NATURAL WONDERS: It is unwise to judge a book by its cover, but what about by its music? Tonight, November 12, at the Ayni Gallery (216 State St.), world music fusionist Melanie Hutton will celebrate the release of her new album, Wood and Snake, alongside the concurrent release of outdoorsman-wind instrumentalist Bryan Snyder’s new book, Further Off the Map. While independent works in their own right, the two releases have some overlap thematically and in participants — Snyder plays the recorder and tin whistle on Hutton’s album. What’s more, both works navigate unexplored territories, whether through yoking together as-yet-unwoven musical-geographic tapestries, as in Wood and Snake, or through describing the mysteries of seldom-seen corners of mountain ranges, as in Further Off the Map.
The two works make for a natural pairing. “It’s really intertwined; my music’s very driven by nature, and that’s been my teacher,” Hutton said. She describes her music as tapping into the enigmatic and spiritual forces that drive the world. “I have been drawn to music that is unusual, so when I’ve set out to create music, it’s always been with this drive to touch that kind of mystery and share it.”
Snyder, too, seeks out “unusual spaces,” pushing beyond the boundaries of civilization to places and risky situations “where I don’t have as much control. And a certain kind of magical things happen in a way; I can see things that no human has ever seen before,” he said.
The two invite the intrepid and continually intrigued to hear their shared explorations of unique music and geologies. Snyder opens the night with a free book reading and signing at 7 p.m., with Hutton performing with a full band — including hammered dulcimer, oud, and tabla — at 8 p.m., for $15.
MARY IN MIDWINTER: Former October Project lead singer Mary Fahl, who plays SOhO (1221 State St.) on Saturday, November 14, is also deeply tuned in to the metaphysical matters of the world. “I drink and sleep that stuff — there is immensely more to our existence than meets the eye,” she said.
Perhaps it’s her sensitivity to the out-of-body energies that makes her voice so otherworldly. Once a chamber-pop chanteuse for October Project, she got lazily lumped by media into the Goth Queen category, although she herself is not much of one. “I’m just too silly to be goth; I mean, I love Dead Can Dance, but they need a little sense of humor,” she said. Going solo has allowed her to be wholly herself.
Nonetheless, Fahl became a contributor to vampire literature laureate Anne Rice’s The Wolves of Midwinter audiobook, with her astounding voice soundtracking the theme to the mysterious, wolf-ridden woodlands of Rice’s world. In fact, Rice, a fan of October Project, wrote of the band’s music in the text of Wolves even before Fahl penned its audiobook theme — Fahl’s voice haunts the main character. Talk about meta.
The additionally film-scoring Fahl has had many admirers in literary and cinematic circles. This year, Darryl Kubian composed his Shakespearean symphony O for a Muse of Fire with Fahl’s voice in mind; she was joined by the New Jersey Symphony Orchestra. And yet still, her voice is in many ways beyond words, and must be heard and felt to be believed.
BENEFIT FOR BRYSON: Also tonight, the community is invited to a benefit concert for area music legend Tim Bryson, of The Pups and The Tearaways fame, who was diagnosed with Stage 4 pancreatic cancer. A stacked lineup of longtime area music heroes will take the stage at Blind Tiger (409 State St.) at 7 p.m. to help pay for medical expenses. “We are coming together to celebrate him in an upbeat way, and it’s intended for the positive spirit of healing,” said friend John Ferriter.