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Kevin Farge: Halcyon Days – Folk Radio UK


Kevin Farge – Halcyon Days

Very Jazzed – 22 April 2022

The guitar is fragile yet precise, as if things could break at any moment, then the voice of Kevin Farge enters, and you begin to realise why this set is called Halcyon Days. The peacefulness being experienced seems incredibly tenuous. Yet, for Farge, from his current base in Costa Rica, the beauty tends to outweigh a lot of what is going on in the outside world.

Opening “Dirt Road Paradise” with the gentle strains of fingerpicked acoustic guitar, it’s almost a shock when Farge’s voice enters the mix. Soft and slightly world-weary, his sadness is sometimes at odds with the landscape surrounding him. That’s the problem with paradise; it’s never exactly like the brochure.

Clearly no stranger to sadness, Farge and his guitar seem to have melancholy pouring out of every string. The entrance of Isabel Castellvi’s cello only adds to the sense of sadness on “Endlessness,” “Well, it all seems so endless/ When I think about it in song/ The heavenly bodies look down from above/ And I Look down, too.”  Understanding that looking at life can be painful, the notion of singing about it and sharing the pain can be cathartic.

There’s something of a shock when the fourth tune features a band of Farges. Instead of the more downbeat songs that preceded it, “Ashera” is a much more gently upbeat performance, complete with a melodica solo. Hot on its heels, “El Chile Duce” bounces along with the trumpet of John Britton, brightening the proceedings along with Ben Britton’s saxophone solo.

Over the course of two minutes and twenty seconds in “Sleep All Day,” Farge, the Houston, Texan turned Costa Rican coastline surfer, expresses the sentiments that we all have but so rarely act on, “Sleep all day with head under the sun/ The blanket’s cool but the bed is warm/ My head is full of rays of sunshine/ I’m gonna sleep all day.” Guided by a simply strummed guitar, it’s the sound of possible perfection.

Using just tuned percussion, “Neighborhood Kids” illustrates the beauty of children playing under the hot sun. Wordlessly you can picture the glory of play in this South American seascape. More seriously, the acoustic guitar of “Beneath the Old Bell Tower” paints a more solemn picture incorporating bits of melancholy with the beauty.

Subtly, imperceptibly, Kevin Farge builds Halcyon Days into something of a quiet revolution. He wields the power of gentleness, using the gentle force of his music to seep inside your pores until resistance to these gifts is useless.

Halcyon Days is out now:

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