Human chemistry is indeed a mercurial thing. And adding any artistic endeavor into that mysterious balance can, every so often, create some true magic. For Dave McGraw and Mandy Fer (pronounced fair), the delicate intertwining of music, life and that always-fine interpersonal equilibrium has borne fruit in the shape of a truly one of a kind artistic partnership.
With the release of the songwriters’ first official collaboration, Seed of a Pine, the duo’s striking ability to blend their lush folk and Americana-influenced styles is on full display. 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 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.
Seed of a Pine itself 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 songstress Allison Russell, and Chicago’s JT Nero (of JT and the Clouds). Album released February 15, 2012.