Two years ago, Andrew Marlin decided to walk across a North Carolina dam at night. He slipped, fell 10 feet, landed on his pelvis and woke up in a hospital bed. As he regained consciousness, one of his visitors — Mandolin Orange bandmate Emily Frantz — handed him an acoustic guitar. He picked it up, still stoned from the meds, and started strumming.
Mandolin Orange’s new release, This Side of Jordan, tells the story of Marlin’s healing process. The music may be rooted in Appalachian traditions — everything from gospel to folk to country-rock — but the songs are rooted in the human condition, balanced equally between tragedy and hope. It’s honest music, shot through with coed harmonies, sweeping fiddle, mandolin, acoustic guitar and the sort of unfakeable intimacy that bonds simpatico musicians like Gillian Welch and David Rawlings.
This Side of Jordan is out August 20 on Yep Roc.