Andrew Marlin, singer-songwriter, and Emily Frantz, singer and multi-instrumentalist, are hardly newcomers to the bluegrass scene—they’ve played together as Mandolin Orange for almost a decade, building their sound around a solid foundation of two-part harmonies. But 2016’s Blindfaller, their fifth and most recent release, saw the bare-bones Chapel Hill, North Carolina, band breaking out of their comfort zones—adding more drums, pedal steel, and bass behind their trademark vocals, and garnering scores of new fans in the process.
On their forthcoming Tides of a Teardrop, Mandolin Orange continue to lean into fuller instrumentation without abandoning their bluegrass roots. Album opener “Golden Embers,” which Garden & Gun is proud to exclusively premiere today, is a study in restraint. Beginning at an ambling pace, with intimate harmonies and gentle guitar picking, the song ultimately gives way to a lush, full-band sound. “I wrote this song to my Dad about my mom’s passing,” says Marlin. “I think we all try to hide our pain or frustration sometimes, for the benefit of the ones around us. ‘Golden Embers’ was my way of trying to break through some of our emotional barriers.”