I am totally stupid-in-love with the new Vandaveer album. I slipped it into the car stereo Wednesday when I headed up to an organic farm in Lyons, CO for a workshop on digital storytelling (more on that adventure later), and it seriously has not been switched off. I keep finding tracks that I love and putting it on repeat and sitting for extra minutes in the driver’s seat after I reach my destination, so the song can finish playing, and I can finish my illustrious harmonies. This is some fantastic stuff.
Dig Down Deep – Vandaveer
Vandaveer is the Washington D.C. duo of Mark Charles Heidinger and Rose Guerin, their voices perfectly crackling, deeply resonant, and melding golden orange against each other. Heidinger’s voice often reminded me, oddly, of Nina Simone — they both have that slight metallic tang and bitter aftertaste that sounds regretful all the way through.
I could tell you about the rootsy soulfulness of this record that is not a roots album. I could mention the moments I wanted to pull the car over to drum the steering wheel, or stomp-clap along to songs like “Dig Down Deep” (at that terrific crescendo, wow) or “The Great Gray.” I could mention clever, clever lyrics on songs like “Spite” — “I once knew a man who learned such a thing / he cut off his hand to spite his ring / he poisoned the well to spite the frogs / he put down his son to spite the dog / he cut out his sleep to spite his dreams / he picked all the flowers to spite the bees… gonna hold my breath to spite the air.” It chronicles a cavalcade of spiteful acts that just end up stripping all the beauty and joy, written in precise and smart form like a darker Shel Silverstein. It is, as the Washington City Paper delightfully wrote, “Folk music, with none of the historical bullshit.”
Listen also to the second song on the album; the second one I stuck on repeat after I sated my need for the one posted up there (temporarily). Vandaveer just finished a humongous tour and I missed them in Colorado, but you must get this album. Heidinger used to be in These United States, and my friends Justin Craig and Robby Cosenza from TUS help out on this album, as well. I should have listened sooner. It was only a matter of time until I listened myself, and fell in love.
Addendum: HA. Just figured out that Heidinger was also in The Apparitions, which recorded that one song that to this day I still can’t get enough of, six years later. That song follows me, pleasantly.
Dig Down Deep is out now on Supply & Demand Records.
[photo by Sarah Law]