Music: Mandolin Orange

If Robert Earl Keen and Kathleen Edwards formed a Bluegrass/Americana duo and managed to retain their individual identities while combining their collective talents into a distinct third direction, they would sound a lot like Mandolin Orange.

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click to enlarge Mandolin Orange
Mandolin Orange

If Robert Earl Keen and Kathleen Edwards formed a Bluegrass/Americana duo and managed to retain their individual identities while combining their collective talents into a distinct third direction, they would sound a lot like Mandolin Orange. North Carolina natives Andrew Marlin and Emily Frantz have honed their harmonic gifts into a pretty fair translation of Gram Parsons and Emmylou Harris without drifting into slavish hero worship or clinical replication, incorporating all of their varied influences into a familiar yet unique form.

The pair’s first self-released recording, 2010’s Quiet Little Room, was primarily covers. Mandolin Orange’s double-length sophomore album, 2011’s Haste Make/Hard Hearted Stranger, was a half-band/half-duo set. A relentless tour schedule and positive buzz on the first two albums ultimately led to a contract with Yep Roc Records. Mandolin Orange’s second album for the label, the just-released Such Jubilee, is a sometimes joyful, sometimes melancholy reflection of the importance, beauty and realities of home. And that’s ironic, because listening to Mandolin Orange feels exactly like going home.



MANDOLIN ORANGE plays Tuesday at Covington's Madison Live. Tickets/more info here.


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