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By the time 2019 came to its fitful end, Andrew Marlin knew he was tired of touring. He was grateful, of course, for the ascendancy of Mandolin Orange, the duo he'd cofounded in North Carolina with fiddler Emily Frantz exactly a decade earlier. With time, they had become new flagbearers of the contemporary folk world, sweetly singing soft songs about the hardest parts of our lives, both as people and as a people. Their rise-particularly crowds that grew first to fill small dives, then the Ryman, then amphitheaters the size of Red Rocks-humbled Emily and Andrew, who became parents to Ruby late in 2018. They'd made a life of this. Still, every night, Andrew especially was paid to relive a lifetime of grievances and griefs onstage. After 2019's Tides of a Teardrop, a tender accounting of his mother's early death, the process became evermore arduous, even exhausting. Soundcheck, at least, provided some relief, as the band worked through a batch of guarded but hopeful songs written just after Ruby's birth. Those tunes are now Nightbird, less Mandolin Orange's sixth album and more their seamless reinvention as a band at the regenerative edges of subtly experimental folk-rock. Challenging as they are charming, and an inspired search for personal and political goodness, these nine songs offer welcome lessons about what any of us might become when the night begins to break. When 2020 dawned, Emily and Andrew hatched a plan to break their cycle: For the first time, they'd leave Ruby with Emily's mom and escape with their longtime bandmates to a cabin on the edge of Smith Mountain Lake, a sprawling hideaway at the foot of the Appalachians. Also for the first time, after a decade of Andrew engineering and producing most everything Mandolin Orange made, they'd bring help-Josh Kaufman, the producer and multi-instrumentalist who had wowed them with his work alongside the likes of The National and his trio Bonny Light Horseman. There were no expectations. This was simply a full-band retreat with a new friend and co-producer,


  1. Name
  2. Wondrous Love
  3. Better Way
  4. Belly of the Beast
  5. New Star
  6. Upside Down
  7. Lonely Love Affair
  8. Coming Down from Green Mountain
  9. Beautiful Flowers
  10. Nightbird
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