Mary Fahl

Mary Fahl
Mary Fahl
Background information
Birth name Mary Faldermeyer
Born July 1, 1958 (1958-07-01) (age 53)
Origin Rockland County, NY, U.S.
Genres Celtic, folk, world
Occupations Singer, songwriter, guitarist, off-Broadway actress
Years active 1990–1996 (group)
2001–present (solo)
2003–present (acting)
Labels Epic
Sony Classical
Associated acts October Project

Mary Fahl (born July 1, 1958) is an American singer, songwriter and actress known for her work with October Project in the mid-1990s. More recently she is known for her solo singing and acting career. She released an EP Lenses of Contact in 2001,[1] and a full album The Other Side of Time in 2003 on Sony Classical.[2] A new album, From the Dark Side of the Moon, was released on May 10, 2011.[3] Her music has been featured in the film Gods and Generals, as well as the film version of the play The Guys.[4]


Early life, education

Mary Fahl was born Mary Faldermeyer in Rockland County, New York on July 1, 1958.[5] She was raised in a large Irish/German[6] family in Stony Point, New York;[1] her father was an accountant who commuted to New York City.[6] Fahl has stated that as a child she used to sing along with her older sibling's records to practice her voice. She formed her first makeshift recording studio in the household bathroom.[7] She attended Albertus Magnus High School, and graduated from North Rockland High School.[1] She later attended McGill University to study medieval literature.[2]

After graduating, Fahl and her sister left the United States to spend 1½ years in Europe; she said that she received an "informal graduate degree in music" by checking out vinyl records at a library in Holland and listening to and analyzing them.[5][6][8] She also earned money by house-sitting and singing in cafes.[7]

October Project

In 1990, Fahl briefly considered attending a post-grad pre-med program at Columbia University.[6][8] Upon returning to New York City, she was introduced to lyricist Julie Flanders by a friend.[9] Flanders introduced Fahl to Flanders' collaborator and boyfriend Emil Adler, a composer.[10] Together with guitarist Dave Sabatino they formed the early incarnation of the band October Project, with Fahl handling lead vocals.[8] Fahl stated they "rehearsed forever, a year and a half sort of finding where we were." They soon added vocalist Marina Belica and began touring the coffee house scene with their original music, eventually releasing their self-titled debut in 1993 on Epic Records. They released a second full album, Falling Farther In, in 1995 on Epic, and the album made it to the Billboard 200.[7] The group toured with acts such as Sarah McLachlan and Crash Test Dummies.[1] The group disbanded in 1996,[8] reforming in 2001 with Belica (lead vocals), Flanders and Adler.

While singer for October Project, the media occasionally depicted Fahl as "a goddess of Goth, a figure admired by followers of the vampire movement."[6] Fahl, however, has stated she does not identify as Goth. She has theorized that because she did not have much money at the time and chiefly wore one black dress to all public appearances, the media misinterpreted her image.[6]

Commercial work

After leaving October Project, Fahl spent time earning a living by working in the commercial world. She say she's created "quasi-Arabic-sounding wordless soundscapes" for various commercials.[11] She has also voiced spots for Audi, Crystal Light, Russell Athletic, and Fisher-Price.[7][12]

Solo career

After leaving October Project, Fahl embarked on a solo career.[13] As a solo artist, she writes her own songs, usually in collaboration with other musicians.[8]

Lenses of Contact (2001)

Fahl released an EP, Lenses of Contact, in early[14] 2000 for Rough Mix Records.[15][16] It featured four songs: "Raging Child", "Paolo", "Meant to Say", and "Redemption";[17] the title of the EP came from a line in "Paolo".[18] The EP contained elements of folk music, rock 'n' roll, and pop. Jeffrey Lesser, a producer/engineer who has previously worked with Barbara Streisand, Joni Mitchell, Lou Reed, and The Chieftains, produced the EP.[1][5] She toured to promote the EP backed a by a five piece band of rock musicians.[16] Many of the members of her newly formed backing band later became the band Ollabelle.[citation needed]


The EP was released to favorable reviews. Allmusic gave it 4½ out of 5 stars. They compared her to Mitchell and Judy Collins, although noting that she belted more than Mitchell, and concluded, "This promising solo debut demonstrates that Fahl is a very spiritual and moving storyteller in her own right."[18]

In a live review of a Lenses of Contact show, Billboard stated "while her former band was sometimes categorized as new age, progressive, or art rock because of its classical leanings, the solo Fahl has her feet firmly planted in classic rock, pop, and folk terrain."[16]

The New York Press wrote the EP "makes us embarrassed for both the mincing stampede of girl singers on the charts and for Fahl herself, who actually cares enough to sing, literally, from her guts, while daringly carving every phrase into dizzying terrain."[19]

The Other Side of Time (2003)

Shortly after 9/11, Fahl auditioned with a compilation of demo material for executives at Sony Classical in New York,[5] including Peter Gelb.[12] She earned an album contract, and after several months working on material in studio, released her first full-length album in winter 2003.[5][20] The Other Side of Time had 14 songs in all (three of which were originally featured on Lenses of Contact). She shares writing credits on 12 of the 14 tracks on album.[21] It was again produced and engineered by Jeffrey Lesser, formerly responsible for her EP.[5] Fahl toured across the country in support of the album's release.[2]

Two songs on the album featured prominently on soundtracks. "Going Home" was written by Fahl[11] to appear in the opening of the Civil War film Gods and Generals.[12] The album's closing track, Fahl's version of the traditional Irish tune "The Dawning of the Day,"[11] was featured in the film version of the Broadway play The Guys, along with several reprises of the song.[4]

Style, themes

Fahl wrote her lyrics to "The Dawning of the Day" to honor firefighters who died in the September 11, 2001, attacks.[9] Ronan Tynan performed the song in 2006 at the re-opening dedication for the Seven World Trade Center.[22]

The Other Side of Time showed some additional sides to Fahl's style, bringing in opera styles in "Una furtiva lagrima" and Middle Eastern influences in "Ben Aindi Habibi".[23] These two tracks, which Fahl sang in Italian and Mozarabic respectively, were the first non-English language songs to appear on her records. "Ben Aindi Habibi" was a traditional kharja written in the 11th century.[2] Fahl said in an interview that she had discovered "Ben Aindi Habibi" while on tour with October Project and considered it her favorite song on The Other Side of Time.[24] In an interview with Liane Hansen of National Public Radio, Fahl stated that she performed these songs on The Other Side of Time because she was signed to a classical label and a pop label would not have let her make that type of record.[24]


Overall, The Other Side of Time met with largely positive reviews. The Salt Lake Tribune gave the Other Side of Time an "A" grade in a review,[21] and Film Score Monthly called her "a brasher, more exciting version of Enya and Sissel" and concluded "Mary Fahl, thankfully, is not your typical pop singer. Somewhat unwieldy, but always interesting. More filmmakers should pay attention to the vocal talent on display in this CD."[25]

A live Boston Globe review from August 2003 stated "Fahl has a voice for the gods. It is a compelling operatic pop instrument that can transport listeners to other realms. Her new album, The Other Side of Time, is a fascinating if sometimes slightly stiff mix of orchestral pop and riveting Celtic stylings a la Sandy Denny of Fairport Convention, with occasional hints of Sinéad O'Connor."[26] A live review from June 13, 2003 show stated the concert "let loose Fahl's deep, almost operatic vocal range. Usually such stylized music doesn't lend itself to variation...Fahl broke free of all stylistic restraints."[15]

A July 2003 review stated that Fahl is "Most certainly an Artist of the highest caliber," and "this is not rock and roll. No dance moves or funky grooves, either. She is unlike any other popular performer today. Her lyrics are deeper and richer, like a Marc Cohen or a less self-involved Joni Mitchell. Her voice is a real treat, though. It is a force of nature, pulling you along as she rages against the heavens in full throttle; or softly, intimately singing to a private part of your soul that only she knew was there."[27]

All-Music Guide praised her past work with October Project and her first solo EP but gave her only 2 out of 5 stars for The Other Side of Time, saying, "She still has the big voice, but she's opting for an easier course of being eclectic by tossing faint nods at different styles while trying to hew firmly to the center of the road."[28][29]

From the Dark Side of the Moon (2011)

As of September 2006 Fahl completed the recording of From the Dark Side of the Moon, produced by Mark Doyle and David Werner and mixed by Bob Clearmountain. Doyle also provided nearly all of the instrumentation. The album is a song-by-song "re-imagining" of Pink Floyd's classic album The Dark Side of the Moon.[30] Advance copies were not sent out,[31] and the album remained unreleased for several years after V2 Records went out of business right before her release.[3] Fahl self-released the album on May 10, 2011.[32]


Publication Nippertown referred to the album as "mindblowing,"[32] while The Morton Report called it "brilliant" and "a worthy re-interpretation not to be missed."[33]

The singer is expected to release a new originals album, Gravity, sometime in 2011.[33]

Musical style, influences

Fahl has stated that she grew up listening heavily to her brothers' Bob Dylan and Pink Floyd records, as well as her sisters' Joni Mitchell and Dusty Springfield albums.[34] She's specifically cited Joni Mitchell as being highly influential in her music.[12] She's also referenced Nico[8][32] and various film scores.[11] Reviewers regularly have compared her to Enya, saying "both have a vocal grace and rich melodic sense that verges on Classical Music." Fahl has stated she and Enya are not really alike, as Enya is a soprano, while Fahl's voice is "earthier, a dusky contralto. Her sound is more worldless vocales, my material is much more rooted in the storytelling, singer/songwriter tradition."[12][35]

In a May 2011 interview, Fahl stated that she now uses a solo acoustic style at all live performances.[36]


After the release of The Other Side of Time, Fahl acted in a production of Murder Mystery Blues, a comedy which is based on short stories by Woody Allen. Fahl and the other actors also served as musicians who performed the play's score.[37] The play was originally performed at The Warehouse Theater in London and later moved to an off-Broadway theater in New York City.[38][39]

Personal life

Fahl currently lives in Easton, Pennsylvania and is married to deep-sea oceanographer and marine biologist Richard A. Lutz. .[5]



  • October Project, October Project (1993)
  • Falling Farther In, October Project (1996)

Solo career



  • "Going Home" (2003) – from The Other Side of Time

See also


  1. ^ a b c d e Shustack, Mary (May 31, 2001). "Mary Fahl returns to her roots". The Journal News. 
  2. ^ a b c d Bankard, Bob (August 13, 2003). "Rise and Fahl". Bucks County Courier News. 
  3. ^ a b Mark Doyle, official website
  4. ^ a b "Voice of America". 2003. 
  5. ^ a b c d e f g Mulero, Eugene (August 27, 2003). "Looking for the 'Other Side of Time' ". Hudson Current. 
  6. ^ a b c d e f Sullivan, Al (June 7, 2001). "Out on her Own - Hoboken's Mary Fahl releases solo CD". Hudson Reporter. Retrieved 2011-05-02. 
  7. ^ a b c d Simmonsen, Derek (May 19, 2001). "Fahl's solo voice powers her return". The Washington Times. 
  8. ^ a b c d e f "On the CD Watch: Mary Fahl Emerges". The Electric Review. November 2003. Retrieved 2011-05-02. 
  9. ^ a b "Talk Today: Singer Mary Fahl". USA Today. January 21, 2005. Retrieved 13 December 2006. 
  10. ^ Boehm, Mike (November 11, 1995). "Meeting October Projections : Pop music: Mary Fahl and partners, at the Coach House tonight, follow through on their goals.". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 2011-06-27. 
  11. ^ a b c d Bessman, Jim (June 14, 2003). "Films Herald Fahl Solo Set". Billboard. 
  12. ^ a b c d e Takiff, Jonathan (May 30, 2003). "Mary Fahl finds her voice". Philadelphia Daily News. 
  13. ^ Pensiero, Nicole (April 19, 2001). "Music Picks: Mary Fahl". City Paper. Retrieved 13 December 2006. 
  14. ^ Oldsmith, Kase (August 14, 2003). "The other side of Fahl". Weekend Magazine (New York). 
  15. ^ a b "Nothing for granted". Lexington Herald-Leader. June 13, 2003. 
  16. ^ a b c Spielman, Cheryl (June 12, 2001). "Live Reviews: Mary Fahl". Billboard. 
  17. ^ a b Hnderson, Alex (January 16, 2001). "Lenses of Contact". All Music Guide. 
  18. ^ a b "Allmusic". Allmusic ((( Lenses of Contact > Overview ))). Retrieved 13 December 2006. 
  19. ^ "Best Contralto: Mary Fahl". New York Press. October 3, 2001. 
  20. ^ Vincent, Ed (May 2003). "The Other Side of Time by Mary Fahl". Oak Park Journal. Retrieved 2011-05-02. 
  21. ^ a b Renzhofer, Martin (2003). "Mary Fahl: "The Other Side of Times"". The Salt Lake Tribune. 
  22. ^ "Linda Eder's Official Fan Newsletter". The Voice Vol. 7 Ed 1. Fall 2006. Retrieved 11 February 2010. 
  23. ^ Rowe, Matt (June 11, 2003). "Mary Fahl: Other Side of Time". MusicTap. Retrieved 2011-05-02. 
  24. ^ a b "NPR". Mary Fahl. Retrieved 13 December 2006. 
  25. ^ Wong, Cary (May 14, 2003). "Film Score Divas -- Past, Present and Future". Film Score Daily. Retrieved 13 December 2006. 
  26. ^ "Mary Fahl at the House of Blues". Boston Globe. August 16, 2003. 
  27. ^ Park, Bill (July 2003). "Mary Fahl". ProRec. 
  28. ^ "Allmusic". Allmusic (The Other Side of Time Overview). Retrieved 13 December 2006. 
  29. ^ "Singer Mary Fahl on performing new album, and Hoboken". Hudson Current Vol. 13, No. 16. November 21, 2003. 
  30. ^ "Mark Doyle". Mary Fahl's Dark Side of the Moon: A Backgrounder. Retrieved 13 December 2006. 
  31. ^ "V2 Restructured"
  32. ^ a b c "Interview: Mary Fahl". Nippertown. September 22, 2010. Archived from the original on 2011-06-18. Retrieved 2011-05-02. 
  33. ^ a b Rowe, Matt (July 24, 2011). "Mary Fahl Finally Delivers Brilliant From the Dark Side of the Moon Album". The Morton Report. Retrieved 2011-07-24. 
  34. ^ Perlmutter, Adam (July 2003). "Meet and Greet: Mary Fahl". Women Who Rock. 
  35. ^ "A Baker's Dozen Divas". Windy City Times. August 5, 2003. 
  36. ^ Schelkopf, Eric (May 2011). "Interview with Mary Fahl". Chicago Music Guide. Retrieved 2011-07-24. 
  37. ^ Hernandez, Ernio (December 7, 2006). "Playbill News: Murder Mystery Blues – Woody Allen Shorts on Stage". Playbill News. Retrieved 2011-05-02. 
  38. ^ "59E59". I'm a Camera presents Murder Mystery Blues. Retrieved 13 December 2006. [dead link]
  39. ^ Ponti, Aimsel (July 16, 2010). "Face the Music: Hard not to fall for this Mary and her soul-permeating pipes". The Portland Press Herald. Retrieved 2011-05-02. 
  40. ^ "Mary Fahl Discography". Retrieved 2010-02-02. 

Further reading

External links

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