JPR Live Session: Mandolin Orange

Jul 24, 2015

The road has been good to Mandolin Orange since the 2013 release of 'This Side of Jordan.' NPR called the album "effortless and beautiful," naming it one of the year's best folk/Americana releases, while Magnet dubbed it "magnificent," and American Songwriter said it was "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."

The record earned Mandolin Orange performances everywhere from the iconic Newport Folk Festival to Pickathon, as well as tours with Willie Watson, Gregory Alan Isakov, The Wood Brothers, and more. "When you play these festivals, you start meeting all these other people doing what you're doing," says guitarist and singer Andrew Marlin. "There are so many musicians together in one place and you become part of this community. We got to hang out with Tim O'Brien and Peter Rowan and Norman Blake. Sitting down and talking to them and playing with them, you get to see the personal side of them rather than the hero side." "With all the touring and festivals, you look around and realize, 'OK we're actually doing this now,'" adds fiddler and singer Emily Frantz. "We're not just trying to do it, it's what we do, and that ties into a lot of the themes on the record."

After the breakout critical success of Mandolin Orange's debut, you'd expect the relentless onslaught of touring that accompanied it to seep into the writing of the North Carolina duo's follow-up. You'd expect the sound to reflect long days on the road, long nights onstage, unfamiliar cities, countless miles. You'd expect the classic "road record." But you'd be wrong.

Instead, the duo set up facing each other with just a vocal and instrumental mic each in Asheville's Echo Mountain studio for the 'Such Jubilee' sessions. It proved to be the perfect setup to capture the undeniable chemistry of their live performances.