Dave McGraw & Mandy Fer are natural explorers.
McGraw spent a decade as a wildlife biologist, working everywhere from Mexico to the Grand Canyon. Fer logged some time in Spain, where she studied music and local culture. Together, the two songwriters have built a music career on those travels, funneling everything - the characters they met, the things they saw, the sounds they heard, the stories they learned - into a mix of rich, detailed folk music and rootsy Americana.
The album "Seed of a Pine" was recorded in Chicago during the summer of 2011 with renowned producer Zach Goheen and includes contributions from a litany of acclaimed musicians, including Wisconsin singer-songwriter Peter Mulvey, Po’Girl/Birds of Chicago songstress Allison Russell, and JT Nero (Birds of Chicago). With this release of the songwriters’ first official collaboration, the duo’s striking ability to blend their lush folk and Americana-influenced styles is on full display.
"Together they [Dave and Mandy] have crafted an album that positively brims with excellent songs, fine playing and exquisite vocals." -No Depression (read full review here)
9 out of 10 score -"This [Seed of a Pine] is an excellent album…this duo seem to thrive on the beautiful things around us all and have an ability to make the listener stop and maybe appreciate the wonders of this world for a little longer than we would normally…”-Americana-UK(read full review here)
"Dave and Mandy create a confluence of soulful lyrics, musical chops and harmony in their music that is as beautiful as it is thought provoking."-Willy Porter
McGraw’s consoling, velvety baritone voice, reminiscent of Greg Brown, coupled with Fer’s soaring and subtly powerful vocal approach, likened to that of Patty Griffin, puts a spit-shine polish on the finely crafted body of songs they have generated together. The intricate weavings of their vocal harmonies are undeniably exceptional. McGraw’s hard-hitting tunes echo narratives of the culture and landscape of the American West, wherein he thoughtfully spins tales of everyday folks looking for a little something more in their earthly existence. Fer takes a more dreamy approach, evoking complex and ethereal imagery within her sultry and haunting melodies. Her potent electric lead guitar playing, in the vein of jazz-fusion guitarist John Scofield, bravely propels this duo through their uniquely heartfelt and spirited live performances, winning over audiences night after night.
McGraw and Fer have amassed an admirable résumé and an ever-expanding fan base during their time playing music together. Having toured Europe and the U.S. from coast to coast, performing in highly esteemed theaters to intimate listening rooms, the pair has honed their skills sharing stages with fellow troubadours including Willy Porter, The Swell Season, Tony Furtado, Jeffrey Foucault and many others.
Dave and Mandy currently reside on an island in northwest Washington state.
Opening for Dave & Mandy will be Sorcha, whose “sultry and jazzy” voice captures the blues, jazz and country influences in her music. Wielding acoustic guitar and claw hammer banjo, this 2012 Falcon Ridge Folk Festival Emerging Artist “unveils a suite of musical styles that shows a wide-ranging songwriting ability. . . witty verses with smart rhymes” (Portland Pheonix).
An old piano in the laundry room in her artsy, rural coastal Maine home fueled her propensity to create. Having come to songwriting following a significant loss, Sorcha is committed to empowering people to use creative expression to support healing through loss or transition. She continues to deepen and expand her collaborations with the Center for Grieving Children, assisted living facilities, schools and artists from all genres. Her third and latest release, Laughing Lamenting (2010), is a half-solo, half-duo celebration of loss and growth.
Sorcha has shared the stage with Edie Carey, Tab Benoit, Tom Rush, Obo Addy and the late Bill Morrissey. Her music has taken her from Portland, Maine’s Old Port Festival to Boston’s Club Passim and Caffe Lena in Saratoga Springs, NY to the streets of Nashville.