Marypat Farrell is a local musician I’d met at a performance of this group that she plays with who gave me a copy of her eponymous solo demo CD to review. There are five tunes and they each showcase a markedly different side than the one her group does.
To start with, Marypat Farrell is really Ryan O’Neill; er…or, Ryan is Marypat? I believe the story goes that her actual name is Marypat and her stage name with her band of raucousness is Ryan O’Neill. She plays with the band The Mighty Regis and when you see her perform with them it is all swagger and attitude and a whole lot of spunk. Which is fully in keeping with Regis’ sound and identity.
Marypat the solo artist is a lot more reflective and gentle and quiet. Her sound is very reminiscent of the early recordings of Dar Williams in her solidarity. “Please don’t do what I have done; lovin’ a man always on the run; you’re better off alone!” she wails in the opening track, “John Henry”.
She also has a very timid voice in some instances; not ‘weak’ but careful; reminding me of Emily Saliers or even Jewel (don’t worry; she’s not “Saving Anyone’s Soul” or…I guess casting anyone into damnation; that song’s more about “WHO” will save your soul; not “I” will save your soul. But I digress)
Her lyrical content is very independent “you go your way and I’ll go mine” and very reflective for someone so young. “Let’s take one last walk…I can take your hand now; don’t forget I’m willing to let it go when the morning comes.” She plaintively sings on “Ten Days”. “I’d lay my life down for you but there’s no time.”
It sounds as though her birth as a solo artist was borne from the same pain and anguish that many artists must endure; yet she’s candid in her expression.
“Emily Waits,” takes me back to Dolores O’Riordan; the haunting, breathy vocalist from the pop band of the 1990’s, The Cranberries. “Drawn and Quartered,” has a striking resemblance to the work of Lucinda Williams (minus all the Sony Production values) as Marypat exudes a lazy drawl.
Her album closes with “The 7-11 Song” which has the musicality of hope and optimism but has the lyrical content of a suicide note. Talking about how sad life is for the struggling individual who lives their life from the bottom of a 7-11 bag; “No money and no work; her boyfriend was a jerk;” all very resonant themes which too many of us in this insular world are too familiar with.
All in all a great solo effort for an up and coming artist. If you’re ever in the Southern California area you should definitely look up Marypat Farrell and see if you can see her for yourself!