Fust is the songwriting project of Aaron Dowdy, and a Durham NC based alt-country band formed in 2018 currently touring in support of Genevieve, their sophomore album on Dear Life Records.
Fust’s first record Evil Joy was a self-described bitter domestic drama obsessed with the kitchen-sink passage of time measured by moments of leaving, returning, leaving, and returning. With Genevieve, we find a different kind of leaving: leaving behind, leaving one’s old ways, starting anew, a small life together, in “Family Country.” Thus, Genevieve: an historical name for both the saintly and the ordinary, the peasantry and the family, the community and the wife, extreme devotion and absolute forbearance.
While sonically and instrumentally louder than Evil Joy, Genevieve is thematically more quiet about its pains—more settled in its ways. It is a collection of pathetic love stories written in dedication to “small life,” moving from gentle exceptions (“I can take the late hours if you’re with me”) to pitiful admissions (“I’m never going to change when I leave…”). What comes with a quiet life? The highest forms of beauty, but we also find here songs of unspeaking companions, the sublime dread of having children, the balance of humility and humiliation, playing the fool for the greater good, and… budget birthday parties.
With these stories of possible growth, Genevieve can’t help but also feature tried and true examples of crisis and repression: seeking a bygone lifestyle in an old friend who hasn’t changed much over the years, pissing contests, search parties as the form of community for melancholics with no clue what they’ve lost, old flames you won't let go and dying flames you won’t admit. Genevieve is a road movie and a local theatrical production of and by a community struggling to hold itself together, a record of too many names and too many places: Sarah Lee, John and Angel, Jimmy, Sam, Rockfort Bay, New England, California, Jackson, Silent City, Bridge Street, Fourth Avenue, and of course Genevieve. How do we keep up with everybody, how do we stay close to those we love? Can we begin to understand the most difficult thing, that the better the worse?
Genevieve is the studio debut of Fust, recorded throughout 2022 and early 2021 (mostly) at Drop of Sun recording studio in Asheville NC. It was engineered, mixed, and mastered by the great Alex Farrar. You can hear his patience in every corner of this record. The painting by Sasha Popovici is exactly right: a domestic scene yet unfinished. Many friends helped near and far to make it much better than it was without them—Xandy Chelmis, Michael Cormier-O’Leary, Indigo De Souza, MJ Lenderman, Courtney Werner.