MARTY FALLE - Stirring Up Some Dust
Author: Courtney Hampson | Photographer: Ryan Hagler
He made me cry. Yup, sitting right there in front of the coffee shop, in a jam-packed shopping center, on a busy Memorial Day weekend, with hundreds of visitors passing to and fro. My eyes filled with tears as the lyrics unfolded. He made me cry before he even hit the first chorus.
Marty Falle fancies himself a Midwestern cowboy, complete with hat and boots. No, he’s never herded cattle or lassoed a wild stallion, but to Falle “cowboy” is a mindset. It’s old America. It’s the simple life. It’s appreciation for those things that truly matter. It’s pick-up trucks, scuffed boots and a country bar on a Friday night.
Born and reared in Ohio, Falle’s parents believed that the arts were just as important as English and math. As such, they insisted that he and his siblings play a musical instrument during their formative years. One viola, a saxophone, a guitar and a bass later, and Falle was hooked.
“Music was meaningful in our family,” Falle said.
However, using his vocal instrument didn’t really occur to him until he was recruited—from detention to choir—in high school. The choir director offered a detention reprieve to the band of football brothers, if they were willing to help fill out the male-depleted choir. “We were bribed and it worked,” Falle reminisced, with a Cheshire smile. With his strong tenor voice, Falle quickly became a standout, ascending to lead soloist and then participating in the school’s barbershop quartet, pop ensemble, musicals and school plays.
When he headed to Ohio University, he majored in applied voice, but quickly changed gears. Convinced that music would never pay the rent, he graduated with a double major in history and communications and a double minor in philosophy in music. All the while, he kept the music going, and his college band, Voices, was ever-popular in Ohio, playing to crowds as large as 4,000.
Falle won’t reveal how many years that four-part degree took, but once in hand, he was off and running and headed to the big city. There, he climbed the corporate ladder of a Fortune 500 company, ascending to senior vice president and a life fraught with travel, stress, deadlines, and empty suits. While the corporate world paid the bills, Falle found balance with his music.
Eventually, music tipped the scales. Falle traded in his New York City commute and a closet full of suits in favor of the beat of a different drum. He left the corporate world and started three “lean and mean” smaller companies. Now, he has the best of both worlds. He’s his own boss, lives by the mantra, “If it’s not fun, I’m not going to do it,” and has the flexibility to pursue his one true love: the music.
Speaking of love, Falle is clearly a romantic. And, the thematic undertones of his lyrics suggest the same. With two original albums to date, and a third in the works, Falle tells a story with each.
His first album, Ohio, speaks to lost love, broken hearts, regret and the emptiness that accompanies heartache. In fact, it was a broken heart that brought him to the beaches of Hilton Head Island, where he retreated, healed, and now lives full time.
It’s the writing that brings Falle the most joy. “It’s therapeutic, inspirational … there is so much I want to write about, I need three lives to get it done,” he said.
Falle’s second album, Dingtown, is inspired by all of those small American towns, where life is simple, folks work hard and they recognize what is important. (Dingtown is also the name given to his seven-piece band of musicians who help to create the full country experience.) The lyrics speak to Falle’s own journey, of learning who he is and coming back home again, if only symbolically, to that Midwestern cowboy in his heart.
Falle’s original songs will entertain and move you (did I mention that the preview of album three brought me to tears?). The songs also provide significant insight into who Falle is, if—and only if—you are willing to listen closely.
But, if it’s just the two-step you are after, Falle plays to that crowd too. His live shows are abundant with cover songs courtesy of all of his inspirations: the Eagles, Johnny Cash, Dwight Yokum, Alabama, and Garth Brooks.
And his voice, his stage presence… wow. Utter magic. Falle makes you want to hoot and holler in your best Southern drawl, throw back a Bud, and eat cracked crab with drawn butter. He’s that good. Smooth. Sultry. Soulful. Country.
You can find him playing ’round here most weekends (he frequents the Metropolitan Lounge and Bluffton LIVE in Bluffton, and The Smokehouse on Hilton Head Island), and if you’re lucky, all the boys of Dingtown will be with him.
Even in the Lowcountry of South Carolina, this Midwestern cowboy manages to stir up some dust.