Mandolin Orange

Lean in to Mandolin Orange’s new 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 Sept. 30 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 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.”

South Carolina Broadcasters

The South Carolina Broadcasters are not just another group dipping into the deep pool of traditional music in hopes of being trendy. Nearly every facet of the group is subservient to the style of music they present. Hailing from Charleston, S.C., but with roots in the sacred Mt. Airy region, they are a three-piece group, comprising David Sheppard on guitar, Ivy Sheppard on fiddle and banjo and relative newcomer Sarah Osborne on banjo and guitar. They each provide vocals to create distinctive harmonies; in person, it sounds as if every member has just stepped from a dusty old 78 RPM platter, ready to sing again. With many similarities to the early Carter Family, the Broadcasters dig deep into traditional gospel numbers and old-time tunes that originated from the mountains of the Carolinas and Virginia.

We are lucky to have them: When searching out authentic old-time music, one generally has to travel to a fiddler’s convention. There are many in this area of the country—Hoppin’ John in nearby Silk Hope, Happy Valley in the western part of the state, the Galax gathering in Virginia, and many more. The mountain pickers leave their rural homes for a weekend, recreating the sound of their forefathers. What separates the South Carolina Broadcasters from these convocations is that they strive to keep it going by pushing it into the broader public. The Broadcasters tour constantly through the Southeast. And with each release, they become tighter, somehow closer to reaching the heart of the music they obviously love. The harmonies are crisp. The playing is tight. The music is raw and raucous, heartfelt and beautiful. They are the South Carolina Broadcasters, and they are what is great about old time music. —Dan Schram

Big Fat Gap - Bluegrass Jam (after show)

Big Fat Gap will host a Bluegrass jam in the Cat's Cradle back room immediately following the show!

Big Fat Gap is a back porch bluegrass band that has no plans to take Nashville by storm. Some of them even have day jobs. They just like to pick, they like each other, and it shows in their performances, which are known to be excellent for those who enjoy sweet three-part harmonies, smoking solos, and captivating stage dynamics. They are: Miles Andrews on lead vocals and bass, Jon Hill on mandolin and vocals, Chris Roszell on banjo, Bobby Britt and John Garris on fiddles, and Jamie Griggs on guitar.

Over the past few years, Big Fat Gap has welcomed the increasing support of many fans, musicians, friends, and family in North Carolina, Colorado, and all along the East Coast. They have enjoyed many guest musical appearances by friends including mandolin legend Tony Williamson; musical virtuoso Rex McGee; Chatham County Line and Kickin' Grass from Raleigh; and the Steep Canyon Rangers. Big Fat Gap has appeared in festivals such as Finger Lakes GrassRoots Festival in New York, Roosterwalk and Elysian Fields in Virginia, and is a fixture at Shakori Hills Grassroots Festival. You can also find Big Fat Gap performing at venues throughout North Carolina: in Chapel Hill and Carrboro at the Cat's Cradle, the Cave, the Speakeasy @ Tyler's Taproom, the Carolina Inn's Fridays on the Front Porch; at the Bynum's General Store; in Raleigh at the Pour House; the Town Pump in Black Mountain; and every Tuesday night at the Armadillo Grill in Carrboro.

They got their name from one of the few remaining stands of old growth virgin forest in western North Carolina, located in the Big Fat Gap in Graham County near the Tennessee border.

$10.00 - $28.00


This hometown show will commemorate the release of This Side of Jordan, out via Yep Roc Records on August 20. Fans will have the option of purchasing a CD or LP version of the album at a discounted price when purchasing an advanced ticket; the physical copies of the new record will be available for pick-up at the Cat’s Cradle on the night of the show. In addition, the night will start out with a pre-concert jam session, hosted by Big Fat Gap and modeled after the Armadillo Bluegrass Jam in Carrboro where Andrew and Emily first met. Ticket holders are invited to come out early and enjoy casual music, beer and free catering (until 8pm and/or while supplies last). The jam will take place from 6:30-8ish and is open to the public; doors will open at 6:30 pm. Enter through the main venue entrance to go to the jam, which will be out back behind the club. This event is being brought to you locally by Carrboro Coffee Roasters and Fifth Season Gardening Company.

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Cat's Cradle