This week I give you a voice that can move mountains and a tribute show for none other than Hall and Oates. Either way, Friday night is destined for awesomeness.
More often than not, when people first hear her sing they can’t believe their ears. Such is the gravity of the contralto voice of singer-songwriter Mary Fahl. I’ve been a fan of hers for more than 20 years and hearing her sing still gets me … every time.
Some of you may remember the ’90s band October Project, who released two albums before parting ways. Fahl was the lead singer and still plays a handful of those songs as part of her shows.
After October Project, Fahl started writing her own material and collaborating with others. Within a year and a half she was out performing solo. She got back into recording with the release “The Other Side of Time” in 2003. The album is home to Fahl’s version of the traditional Irish song “The Dawning of the Day.” She rewrote the lyrics in tribute to firefighters lost in the Sept. 11 attacks. The song appeared on the soundtrack to the film “The Guys.”
Fahl had another foray into cinema with the song “Going Home,” which plays during the opening scene of the 2003 Civil War film “Gods and Generals.”
In 2006, Fahl took on the formidable task of recording “From the Dark Side of the Moon,” a song-by-song re-imagining of the legendary Pink Floyd album. The album didn’t see the light of day until 2011, when Fahl released it herself after V2 Records went belly up.
Fahl’s latest album, “Love & Gravity,” was released in February and her Friday night show at One Longfellow Square will feature several songs from it. It was produced by John Lissauer, known for – among many other things – his work with Leonard Cohen.
“We work together very easily,” said Fahl from her Pennsylvania home. “He doesn’t have an ego and I don’t either when I work, so we just get to stuff very quickly.” She added that because Lissauer knows her voice so well, she can’t imagine working with anyone else on a record.
“Love & Gravity” is home to 10 songs, many of them Fahl originals, along with Joni Mitchell’s “Both Side Now.” Fahl said that although she doesn’t have one specific favorite song on the record, “Meant to Be” is the one she debated putting on it.
“I thought ‘Oh God, I can’t put that on it, it’s just too sentimental.’ ” Lissauer gave her the necessary nudge, telling her the song moves people. “I did it in one take and it was just me and the guitar and it was right where it should be.” She added that people either can’t stand the song or they cry.
The album opens with the song “Exiles (The Wolves of Midwinter).” It’s no coincidence that “The Wolves of Midwinter” is the name of Anne Rice’s latest novel. Rice contacted Fahl and asked her to write a song for the audiobook version of the novel. The result is a cinematic, haunting song that sets the stage for the rest of the record by packing an all-consuming punch anchored by Fahl’s vocals.
“How Much Love” comes next and the song is forged in heart-splintering emotion. “Please don’t punish me because I touched you/Please don’t look the other way.” Be still my beating heart.
“Gravity (Move Mountains)” could melt even the darkest soul. “I’ve seen you move mountains, turn rivers around, defy the force of gravity with both feet on the ground.” This is a song you can fall in love with before you know what’s hit you.
I appreciate the album all the more hearing Fahl talk about it in such a humble way. “I wanted to make a record that would bring people some peace,” she explained.
Fahl added that she hopes it will stand the test of time. “I wanted something that you could listen to 20 years from now and something that was honest enough that it would hit you with that; it would resonate someplace deep within you. It’s not a super cool, hip record; it was never intended to be. It’s an honest record.”
Mary Fahl. 8 p.m. Friday. One Longfellow Square. 181 State St., Portland. $25 in advance; $28 day of show; onelongfellowsquare.com
ORCHESTRATED BY their No. 1 fan in Maine, WCYY’s Mark Curdo, Portland celebrates the long-awaited induction of Hall & Oates into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.
Curdo has assembled an all-star team of local players to play homage to the famous duo.
You’ll hear from Phil Divinsky, Kenya Hall, Loretta Allen (The Other Bones), Walt Craven (6Gig), Kyle Gervais (KG Freeze), Anna Lombard, Kris “Fingers” Rogers, Dominic Lavoie (Sha Sha Sha) and John Nels Blanchette (Forget, Forget), Max Cantlin, Chris Chasse, Chris Sweet, Kate Beever, Tyler Card and Matt Day.
They’ll make your dreams come true. And even if your name isn’t Sara, you’ll surely smile.
I Can Go for That Hall & Oates Tribute Show. 9 p.m. Friday. Asylum. 121 Center St., Portland. $8; 21-plus; portlandasylum.com
Aimsel Ponti can be contacted at 791-6455or at: