Album review: DAVE McGRAW & MANDY FER – Maritime

Dave McGraw & Mandy Fer - Maritime [Release date 09.14]

The gentle folk/Americana debut self-release by songwriters Dave McGraw & Mandy Fer – Seed Of A Pine (2012) – was a rather fine, if somewhat understated example of the genre.  Deploying the ‘less is more principle’ the delicate balance achieved by McGraw’s smooth baritone and Fer’s beautifully restrained vocals, underpinned by some subtle backings, made the pair’s first official collaboration a GRTR! recommendation.

Their follow up, Maritime, recorded in their home in a quiet forest in northwest Washington over the course of 8 days in spring 2014 reunites them with producer Zach Goheen (Birds of Chicago, Po’ Girl), to record 12 new tracks – as live as possible in the environment that inspired them.  And it’s another superbly crafted collection folk, indie-rock, and Americana.

With subtle contributions from drummer Andre Lauher, Christopher Merill (Birds of Chicago) – bass,  Sarah Von Dassow – cello, Mike Grigon – lap steel, and Jerome Holloway – harmony vocals on Helicopter, the warm emotive and organic delivery, and Fer’s own distinctive guitar work envelop the listener in a wholesome cocoon that feels like your favourite snuggly jumper.

But ultimately, it’s the outstanding songwriting and vocals of both Dave McGraw & Mandy Fer that lift the duo into a stratosphere miles above the rest.  Nothing flashy, just quality with a capital Q.  They play a short UK tour in late September/early October – catch them if you can.  ****1/2

Review by Pete Whalley

UK Tour Dates 2014

Sep 29 Green Note, London (w/ Willy Porter )
Sep 30 Mrs. Yarrington’s Music Club, Senlac Inn Battle
Oct 02 Hen & Chicken, Bristol
Oct 03 Cafe No. 8, Launceston
Oct 04 Blue Walnut Cafe, Torquay
Oct 05 Brasenose Arms, Cropredy
Oct 06 Old Barn Sessions, Sarratt
Oct 07 The Bluebell Inn, Stansted
Oct 08 The Stables, Stage 2 Milton Keynes
Oct 09 Garrett Sessions, Fyfield
Oct 10 Billingley Village Hall, Barnsley
Oct 12 The Live Room @ Caroline Social Club, Shipley
Oct 16 Garstang Unplugged, Lancashire
Oct 17 The Wee Gig, Abington

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