A former mainstay of the local scene has a re-coming-out party this weekend when Andi Fawcett gigs at the Big Easy to celebrate the debut of her first solo record, Say It Anyway. A former two-time BiMPy winner as best female vocalist fronting jam-circuit favorites Relishgruv at the beginning of the last decade, she also fronted Five Above before dropping out of regular gigging for a time.
Lately she's been back with the three-piece Doubting Gravity, featuring Marion Grace bassist Josh Prescott and Sly-Chi drummer Dave Henault, while also doing solo gigs and working with Justin Maxwell (long-time Coming Grass/Sara Cox/Cindy Bullens bassist) on this record. It's a personal work, full of love songs and longings, shows of strength and admissions of occasional weakness, a folk-rock record you can get weepy to before singing along at the top of your lungs with the big pop chorus.
Fawcett's voice has matured over the years, picking up a bit of a grittier edge and settling in deeper, but so has her choice of material. Rather than happy-go-lucky jam-rock, this is full of raw emotion, no irony allowed. The best of the 11 tracks is an unabashed love song, "Forever Isn't Long Enough." Like many of the songs here, it opens with just Fawcett and her guitar strum, and when the other instrumentation builds in (mostly supplied by Maxwell throughout the disc), this time it's a smooth cello accompanied by plucked strings, as playful and bubbly as the admiration in Fawcett's voice.
"You seem to match up to my edges," she sings, "right where I finish you start."
"If I Could" is another nice single, with a Caribbean flavor and a catchy backbeat; "Beat Wasted" offers solid contrast between a quickly delivered verse and a wide-open pop chorus; "Puddle" features a local shout-out: "When you're missing the cold winds of Maine, and the showers in May/All you gotta do is face east, and you will see me."
Yep, Andi Fawcett is back in the picture. -Sam Pfiefle Boston Phoenix Magazine