This week was another long one, with not enough time for proper eating or sleeping. This morning my first thought as I woke was how can my brain possibly put words together thoughtfully enough to publish even a short little blog post? Then I did my usual weekend morning ritual of pouring a cup of coffee and opening my weekly newsletter from NPR Music, on my deck, and here we are–one of the Festival’s Sunday evening headliners, Mandolin Orange performed this week’s NPR Tiny Desk Concert.
I grew up with this kind of folksy-country sound. As I listen to the first track of this Chapel Hill duo’s Tiny Desk set, I am taken back to the place where my very first live music experiences occurred, in a little club in my little hometown. At Buck Cody’s Country Music Jamboree, there was a pair of young women called the Green Sisters in the house band. The duo played fiddle and mandolin as they sweetly sang traditional folk and classic country tunes. This sound is where my love of live music began. As I listen to Mandolin Orange’s live acoustic Tiny Desk set and pour my second cup of coffee, tears form in the corners of my eyes. The second track, The Wolves, hits home hard for me. As I listen and read Bob Boilen’s description for NPR: “Their second song at the Tiny Desk, The Wolves, is a story song that, for me, tells a tale on an older woman’s life, the “hard road” she’s taken and that feeling of wanting to howl at the moon when all is finally right.” As Andrew Marlin sings “there she stands so tall and mighty, with her keen and watchful eye and the heart of a mother…” I am awed and soothed. Music is such a powerful vessel of emotion and memory and beauty. This is why I am here, alongside my business partners and dedicated volunteers. Never has work felt more purposeful or more rewarding. It is thrilling to contribute every ounce of energy toward an event that will bring families together to experience this music in the serene surroundings of Stephens Lake Park. In six weeks, with our community and our own families, we will see and hear Mandolin Orange together, as well as 28 other acts, sharing their art and filling our souls with joy and beauty and inspiration.
Their third track from Tiny Desk, Wildfire, is also a reminder of how very much music is an effective and emotive tool in the telling of history, and to remind a new generation that we must do better. Again, I draw upon Boilen’s words today, as he so elegantly phrases the feelings that this song elicits in me: “It’s a song with a wish that the Civil War would have left racism to rot on the battlefield, and yet it still rages like “wildfire.” It’s a sobering message presented with a gentle tone, a tone that instilled hope inside of me — hope that we may all learn the lessons of history and rise above them.” I couldn’t have summarized it more honestly than that. Just watch and listen in the link above, as they perform Missouri Borderland. We are so thrilled to host Mandolin Orange, right here in Missouri, on Sunday, Sept. 29. listen to Mandolin Orange on Spotify August is your last chance for advance ticket pricing and to have your wristbands shipped to your home in advance. Avoid the line at will call, buy your tickets today: https://rootsnbluesfestival.com/tickets/