Mary Fahl

Lenses of Contact

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Many of the female singer/songwriters who emerged in the 1990s favored a waifish, girlish approach, but not Mary Fahl. The former lead singer for the October Project was never someone you could compare to Jewel or Natalie Imbruglia -- Fahl has a big, full, rich voice, and her emotional singing is anything but waifish. Although the October Project's demise was regrettable, it did free her to become a full-time solo artist. Produced by Jeffrey Lesser, this excellent four-song EP is Fahl's first solo recording. Judy Collins is a major influence on Lenses of Contact, and Fahl has also claimed Sarah Vaughan as an influence, even though, unlike Vaughan, she isn't a jazz singer -- Fahl's music is a mixture of folk, rock, and pop. There are also traces of Joni Mitchell in her singing, but while Mitchell is known for subtlety and restraint, Fahl is very much a belter, and emotionally she really lets loose on "Redemption," "Paolo," and the single "Meant to Say" as well as the soaring, anthemic opener, "Raging Child." While it's interesting to note who her various influences are, Fahl is quite recognizable herself. This promising solo debut demonstrates that Fahl is a very spiritual and moving storyteller in her own right.

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