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"The Other Side of Time" by Mary Fahl
review by Ed Vincent
"Oak Park Journal Highly Recommended"


I remembered spending a long hours watching the
film "Gods and Generals" and loving the sound track.
There were parts that in film that gave me the visual
cue that this film was an opus of agony, as much of 
war is.  The film also had a different view of the conflict,
perhaps something more fair for the history books.  The
tune written for the film by Mary Fahl was deeply 
moving and ethereal in its context.  This album seems to
touch many parts of the world and many cultures.  It
is almost world music, given its wonderful taste of many
types of ethnic charms.  An incrediably talented writer and
performer Ms. Fahl should go very far.  I will be waiting
for her first music video too, she is a very attractive woman.

Her work is so beautiful though that even if she looked like
a chicken hit by a truck I would buy the album.  Keep 
writing and singing Ms. Fahl.
 



IN HER FIRST FULL-LENGTH SOLO ALBUM, 
SINGER SONGWRITER MARY FAHL 
MAKES HER ODYSSEY/SONY CLASSICAL DEBUT 
WITH THE RELEASE OF THE OTHER SIDE OF TIME 
CD IN-STORES ON MAY 27, 2003

Album Includes Fahl's Original Songs From the Soundtracks 
Gods And Generals And The Guys

(New York, NY, May 22, 2003) – Singer/songwriter Mary Fahl makes her long-awaited full-length, solo album debut with the release of Odyssey/Sony Classical’s The Other Side of Time.  Known to audiences as the richly evocative voice of October Project, Mary Fahl received critical acclaim and a loyal international following in the 1990s from her recordings and performances with the group.  Her new album features 14 songs, including special new mixes of "Going Home" from the Gods & Generals soundtrack and "The Dawning of the Day" from The Guys soundtrack.  The Other Side of Time will be released on Tuesday, May 27, 2003.

The album marks a turning point in Fahl's career, and is the first to showcase her writing talent.  “This is the first record I’ve made that is a true reflection of who I am as an artist,” the singer/songwriter says.  Fahl’s distinctive, highly personal sound – an earthy, viscerally powerful contralto that blooms in each of the album’s contrasting instrumental settings – takes listeners on a wide-ranging emotional and musical journey through the diverse material on The Other Side of Time. 

With a variety of collaborators, Mary Fahl co-wrote 12 of the album’s tracks, including “Going Home”  (written with Glenn Patscha and Byron Isaacs, both members of her band) and "The Dawning of the Day" for which composer Mychael Danna adapted a traditional Irish melody, with lyrics by Fahl.   Fahl’s songs draw on a variety of influences, from the upbeat pop of the “In the Great Unknown” and the gospel-infused emotion of “Redemption,” to the powerful contrasts of moody jazz and driving, classic rock on “Kindness Can Be Cruel” and the poetic delicacy of “Dream of You” with its languorous, evocative melody inspired by the art songs of Ravel and other French composers.    The album’s remaining two tracks are surprising and inspired “covers”: Fahl gives an impassioned performance of the tenor aria “Una furtiva lagrima” from the Donizetti opera L’Elisir d’Amore, and she brings a hypnotic grace to the magical “Ben Aindi Habibi,” based on traditional jarchas, erotic poetry written by Moorish women in the 11th and 12th centuries and sung in the ancient Mozarabic dialect.

Her collaborators on The Other Side of Time include Oscar nominee Ramsey McLean, known for his work with Harry Connick Jr.; Bob Riley, leader of the well-regarded alternative pop band Grace Pool; and the noted theater and film composer/lyricist Stephen Schwartz, who co-wrote the CD’s title track with Fahl.  The producer of The Other Side of Time is Jeffrey Lesser, who has worked with such diverse artists as Barbra Streisand, The Chieftains, Kool & the Gang, Loudon Wainwright III and Sony Classical artist Kristin Chenoweth.

The deeply personal conviction Fahl brings both to singing and writing won the wholehearted approval of Ronald F. Maxwell, who directed and wrote the Warner Bros. film Gods and Generals.  “Going Home,” which Fahl co-wrote, is heard under the film’s opening titles.  “Mary Fahl performs a song which sounds as though it must have been written in ante-bellum America, yet feels as fresh as a morning sunrise,” he wrote in the liner notes of the film’s soundtrack recording (also available on Sony Classical).  “The lyrics of ‘Going Home’ speak to the heart of the characters who inhabit the film – their attachment to place, to a community, to a home worthy of defending.”  The Gods and Generals soundtrack is currently in release, in a limited-edition deluxe package with special DVD that features music videos from Fahl's "Going Home" and Bob Dylan's "Cross the Green Mountain." 

For the soundtrack of The Guys – an intimate drama about the aftermath of the September 11, 2001 tragedy – Fahl and composer Mychael Danna transformed a traditional Irish tune into “The Dawning of the Day.”  Fahl’s original lyrics for the song hauntingly echo the events and the aftermath of 9/11.  Sony Classical will release the original soundtrack recording of The Guys on Tuesday, March 18, 2003.

Mary Fahl’s The Other Side of Time will be be featured on Sony Classical’s Web site at www.sonyclassical.com. Sony Classical.com is an online resource for exploring the label’s entire catalogue of recordings, and includes sound clips, track listings, cover art and other information about the recordings.  The site also features an online radio show, album supersites, multimedia, artist biographies, tour schedules and discographies for all Sony Classical artists, as well as special promotions, and much more.



MARY FAHL
Biography

"This is the first record I've made that is a true reflection of who I am as an artist," Mary Fahl says of The Other Side of Time, her first full-length solo effort and her first for Sony Classical's Odyssey label.

Fahl is already known to discriminating listeners as the richly evocative voice of October Project, whose two albums earned her copious critical acclaim and a loyal fan base.  The Other Side of Time launches an exciting new phase in Fahl's musical life, unveiling an impressive songwriting talent as well as an ability to seamlessly weave a broad range of musical idioms into her own distinctive, deeply personal sound. 

That sound also lends a special eloquence to the soundtrack of the new Focus Features film The Guys, directed by Jim Simpson and starring Sigourney Weaver and Anthony LaPaglia.  For this highly personal drama set just after the World Trade Center attacks, Fahl sings “The Dawning of the Day,” a traditional Irish melody, arranged by composer Mychael Danna, for which she has also written original lyrics that echo the valor and humanity of New York firefighters.  The Other Side of Time will include another song, “Going Home” which she sings on the soundtrack of director Ron Maxwell’s epic Civil War drama Gods and Generals, a Warner Bros. Release.  The singer wrote the song with Glenn Patscha and Byron Isaacs.  Soundtrack recordings of both The Guys and Gods and Generals are Sony Classical releases. 

"I wanted to make a record with a mature sensibility," says Fahl, whose unaffected manner belies the diva image that her commanding voice and stage presence might suggest.

The Other Side of Time complements Fahl's vivid contralto with spacious instrumental arrangements that match her voice with an array of acoustic, electronic and orchestral textures.  The result is a soaring, sometimes exotic sound that's both expansive and intimate, ethereal and earthy.  Fahl's emergence as a songwriter—she co-wrote all but two of the album's thirteen songs—yields rich results on such bittersweet originals as "In the Great Unknown," "Dream of You," "The Station" and the sweeping "Going Home.”  The artist's diverse tastes are further reflected in a personalized reading of the Gaetano Donizetti aria "Una Furtiva Lagrima" that strips away all traces of melodrama to cut to the piece's emotional core; and "Ben Aindi Habibi," a swirling, seductive piece adapted from traditional jarchas, erotic poetry written by Moorish women during 11th and 12th centuries.

The Other Side of Time teams Fahl with a formidable set of collaborators, including Grammy-winning producer/engineer Jeffrey Lesser, who first worked with Fahl on her independently released 2001 EP Lenses of Contact and whose credits include work with artists as diverse as Barbra Streisand, Lou Reed and The Chieftains; and renowned arranger John Lissauer, revered for his work on many of Leonard Cohen's seminal albums.  Fahl also combines her compositional talents with a variety of co-writers, including Academy Award nominee Ramsey McLean, known for his work with Harry Connick Jr.; Bob Riley, leader of the well-regarded alternative pop band Grace Pool; and noted theater composer Stephen Schwartz.  Also featured are a roster of top-flight players, including guitarists Oren Bloedow, Kevin Kuhn, Glenn Alexander; bassists Tony Garnier, Byron Isaacs and Mark Egan; keyboardists Scott Healy, Glenn Patscha and Henry Aronson; violinist Mark O'Connor, drummer Shawn Pelton and theremin player Pamelia Kurstin.

Fahl—who names Sarah Vaughn, Sandy Denny and Nico amongst her favorite singers—was born in Rockland County, New York, and studied medieval literature at Montreal's McGill University, where she simultaneously pursued her interests in music and acting.  "I've always had a big voice and I'm very comfortable on stage," she says, "but I've never had any vocal or classical training—which may have been a good thing in some ways.  I didn't have to unlearn anything, and my style of singing doesn't conform to any rules except my own."

After college, Fahl gained valuable performing experience during an 18-month stay in Europe, where she found work singing jazz standards with expatriate American musicians in clubs in Holland.  Later, while studying acting in New York, she met a group of musicians with whom she co-founded October Project.  The group signed with Epic Records and released a pair of well-received albums, 1993's October Project and 1995's Falling Farther In.

Following the band's dissolution, Fahl set out to build a solo career on her own terms.  She recorded a demo that became the four-song Lenses of Contact on her own Roughmix label; that disc also debuted The Other Side of Time tracks "Raging Child," "Paolo" and "Redemption."  She put together a touring band and began performing live shows for the first time under her own name, and found that her fans hadn't forgotten her.  All the while, she continued to hone her rapidly evolving songwriting skills.

"I had been writing for years," says Fahl.  "I had notebooks full of ideas for songs and a box full of cassettes with melodies that I'd hummed into my tape recorder, but I knew that I needed to throw my work into the crucible, to test myself."  Working with various co-writers, she soon gained confidence in her songwriting.  "In terms of my music, I've probably been most influenced by European writers like Jacques Brel and Michel Legrand.  At the same time, I definitely have my roots in American pop—Tom Petty, for instance.  I've always loved the lean, direct way he builds his songs to these really dramatic, emotionally satisfying choruses.

"It took me awhile to identify what kind of solo artist I wanted to be," Fahl continues.  "The more I wrote and sang what I loved without thinking where it would ‘fit’ into current trends, the closer I came to discovering what made me unique.  By the time I signed with Sony, I had been incorporating all kinds of classical material into my live shows and my writing had grown more, well, I guess you could say 'cinematic.'"  Her live audiences were enthusiastic about this new turn and so was her new label.  "It was incredibly liberating to have a record company that encouraged me to take these kinds of chances."

With The Other Side of Time launching her solo career on a high note, Mary Fahl is focusing on the future.  "I'm excited by the prospect of touring again," she says.  "The intensity of live performance and the intimacy established with an audience energize me."

"When you're really moved by music, or film, or theatre or any kind of art, you feel you've been transported, and that feeling stays with you," Fahl concludes.  "Taking the listener on an emotional journey has always been my goal whenever I'm making a record or performing live, and I hope we've achieved it with this album."