Last year Disappear Fear released a CD that I feel has just not received enough exposure. Now, first off, I don’t want anyone to be confused about Sonia and her many releases. She and her sister Cindy began as Disappear Fear around 1988 and for the first ten years they were billed that way. Then Cindy wanted to step away from performing and for a few years the releases were just by Sonia. Starting around 2005 Cindy would at times guest in the studio, but just as often there was a backing band, and the CDs were then by Sonia & Disappear Fear. But this latest CD is special. As it harkens back to the beginning, with both Sonia and Cindy harmonizing and doing very special material, this one is billed just as by Disappear Fear.
Gee, that was a longer explanation than I intended, but then, Sonia’s story is one I want newcomers to know. Okay, what is special about this latest CD? It honors Phil Ochs, an American folk hero, whose political songs became a background of the unrest in the 1960’s. Sadly, he died in 1976, but his songs just kept being the voice of protest and have remained timely, with one of his most known ones being “I Ain’t Marching.”
The music of Phil Ochs has spoken to Sonia since high school, and she has already included two of his songs on earlier albums, “Is There Anybody Here” and “No More Songs.” On “Get Your Phil” he gets the full tribute.
On a personal note, I’ve known Sonia for at least ten years and am blessed to count her as an “artist friend” who is also a “friend.” I did an extensive “career interview” with her in 2010, and she humored me by allowing me to dig deep into her music history. Also a year ago I got another blessing, I was in Albany for a music fesitval and my hosts (from the Quest of Life show, on WRPI) took me to their station to record an interview. I walked in and was very surprised to meet Sonny Ochs, Phil’s sister, who was doing her radio show Mostly Folk, and sitting on her console was a copy of “Get Your Phil,” so Sonny and I hit it off immediately. I was surprised how much I remembered from my days of following folk music in the 60’s, and I remembered that my favorite song of Phil’s was “Changes,” (in that case, by Ian & Sylvia).