Lights of Santa Fe


September 2012, Country Music People Magazine

“The American state of New Mexico is one of America’s quieter states, rearely hitting the headlines. The state does have a country music scene, and from that we have new band. Cathy Faber’s Swingin’ Country Band. The band were formed in 2010, and now, two years later the bands debut disc, The Lights Of Santa Fe is released. The title song written by underrated songwriter Eliza Gilykson has a superb vocal by Cathy Faber, singing with great pride about her home town. The band create a gently rocking backing track.

There are 15 cover versions, very carefully selected, mostly written by talented women country singers. Cathy Faber wanted to highlight the important contribution that women have made to country music. Back in the 1950’s a young woman called Jean Shepard took a tape of one of her songs to a record company. A man told her that “Women don’t sing country, and if they did no one would buy the records”. Boy was he wrong, twelve months later Jean Shepard was at #1 on the country charts! Since the early days women have had a big influence of country music which remains strong today. There are two very famous country songs to be found here, Jim Reeves’ smash hit He’ll Have To Go, which gets a wonderful Tex-Mex update, and a passionate vocal by Auge Hays which brings back memories of Ry Cooder’s amazing version from the 1970s. Auge Hays, who is an important member of the band also plays steel guitar.

The other “big” cover version does not fare so well. However anyone who tackles Tammy Wynette’s Your Good Girl’s Gonna Go Bad does deserve points for bravery. The new version has a good vocal by Cathy Faber but never really catches fire. The melody is altered slightly at times which may annoy some purists.

Wildly underrated singer Stephanie Davis, 20 years ago taught Cathy Faber her song, Give A Little Bit Back. That song is on the new disc with a delicate, sensitive backing track and a Cathy Faber vocal second only to the title track. Other highlights of this very entertaining album include a strong cover of Rosie Flores’ Honky-Tonk Moon, the uptempo, fun Jack’s Red Cheetah with superb stee guitar, and old timey San Antonio Romeo written by Tish Hinojosa.

The Cathy Faber’s Swingin’ Country Band CD is for me, one of the years best debut discs. It’s pure country entertainment and I am already looking forward to a second CD. ”

-Paul Riley

Originally published 6/12/2012

“When you receive a copy of a CD along with a letter that reads, “What does a girl have to do in this town to get her CD reviewed?”, you laugh for just a little bit and then get down to reviewing.

This is the story of how I fell in love with Lights of Santa Fe, the newest release of country covers from Cathy Faber’s Swingin’ Country Band. Recorded at Kitchen Sink Studios right here in good ol’ New Mexico, Lights is the kind of album that sticks with you long after you’ve hit stop; it’s a tremendous accomplishment and a credit to our local scene.

There’s just something about Lights that feels so right. It may be an oddly comfortable sense of familiarity, it may be the unbelievably great music found throughout the record. Or it may even be that it’s simply nice to hear a local country band play so beautifully. Whatever the reason, I can’t stop rocking this thing, and I’m bummed I haven’t paid Faber and crew more attention before now.

– Alex De Vore


“Cathy Faber has been known around my neck of the West for quite a while playing bass, recording and singing with such luminaries as Bill Hearne, Joe West, Luke Reed and others.  Now she has gathered around her precisely the kind of creative musicianship she wants.  It’s an effect you’ll likely want as well!  Her debut CD in this showy new incarnation is a winner from stem to stern.  With George Langston (backing vocals & guitars), Auge Hays (vocals, pedal steel & dobro) and Britt Alexander (drums & cymbals) plus guest artist and co-producer Jono Manson she swings solidly through classics like “Your Good Girl’s Gonna Go Bad” and Tish Hinojosa’s “San Antonio Romeo.”  Other goodies include the Eliza Gilkyson title track “Lights Of Santa Fe,” Rosie Flores’ “Honky Tonk Moon,” Stephanie Davis’ “Give A Little Back,” Lucinda Williams’ “Big Red Sun Blues” and nine others just as fine.  This is a danceable, wonderful acoustic disc and that means there’s a great time to be had by all.  What more can one ask, but to get one’s hands on it??!”

– Rick Huff


Originally published on 5/25/2012

“Faber, a singer and upright bass player, is a veteran of Santa Fe music, having served time in Bill Hearne’s band and more recently with her own group, which includes some of New Mexico’s finest — steel guitarist Augé Hayes, guitarist George Langston, and drummer Britt Alexander. Jono Manson adds some harmony vocals, and he co-produced it with Faber.

Some of the finest cuts here, like “San Antonio Romeo” (written by former Taos resident Tish Hinojosa) and “Blues Keep Callin’ ” (composed by rockabilly goddess Janis Martin), are in the Western swing mode, while “Jack’s Red Cheetah,” my personal favorite, sounds like a close cousin.

But despite that and the band’s swingin’ name, most of the songs here aren’t swing. They’re just good country tunes — like Tammy Wynette’s “Your Good Girl’s Gonna Go Bad” and Jim Reeves’ “He’ll Have to Go” (with Hayes on lead vocals) — from the day when country sounded country.

Faber also dips into singer-songwriter territory with songs by Eliza Gilkyson (the title song), Lucinda Williams (“Big Red Sun Blues”), and Karla Bonoff’s “Home,” which I remember from some old Linda Ronstadt record.”

-Stephen W. Terrel