Review: Live At The Mauch Chunk Opera House – Mary Fahl
Mary Fahl is, simply, a master of her craft. Possessing a unique voice that is as expressive as it is beautiful, she has been able to turn her music – and the music of others – into long-term standards that may never find the catastrophic melt of time to age them. After leaving October Project, she embarked on a solo career that began with the release of her four-song EP, Lenses Of Contact. Eventually, Sony Classical, with its off-shoot label, Odyssey Records, would release the ageless The Other Side Of Time, in 2003. With a brilliant selection of songs including two that would find their way onto movie soundtracks (“I’m Going Home” from Gods And Generals, “The Dawning Of The Day” from The Guys), The Other Side Of Time would be favorably reviewed as a classic of extraordinary songs.
With two more studio albums added to her catalog that includes the re-imagining of Pink Floyd’s The Dark Side Of The Moon in From the Dark Side Of The Moon, and her most recent release, Love And Gravity, Mary Fahl has selectively advanced her career with exactly the music she connects most deeply with, songs that would also connect deeply with the listener. And what better way to communicate that connection than a live setting. And Mary Fahl is a master on her stage, wherever she chooses to re-paint her songs onto a unique canvas for the evening.
Newly released, her performances of her songs, including the performances of some tracks from her From The Dark Side Of The Moon make up the whole of the 2CD set, Mary Fahl – Live At The Mauch Chunk Opera House. Recorded from her September 7, 2013 show at the venue, the live set contains 22 beautiful songs from her studio sets. Mary Fahl is one who can transition effortlessly from a short biographical sketch of the origin of her song to the song itself.
There’s enough of her songs from all fronts. She draws liberally from The Other Side Of Time (the stunning “Ben Aindi Habibi”, “Going Home”, “The Station”, “Dream Of You”). She incorporates plenty from her newest album, Love And Gravity ( “Gravity (Move Mountains, Turn Rivers Around)”, “Siren”, “Both Sides Now”, “Exiles (The Wolves Of Midwinter)”, “Meant To Be”, “Everything’s Gonna Be Alright”, “Like Johnny Loved June”, “Dawning Of The Day”). She creates a medley from her daring and essential From The Dark Side Of The Moon with “Us And Them/Brain Damage/Eclipse”, and adds in a wealth of well-known October Project selections (“Return To Me”, “Deep As You Go”, “Falling Farther In”, “Bury My Lovely”, “Take Me As I Am”, “Be My Hero”). Mary also provides several additional pleasures with a small batch of meaningful songs not previously recorded.
What happens is a pleasant experience from start to finish. Mary Fahl is a storyteller. On this new live issue, she establishes that fact in numerous ways. If you’re a Mary Fahl fan, you need to add Live At The Mauch Chunk Opera House to the shelf along with her studio gems.
Let it be known, there is no comparing Mary Fahl’s voice. The reason is simple, there are none like it. Joni Mitchell has her uniqueness, Joni Joplin hers, as do a host of other classic female singers. As well, they cannot be compared.