Cyrus Faryar


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This is a breathtakingly beautiful, if somewhat downbeat, melancholy album. For those unfamiliar with him, Cyrus Faryar is a musician and singer whose associations have allowed him to brush up against acts as different as the Kingston Trio and the Firesign Theatre, with the Modern Folk Quartet somewhere in between them. This body of music allowed Faryar to step into the spotlight for the first time, and with Cyrus, he delivers a body of music well-worth hearing -- his pleasing baritone wraps itself around the album's mix of his own dark-toned but highly, hauntingly melodic originals -- songs about endings and separations, and also pieces like Randy Newman's "I Think He's Hiding" with equally alluring and compelling results. There are moments, amid the despairing images and references, when one is forced to think of comparisons with Tim Hardin, but Faryar's music is more accessible in tone and focus, without the elements of personal psychodrama and agony that went with Hardin's work. His guitar playing is nearly as attractive as his singing, and nicely presented as well, although there's a lot more here than just a singer/songwriter with a guitar; indeed, ironically, Faryar doesn't regard this album as an individual statement, as he gave all of the players working with him -- which included the members of Oregon as well as Cass Elliot -- an equal say over what they did and how they played and sang anything; his just happened to be the lead vocal and he provided most of the songs. In that regard, this is less a singer/songwriter work than a kind of folk-rock super-session, with some very spacey and beautiful elements. It's all quite compelling, and its reissue on CD in 2006 by Collectors' Choice Music is a welcome surprise.

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