Mary Fahl has released a two cd live performance, Mary Fahl Live at The Mauch Chunk Opera House. Recorded at The Mauch Chunk Opera House in Jim Thorpe, Pa., as a follow-up to her 2013 cd Love & Gravity and a precursor to several upcoming live dates including a performance at Syracuse’s Red House on Oct. 4. Her concert at The Mauch Chunk Opera House was filmed for PBS and is scheduled to air this fall nationwide. Fahl’s musical history is highlighted as a founding member of October Project and her critically acclaimed solo career is growing exponentially through live performances.
This concert features CNY’s premier multi-instrumentalist, music director, arranger and producer, Mark Doyle (acoustic + electric guitars, grand piano, vocals), along with Edgar Pagan (bass), Bill DiCosimo (keyboards), Joshua Dekaney (percussion) of Syracuse’s “Grupo Pagan” and John Lissauer (piano) accompanying Fahl (acoustic guitar, vocals). Recorded by Andrew Roberts of Purple Audio on Sept. 7, 2013, engineered and mixed by Leonard Hospidor, this 24 track offering includes Fahl originals, October Project material, a taste of her re-imaging of Pink Floyd’s “Dark Side of The Moon” she self-released in 2011 as “From The Dark Side Of The Moon”, along with some extremely well-chosen covers.
Of note is how the Fahl/Doyle collaboration happened. In 2005, David Werner, longtime friend and former band mate of Doyle, approached him about re-doing a classic album in its entirety with Fahl in mind. Werner would produce, Doyle would co-produce, engineer, as well as play most of the instruments with Fahl vocalizing the rest.
After meeting Fahl, they agreed to try one song, then decide on the completion of the project. They recorded “Us and Them” in October ’05 at Doyle’s studio in Syracuse, the same starting point Pink Floyd had. A similar magic happened, culminating in the full recording happening, during the summer of ’06. Having to prove the recording could be re-produced live to receive their contract, Fahl and Doyle presented the project in concert to V2 Records. V2 signed them, gave a budget, the recording was finished and sent to legendary mixologist Bob Clearmountain. The label promptly folded a week before the project’s release and it was shelved until Fahl self-released it in 2011. This cd is absolutely worthy of a listen by anyone affected by the themes, history and magnitude of Pink Floyd’s masterwork. It is indeed a re-imaging. This was the beginning of an amazing musical relationship between artists Fahl and Doyle, which continues today.
Now, on with this most current release.
At first breath it may seem easy to pigeon-hole Fahl’s voice, she’s another Joni, Joan, Judy or Sarah, but there’s something more there. From the first song, “Deep As You Go”, when she sings, “Don’t save me – Don’t lose me – Don’t wake me now – You let me – You release me – Let me drown – Take me down – Take me down” you know she’s coming from a place very deep in her soul. This, being an early ’90s October Project song, should also bring knowledge of how long her road has been to this point in her career.
While firmly planted in the singer/songwriter category, her voice, whether performing originals or songs written for her, is magnified fronting a full band. Especially when that band is under direction from someone whose skills are so deft and subtle as Doyle’s. They’re so perfectly complimentary that her stories rise and fall emotionally without contrast from the accompaniment. Instead, they’re enhanced and taken to another level. Not the simplest task or for the faint of heart, even Doyle’s backing vocals provide depth, counterpoint and richness as if he was in fact the protagonist without taking that spotlight.