Editors' pick

Vandaveer

Singer-Songwriters
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Editorial Review

VANDAEER
Album review: "Dig Down Deep"

Vandaveer’s third album, “Dig Down Deep,” is a good representation of the alt-folk genre: storytelling with a modern acoustic flair. To some, the image of the folk artist is that of a lone singer-songwriter, strumming and singing about how the times they are a changin’. But the D.C. band’s sound is bigger than that, even with its minimal arrangements.

The album is full of the archetypal themes and characters we expect of folk music, but Mark Charles Heidinger’s powerful voice and contemporary arrangements keep the album from feeling artificial. Moreover, Heidinger has always been an excellent lyricist, and “Dig Down Deep” is no exception. On the opening title track he sings, “You know a house don’t make a home if you build it all alone / That’s just a hollow skeleton of sticks and stones.”

On one of the strongest tracks, “Concerning Past and Future Conquests,” Heidinger laments love lost with the line “I dream about you constantly, side by side, you next to me” over a gentle violin and a mournfully hushed slide guitar. The album’s sweetest moments, though, come with the pairing of Heidinger and Rose Guerin, whose voice sounds like Emmylou Harris’s. Although the general theme of “Dig Down Deep” is a weary and hardscrabble life, that’s easy to overlook when the two sing.

— Benjamin Opipari, May 20, 2011