Mary Fahl is an expressive, emotional singer/songwriter who first achieved fame as lead singer and co-founder of the mid-1990s NYC-based chamber-pop group October Project. The hallmark of their sound was Mary Fahl's awe-inspiring power vocals over gorgeous melodies played with passion and sophistication.
As a solo artist, Mary has released several compelling albums, including the fantastic re-working of Pink Floyd's Dark Side of the Moon for V2 Records; her wonderful, original studio album The Other Side of Time on Sony Odyssey; and her acclaimed album Love and Gravity.
Now Mary returns with her album Live at the Mauch Chunk Opera House, a collection of twenty-three tracks recorded live at one of America's oldest vaudeville theaters and winner of the Indie Acoustic Award for multi-genre “Album of the Year”. The show was filmed for PBS and is currently airing around the country. Fahl’s elegant, cinematic songs draw on classical and world music sources, American art song, as well as thinking man’s folk-pop which she performs with an earthy, viscerally powerful contralto that Boston Globe critic Steve Morse calls “a voice for the gods that can transport listeners to other realms”.
Mary Fahl is headed to The Southgate House Revival on Saturday, December 5th! We sat down with the impressive artist prior to the show.
Give us some background on Mary Fahl…
I was the lead singer of October Project (Epic Records) in the mid '90's. We were signed out of NYC and were part of the Cafe Sine scene in NYC that included Jeff Buckley. Cafe Sine was a little cafe in the East Village that was run by an Irishman. People like Bono and Sinead O'Connor hung out there when they were in NYC and several acts (including ours) got signed to major labels out of here. We ended up touring with several bands including Sarah MacLachlan and the Crash Test Dummies and ended up selling over 500K records. I parted ways with the band after we were dropped from Epic and I went on to a solo career with Sony Classical and V2 Records. Sony wanted me to write songs for movies and I ended up writing the theme for the civil war epic "Gods and Generals".
I also got to work with Academy Award winning film composer Mychael Danna on the score of the "The Guys". I also remade my own version of "Dark Side of the Moon" for V2 Records. Most recently I made a record with producer John Lissauer, who was Leonard Cohen's producer on several of his classic recordings including "Hallelujah". My most recent album, "Live at the Mauch Chunk Opera House" won the Indie Acoustic award for Best CD in the multi-genre category. The live concert was filmed for PBS. I tour all over the country, sometimes with my full band, sometimes solo.
What can one expect at a live show?
I'm very eclectic... You'll hear my songs, medieval songs, folk songs, some Pink Floyd and lot of October Project.
Tell us how being a solo artist differentiates from being in a band from your experience…
While it helps to have a band when each member brings a lot of talent to the table, you have so much freedom as a solo act... It's your show and you can do what you want, when you want and how you want to do it. The logistics of touring are much easier too. I also feel that I can express myself in a more personal way than I can when I'm part of a group. I like telling stories about my life and you can't really do that in a group situation.
What is next for Mary Fahl?
Well, in addition to lots of tours dates coming up around the country, I've started working with some orchestras... In fact, this past spring the in-house composer for the NJ Symphony wrote a piece for me and I got to perform it several times with the orchestra which was thrilling! I'm also working on a new album which will be out in early 2016.