Charlie Faye is an Austin-based singer-songwriter who knows a thing or two about traveling, and what a nomadic lifestyle means to her songs. Her latest album, Travels With Charlie, recalls her ten-month journey throughout the U.S. where she made ten cities her home — Tucson, AZ, Los Angeles, CA, Portland, OR, Boulder, CO, Shreveport, LA, Burlington, VT, Milwaukee, WI, Nashville, TN, Asheville, NC, and New York, NY. She played shows in each city, gained new friends, and wrote and recorded a new song — with ten different bands — in each of her various homes along the way. Perhaps this video explains her travels better:
Faye, who you’ll be able to find back on the road next week when she starts her new tour, is an artist who gives new meaning to our Homewtowns feature here at Speakers in Code. While she’s obviously not obsessed with finding and keeping a comfort zone in her life, her adopted hometown of Austin is still close to her heart. Here’s a little bit more about Austin, straight from one of our new favorites, Charlie Faye.
Tell us something unique about your hometown that we can’t find on Wikipedia.
Austin provides its resident musicians with health care and mental health care. For real. All you have to do is be legit and sign yourself up. The city really values its music community, so they do their best to keep us healthy and sane.
Have you ever written a song that pays tribute, in some way, to your hometown? Tell us about it.
Well, I wrote a song once about being away from my hometown. Does that count? It ended up on my new record, Travels With Charlie. I spent 10 months last year on the road, away from Austin. And I love being on the road, so that was no big deal for me. But after 7 months or so, I started to really crave that feeling of being Home. So that’s what the song is about.
If you had 24 hours in your hometown to spend as you pleased (no work!), what would you do? Walk us through the big stuff.
When I have a day off at home during the summer, you’ll always find me at Barton Springs Pool. It’s a swimming hole in Zilker Park, filled with water from a natural spring that stays at about 68 degrees year round. It’s also a great people-watching spot. After the springs, I would make a stop at Daily Juice, the best juice cafe Ever. I’ve been everywhere, man. Daily Juice is the best. Then I’d go back to the cottages and see who was around, drop in on some friends, maybe hear somebody’s new song or meet somebody’s new pet.
There’s great music every night in Austin, so I might grab a friend and go check out a show at the Saxon Pub, Momo’s, or the Continental Club.
Have you ever wished you were from someplace different than your hometown? Explain.
Well, I actually grew up in New York City. Austin is my adopted hometown, and I feel much more like an Austinite than a New Yorker. I never really liked living in New York, even as a kid. Of course, being a teenager and running around the West Village with a fake ID was pretty fun. But when I was a little kid, I used to fantasize about living on a farm. I wanted to be able to run around in the woods, not be trapped in an apartment in the concrete jungle. Austin is a good happy medium for me. It’s still got all the cultural creature comforts of a city like New York — great food, all kinds of people, and lots going on — but you’re surrounded by green.
What/who do you miss the most about/from home when you’re touring?
My friends in my little Wilson Street community. I live in this little cottage in Austin, in a cluster of cottages that are occupied by mostly musicians. It’s so nice to have friends right next door, and be living around people who are doing the same kind of thing you’re doing. It can get lonely on the road, especially when you travel by yourself like I do. I miss my people. And we’re all on the road all the time. So at those rare moments when everybody is home, it feels like a big sweet family reunion.