Wearing an Atlanta Braves jersey, with her auburn hair tucked under a visor, Faye Webster cuts a distinct figure for an indie-folk singer-songwriter. She’s the kind of person you wish would crash your summer barbecue, where she’d probably hang out in the corner, spinning a yo-yo and coolly surveying the scene. However, on her latest album Atlanta Millionaires Club—ten tracks of blustery loneliness and introspective songwriting—the only party Webster crashes is her own.
“Looks like I’ve been crying again over the same thing,” she states in the album’s opener, “Room Temperature,” before quietly whimpering “I should get out more” over and over against a breezy steel guitar. Webster carries this isolation throughout the rest of the tracks, spinning webs of silky rhythms and melancholic verses throughout. “I think that tonight I’ll leave my light on,” she announces in the sparkling single “Kingston.” “’Cause I get lonely when it’s out, and I miss you right about now.” Bummer? Maybe. Alluring? Absolutely.
The 21-year-old’s Atlanta roots allow her to effortlessly coalesce R&B with indie-folk. This is especially true for “Pigeon,” in which the steel guitar is joined by quirky keyboard chords to create a beat reminiscent of TLC’s “Waterfalls.” “I used to make my bed/but now I see no point in it,” she sings. On the seductive “Flowers,” she’s joined by Father, the Atlanta rapper from local label Awful Records that helped jump-start Webster’s career. “Why won’t you come here to visit? Why do you only speak of it?” she asks over saxophone in “Come to Atlanta,” begging a lover to come to the city where Webster started it all. “I only want that with you.”
Webster cites Aaliyah as an inspiration, and it’s easy to see how the late R&B star has made an impression on her. Whether she’s aching against twangy guitar in tropical disarray (“Hurts Me Too”) or pining for the past over mellow R&B rhythms (“Johnny”), Webster breaks musical barriers in such a way that musicians rarely do these days. She delves into her emotions and wears them on her jersey, and though at times this vulnerability and malaise feels tiresome, it’s her self-exploration that makes it worthwhile.