Mary Fahl sounds great with Syracuse’s backing

Singer-songwriter Mary Fahl, formerly of October Project. (From maryfahl.com)

Singer-songwriter Mary Fahl, formerly of October Project. (From maryfahl.com)

Mary Fahl sounds great playing with musicians from Syracuse.

Mark Doyle told me so this spring, when we were talking about his “Guitar Noir” performances coming up at the Auburn Public Theater and the M&T Syracuse Jazz Fest.

One of the important musical elements in the veteran Syracuse musician, band leader, arranger and producer’s life at the time was his collaboration with Fahl, the singer-songwriter from Rockland County, N.Y., who in the 1990s was known as the lead singer for the folk-rock-adult alternative group October Project.

Doyle had brought together Fahl with the Syracuse musicians from the world fusion rock band Grupo Pagan, the same talented group he was using for his lush and elaborate string arrangements for the Guitar Noir shows.

'Mary Fahl Live at the Mauc Chunk Opera House' (From the CD Cover)

A couple weeks ago, Doyle dropped the new two-CD set “Mary Fahl Live At the Mauch Chunk Opera House” in my Syracuse city neighborhood of Eastwood mailbox. (Yes, small world lovers, he and his wife Liz live in Eastwood, too.)

Amid the 22 cuts, you can hear Fahl praise the work of music director Doyle, who also plays piano and acoustic and electric guitars, as well as Grupo Pagan members Edgar Pagan on bass, Bill DiCosimo on keyboards and Josh Dekaney on drums and percussion, complimented bu John Lissauer on piano.

Recorded Sept. 7, 2013 at Mauch Chunk, in Jim Thorpe, Pa., one of America’s oldest vaudeville theaters, the music is stunning. Fahl’s voice is always in command. She’s strong, beautiful, vibrant, rich, dreamy, exciting, peaceful … Part Celtic Woman, part Pink Floyd, part Joni Mitchell, in the reminds-me-of portion of my listening pleasures. She’s daring enough to cover “Us and Them/Brain Damage/Eclipse” on side one and “Both Sides Now” on side two. Yet she’s all Mary Fahl every note of the journey, on her pulsing originals like “Gravity (Move Mountains Turn Rivers Around),” “Siren,” “Dawning of the Day,” “Meant to Be” and right on down the line through infectious writing collaborations and other choice cover selections.

The national press has caught on.

“Mary Fahl’s striking voice, with its wide range, full-bodied amplitude amd stately, formal tone, marks hjer as a first-rate, smart pop diva,” proclaimed the Los Angeles Times. “Fahl also has the artistic temperament and emotional radar to avoid the show excesses of divadom.”

The concert was in Pennsyvlania was recorded for broadcast on PBS this fall.

And there’s a tour. Syracuse made the cut, thank you very much, Mr. Doyle. They’ll play a show at the intimate Red House Arts Center in Armory Square at 8 p.m. today. Tickets to see her with about 100 or so other smart folks are just $25.

Here’s the link for the Red House, which includes a click to buy tickets.

Here are the other tour stops, if you want to be one of the smart folks where you live:

Nov. 8 at Tin Angel in Philadelphia.
Nov. 15 at The Cutting Room in New York City.
Dec. 13 at Kennett Flash in Kennett Square, Pa.
Feb. 14 at Towne Crier Cafe in Beacon, N.Y.
Feb. 21 at Club Passim in Cambridge, Mass.
March 19-22 with the New Jersey Symphony Orchestra.
April 15 at New Hope Winery in New Hope, Pa.

Here’s the source for the top photograph, Mary Fahl’s web site.

Here’s a YouTube video from the double-album session.

Have you ever seen a performer daring enough to cover Pink Floyd and Joni Mitchell? Do you think you’d ever get a chance to see a show like this in a 100-seat theater? Will you be checking your local listings to catch Mary Fahl’s performance at Mauch Chunk, and would you consider a drive to the theater nearest you on her tour?

37 thoughts on “Mary Fahl sounds great with Syracuse’s backing

  1. You stumped me again. I’ve not heard of Mary Fahl. As for your questions, I’ve seen both David Gilmour and Roger Waters separately… they both performed solo stuff as well as Pink Floyd. But I don’t think that’s what you were going for. ๐Ÿ˜‰

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  2. I loved this and would listen to her, should she perform in Ohio… I love how you point out connections and ways people have shared their musical lives, as with Mary and Mark. Wow! You know I love Joni M., Carly S. and Carole King, along with many other ‘hippies’ who did not make it but sing with such passion and heart!

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    • Joni and Carole more than Carly for me on your trio, Robin. When I was going to college in Morrisville, here in Central New York, I went with a friend to his hometown near the Canadian border. We then went to Montreal to see a Carole King concert. This was in 1976, her peak period. I thought I was in heaven! That is one of my favorite concert memories ever, in an exotic city for this teenager seeing a favorite from my New York City home area. Thanks for making me remember, that, Robin. You have the knack for jogging loose these great thoughts for me, my friend. ๐Ÿ™‚

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  3. Hmmm, neat story Mark. I like Mary’s voice – it has a kind of haunting quality to it. I’m not so sure about the song Exile. It has possiblities, but I’m not sure Mary’s rendition quite got it quite right. The song seemed a bit flat. I kept expecing it to sweep up to a climax and it never did. Seemed technically well done, but I had to make myself listen to it after the half way point.

    I’d love to hear her in a small venue – I bet she could fill a room with sound. Alas, the closest appearance is too far for me. Unless she comes to Ottawa, I doubt I’ll have a chance to hear her. Are you going tonight?

    Interesting post Mark – thanks very much for the introduction to Mary.

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  4. Thanks for your review of this talented singer and for also sharing the youtube link Mark. Her hauntingly beautiful voice reminds me a bit of the Woodstock era.

    Yes, if I were able, I would travel to one of those places to watch her perform. When I first read Beacon, NY, I thought it said Bacon! Now I’m hungry. ๐Ÿ˜‰

    Diana xo

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