January 19, 2012

Face the Music:
Hard not to fall for this Mary and her soul-permeating pipes


There are several definitions of the term "dog days of summer." I know, I looked it up. They all seem to include hot weather and at least part of July, so that's good enough for me. I do, however, hope it's not too humid on Saturday night as I race from the Mary Fahl show at One Longfellow to the Maine State Pier for Thievery Corporation. I may be sweaty, but my smile will be wide.

click image to enlarge

Mary Fahl, previously part of the band October Project, will perform at One Longfellow Square on Saturday.

Oh and get this, on Friday night there's a hip-hop show at Space and a banjo-fiddle-songwriter performance at the North Star. The funny thing is that the performers in those two shows, Eyedea (emcee), Abilities (DJ) and Eliza Blue (banjo, etc.), are all from Minnesota. Quelle coincidence.


If you ever want me to drop everything, stop dead in my tracks and slip into the inner sanctuary that can only be found when listening to certain music, just put on an October Project song. They're one of the most important bands to emerge in the '90s. The group's debut record came out in 1993, and "Falling Further In" arrived two years later. Then Epic Records unceremoniously dropped the band, and the musicians parted ways.

The 23 songs contained on those two CDs will always be a vital part of my musical DNA. This is largely due to lead singer Mary Fahl. Her voice has soul-permeating depth to it, and when Nietzsche said, "Without music, life would be a mistake," he may very well have been hearing Fahl singing -- despite being born more than 100 years before her.

Shame on me for losing track of Fahl over the years, and hoorah to One Longfellow Square for booking her. Since her October Project days, Fahl has released two solo CDs, done some film soundtrack work and some off-Broadway acting. I can't believe I'm finally going to hear Fahl perform live. Seriously.

Mary Fahl with Marie Moreshead. 8 p.m. Saturday. One Longfellow Square, Portland. $17 in advance; $20 at the door. 761-1757.


Eliza Blue's new CD, "The Road Home," got me through a rough day at work. I was typing up meeting minutes and it was a long, arduous and less than thrilling endeavor, and the central air of my workplace seemed to not want to make it to my office. Blue was trained as a classical violinist. As a kid, she listened to folk and blues on her Fisher-Price record player. Along the way, she picked up the fiddle, guitar, mandolin and banjo and started writing songs. The title track of "The Road Home" was written during a rough patch of Blue's life when she was living in an unfurnished room in -- where else -- Maine. The entire album captures Blue's quest for home in both the physical and emotional sense. She recorded most of it alone during a seven-month stretch last year. Her attic doubled as a studio, and should you wonder if that's a baby sparrow or cricket you're hearing, you're probably right. Make your way to  myspace.com/elizabluesings, where there's a lot of songs to hear. Try "Ashes & Ashtrays" and "Oceans & Fields."

Eliza Blue and Vanessa Torres. 8 p.m. Friday. North Star Music Cafe, 225 Congress St., Portland. $8 at the door.


Eyedea & Abilities is the Minnesota emcee-and-DJ-duo who made their entree in the underground hip-hop scene in the late '90s and have been at it ever since. Check out the video to "Junk" and listen to "Glass" and other tracks at myspace.com/eyedeaandabilities.

Eyedea's friend and frequent collaborating rhymesmith, Kristoff Krane, will also be at Space, and I'll admit, I got misty-eyed watching his clip of "Miracle" at kristoffkrane.weebly.com.

Educated Consumers from Maryland is part of the evening's entertainment as well. Watch an artist profile at myspace.com/educatedconsumers.

Bleubird, no stranger to the Space stage, will be opening things up.

Eyedea & Abilities with Bleubird, Educated Consumers and Kristoff Krane. 9 p.m. Friday. Space Gallery, 538 Congress St., Portland. Ages 18 and older. $10 tickets at Bull Moose or www.brownpapertickets.com.

Aimsel Ponti is a Portland freelance writer. Contact her at: aimselponti@yahoo.com


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