I first heard of Marty O Reilly & the Old Soul Orchestra through the crew at Honest Folk when they hosted The Ballroom Thieves in an intimate gig for Valentine’s Day. I am eternally grateful to them for all the amazing work they put into hosting such incredible acts in the Rochester area. Anytime they have a concert going on, I make sure to make the drive from Syracuse because I know what’s in store is a magical + musical dream night. They announced that they would be hosting the quartet at their next Honest Folk Presents event, so on our drive back home from that show my husband and I listened to our first MOR & OSO song. It’s the one I recommend you start with as well, it goes by the name of “Cold Canary Gaslight”. It’s a song that you’ll happily be haunted by. Go ahead, have a listen to it now, I’ll join you…
…Now you can see why the excitement to attend the MOR & OSO concert in Rochester last Tuesday night was quickly amplified by the sacred, powerful energy of the band the moment they took the stage. I believe I can speak for my fellow kindred spirits in attendance that night when I speak of the immense reverence we all felt for the music these guys played for us. Not only did they sing to us their stories, but it seemed as if, in that moment, the music was bringing to light our own truths. That secret side of ourselves became unearthed, drawn out by the chants of an electrified resonator guitar, a purposefully dynamic violin, the deep roars of an upright bass and the perfect time keeping chimes and snaps of snare drum and hi-hats. A symphony that could only be described as the very essence of soul. By the way, when you read that word: soul, I need you to say it like you mean it. Really dig deep down and find that guttural grunt, clench your fist, and bring out a piece of you that’s been dying to come out and dance.
I’d be curious to find out what Cold Canary Gas light meant to you the very first time you heard it. Hell, it means something different to me every time I hear it. But I will never forget what it meant to me to witness it live last Tuesday. At the very end of the set, the four musicians stepped off the stage and had all of us gathered around the middle of the room surrounding them as they acoustically played that anthem. If ever I was entirely in the moment, it was then. If ever a group of strangers collectively felt lost & then found, it was then. Marty talked to us about how he’s been inspired and influenced by blues music and gospel music, though he doesn’t consider himself a religious person, I thought he put it in a really gracious way when he said
“Blues music makes you feel better when you’re feeling down, and gospel music makes you feel better when you’re already feeling good” -Marty O’Reilly
The one word that kept coming up for me as I absorbed as much of the night as I possibly could, was swell. My heart was swelling as the music swelled around me. It felt like I was allowing myself to expand to full capacity, a feeling I don’t often have. It usually feels the opposite for most of us, instead we feel compelled to shrink ourselves down to fit. To Marty, Chris, Ben and Matt I thank you most for courageously pursuing what makes you happy, and for sharing it with others. I felt the heart and soul that you’ve ingrained into your craft. I want to live large like that.
With this post I want you to do two things for me. The first is to listen to at least one MOR & OSO song, and the second is to feel that expanse that opens for you and to keep chasing the things that make you feel like you are worthy of taking up more space.
They sound like freedom, the kind of freedom that changes something within you. It’s as if it gives you that final permission slip that says not only can you live in happiness, but you must.
___ The one line I wrote down immediately after the show