Watchhouse – Special Duo Set
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Over a year after Andrew Marlin and Emily Frantz of Watchhouse (formerly known as Mandolin Orange) reintroduced themselves on their 2021 self-titled LP, the pair shared a special surprise release: Watchhouse (Duo), a self-produced recording of Marlin and Frantz performing the most elemental possible arrangements of all nine songs from Watchhouse. It’s a project that captures the fundamental power of Watchhouse: Two singers and musicians with profound chemistry, performing earnest yet masterfully crafted songs that encompass the unknowable mysteries, existential heartbreak, and communal joys of modern life.
Starting over a decade ago playing coffee shops and local restaurants around North Carolina, Watchhouse is a grassroots success story that’s been driven by Marlin’s poignant songwriting. They’ve sold out iconic venues (Red Rocks, Ryman Auditorium) and attract hundreds of millions of streams while producing exploratory music that “redefines roots music for a younger generation” (Washington Post).
2022 was filled with many endeavors including the American Acoustic Tour with Punch Brothers, headlining shows across the US, collaborating with Planet Bluegrass on Mabon, an autumn equinox concert series, and of course Watchhouse (Duo). In 2023, Marlin and Frantz will celebrate the release of Watchhouse (Duo) with a short run of shows that will feature just the two of them, harkening back to their earliest days of performing.
Jordan Tice is a singer, songwriter and guitarist who combines witty, well-crafted songs with deft fingerstyle and flatpick guitar playing. His performances have been compared to those of legends like Leo Kottke, John Hartford, and David Bromberg for their mix of virtuosity and playfulness and his songs have been compared to those of writers, Bob Dylan and John Prine for their humor, introspection and philosophical nature.
His 5th record, Motivational Speakeasy, features only Jordan, his voice and his acoustic guitar. It was produced by Kenneth Pattengale of the Milk Carton Kids and has garnered rave reviews from outlets such as NPR Music, PopMatters, American Songwriter, and No Depression. Though a solo outing, there is a wide variety of moods, textures, and influences found on the record’s songs, from the classic Mississippi John Hurt style melodic blues of “Matter of Time” and “Goin on Down”, to the dissonant Tom Waits-like shuffle of “Creation’s Done” to the philosophical early Dylanesque chatter of “Walkin'” and “Where I’m At”. In addition to his songs which muse on life, relationships and time, the album contains 3 instrumental tracks where Tice showcases his narrative guitar-playing and composing with performances that range from British Isles inspired wistlefulness (“Stratford Waltz”) to quirky ragtime (“Bachelorette Party”, “Ghost Story”). Folk fans might recognize Jordan Tice as a member of the instrumental bluegrass supergroup, Hawktail as well as his sideman work with many other artists in the folk/bluegrass genre such as Dave Rawlings, Andrew Marlin (Mandolin Orange), Yola, Tony Trischka, and comedian Steve Martin.