Review Archive

‘Hickory’ the first solo album from Mariel Vandersteel

(March 19, 2012)

Thread ancient echoes of Norwegian fjords around the shadows of Blue Ridge mountains and entwineHickory them with a precise and measured talent – you’ll have ‘Hickory’ the first solo album from Mariel Vandersteel. This album ranges far and wide through the depths of its heritage and influences to provide a trip your senses will remember for a long time.

Rarely has such a dexterous touch on instruments emerged from a debut album. Encompassing the breadth of the traditional and Hardanger fiddles (or in Norwegian: hardingfele) Mariel directs their enchanting, haunting sounds to perfection. Listen to the engaging vitality of the intriguingly titled ‘Hog And Sheep Going To The Pasture’ as mandolin and fiddle joust their way through the tune. Absorb the rich and enduring wonderment of the self-penned ‘Sitting On The Ridge’ or the whispers of mystery and shadowy fjords in ‘Norafjolls’ to feel your senses stolen away by this album. There’s a gentle enticement to ‘Flannery’s Dream’ which is hard to resist, while Mariel’s treatment of ‘Three Forks of The Cumberland’ and the spritely title track ‘Hickory’ deliver an impossible-to-resist, infectious spirit.

Alongside Mariel on ‘Hickory’ are the superb talents of Maeve Gilchrist (harp) Jordan Tice (guitar) Tristan Clarridge (fiddle) Samson Grisman (bass) Dominick Leslie (mandolin) Duncan Wickel (fiddle) and Matt Malikowski (electric bass).

With this album, Mariel deserves attention, recognition and a huge amount of airplay. No question.

Reviewer: Dan Holland

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