his second release “2020”.
I’d like to let it be known that when artists contact me about doing a review of their music, the form letter style reply I send that explains our whole process starts out with these exact words: “Please be advised, that although there are always exceptions, very hard rock blues and solo roots type acoustic blues are not our preference at this time.” That said, Amaury Faivre and his music were a rare and welcomed exception.
“2020” opens with an instrumental titled “Amuse-Bouche”. The best translation of it that I came up with relates to an appetizer and at just eighty-three seconds long, that’s exactly what it is – a tasty morsel of Amaury’s masterful harmonica technique.
The tale this song tells might just be one that many of us men can relate to. It’s about how much one’s life can change as a result of messing with the “Wrong Girl”. While playing the mandolin, various instruments of percussion, and blowing very sharp harp leads, this track not only establishes Amaury as a formidable one man band, but it showcases his song writing; story telling; and commendable vocal skills, as well.
Sometimes I’ll listen to a song that contains such touching lyrics and it’s sung in such an extremely emotional and melancholic style, that I can’t help but wonder if it was written from a real life experience or it’s just a song with absolutely no relativity. This one titled “Sister”, is one of those songs. Having said that, my gut’s telling me that this heartfelt outreach from a man to his sister is real – as the expression goes, you just can’t make up stuff like this. Musically, I’ve got to go on record as saying that I have never heard a harmonica more beautifully played. Call me crazy, but I felt like this may have been a song more suited for a violin and yet Amaury crushed the part with the harp.
“Heart Of Stone” has a cool country feel and with Amaury backing himself up, this is a masterful vocal performance. Additionally, with flawless guitar work, Amaury makes it clear that the guitar is not his second instrument.
“Invite A Danser” is a track that’s totally sung in French and although I couldn’t understand one word, I couldn’t care less. The fun Amaury’s obviously having singing and playing it is truly contagious. With all it’s changes, it could very well be one of the disc’s best instrumental performances. Starting out with soft vocals and killer acoustic guitar work it, at first, sounds like a country ballad. Then the vocal tempo goes into high gear and with a banjo and accordion sounding harmonica work it takes on this whole Cajun zydeco vibe. Great stuff!
“Mary Mae” is one of the more traditional blues songs. As a matter of fact, it’s something like you’d expect to hear from Cephas and Wiggins or Sonny Terry and Brownie McGhee. The only difference is there’s no and associated with Amaury Faivre, it’s all him.
So here I am, seven songs into the disc and each of them has impressed me enough to want to highlight it. That right there speaks volumes and pretty much is a great statement to end this review with.
Other songs on this very well done, from every aspect, disc include: “Even More”; “Best Thing For You”; “Watch Her Sleep”; and “Pouring Rain”, the only track that features someone besides Amaury – Marius Faivre (who I believe may be his child) on backing vocals.
To find out more about Amaury Faivre just go to his website – www.amauryfaivre.com. As usual, please tell him that the Blewzzman sent you.
Peter “Blewzzman” Lauro
Blues Editor @ www.Mary4Music.com
2011 Keeping the Blues Alive Recipient