Being Fearless: Mary Fahl Talks Anne Rice and ‘Love & Gravity’ in Podcast
Mary Fahl is fearless. At 55, the singer-songwriter is not afraid to say what she wants from potential bandmates and writing partners, nor is she afraid to jump into a project that should be daunting to most. Not long ago, Fahl recreated the seminal Pink Floyd album Dark Side of the Moon, with a few new twists and turns by way of her trademark smoky, gloomy voice – certainly not a task every artist would get into so freely.
Of course, Fahl did have a few frights along the way. As lead singer of October Project in the 1990s, she got used to being a part of a whole onstage, and that whole generally kept quiet in-between songs. So when the jovial songstress finally tried her hand at solo performing, taking to the stage with just a guitar in her hand, she describes the first experience as “utterly terrifying.”
Just a few years later, Fahl has self-released a new album, Love & Gravity (released on February 11th), which puts her courage on display once more. The album is a beautiful piece of introspection with plenty of forward-thinking themes, perhaps best exemplified on “Like Johnny Loved June.” Somewhere between ballad and bluegrass, the finger-picking guitar amid lyrical tributes to June Carter and Johnny Cash on this track builds a haunting, yet hopeful atmosphere to a tale of loves lost and their continued pursuit later in life. The culminating refrain of “I’ll find the man who’ll love me/Like Johnny loved June,” pushes aside the heartbreak of the narrator’s past and leaves the listener optimistic that young ideals can be achieved.
The album also includes a cover of Joni Mitchell’s “Both Sides Now,” which is a song that has been covered so many times — from Frank Sinatra’s 1968 take to Herbie Hancock’s 2007 version that helped him win a Grammy for Best Album — that an artist could be too intimidated to include it on a full-length record. But Fahl felt a contemporary connection to the song, saying that “it so exemplified how I feel in my life right now, because it’s a song of innocence and inexperience, and I really have looked at life from both sides — from win and lose. But you know, you learn…and you pick yourself up and you keep going. I hope that comes across in the record.”
Video Courtesy of Mary Fahl.
Still, perhaps the most interesting undertaking of Love & Gravity is a song called “Exiles (The Wolves of Midwinter),” written and released as the theme song for the audiobook of Anne Rice’s latest novel, The Wolves of Midwinter. Not only did Fahl provide an epic, dark work rife with haunting piano chords and her always-resonating voice, but Rice even referenced the singer by name in the book; October Project’s “Take Me As I Am” is included as a diegetic element in the novel, bringing a rush of memories back to one of its characters. This mixture of reality and fiction speaks again to the combining of past and present. And now, the two artists have gone from mutual admirers to friends, and each pays a kind tribute to the other through her element.
Fahl is currently touring behind the record, playing a mixture of solo shows and full-band performances throughout the United States. And her attitude to all these undertakings is simply “let’s have some fun.” If fear was a factor in the past, it seems to be one of the few things that do not affect the Mary Fahl of today.
Fahl and GALO contributor Jarrett Piette sat down to discuss Love & Gravity, facing the fear of the live show, and working only with the collaborators she likes best. Listen to the interview below.
For more information about Mary Fahl and her endeavors (including tour dates), please visit http://maryfahl.com/