Monday, April 21, 2014

Merlefest Spotlight: Mandolin Orange

As a part of The Triangle Beat's coverage of Merlefest 2014, our next spotlight is of a band that calls the triangle their home.  Based out of Chapel Hill, Emily Frantz and Andrew Marlin combine their musical talents and amazing voices to form Mandolin Orange.  The band has been on tour for the past few months and will return to North Carolina to join the all-star lineup for this year's festival.  Emily recently spoke with The Triangle Beat about the anticipation of playing at Merlefest.

The Triangle Beat: This is Mandolin Orange's first time playing at Merlefest.  What does it mean for the band to be a part of this year's festival?

Emily: I remember going to the festival when I was 11 and even then I could tell that Merlefest was a special place. There are people that go year after year and they truly love every aspect of Merlefest and we are excited to be a part of it all this year.  As a festival, Merlefest is a staple event in North Carolina and it means a lot to be sharing the stage with so many of the greats in the music industry.

TTB: When will you be playing at Merlefest?

Emily: We will actually be performing three times at the festival.  On Friday we are playing from 6:30-7:15 on the Americana Stage.  Saturday will be really special when we get to take part in the midnight jam with other artists like the Steep Canyon Rangers and Della Mae. That should be a really unique experience.  Then on Sunday we will be performing on the Cabin Stage from 11:00-11:30.  

TTB: When playing a new venue or event like Merlefest, what do you hope people take away from hearing you play that might not be familiar with Mandolin Orange?

Emily:  Well I think anytime you are playing in front of a new audience, you hope that they are able to engage in your songs and that they care about what you provide musically.  It's always nice when you get a chance after shows to meet someone that heard you for the first time and they share about their experience.  Throughout our years of playing together, it is that positive feedback that has driven us onward and upward in our music.

TTB:  With both you and Andrew being from North Carolina, what has this past year been like getting the opportunity to tour all over the country?

Emily:  It has been a very busy year for us.   Until this year we had primarily stayed on the east coast, but this past year we've been able to play all over.  We just played our first shows in California as a part of this tour and we got a great reception from people all along the way.  There is nothing like coming back home though and playing at Merlefest is going to be a perfect ending to our tour.

TTB: Once you've finished your tour, what kind of things does Mandolin Orange have planned for the future?

Emily: As a band, we are always looking for new challenges and opportunities.  When we started playing together in 2009, our mentality was to always have something new to strive for and that mentality has guided us to where we are today.  That being said we are hoping to have a solid European tour in the near future and we would also like the opportunity to play other major music festivals like Merlefest.  

Mandolin Orange's most recent album, This Side of Jordan, was released in the fall of 2013.  In the days leading up to the festival, be sure to check out Mandolin Orange and stop by to see them while at Merlefest. You can get more information on Mandolin Orange by visiting their website at

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