Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Mark Mandeville and Raianne Richards: On the Hill / Kettle Pot Tracks session

This is the first and last mention I will make that these are wonderful recordings, completemented by amazing video, so damn cool! Go watch the videos…go! Not to mention that the music is just beautifully crafted and pure.

I get bits of the Low Anthem with the rich vocal harmonies and ever present clarinet wafting throughout the background noise. Raianne’s voice is slightly reminiscent of Gillian Welch in some instances, giving the duo’s sound a delicate nod to Gillian and Dave Rawlings, if for no other reason than they complement each other perfectly. Mandeville has a strong, but cautious vocal that really makes these songs approachable and makes you want to ease on into them. The music is very rootsy, warm, and real. 

Out of the 4 tracks in this Kettle Pot session I am really digging on “Last Tree Standing”. Mandeville’s steady picking leads in with the song, and those wonderful harmonies kick right in. The clarinet edges in for the second verse, coiling around Mark’s guitar and vocal like a snake made of smoke.  It’s a very visual tune, it speaks to me quite a bit, particularly the line around:

Your floor is someone’s ceiling, your ceiling is someone’s floor
Somebody is pounding with their fists upon the door

That really brings me back to my first apartment out of college. I was on the third floor out of a 4 story building and can close my eyes and smell the paint on the walls, the musty closets, and muffled sounds of my neighbors above and below. Being able to stir up such explicit memories from a song is a real amazing feat.

The two of these artists simply supplement each other seamlessly. I really don’t need to say more. The sound is surprisingly full for only two people being in the group. The lyrics are affecting and genuine. Really, truly lovely music here. I cannot wait to catch these two out at a live show soon…they will be a part of the For the Sake of the Song (tribute to John Prine) series at Atwood's Tavern on November 14th.

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