IndiePulse Interviews: Marion Halliday
Rings Around Saturn Has Been Played On More Than 40 Stations In The U.S. And Abroad
Singer-songwriter Marion Halliday’s career is reaching a fever pitch as her debut, solo, full-length album Rings Around Saturn has been played on more than 40 leading folk radio stations nationally and internationally.
Rings Around Saturn features 11 brand new songs, Halliday’s debut was released just last month ago and has quickly earned early support from such U.S. radio stalwarts as: Artie Martello (“King Hammer”, “Mostly Folk,” and “Power Folk”); Joe Pszonek (“Joltin Joe’s Internet Radio for Eclectic Tastes”); Ron Olesko (“Traditions” WFDU 89.1 FM); and Jim Sereda (“The Spin Zone” WUSB Stony Brook 107.3 & 90.1 FM), who not only played her songs in multiple rotations but also invited her on their shows to discuss her music. Rich Warren (“The Midnight Special” Chicago WFMT 98.7), also named Halliday as one of “Rich’s Pick’s”.
DJs from Germany and Canada including Friedrich Hog Nahkastchen (“Radio Free FM”) and John Sillberg (CKOL Radio) have also introduced Halliday to their international audiences through on-air interviews.
In our own interview, we spoke with Marion about her beginnings, her music and what may be next in what has definitely become something magical. When we first reported and reviewed her album Rings Around Saturn, we said “Marion Halliday shows her talents in a traditional way, taking cues from her predecessors like Peter, Paul and Mary, Pete Seeger, Odetta, Joan Baez and others that sought to use their musical talents to convey and communicate a new way of thinking, to bring a message of hope to those that felt hopeless. As in her song “Thoughts and Prayers” she tackles the highly emotionally charged issue of the unnecessary loss of life happening in our world, but not by pointing a finger of blame, but by extending her hand in love and understanding, her songs are miraculous, her voice is a new beacon of peace in this troublesome time”, subsequently we received many comments and fan responses stating this was accurate, if not a humble comment, and that her music was inspiring and life affirming.
Now, for our interview:
IPM: What first inspired you to become artists?
There wasn’t a time in my life when I wasn’t a performing musician (singer). However, I discovered songwriting – and my true voice as a writer – after moving to Philadelphia and being inspired by the city to write about it.
IPM: Whom would you tribute as your inspirations when you decided to follow your path in music?
A range of folk artists from yesterday to today including: Joni Mitchell, Tracy Chapman, Crosby Stills Nash & Young, John Prine, Town Van Zandt, and Sturgill Simpson.
IPM: Tell us about your new album, Rings Around Saturn, what was your inspiration for this album?
A trip to Isle of Skye – and pondering the eternal questions surrounding life and loss while looking at a beautiful night sky – inspired the title track of the album. With the album itself, which is 11 songs total, I wanted to put out something that reflected the range of my writing. The album includes several songs on social consciousness topics such as the epidemic of mass school shootings in this country and the tragedy of the Native American experience).
IPM: I understand you are touring at present to support your album’s release. How has the response been from your fans?
The response to my album has been overwhelming, I have only been able to do limited touring/shows given other priorities this summer, however I have been excited to have the opportunity to have a number of interviews with folk radio DJs, which I think has gained me a number of new fans.
IPM: As a modern Folk Musician, do you see the present social and political climates resembling that of the artists that may have inspired you?
I certainly see the similarity in terms of the influence on songs being written. More, now than ever, we need to hear the messages of those that will speak on behalf of the voiceless. There are an incredible number of amazing song writers and story tellers out there trying to share the messages of the environment, the immigrant and the less fortunate with the public. There is no shortage of things that we can write about right now. I think I see a difference, however, in the public activism and marches – there doesn’t seem to be as much music in these and I’m not sure why that is.
IPM: In our review of your album, Rings Around Saturn, there were many tracks that focus on things that are going on in the world, vey emotionally driving and charged topics, have any of your fans given you comment about the topics, and, if so, what was their feedback?
I have had a lot of very positive and validating feedback on the songs you are referring to. Whenever I play ‘If Statues Could Speak’ live, almost invariably, an audience member will approach me after and say the song moved him or her to tears – that is very gratifying. ‘Good Things Will Come’ and ‘We Are the Change’ will always get a great crowd reaction and typically lots of folks will sing along so I have to think the fans, as a group, are expressing their agreement with the sentiment of the songs.
IPM: You describe Rings Around Saturn, as “Bluegrass and bourbon-infused, women-powered, original Americana music,” what made you describe it as such?
Ha – well, I’m from Kentucky, and was raised on bourbon and bluegrass – the tag line you reference is actually the way I describe my band, Trickster Sister. The band is a trio of women- myself, my sister Jane Halliday (a full-time violinist and still resident of Kentucky) and my sister-in-spirit Donna Bostock (upright bass who lives in the Philly area near me). Trickster Sister was part of the instrumentation on several songs on the album.
IPM: tell us about some of your past work and how it may compare to your present musical creativity.
I’ve really only been seriously writing and recording my music for the last few years – maybe since 2015. So I can’t point to a lot of direct correlation to other work (through music) to what I am doing as a songwriter today. However, I consider myself more a storyteller who happens to sing. I guess, in that sense, I have been collecting these stories and ideas for decades. Also, prior to forming my own band to feature my songwriting, for many years I was in a number of Celtic bands. Singing the folk music in these bands developed my love of ‘story-songs’ and the universality of experience that humans have that they appreciate in hearing folk music.
IPM: Where do you see your music going, where would you like to be in the near future, goals, dreams and passions?
I hope to do more traveling through my music and would love to be able to perform my music across the US and Canada (and maybe elsewhere) to interested fans. While I enjoy festivals, I really enjoy more the intimate experience of listening rooms, smaller venues and house concerts where you really connect with listeners.
IPM: what is next for you in music and other creative means, any new videos or live videos in the works?
Even as I was wrapping up this album I was already writing more songs for the next – I don’t have any yet in public form but expect I will have a single or two by the end of the year- be on the lookout!
IPM: What would you like our readers to know about you?
I’m grateful for their support of original indie music such as my own! There are so many amazing artists out there; their support of the ‘unknown’ is what allows this original music to continue to be created. It’s vital in our society (perhaps more than ever) that the lesser known artists have an opportunity to be heard – so THANK YOU!
IPM: Where can our readers find your music?
My music is available on all the typical streaming media platforms (Spotify, iTunes (as long as it lasts); Soundcloud; Bandcamp, etc). I’m just dipping my toe in the water on Spotify so please help me there and add me to a playlist or two! Fans can also message me on my website – marionshalliday.com – and I can send them a CD there as well.
In Update: Halliday will celebrate the success of her album at this year’s 58th Annual Philadelphia Folk Festival, the country’s longest-running folk festival featuring dozens of premier acts including David Crosby, Margo Price, The Mavericks, Joan Osborne, and many more. She will appear on Friday, August 16 on the Lobby Stage and Sunday, August 18 on the Culture Stage. The Festival organizers are also planning a special CD signing at a time still to be announced.
“The one thing I always want my fans to take away from music is the stories,” said Halliday. “I want them to share these stories with others and be ones that they want to hear time and time again.”
Rings Around Saturn was produced by Halliday and Jim Salamone and engineered by Salamone and Todd MeCaughey. It was recorded, mixed, and mastered by Salamone at Cambridge Sound Studios.
Musicians featured on the album include: Jane Halliday (violin, banjo uke, backing vocals various tracks), Donna Bostock (upright bass, various drums and percussion, backing vocals various tracks), Brad Hinton (guitar, lap steel various tracks), Peter Farrell (keys various tracks), Jim Salamone (electric guitar, bass, ambient effects, drums and various percussion throughout), Todd MeCaughey (electric guitar, various percussion throughout), Dave Mowry (slide guitar Track 6), Desiree Haney (Cello Track 4), Irene Lambrou (backing vocals Tracks 1 and 11), Meghan Cary (backing vocals Tracks 1, 2, and 11), Lisa Jeanette (backing vocals Tracks 1, 2, and 11), Mike Parisi (bass on Track 4) and Giada Tripepi (cajon, tambourine on Track 11).
For more information and to get this great work of love and music, visit www.marionhalliday.com.
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