Kool Kat of the Week: October and Beyond; Mary Fahl & the Wolves of Midwinter

Posted on: Jun 10th, 2014 By:

by Anthony Taylor
Contributing Writer

Eddie Owen presents Mary Fahl in concert Saturday, June 14 at the Red Clay Theater, in Duluth, GA at 8 pm. For tickets and additional information call (404) 478-2749 or go here.

Mary Fahl’s soaring contralto vocals first gained public notice with her debut album as lead vocalist and co-founder of October Project, with their self-titled album (“October Project),  on Epic Records in 1993. The combination of Julie Flanders’ lyrics, Emil Adler’s melodies and Fahl’s controlled “banshee wail” created an unforgettable musical storm of an LP which spawned the hits, “Return To Me” and “Ariel.” October Project toured in support of Crash Test Dummies and Sarah McLachlan to positive reviews. The band’s second album, FALLING FARTHER IN, showed artistic growth and was well received critically, but failed to chart significantly. After a headlining tour of the U.S., the band was dropped by their label and parted ways. The band has since reformed without Fahl, and is now a trio with Flanders, Adler and original OP keyboardist and vocalist Marina Bellica.

Fahl went on to a solo recording career, releasing  THE OTHER SIDE OF TIME in 2003, FROM THE DARK SIDE OF THE MOON in 2011 and LOVE AND GRAVITY in late 2013. Though she frequently plays in the northeastern states, Saturday’s show at the Red Clay Theater in Duluth marks her first performance in Georgia since her days with  October Project.

ATLRetro: October Project played a great show at the Buckhead Theater and had a memorable live performance on 99x radio in 1994. What took you so long to come back to the south?

Mary Fahl: It was logistics mostly. Atlanta is a long way from home and with the loss of 99X I was not sure I was getting any airplay in the region. 99X broke October Project in a really big way and that show at the Buckhead Theater was amazing for us.

Is your show on Saturday with a backing band, or a solo acoustic setup?

This will be a solo acoustic show.

Tell folks about your songwriting process. What comes first, music or lyrics?

In most cases, the music comes first. That being said, I keep notebooks all over my house just in case I hear something interesting or have an idea. Those notes often end up in my songs.

You’ve talked of your love for Dusty Springfield, Pink Floyd and Bob Dylan in the past. What new music are you listening to?

I listen to a lot of film score composers mostly. My current favorite is Alexander Desplat. As for singer/songwriters, I love Laura Veirs, Sufjan Stevens, Gillian Welch and Ane Brun. There are so many!

First Aid Kit seem to be influenced by you and by your own influences (their song “Emmylou” covers similar ground to your “Like Johnny Loved June”). How do you see your legacy asserting itself?

Interesting you should mention First Aid Kit. I just discovered them! As for any legacy, that is so hard to say. I suppose time will tell. Sometimes all it takes is one person who listened to you when they were young. My sound grew out of the British Folk sound of the ‘70s with Sandy Denny, Linda Thompson, that sort of thing. Nobody sounds like that now.

Youtube is full of videos of you singing with OP and solo singing covers and originals as well. What will fans see at your show at Red Clay Theater?

I will do some OP, lots of my own songs, some covers and of course some DARK SIDE OF THE MOON. I like to give my audience the performance equivalent to a full, rich meal.

How did you get involved with Anne Rice and THE WOLVES OF MIDWINTER? “Exiles,” the song chosen for Rice’s audio book of the novel, is on your latest album, “Love & Gravity”. What else should we know about the album?

Anne wrote me a letter two years ago after she discovered that October Project had hoped to get a song into the movie version of INTERVIEW WITH THE VAMPIRE. When my album was nearly complete, I asked her if she wanted a copy and she said she did. She was going to be in New York City, so I sent my publicist over with a copy. Afterward, Anne handed her a galley of  THE WOLVES OF MIDWINTER inscribed to me, with, “Tell Mary she’s in the book.” My publicist immediately volunteered me to write a song for the audio book version of the novel. Only later did I find out that I only had 10 days to get the song written, recorded, mixed and mastered. Needless to say, much nail-biting and nausea ensued, but Anne’s writing is so powerful and vivid, it made it easy for me to immerse myself in the world of the characters and the song kind of wrote itself. I was also fortunate to have John Lissauer as my co-writer/producer. I brought the lyrics to him and he came up with a fabulous, very moody and dramatic melody that perfectly evoked the mystery and sensuality of the book. I haven’t heard anything about a film version of the book, but I think it would make a fabulous movie.

As for the rest of the album, most of the songs came out of the life I was living for the past six years. They were songs that I had to be able to render with just myself and a guitar if need be. You have to realize, I write a lot of songs, but I shelve a good portion of them. Any song I do on a regular basis has to be one that has stood the audience test and I have to find something new in a song every time I sing it. A song has to get to me every time or it just won’t make the cut. That being said, I love “How Much Love.” It’s one of the few songs on the record I didn’t write. It was written by Patsy Foster.  I heard the song in a record store in Philadelphia 20 years ago and always wanted to cover it. It’s really special when you hear a song for the first time and immediately fall in love with it. I also love “Gravity: Move Mountains, Turn Rivers Around.” There’s a line in the song “I’ve seen you move mountains, turn rivers around, defy the force of gravity with both feet on the ground.” It was written for my husband, who, in the words of the wonderful author/healer Caroline Myss, “defies gravity.”

Time heals all wounds. Any chance of a reunion with October Project?

Time does heal, but a reunion is difficult to fathom. We’ve all moved on. I sincerely doubt they’d want it and me with all the wonderful experience I’ve garnered since OP broke up, could never go back to that kind of a situation.

Step into the time machine and give some advice to eighteen-year-old Mary Fahl.

Hmmm, “Believe in yourself – and practice your guitar!!”

Anthony Taylor is a writer and an expert on retro-futurism, classic science fiction and horror films and television, and genre collectibles. He is the author of ARCTIC ADVENTURE!, an official Thunderbirds™ novel based on the iconic British television series by Gerry and Sylvia Anderson. His website is http://Taylorcosm.com

 

All photographs are courtesy of Mary Fahl and used with permission.

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This Week in Retro Atlanta, July 25-31, 2011

Posted on: Jul 25th, 2011 By:

Monday July 25

From 3 PM on, savor tropical sounds and libations, as well as a Polynesian dinner during Mai Tai Monday at Smith’s Olde BarKingsized and Tongo Hiti lead singer Big Mike Geier is Monday night’s celebrity bartender at Sister Louisa’s Church of the Living Room and Ping Pong ParlorNorthside Tavern hosts its weekly Blues Jam.

Tuesday July 26

What’s in a name? Catchy coolness if you’re self-styled D.I.Y. rock ‘n’ roll band Swank Sinatra, playing tonight at Smith’s Olde Bar. Although their sound, fury and lyrics are inspired by Frank than “homeless people, pirates, ladies, shoes, ships, our hate of disco and breakfast.” Minor Stars and Kevin Dunbar Band open. Grab your horn and head to Twain’s in Decatur for a Joe Gransden jazz jam session starting at 9 PM. JT Speed plays the blues at Fat Matt’s Rib Shack. Notorious DJ Romeo Cologne spins the best ‘70s funk and disco at 10 High in Virginia-Highland. Catch Tues. Retro in the Metro nights at Midtown’s Deadwood Saloon, featuring video mixes of ’80s, ’90s, and 2Ks hits.

Wednesday  July 27

The Temptations and The Four Tops make it a mini-Motown reunion at Classic Chastain tonight. Get ready to rumba, cha-cha and jitterbug at the weekly Swing Night at Graveyard TavernDeacon Brandon Reeves bring the blues to Fat Matt’s Rib Shack and Danny “Mudcat” Dudeck blues it down at Northside Tavernrespectively. Dance to ‘70s, ‘80s and ‘90s hits during Retro in the Metro Wednesdayspresented by Godiva Vodka, at Pub 71 in Brookhaven.

Thursday  July 28

It’s a cinematic night of pure (& twisted) imagination for the whole family as The Atlanta Opera screens classic 1971 movie WILLY WONKA AND THE CHOCOLATE FACTORY starring Gene Wilder at The Atlanta Opera Center (1575 Northside Drive, NW, Bldg 300, Suite 350, Atlanta, GA 30318). Attendees may win two (golden?) tickets to the company’s production of THE GOLDEN TICKET, also based on the Roald Dahl novel, in March, 2012.

Henry Porter, named after a legendary Dylan quote, bring their Western swing on DMT to Kathmandu Restaurant & Grill in Clarkston. Or is that post-rock mindset with 70’s AOR hooks? Or songs that Iggy Pop might could sing? Or the Eagles with credibility? Or CCR meets XTC? Heck if they even know for sure, but you can find out for free and eat some tasty Asian vittles at the same time.

Classic Tulsa Sound piano man Leon Russell opens for legendary folk rocker Bob Dylan at Chastain Park Amphitheatre. Go Retro-Polynesian to Tongo Hiti’s luxurious live lounge sounds, as well as some trippy takes on iconic pop songs, just about every Thursday night at Trader Vic’s. Party ‘70s style with DJ Romeo Cologne at Aurum LoungeBreeze King and Chickenshack bring on the blues respectively at Northside Tavern and Fat Matt’s Rib Shack.Bluegrass Thursday at Red Light Cafe features The Burning Angels.

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Weekend Update: May 13-15, 2011

Posted on: May 13th, 2011 By:

It’s only bad luck if you stay home on Friday the 13th, but Saturday is another of those Retro-crazy days full of tough choices. ATLRetro is terrifyingly torn between doing the zombie, rockabilly and ROCK ‘N’ ROLL HIGH SCHOOL

Friday, May 13

For Whom The Ramones Toll. Read the Mark Arson’s review to find out why you shouldn’t miss one of two screenings of cult favorite ROCK N ROLL HIGH SCHOOL, this month’s  Art Opening & A Movie,  at the Plaza Theatre. Since ROCKY HORROR is downstairs in the main theatre, tonight’s midnight show will be in the more intimate upstairs screening room, but we’re certain there will be plenty of screamin’ as  #1 Ramones fan Riff Randall (PJ Soles) and mouse-loving music teacher Mr. McGree (Paul Bartel) declare school’s out to no-fun Principal Togar (Mary Woronoff). And you get a chance to see some groovy artwork by ATLRetro featured artists Derek Yaniger, Chris Hamer and more of Atlanta’s best pop culture artists.

Indie alt-rock bands Cracker and Camper Van Beethoven play the art deco built-in-1931 Buckhead Theatre. Redneck underground favorites Slim Chance & the Convicts team up with the alt-country Wheel Knockers for a no-cover show celebrating their new EP release and to say farewell to their bass player at Milltown Arms Tavern in Cabbagetown. Chanteuse Julie Dexter sings jazz and soul at Fernbank Museum of Natural History’s Martinis and IMAX.

Saturday May 14

Celebrate the 75th anniversary of the publication of the book GONE WITH THE WIND from 10:30 AM to 4:30 PM at the Margaret Mitchell House in Midtown. Experience 150 years of history with this special program which delves into the entire GWTW story, including Civil War soldiers fighting the Battle of Atlanta, the city in the 1920s when Margaret Mitchell wrote the book, and the Pulitzer Prize-winning novel’s lasting legacy. The all-day event is part of a yearlong Margaret Mitchell’s Gone With the Wind 75th Anniversary Celebration series by the Atlanta History Center.

Check out this week’s Kool Kat for a sneak peek into one of the gardens of several privately-owned historic homes featured in the Artful Garden Tour, benefiting the High Museum of Art, from 10 AM to 5 PM. Gardens are located in Loring Heights, Druid Hills, Peachtree Battle, Buckhead and Ansley Park and local artists will be working on or showcasing their art in each location.

Blair Crimmins.

From 1 PM to Midnight, eat smoked pork sandwiches and listen to some of Atlanta’s best bands at Twain’s during the 3rd annual SpringFest benefiting The Atlanta Community Food Bank. Early on it’s family time with DJ Amy Handler of AM 1690’s The Kids Are Alright and the Imperial Opa dazzling with circus antics until 2:30. Then bands takeover including The Shathouse Rats, beach music-inspired The Mermaids, soul/funk/blues performers Amy Wren and What It Is, ’20s ragtime revivalists Blair Crimmins and the Hookers (read ATLRetro’s interview with Blair here), and Gentleman Jesse and His Men.

Help recreate George Romero‘s 1968 classic, NIGHT OF THE LIVING DEAD, in Virginia-Highland by joining the second annual Zombie Pub Crawl. Get to Diesel between 4-7 PM to have professional make-up artists from Atlanta’s top Halloween attractions Chambers of HorrorAtlanta Zombie Apocalypse and Netherworld apply your make-up or get a 10% discount at Norcostco/Atlanta Costume to do your own. Sponsors include Splatter Cinema/Gorehound ProductionsJagermeisterRed Bull and Sam Adams.

 

Have a spanking good time at Mon Cherie’s Rockabilly Lounge at The Masquerade with Hard Luck and TroubleRev. Andy spinning Psychobilly Freakout, a burlesque show benefiting Burlesque Hall of FameLegends, a Ragin’ Rockabilly Raffle and free shots of that ultimate Retro delicacy, Jello! Be sure to wish Mon Cherie “Happy Birthday.”

Catch a 9:30 PM encore screening of ROCK N ROLL HIGH SCHOOL at The Plaza. Bon Jovi rocks Philips Arena. Legendary keyboardist Ike Stubblefield is at Northside Tavern tonight. DJ Romeo Cologne transforms the sensationally seedy Clermont Lounge into a ’70s disco/funk inferno.

Sunday May 15

Washboard Confessional headline blues “dunch” between 1 and 4 PM at The Earl.

Ongoing

Leave it to the mad geniuses at Dad’s Garage to transform a beloved children’s classic into a bloody puppet musical. SCARLETT’S WEB features all your favorite characters from Wilbur the pig to Templeton the rat but adds some splattery special effects. Never mind, it’s all in fun though, they say, and definitely recommended only for anyone old enough to appreciate adult humor. Thurs., Fri. and Sat. nights at 8 p.m. extended through May 21.

At the High Museum of Art through May 29 is the MOMA-organized HENRI CARTIER-BRESSON: THE MODERN CENTURY, a blockbuster exhibit showcasing a photographer and photojournalist who captured on film many of the seminal moments  of the 20th century from World War II to the assassination of Ghandi, China’s cultural revolution to civil rights and consumer culture in America.

For more weekend fun, tune back in on Friday for ATLRetro Weekend Update. If you know of a cool happening we’ve missed, send suggestions to ATLRetro@gmail.com.

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Weekend Update: March 18 – 20

Posted on: Mar 18th, 2011 By:

Friday, March 18

Phoenix Flies tours go into their final weekend with Ivy Hall (Peters House, now SCAD Writing Center), Edward Gay House, Inman Park Arboretum, Historic DowntownCatholic Shrine of the Immaculate Conception, whose beginnings date back to 1848 and cornerstone was laid 1869.

Glenn Phillips and Swimming Pool Qs play Red Light CafeBryan Adams rocks Atlanta Symphony Hall with a solo acoustic night. SFJAZZ Collective performs hits of Stevie Wonder at Emory University’s Schwartz Center. It’s Salsa Night with Salsambo Dance Lessons & Entertainment at Fernbank Museum of Natural History’s Martinis and IMAXFatt Matt’s Rib Shack serves up roots, blues and BBQ with Atlanta Boogie. Better Than the Beatles with Johnny Porazzo and David Lowell pays tribute to the Fab Four at Jerry Farber’s Side Door.

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