The third time is a charm for nationally-renowned recording artist Mara Levine. Her third album, an exquisite 13-song collection entitled Facets of Folk, which she released earlier this year in the U.S., has topped the Folk Alliance International Folk DJ charts earning the #1 spot with nine songs featured among the Top 20, making her the most played artist. Now, the singer has set her sights on Europe, releasing the masterful album overseas with an aggressive radio campaign that kicked off July 5 with the Swedish firm Hemifran.
Levine premiered songs from the CD at the European Independent Film Festival in Paris April and will be doing an album release concert in Vöhringen Germany on August 14 the Altes Sportheim Illerberg to celebrate. Additional plans for other appearances and radio interviews in Europe will be announced soon.
“I am truly grateful for the support Facets of Folk is being shown here in the U.S. and excited for the European radio release,” said Levine.
Hailed as “one of the best singers of her generation” by acclaimed singer- songwriter Christine Lavin, Levine is known for her innate ability to select songs with inherent beauty, examine them carefully, then craft and polish them to a glittering brilliance. With Facets of Folk, she finds her true voice and it rings clearly and powerfully, reminiscent of her inspirations Judy Collins and Joan Baez, as she explores different faces of the folk genre. Most songs on the project are filled with Levine’s lush harmony arrangements.
Her rousing protest anthem “Daughters and Sons,” which was written by noted Irish songwriter Tommy Sands, (featuring Kim and Reggie Harris, Gathering Time, Andy Leftwich, Mark Schatz, Cheryl Prashker, Akiva Wharton and Sean McComiskey) is a shining example of her talent, landing in the #1 spot upon release.
On Facets of Folk, Levine presents a number of songs of social conscience with themes of taking a stand, making a difference, considering the treatment of others and becoming a better person that she believes will resonate with her European fans. Those tunes, written by popular contemporary songwriters, as well as emerging talents, are all carefully set among folk favorites and lesser known songs.
“As I was selecting material for my third CD, I was inspired by the current political and social challenges facing us today and thought a great deal about the importance of speaking out against injustice, both societal, and for people in our lives who are being wronged,” said Levine. “’By My Silence’ is a provocative warning about remaining passive in the face of injustice written by Ellen Bukstel and Nick Annis, with friends Gathering Time. It reached #1 when released as a single in 2017 and #6 on the album release”, Levine said.
The album’s lead off track “You Reap What You Sow” (written by Susan Shann) also charted in the top 5, finding its way to #3. This uplifting song, recorded with bluegrass luminaries Greg Blake, Bob Harris, Rob Ickes, Andy Leftwich, Mollie O’Brien, Mark Schatz and Scott Vestal, was well-received when released as a focus track in November 2017, hitting #1 on the Folk DJ chart and spending 22 weeks on Bluegrass Today’s Grassicana chart.
Facets of Folk was co-produced by Levine with Bob Harris, (Johnny Cash, Vasser Clements, Girlyman), who plays guitar and helped with arrangements on many of the tracks, and also with John Guth (Tom Chapin, Galt MacDermot), who plays various instruments and helped with arrangements on five of the tracks. Other contributing musicians include: Robin Greenstein, Michael G. Ronstadt, Ed Trickett, Josh Joffen, Terry Kitchen, Eleanor Kleiner, Caroline Cutroneo, Jan Alba, Harold Morton, Barbara Novick, Tilman Reitzle and Patrice Avsharian Wiseman.
Before heading to Europe in August, Levine will be performing at select events and venues on the East Coast including:
- July 15 Just Wild About Harry Chapin (tribute concert and food drive) in East Meadow, NY
- July 27 Huntington Folk Festival in Huntington, NY
She will also be playing CD release dates in the Fall with friends Gathering Time:
- Oct. 20 WVBR Live Radio Broadcast Concert in Ithaca, NY
- Oct. 24 Landsdowne Folk Club in Lansdowne, PA
- Nov.14 Edison Arts Society at the Mayor’s office in Edison, NJ
For more information about shows and dates, visit www.maralevine.com
“On her third album, Levine marks her territory as the new standard bearer for folk music with this classically framed set that finds her interpreting worthy modern classics, protest music and some of the sweetest vocalizing you’ll find this side of the golden sounds of the 60s. A flat out winner throughout, this isn’t about lo-fi, nostalgia or what ever—t’s a delightful slice of the here and now hitting the nail right on the head. Well done.” – CHRIS SPECTOR, Editor and Publisher, MIDWEST RECORD
“With Facets of Folk, Mara Levine solidifies her position as a folk force to be reckoned with. As on her previous CD Jewels and Harmony, her signature sound shines through: Thoughtful song choice, creative harmonies, rich instrumentation, her own exuberant singing. With an emphasis on songs that make a difference, Mara has created music that is very much for today, but also for years to come.” – Si Kahn
“A thank you to Mara Levine for making us all remember the poetry of lyricism. Some people, like the one described in Leonard Cohen’s classic song, are born with a Golden Voice. Mara Levine is one of those gifted few who fit that definition. Hearing her sing makes you stop whatever you are doing and LISTEN! Known for her warmth, sincerity and impeccable natural musicality, she makes us all listen more intently, and celebrate the beauty that she brings to every song she sings and inspire us to do better ourselves, in whatever field we work in. Try to go to hear her live or listen to anything she has done or does. Thank you, Mara, for what you have done and continue to do.” – David Amram, Beacon, NY
- Aditional News On This Artist:
Artie Martello Mostly Folk podcast episode 404
- Ron Olesko interview January 6 WFDU FM Traditions
Bluegrass Today Feature
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