REVIEW: Tammy Fassaert -- Just Passin' Through

(solo CD released July, 1994 on the Dutch label Strictly Country)

Some of you may remember Tammy Fassaert's work on bass and vocals in bands such as The Good Ol' Persons, Laurie Lewis & Grant Street, The Texas Rangers and Tammy & The Americans. This, her solo debut, is a smooth blend of country, folk and bluegrass that should earn her many more fans.

Tammy's warm, resonant voice turns an ordinary song into a jewel and a good song into a moving experience. And on this recently released CD she includes eleven exceptional songs, four by her, one traditional, and others by T-Bone Burnett, Clive Gregson, Cyd Smith, Walter and Kathy Hyatt, Fred Koller and Steve O'Brien, and Vaughn Fulford.

Around the strong tree of her bass and voice dance a stellar cast of intrumentalists and backing vocalists from the B.C. and California bluegrass scene, including John Reischmann, Sally van Meter, Scott Nygaard, Barbara Lamb, Avram Siegel, Ed Johnson, Lisa Theo, Laurie Lewis, Kevin Wimmer, Paul van Wageningen and Mark Schatz.

The CD contains the following tracks:

  1. Never See Your Face Again (Tammy Fassaert)
  2. Wish Me Well (Tammy Fassaert)
  3. I Remember (T-Bone Burnett)
  4. Everybody Cheats on You (Clive Gregson) [Clive once asked Tammy to tour with him, after he and Christine split]
  5. Winter's Night (Traditional, arranged by Scott Nygaard)
  6. You Never Said Goodbye (Cyd Smith)
  7. You Shouldn't Have Told Me That (Walter and Kathy Hyatt)
  8. Just Passin' Through (Tammy Fassaert)
  9. Carry You Along (Tammy Fassaert)
  10. When the Sun Comes Up (Fred Koller & Steve O'Brien)
  11. Forest Belle (Vaughn Fulford)

Each song is a moving flower, and Tammy can conjure brightness from the bluest song. I rank her with Patsy Cline for conveyance of emotional nuances. This CD has become one of my comfort albums --- if feeling down, I can tune in to the slower, bluer tunes, find that inner jewel of brightness in her voice, then use the faster tunes to perk up even more. Or when tense or agitated, the warm natural voice helps you wind down --- bring the campfire in with laser technology.

This is an exceptional debut by a powerful singer/songwriter; don't miss this recording and don't miss any chance to hear her live --- the room will sing along with her voice and you will feel the song move inside you like a tiny child of emotion, embraced by a vocal hug. For outdoor concerts, her voice is carried on the wind, and the grass and trees sing along.

The CD Just Passin' Through is on the Strictly Country Records label, who have addresses at

SCR Holland, Postbus 32, 9540 AA Vlagtwedde, Holland
phone 05993-1 26 63 fax 05993-1 32 85

SCR America, P.O. Box 91, Coventry, CT 06238, USA

SCR Australia, 12 Carlisle Crescent, Hughesdale 3166, Australia

It should also be available at some good California stores and from the following Vancouver BC sources: Black Swan Records, (604) 734 2828 Festival Records (604) 879 2931 fax (604) 879 4315

Here are some quotes from the liner notes:

Tammy Fassaert:

TF: Songs can pass in and out of fashion almost as quickly as they
TF: can be sung.   Most of these are seasoned favourites of mine;
TF: others, destined to be.   Here are a few notes:
TF: _Just Passin' Through_ emerged during a solitary car trip, inspired
TF: by k.d. lang's country music.   Although tongue-in-cheek, a few
TF: men have told me they thought twice before coming to say hello,
TF: after hearing it!  I first heard the sweet sounds of _Forest Belle_
TF: around a campfire.  Thinking it was an old Canadian folk song I 
TF: was pleased to discover that it was a recent original by the
TF: singer (also a fine actor).  T-Bone Burnett recorded 
TF: _I Remember_ on his *Poison Love* album.   If you ever have
TF: the opportunity to hear the original you may be surprised!  Ed
TF: Johnson taught  _Winter's Night_ to me at a music camp several
TF: years ago.  The earliest recording I'm aware of is by Doc Watson,
TF: who learned it from his cousin, Dolly Greer.   _Never See Your
TF: Face Again_  is in honour of my mother.  TF

Gary Cristall (Artistic Director, Vancouver Folk Music Festival, March 1994):

GC: Tammy Fassaert has been part of the west coast progressive country
GC: music scene since she graduated from university over a decade ago.
GC: Heck, she even graduated "country" with a degree in agriculture
GC: and a major in animal science.   What's more country than that?
GC: Now the west coast country music scene, developing far from Nashville
GC: and Austin, has had little to prove, and therefore more freedom to
GC: follow its heart.   Combine all these refugees from the snow and
GC: the long tradition of eccentric free thinking and you've got a 
GC: great medium in which to grow unique music.  Tammy has played,
GC: sung and toured with most of the best including Laurie Lewis
GC: & Grant Street and the Good Ol' Persons.  Now she is putting out
GC: her first solo recording.  Its got that trademark west coast
GC: combination of virtuoso playing and a pot pourri of influences
GC: from straight bluegrass to twisted calypso with a bit of
GC: rock-a-billy thrown in for good measure.  And its got songs ---
GC: wonderful songs --- some written by Tammy herself; others 
GC: written by some of the best contemporary folk and country writers.
GC: The thing is, Tammy's songs stand tall beside those of much better 
GC: known writers like T-Bone Burnett and Clive Gregson.  No mean feat.
GC: I love this record.  I've listened to it half a dozen times,
GC: and every time I like it more.  This is the solo debut of a
GC: major talent.   As Tammy says in one of my favourites,
GC: _Carry You Along_: 

GC: TF>     'So lady let your heart unfold
GC: TF>      your stories to the world be told
GC: TF>      pick your voice up and sing it strong
GC: TF>      the words of your song   will carry you along

Tammy now has a website Tammy Fassaert.

Tammy has released a second CD, Corner of My Eye, which I may write a separate review of in another file. I like it just as much as I like her first CD. Also her web page is Tammy Fassaert.