"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
SINGER SONGWRITER MARY FAHL
MAKES HER ODYSSEY/SONY CLASSICAL
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.
"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
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
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
"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
"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."