SOLD OUT: MANDOLIN ORANGE

105.5 The Colorado Sound Presents

SOLD OUT: MANDOLIN ORANGE

Martha Scanlan

Fri Mar 15

Doors: 8:00 pm / Show: 9:00 pm

Boulder Theater

$30.00

Sold Out

This event is all ages

Strict limit of 4 ticket per household. Orders in violation of this policy are subject to cancellation.

Ages 15+ without a parent

All tickets are non-exchangeable and non-refundable following purchase

Listed price does not include tax and service charge

Price is the same online, over the phone, or in the Box Office.

NO BAGS

All tickets are General Admission (GA) with limited seating available. If you require accessible seating or other accommodations, please purchase your GA tickets and reach out to Lee@z2ent.com to help us make your visit as enjoyable as possible.

Mandolin Orange
Mandolin Orange
Lean in to Mandolin Orange’s album, Blindfaller, and it’s bound to happen. You’ll suddenly pick up on the power and devastation lurking in its quietude, the doom hiding beneath its unvarnished beauty. You’ll hear the way it magnifies the intimacy at the heart of the North Carolina duo’s music, as if they created their own musical language as they recorded it.

Released September 2016 on Yep Roc Records, Blindfaller builds on the acclaim of Mandolin Orange’s breakthrough debut on the label, 2013’s This Side of Jordan, and its follow-up, last year’s Such Jubilee. Since then they’ve steadily picked up speed and fans they’ve earned from long stretches on the road, including appearances at Newport Folk Festival, Austin City Limits Fest, and Telluride Bluegrass. It’s been an auspicious journey for a pair who casually met at a bluegrass jam session in 2009.

“When we finished Such Jubilee, I started writing these songs with a different goal in mind. I thought about how I would write songs for somebody else to record,” Marlin explains. “I ended up with a bunch of songs like that, but we chose ones that I still felt personally connected to.”

Holed up at the Rubber Room studio in Chapel Hill, N.C., with a full band this time around, they laid down the tracks in a week between touring. They’ve always been keen on the notion that drawn-out recording sessions don’t necessarily yield better results. A good song, and just one good take, will always shine through any studio sorcery.

The passage of time, and the regret that often accompanies it, courses through these songs. “When did all the good times turn to hard lines on my face/ And lead me so far from my place right by your side?” Marlin ruminates on “My Blinded Heart.”

In fact, there’s heartache by the numbers on Blindfaller. If you didn’t know better, you’d swear “Picking Up Pieces” is a tearjerker George Jones or Willie Nelson sang back in the early 1970s. It’s a Mandolin Orange original, of course, and also a poignant reminder of the economy and grace with which Marlin imbues his songs – say what’s important and scrap the rest.

A country dirge with soulful washes of pedal steel and mandolin, “Wildfire” details the lingering, present-day devastation of slavery and the Civil War, with Marlin’s voice locking into close harmonies with Frantz on the chorus. “Take This Heart of Gold” opens with perhaps the best classic-country line you’ll hear all year: “Take this heart of gold and melt it down.” (Marlin admits it was inspired by a Tom Waits lyric he misheard).

But there’s also room for detours. Straight out of a honky tonk, “Hard Travelin’” lets the band shift into overdrive. A freewheeling ode to life on the road, it had been kicking around for a while but never fit on previous releases.

As for the album title, it’s meant to evoke a sense of wonder, of contemplation. A “faller” is someone who fells trees, and in this case that person is blind to his/her own actions and those of the world. The spectral cover photo, by Scott McCormick, is open to interpretation, too: Either those trees are engulfed in flames or sunlight is pouring through them. It’s up to you.

“We wanted different vibes and different intuitions on these tracks,” Marlin says, “and I feel like we really captured that.”
Martha Scanlan
Martha Scanlan
Anyone familiar with Martha Scanlan and Jon Neufeld’s unique alchemy on stage will not be surprised by the sense of being taken into the moment their shows are in and of themselves a journey of improvisation; the way Jon Neufeld’s brilliant innovative guitar playing weaves effortlessly around Martha’s timeless songwriting is simply magical.

They met playing together at Portland’s Indie Roots festival Pickathon in 2010, shortly before recording Tongue River Stories, a beautifully stark album of field recordings captured on film at the 120 year old family ranch where Martha was living and working in a remote corner of south east Montana (The Meadow on YouTube is a stunning introduction).

“I wanted to record songs in the places where they were written; there is such a beautiful intimacy with the landscape in ranch work and in the place itself, stories inside of stories inside of stories…” This exploration of place and belonging has been a long running theme, but really came into focus while being immersed in old time music in East Tennessee. “

The interwoven relationship between music and landscape, people and stories really impacted me, just this profound sense of belonging. I started writing songs there, songs about my own landscapes back home in Montana. I missed them.”

After touring with the innovative old time string band Reeltime Travelers, those songs evolved into her debut solo album The West Was Burning. Recorded at Levon Helm’s barn in Woodstock, New York with Dirk Powell and Levon and Amy Helm, it was heralded as an instant classic, one of those rare albums that defies genre and generation.

Touring the country and Europe solo, with North Carolina’s Stuart Brothers and in other various configurations eventually led to the collaboration with Jon Neufeld.

After Tongue River Stories came The Shape Of Things Gone Missing, The Shape Of Things To Come, recorded in Portland with members of Black Prairie and The Decemberists. A featured album by World Café’s David Dye and No Depression’s Amos Perrine, the biggest criticism was that it was hard to find. Sometimes she’s hard to find, preferring to spend more time off the grid than on it.
“I’m kind of wired for quiet places,” she admits.
What follows is a journey, and in this day and age of Spotify and playlists it is rare to find a recording coImpelling enough to be so taken into such a journey. There is a sense of aliveness and wonder throughout each song and throughout the album, this sense of anticipation of what awaits around the next bend.

“The boat metaphor is interesting, because for both Jon and I these songs have occurred like rivers, like these currents winding in and out and around each other.”

Jon is Portland based guitar player, producer and longtime musical collaborator Jon Neufeld.

The current one is swept into on the opening track Brother Was Dying is pulsing with rich electric guitar tones, somehow lush and spare all at once, the tension of so many opposites- hope and despair, intimacy and inclusion, birth and death, weaving seamlessly in and out of each other in one winding pulsing groove.

It was the first take of a song Martha had just finished writing moments before.

“I think it was the only take,” she laughs.

This is not unusual for them.

*****

Anyone familiar with Martha Scanlan and Jon Neufeld’s unique alchemy on stage will not be surprised by the sense of being taken into the moment- their shows are in and of themselves a journey of improvisation; the way Jon Neufeld’s brilliant innovative guitar playing weaves effortlessly around Martha’s timeless songwriting is simply magical.

They met playing together at Portland’s Indie-Roots festival Pickathon in 2010, shortly before recording Tongue River Stories, a beautifully stark album of field recordings captured on film at the 120 year old family ranch where Martha was living and working in a remote corner of south east Montana (The Meadow on YouTube is a stunning introduction).

“I wanted to record songs in the places where they were written; there is such a beautiful intimacy with the landscape in ranch work and in the place itself, stories inside of stories inside of stories…”

This exploration of place and belonging has been a long running theme, but really came into focus while being immersed in old time music in East Tennessee.

“The interwoven relationship between music and landscape, people and stories really impacted me, just this profound sense of belonging. I started writing songs there, songs about my own landscapes back home in Montana. I missed them.”

After touring with the innovative old time string band Reeltime Travelers, those songs evolved into her debut solo album The West Was Burning. Recorded at Levon Helm’s barn in Woodstock, New York with Dirk Powell and Levon and Amy Helm, it was heralded as an instant classic, one of those rare albums that defies genre and generation.

Touring the country and Europe solo, with North Carolina’s Stuart Brothers and in other various configurations eventually led to the collaboration with Jon Neufeld.

After Tongue River Stories came The Shape Of Things Gone Missing, The Shape Of Things To Come, recorded in Portland with members of Black Prairie and The Decemberists. A featured album by World Café’s David Dye and No Depression’s Amos Perrine, the biggest criticism was that it was hard to find. Sometimes she’s hard to find, preferring to spend more time off the grid than on it.

“I’m kind of wired for quiet places,” she admits.

*****

While currents of deep Appalachian mountain valleys and vast Montana landscapes wind through Martha’s songs it’s really the accessibility and intimacy that defines them, and how they seem to find their way into soundtracks by TBone Burnett, pages of celebrated American novelists like Rick Bass and Joyce Carol Oates, shared mixes by Emmy Lou Harris, covers by roots musicians from Sarah Jarosz to Andrew Marlin to Solas, quiet song circles and camp fires.

Dirk Powell writes, “Martha feels the natural world, including that of human relations, to such an extent that the stories transcend themselves.”

In the opening track “Brother Was Dying” she sings,

Remember the time
when you rode with me
cross the divide
last light of a July evening ‍

running open wide

chasing light chasing time chasing dreams that we’d never find

heat of the horse, the animal beneath me

and the sky

you were young and you were with me.


You don’t need to know what it’s like to run wide open on a horse in the West to have that last line catch in your throat.‍

The River And The Light is full of such moments of profound intimacy and belonging, and may be some of her finest writing yet.
The addition of haunting old time fiddles and Cajun accordion of celebrated roots musician Dirk Powell and Black Prairie’s Annalisa Tornfelt seem to invoke something ancient, something deep in the American psyche in songs that are already layered with the complexity of belonging; this is not only a journey of the soul but a journey of the times we are living in.

Jon Neufeld’s production on this album, his ability to add layers and depth while maintaining the vulnerability of everything happening in the moment, is masterful.

The way different sonic and lyrical elements rise to the surface and catch light with each listening lends an almost addictive quality- but addictive isn’t the right word; something about the wonder and sense of discovery feels essential. Something essential to our being is awakened on this journey. When the last beckoning twisted fiddle lines fade into the distance closing out the album on “Revival”, there is a moment of silence, stasis, before the deep breath in, and you find yourself pushing off into the current once more.

The River And The Light is due out October 2018 on Rock Ridge Music,Available on vinyl through Jealous Butcher Records.
Venue Information:
Boulder Theater
2032 14th Street
Boulder, CO, 80302
http://www.bouldertheater.com/