“Mary Fahl has a voice for the gods”
~ Steve Morse, The Boston Globe
Mary Fahl is back ……. armed only with her guitar, that unforgettable voice and a whole new array of original songs. Alone on a stage, her uncluttered performances reveal what is essential about Fahl as an artist - genuine honesty and emotion, captivating melodies, and songs built around big ideas rooted in what it is to be human.
Blessed with a magnificent range, Fahl is an expressive, emotional singer/songwriter who first achieved fame as lead singer and co-founder of the mid-1990s cult band October Project, an East Coast folk-rock/adult alternative outfit that recorded two poetic albums for Epic: its self-titled debut album of 1993; and its 1995 encore effort, “Falling Farther In“. In a review of October Project’s first release, Allmusic.com dubbed Fahl the “lovechild“ of Stevie Nicks and Peter Steel and “a completely unique artist, sounding like no other vocalist of her era“.
Following her days with October Project, Fahl embarked upon a solo career with several notable collaborators, including Broadway composer Stephen Schwartz (“Wicked”) and Academy Award nominated lyricist, Ramsey McLean (“Sleepless in Seattle”). As a solo artist, Fahl was finally able to blossom as a songwriter – as she told Liane Hansen of NPR, cinema and film scores have had a profound influence on her music, envisioning each song she writes as a “tiny universe onto itself”.
In 2001, Fahl released an EP, Lenses of Contact (Roughmix Records), produced by Jeffrey Lesser. In Lesser, who had worked with a wide range of artists, including The Chieftains, Barbra Streisand, Loudon Wainwright III, and Lou Reed, Fahl found a compatriot who deeply appreciated her multi-faceted dimensions. All-Music Guide compared Fahl to Joni Mitchell and Judy Collins, although noting that she belted more than Mitchell and concluded that “this promising solo debut demonstrates that Fahl is a very spiritual and moving storyteller in her own right”.
Within two years, Fahl began to expand her repetoire to include a more exotic mixture of world, classical and medieval music. She caught the attention of Peter Gelb, head of Sony Classical (current head of the Metropolitan Opera) who was so taken with her first and only audition that he signed her on the spot – and shortly thereafter she released her first full-length album (The Other Side of Time) as a solo artist on the newly-formed Sony Odyssey label. The Other Side of Time featured songs that would grace two separate film soundtracks. “Going Home” was the opening song of Warner Bros. Civil War epic Gods and Generals. The album’s closing track, Fahl’s version of the traditional Irish ballad “The Dawning of the Day”, was showcased in The Guys. Fahl wrote her lyrics to “The Dawning of the Day” to honor the heroic firefighters who died in the September 11, 2001 attacks on the World Trade Center. Irish tenor Ronan Tynan recorded the song and has performed it at numerous 9/11 memorial services and at the re-opening dedication for the Seven World Trade Center.
The Other Side of Time revealed additional sides to Fahl’s style from Donizetti’s “Una Furtiva Lagrima” to the Medieval Andalucian “Ben Aindi Habibi”. These two tracks, which Fahl recorded in Italian and Mozarabic, respectively, were the first non-English language songs to appear on her records. The Boston Herald raved that “The Other Side of Time is a brillantly conceived album of broad proportions…..” and that “Mary Fahl has created a lush, cinematic, ferociously ambitious debut. Orchestral and multilingual, her stunning contralto floats from European cabaret and Irish folk to Italian aria and American art song.”
Subsequent to release of The Other Side of Time, Fahl acted in an Off-Broadway production of Murder Mystery Blues, a musical comedy based on short stories by Woody Allen. The play was originally performed at the Warehouse Theater in London.
In 2006. working with producers Mark Doyle and David Werner in Doyle’s small home studio in Syracuse, NY, Fahl began a “labor of love” – a step-by-step, song-by-song re-imagining of the musical Mt. Everest that is Pink Floyd’s classic album Dark Side of the Moon. Fahl recounts: “We had to have a good reason to make this ours. We weren’t interested in just trying to make good versions of great songs – there are Pink Floyd tribute bands for that – but, if we could re-invent the intention for ourselves, then we might stand a chance of being able to rediscover something that could give it a new life of its own. We came to perceive this work as a classic song-cycle …. a gnostic allegory for our times.” Following a theatrical performance of the piece from beginning to end, Fahl was immediately signed to V2 Records, and From the Dark Side of the Moon (mixed by Bob Clearmountain) was slated for release in 2007. Tragically, V2 closed its doors just prior to the release date, with recording rights reverting back to Fahl who plans to release the album in the Spring of 2011.
To quote Variety: “ She’s earthier than Enya, more nuanced than Celine Dion and avoids the bloodless goth of Lisa Gerrard”. With a myriad of powerful new songs that she’s written over the past few months, Fahl is back on tour, continuing to take audiences on a journey of emotional discovery and “transport listeners to other realms”(Boston Globe).