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Mandolin Orange Live

We review the duo in Owensboro KY

Emily Franz and Andrew Marlin – Photo: LTTL

Mandolin Orange

Bluegrass Music Hall of Fame and Museum

Owensboro Kentucky – 29 September 2019

GrassRoots Music Tour

Images: Jim Jacob

Words: Rob Dickens

From the rich musical hot spot of Chapel Hill, North Carolina, Mandolin Orange‘s star has been on the rise for quite some time.

Formed in 2009 with songwriter Andrew Marlin (vocals, mandolin, guitar) and Emily Frantz (vocals, violin, guitar), the duo has released six albums (the last four with Yep Roc Records) – Quiet Little Room (2010), Haste Make / Hard Hearted Stranger (2011), This Side Of Jordan (2013), Such Jubilee (2015), Blindfaller (2016) and Tides of a Teardrop (2019). (Read our review of Such Jubilee HERE).

Mandolin Orange – Photo: LTTL

There’s plenty to embrace about this folk/Americana outfit – Marlin has the profound lyrics, low key and sincere vocal style and outstanding mandolin prowess, while Franz provides important counterpoint vocals, rhythm and diversity with the fiddle. The duo delivered through almost all the first set and were joined by Joe Westerlund on bass, Josh Oliver on guitar, plus drums on the second.

Mandolin Orange – Photo: LTTL

The set list spanned across their catalogue. From the latest release – “Mother Deer”, “Like You Used To”, the heartfelt refrain for Marlin’s mother “Suspended In Heaven”, “The Wolves” and “Time We Made Time”. Two engaging new singles featured – “Paper Mountain” and “Belly Of The Beast”. The finger picking in “Rounder”, the full-bodied “Wildfire”, “Golden Embers” and “Take This Heart Of Gold” were particularly effective. A cover of Hazel Dickens and Alice Gerrard‘s “Distant Land To Roam” and a John Hartford instrumental added to the enjoyment.

Mandolin Orange – Photo: LTTL

Frankly, I have listened to Mandolin Orange’s recorded material over the years, but this live performance was something else – the chemistry and craftsmanship in this special place was hypnotic.

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We review the duo in Owensboro KY

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Author: Rob Dickens

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