It was one of those evenings that left you dreaming of lying in an overgrown field, soaking in the sun’s rays. Yes, folks, it’s all due to the harmonious sounds of our Chapel Hill friends, Mandolin Orange.
Thanks to the PineCone, Piedmont Council of Traditional Music Inc., Mandolin Orange was the duo of the night on January 10th as part of a series of Down Home Concerts featuring other local favorite bluegrass and folk artists. PineCone was originally founded in 1984 as a non-profit membership organization dedicated to preserving, presenting and promoting traditional music dance and other folk art.
Commencing their New Year at the classy and cozy Fletcher Opera Theatre in downtown Raleigh, Emily Frantz and Andrew Marlin justified a sold out show since their CD-release party at Cat’s Cradle back in August of 2013. The duo took to the stage, him matching her orange and blue dress- of which she probably made herself, as she’s known to flourish in her hand-made frocks. The band began the evening with the favorite “House of Stone,” a track from their recent record This Side of Jordan. Accompanying the laidback duo was accomplished musician Robbie Link on bass and cello, who is known across the state for his talent with the string family. The duo covered all the corners, performing songs reaching back to their first record Quiet Little Room to the most recent. Marlin and Frantz seemed very at ease and comfortable to be performing, cracking jokes and sweet banter as well as even reminiscing about Andrew’s attempt at ‘flying’ off the Haw River spillway, an incident that later led to a broken pelvis and a stunt in the hospital that inspired the track “Morphine Girl.” From favorites like “Turtle Dove & The Crow,” a song dedicated to Marlin’s father, to “These Old Wheels,” the duo even covered a number of songs, like Garry Harrison’s “Red Prairie Dawn” and “All I Have To Do Is Dream” by the Everly Brothers, in memoriam of the late Phil Everly. A personal favorite was the band’s cover of Tim O’Brien’s “I’ve Endured,” of which Marlin showcased his natural knack for the mandolin. The evening concluded with Frantz showing off her true talent for the fiddle with Marlin matching her on the mandolin.
After being named one of NPR’s top ten folk and Americana albums of 2013, the duo proved that ‘their side of Jordan’ was a pretty sweet side to be on. This was a crowd that was there to appreciate authentic bluegrass and country, and that’s exactly what the evening entailed. It’s cozy concerts like these that the audience is privy to authentic music; inside your heart will be warm and ears will be happy.
– DJ Zaps