Mary Fahl, the former lead singer of October Project, has never sounded more hopeful or intimately personal than on her new album, "Love & Gravity." It is a gently spare, artfully meditative record about finding love later in life while maintaining a sense of optimism amid the chaos surrounding us.
There's a hard-won sense of survival to her music and life now. "Sometimes you get another chance at things. You've got to believe in love. I'm not a pessimist," she says. "Love & Gravity" is a new milestone for Mary, who sang with the popular, progressive-rock band October Project in the 1990s before embarking on a fascinating, from folk-to-classical-to-world-music-and-beyond journey that has now peaked with her new solo album. It is filled with flowingly candid, folk-etched ballads that are produced by the legendary John Lissauer, who also produced Leonard Cohen's "Hallelujah.”
The new songs are "road-tested," Mary says, and were part of her solo shows in recent years. "The orchestrations are very spare because that's the way the songs were written.”
Mary's learning curve continues to grow, and so does her self-determination. "I really am my own momentum now," she says, alluding to her need to be taken on her own terms. "This really is a record from an older person's sensibility. It's from someone who has lived a lot."
Although the songs came out of solo performances, she has backup musicians on the album who include drummer Shawn Pelton (from the "Saturday Night Live" band), guitarists Cranston Clements and Chris Bruce (who has played with Seal and John Legend), and bassist Byron Isaacs, pianist Glen Patscha and singer Fiona McBain from Ollabelle.
"Love & Gravity” represents Mary’s crowning achievement so far. There's a reason why Allmusic.com has called Mary a "completely unique artist of her era." As she sings on the final track of her new album, "Some things are meant to be and dreams do come true."