Monthly Archives: June 2013


“Dave plays like he got his skin turned inside out and pretty soon my skin was inside out too listening and it was all good. That boy bleeds for you – he’s a real down deep player and a soul man…” – SEASICK STEVE


July 3 – Terra Blues, New York, NY

July 6 – The Legendary Dobbs, Philadelphia, PA

July 9 – Preservation Pub. Knoxville, TN

July 10 (midday) – WDVX Blue Plate Special radio session, Knoxville, TN

July 10 – JJ’s Bohemia, Chattanooga, TN (w/ Husky Burnette)

July 17 – The Mill, Iowa City, IA

July 20 – Bayport BBQ, Bayport, MN

July 21  – Weber’s Deck, French Lake, MN

July 25 (6pm) – Rock n Roll Land, Green Bay, WI

July 25 – The Crunchy Frog, Green Bay, WI (w/ Meantooth Grin + Dead Modern Villains)

July 26 – Kruse, Wausau, WI (w/ Meantooth Grin)

July 27 – Reggies, Chicago, IL (w/ Meantooth Grin)

August 3  – venue tba, Grand Rapids, MI

August 4 – InsideOut Gallery, Traverse City, MI

August 8 – Polish American Citizens Club, South Hadley, MA (w/ Cannibal Ramblers)

August 9  – Nick a Nees, Providence, RI (w/ Cannibal Ramblers & Ten Foot Polecats)

August 12 – The Trash Bar, Brooklyn, NY

(more dates to be announce soon)


Glasgow-based blues musician Dave Arcari will be releasing his fifth studio album, Whisky In My Blood, worldwide March 25th. On it, the slide guitarist & songwriter turns in 14 tracks that owe as much to trash country, punk and rockabilly as they do pre-war Delta blues. Arcari is joined by his backing band The Hellsinki Hellraisers, featuring Finnish musicians Juuso Haapasalo (upright & electric bass) and Honey Aaltonen (snare drum, cymbal, rub-board). Melding the rural sounds of the Deep South with a hint of folk music that emerged from the British Isles over a century ago, Arcari & Co. manage to update these age-old sounds into an energetic and often bone-chilling new modern take on the blues.

Whisky In My Blood features three cover songs – two from Robert Johnson (“Traveling Riverside Blues” & “Preachin’ Blues”) and one from Bukka White (“Jitterbug Swing”). The remaining 11 tracks were all composed by Arcari and showcase his ability at crafting equally timeless songs that sit comfortably next to the blues masters he covers.

Performing more than 100 UK dates a year, as well as regular shows in Finland, Estonia, France, Germany, Belgium, Poland and Ireland, Arcari is one of the hardest gigging live artists on the circuit. In addition, he’s performed at numerous music festivals around the globe, including appearances at Glastonbury (UK), BluesAlive (Czech Republic & Poland shows), Moulin Blues (Netherlands), The Great British R&B Festival, Peer Festival (Belgium) and NXNE (Toronto), among others. Notable performances opening for music legends such as Steve Earle, Alabama 3, Seasick Steve, Toby Keith and Jon Spencer, along with his relentless tour schedule has established Arcari as a formidable international solo performer who, with his hard-hitting gravel-laden voice and slashing bottleneck steel guitar, is quickly building a reputation with media and fans alike as a ‘hell-raising National guitar madman’.

Dave Arcari & The Hellsinki Hellraiser’s Whisky In My Blood will be available March 25th on CD, digital and limited edition colored vinyl.



Whisky In My Blood track listing:

1. Whisky in my Blood (Dave Arcari)

2. Cherry Wine (Dave Arcari)

3. Tell me, Baby (Dave Arcari)

4. Traveling Riverside Blues (Robert Johnson)

5. Rough Justice (Dave Arcari)

6. Day Job (Dave Arcari)

7. Still Friends (Dave Arcari)

8. Wherever I Go (Dave Arcari)

9. See Me Laughing (Dave Arcari)

10. Jitterbug Swing (Bukka White)

11. Third Time Lucky (Dave Arcari)

12. Heat is Rising (Dave Arcari)

13. Preachin’ Blues (Robert Johnson)

14. Get Outta My Way (Dave Arcari)

“…a powerful solo performer whose strong compositions, unstoppable rhythms and Delta-inspired slide work stand without support.” – BLUES REVUE MAGAZINE

“There’s no fleet-finger twiddlage here, just blasting bottleneck riddims and Arcari’s scary Captain Beefheart vocal. It’s the original blues message – drink, be merry, fall over. Hurrah!” – GUITAR MAGAZINE

“… a truly authentic UK blues artist and let’s celebrate that.” – ROCK ‘N’ REEL MAGAZINE


Tony Bonyata
Pavement PR
p: 262.903.7775


THE PLAYLIST: USA TODAY music critic Elysa Gardner highlights 10 intriguing tracks found during the week’s listening. Omie Wise, Vandaveer
The folk duo’s eerily pretty reading of the oft-covered murder ballad is on Oh, Willie, Please…

Vandaveer “Oh Willie, Please”
Quack Media, 2013
Never take a walk with a member of Vandeveer

Like the title (which refers to the line uttered by poor Willie’s love in The Banks Of The Ohio), this album is grim as hell. In a really good way. Nearly all of the tracks are about women being murdered (top tip for the ladies: never marry anyone called Willie or Henry or a really rich man you don’t really love). The songs might be timeless (all covers of old, old classics) but the subject matter is sadly still hugely relevant. And this relevance comes through in the rendering.

The band, or collective, is headed by Ohio-born folk-pop songwriter Mark Charles Heidinger and long-time member Rose Guerin (whose doom-laden vocals work perfectly here) along with a rotation of talented folk, including J. Tom Hnatow and Phillips Saylor. All the old favourites are here; ‘Mary Of The Wild Moor’, ‘Henry Lee’ and ‘The Railroad Boy’. It’s an Americanaphile’s delight. The press material would have you think the band’s fourth album is a fresh and funky take on the murder ballad. But worry not, there are no mash-ups, jazz or rapping here. Heidinger’s voice might be distinctive and the songs may sound clean and fresh but this is a disc firmly rooted in the purity of the ancient and it’s all the better for it.

8 p.m. Friday, Shank Hall, 1434 N. Farwell Ave. $10.

More than 50 years after Bob Dylan wandered into view with his acoustic guitar and his work shirt, many a young would-be troubadour has caught the romance inherent in old-fashioned American music. Mark Charles Heidinger of Vandaveer is among the more recent romantics.

Although Heidinger has been involved in other indie projects, including the Apparitions and These United States, Vandaveer is how he lets his Americana flag unfurl with a number of musicians who vary from album to album (although singer Rose Guerin is basically a regular member).

On the latest Vandaveer album, this year’s “Oh, Willie, Please…,” Heidinger, Guerin and company dig into murder ballads and other dark songs drawn primarily from the public domain. Some reinterpretation takes place, but at bottom these are the same stories that Dylan heard the truth in half a century ago. And they retain their power.
—    Jon M. Gilbertson,

Positive show preview
Sunday, June 23: Luce Unplugged with Vandaveer

Cross over to the dark side of folk music with D.C.-based alt-folk band Vandaveer. With their melodic Americana sound, the band sings of universal gloomy themes, such as death, murder and ghosts. They will perform at the American Art Museum after a staff led art talk about an object the band feels relates to their music. Enjoy free coffee and tea while you bask in the ambiance of art and music. Free. Talk at 1:30 p.m., music at 2 p.m. American Art Museum.

Positive show preview
Vandaveer, three shows this weekend – This Weekend (June 21-23) in DC area concerts: Luke Brindley, Vandaveer and more.

Kentucky-bred but now DC’s own alt-folk band Vandaveer has three area shows this weekend in support of its recently released album of traditional murder/folk ballads,”Oh, Willie, Please…” If you’re a fan of the harmonic interplay of Gillian Welch and David Rawlings, you’ll want to hear Mark Heidinger and Rose Guerin wring beautiful melancholy from this collection of “songs of self ruin” and Southern gothic woe.

Strange as it may sound, this series of stabbings, stranglings and shootings contains an eerie beauty. You can get a free download of the track “Omie Wise,” to hear what I mean.

On Saturday afternoon, the group will perform a free show at Luce Foundation Center at the Smithsonian American Art Museum. That same night, the band will be at the IOTA Club and, on Sunday, there’s an intimate house concert taking place care of The Stone Room House Concerts.

(DC-based music blog) – Brief show preview
Sunday, June 23: Luce Unplugged with Vandaveer
A concert series, Luce Unplugged invites local musicians to perform after staff-led art talks. Free coffee or tea available.

D.C.-based duo Vandaveer has traveled the world penning and performing folk music. The group performs in the Luce Center at 2 p.m. after an art talk on an object that they feel relates to their melodic Americana.

(online music site) – Very positive album review.
Vandaveer’s Mark Charles Heidinger: The Greatest Songwriter of His Generation
By Paul Gleason
As I watched Vandaveer perform at Shank Hall in Milwaukee on Friday, June 14, I had one of those special and unexpected musical epiphanies that I’ve only had once or twice before in my life. For example, when I was a lonely high school student, I came across John Lennon’s Plastic Ono Band album, and the emotional nakedness of John’s voice and lyrics made it okay for me to feel my own pain and express it in words.

The same goes for the first time I heard John Coltrane’s Ascension and My Bloody Valentine’s Loveless. With these records, Coltrane and MBV’s Kevin Shields made me realize that beauty could reside in the noisiest places – places that other people might find disturbing or off-putting. John and Kevin taught me a lot about empathy and my ethical responsibility to look and listen to find it.

The older I get, the less and less I experience epiphanic moments. But I had one Friday night, and I need to testify, not to save my own soul, but to proclaim loudly to the world that the folk band Vandaveer’s singer-guitarist Mark Charles Heidinger is the best American songwriter of his – which, I guess, is also my – generation.
Flanked by his bandmates – singer Rose Guerin and multi-instrumentalist J. Tom Hnatow – Heidinger joked with the audience gathered at one of Milwaukee’s most famous clubs, before proceeding to sing the opening lines to “Dig Down Deep,” the opening cut from Vandaveer’s 2010 LP of the same title.

Mark sang, in a voice whose warmth grabbed me and wouldn’t let me go for the entire evening, the following words: “Dig down deep, don’t fold…for the faintest wind might blow you off your mark, off your game, and soil your old man’s good name…hoist your head, don’t weep…or a terrible storm might sweep you out to sea…that big black sea will lay you down to sleep…”

I could enter into English-major mode and discuss the brilliant assonance, alliteration, and rhythms of Mark’s words. But what matters here is more about the essence of Mark’s words – the emotional effect they have on the listener.

The point is that “Dig Down Deep” stopped me in my tracks, and its words traveled directly to my heart and gut. Like Dylan and Parsons, like Drake and Lennon, Mark spoke directly to me and empowered me in beautiful language to bear witness to my inner strength.

“Dig Down Deep” was the moment of epiphany, the moment of spiritual awakening, when Mark reminded me of what art can do when it reaches its highest potential – that is, how it can close the gap that divides us into separate beings.

But, as I learned from George Harrison years earlier and the Eastern religious teachers who changed his life, this gap is only an illusion. And as Mark’s voice and words filled the June night, I became more and more convinced that this he’s a poet who needs to be heard for a reason whose simplicity makes it all the more complex. To use the words of Joseph Conrad, Mark’s songs exist “to make you hear, to make you feel, and, above all, to make you see.”

Take “The Nature of Our Kind,” which also appears on Dig Down Deep, in which Mark sings of an epiphany similar to the one that his music gave me. He reveals a dark night of the soul, in which he’s a Dante-figure, “stumbl[ing] ’round for days and days…walk[ing] [his] shadow into the ground.” Mark’s imagery is so vivid – and he delivers his lyrics with such a compelling and memorable melody – that he makes you visualize him as he stumbles around in existential uncertainty.

But the kicker of the song comes at the end, when Mark makes you feel a universal connection to other people, all of whom who have experienced existential or spiritual crises of some sort. The sun and sounds of the wood in which he’s metaphorically lost become the real “symphony” of nature, and like Thoreau at Walden Pond, he realizes that nature and humanity are one, that they experience similar twists and turns, and that – and this is the point – the division of nature and humanity into two distinct entities is false. Blake knew this, Thoreau knew this, Emerson knew this – and so does Mark.

But like all great songwriters – and like Whitman himself – Mark contains multitudes. One of the best songs on Vandaveer’s 2009 LP Divide & Conquer, “Turpentine” indicates Mark’s penchant for a self-lacerating lyric. “I crossed the tracks, I crossed the line…I doused my heart in turpentine,” he sang at Shank, as if he was prepared to immolate the home of feeling. But – and here’s where the greatness of the lyric resides – Mark transforms the metaphorical meaning of the word “turpentine” within the same song. As the tune reaches its climax, the potential for self-destruction becomes the potential for spiritual rejuvenation. Just the thought of “turpentine” gives Mark (and the listener) the faith to “see the light in a different shade” and not to “fear the night when it’s black as day.”

Mark’s multitudes also contain humor and terrific narrative-based songs. Like Dylan, Lennon, Cohen, and Mitchell, he knows that you have to lighten the mood. At Shank, he sang “Beverly Cleary’s 115th Dream,” a hilarious tune whose title comes from Dylan’s equally hilarious “Bob Dylan’s 115th Dream.” And “Resurrection Mary” is a holy miracle of a story song about a woman who haunts a Chicago cemetery near the place where she was hit and killed by an automobile, a Cinderella who never made it to the ball. Both of these tracks appear on Divide & Conquer.

And let’s just say that the traditional murder ballads from Vandaveer’s new LP, Oh, Willie, Please… fit right in with Mark’s own songs. They indicate that his songs can hold their own with the album’s Poe-esque slices of Americana. He sang “Pretty Polly,” “Down in the Willow Garden,” “The Banks of the Ohio,” and “The Drunkard’s Doom” at Shank, showing that, like Dylan before him, he can perform and mine folk songs not only to immerse himself in tradition but to feel his the syllables of tradition forming on the vocal chords that create the sounds of his own songs.

Listen, people: I’m going to testify without fear – Mark Charles Heidinger is today’s greatest songwriter. Hear him in any way you can.

(Belgium roots music site) – Positive album review preview (in Dutch) with cover art, band photo & related links
From Washington DC, capital of the presidential America, we received an album of a creative duo musicians, since 2006 under the name “Vandaveer ‘operates. It is Mark Charles Heidinger and joined in 2007 folk rock singer Rose Guerin who along with instrumentalists J. Tom Phillips Saylor Hnatow and have decided to create. Alternative folk songs They have last year on a horse farm in Lexington, Kentucky set out to collect on an album that “Oh, Willie, Please …” as strange title was given.

“Vandaveer ‘focuses on the eleven songs on the fourth studio album by the group of the so-called” murder ballads, songs that tell stories about things that occur to the darker side of society. Such intrigue and mythical stories throughout history always know the attention of the general public to draw.

Mark Charles Heidinger is the storyteller of service and Rose Guerin usually sings in harmony with the accompaniment of music from acoustic guitar, banjo, pedal steel guitar or piano. Right from the first song “The Banks Of The Ohio” it is made clear that we need to expect. No happy songs Both vocalists sing the first single from this album appeared, “Pretty Polly” (see video) as a duet and Rose Guerin may lead vocals observe in the songs “The Railroad Boy” and “The Drunkard’s Doom”.

Many of these “murder ballads are so old that no one knows who wrote them at the time. The stories were told over the centuries to the next generations and probably some extra exaggerated to make them. Still more impressive There is the frightening song about one of the most violent murders in the United States in “The Murder Of The Lawson Family” and the mythical stories about “Mary Of The Wild Moor”, on “The Knoxville Girl” (in years’ 50 a hit for “The Louvin Brothers”) and “Poor Edward”.

The story about the great criminal “Henry Lee” you might still know the song Nick Cave and PJ Harvey spent together on the album “Murder Ballads” of “Nick Cave And The Bad Seeds in 1996. Henry Lee Lucas was a serial killer who was officially convicted of 11 different murders. He himself said that he had brought. Were killed at least 60 people He was sentenced to death but could count on the mercy of the then Governor of Texas, later U.S. President George W. Bush. In 2001 Henry Lee died at the age of 64 following a heart attack in prison.

Producer Duane Lundy wrote this song to sing by ‘Vandaveer “and the musical accompaniment extremely minimalist and kept sober. Quasi live on way Therefore it seems like they bring these stories are just and only for you, as if it were something that you would not be particularly telling. Further All this also makes the album “Oh, Willie, Please …” a somewhat mysterious affair that you just expect a traditional folk album.

Vandaver’s “Oh, Willie, Please…” enjoys second week in the Roots Music Report Folk and Roots Radio Charts at #47!

Listening Session: Top 5 Show This Week
Saturday-Vandaveer and the Great American Canyon Band @ IOTA Club. Show 9p/Tickets $12

With all of the national and international touring Vandaveer has done over the past year, it’s great to see the group make time for a hometown performance every now and then. IOTA has always been Vandaveer’s go-to venue, but if anyone learned anything from Justin Jones’ performance there a few months ago, it’s that you better not be talking during a set-or else.

The evening kicked off with Washington D.C.–based indie-folk act Vandaveer. The band came out modestly and immediately started playing soft, melodic melodies, made up of nothing more than two guitars, a stomping board and their voices. Lead singer and guitarist Mark Charles Heidinger would take breaks between the songs to chat with the audience, noting that, usually, they play shows made up of “17 to 18 people,” and was admittedly overwhelmed by the response from the TMBG fans in SLC, frequently joking the he was going to call and say “we’re big in Salt Lake, mom.”

Playing off each other’s strengths, Heidinger and singer Rosie Guerin mostly stuck to tunes off their brand new album: Oh, Willie, Please… its theme being rustic songs about murder, to which the SLC crowd cheered, earning us the unofficial labeling of being “macabre” from the group. Songs like “Pretty Polly” and “Poor Edward” set the tone for their set, putting a mournful yet beautifyl take on songs more suited for a dirge, earning the respect of the audience who had mostly shown up hoping for a one-band show. They closed out their set with the song “Roman Candle” off of their 2007 record Grace & Speed, leaving some in the audience to cry for an encore. They were a very folky but pleasant surprise.

FEARLESS RADIO (Chicago internet Radio) – In-studio session scheduled for Mon. June 17th at 4pm.

With a new album released a month ago, they leave their home of Washington, DC to perform at The Nether Bar (underneath
Mill City Nights), Thursday night. “Delicate” and “artfully crafted Americana that pulses with an honesty and elegance that ultimately
makes these songs memorable while also sounding distinctly timeworn and familiar, “- Erik Thompson, The Line of Best Fit

Top Indie Americana/Folk Tracks of 2013 {Part 1}
Vandaveer – “Pretty Polly” {Bluegrass/Alt-Folk}
Vandaveer (AKA the masters of “murder ballads”) wrote to us explaining that despite their “collective desire to be good and virtuous, people do very bad things. And then we sing about them.” (Okay then!) This song is off their fourth studio album Oh, Willie Please… which you can purchase for $8.99 here

Vandaveer 6:30 p.m. June 18 @ The Crofoot in Pontiac. MI
Vandaveer is the alt-folk project by DC singer/songwriter Mark Charles Heidinger.

Vandaveer Speaks About Their New Album and the History of Murder Ballads
Murder ballads have a strange and interesting place in the history of music. They are often grotesque, violent, and in many cases directed towards women, all the while couched in the comfort of traditional folk music.

“Human beings are strongly drawn to murder stories. That’s why we read murder mysteries,” said Mark Charles Heidinger, lead singer of the band Vandaveer in a recent phone interview with the BandWagon, on the way to their show in Denver at the Ogden Theater on June 7th, opening for They Might Be Giants.

Vandaveer is currently on their first Midwestern tour supporting their fourth LP title Oh, Willie, Please… an honest and modern take on a collection of public domain murder ballads that have always intrigued the Washington D.C. band. “When we were in the studio, we all knew different versions of the songs,” said Heidinger speaking to the traditional and historic depth of the music. “Some of these songs are so old they were written before they were given titles.”

“People have been really receptive to the source material. These songs belong to all of us, and and I feel it’s good to revisit them and bring out for new audiences.”

Vandaveer treats the album with regard for the world the songs came out of. Heidinger’s spirited vocals and strong arrangements never shy far from the roots of the music, but without a doubt, Vandaveer’s take on these traditional songs is fresh and enjoyable. It is backing vocalist Rose Guerin who gives the songs a sense of their past as she gives a passionate and motherly voice to the female characters who are in most of the songs the victim of the violence.

“These songs give us a snapshot into the courting during this time.” An important issue for Vandaveer is the topic of domestic violence. Ten of the eleven tracks on Oh, Willie, Please… are about men killing women in one form or another. “Domestic violence is as ever present today as it has ever been in our history. It’s an uncomfortable part of our past where men are doing violent things to women.”

The album is mostly funded through a crowdsourcing site called where artists can pledge a portion of their funds to a charity of their choosing, and Vandaveer chose an organization in Kentucky that benifits families effected by domestic violence.

After Vandaveer finishes their current tour, they plan to return to the studio to finish their fifth LP which Heidinger assures will be completely different from Oh, Willie. The inspiration of the album was a fascination with the history of the music and the brutal honesty of the times. With this stellar take on traditional folk music under their belts, their return to their original music will be welcomed and highly anticipated.

To hear more of their music or learn more about the band, go to

A folky direction for Washington, D.C., rocker Mark Charles Heidinger—who’s also involved in These United States—Vandaveer piqued interest with its 2007 debut, Grace & Speed, an album built on a solid acoustic base but delicately adorned with sonic trimmings by various members of Heidinger’s musical posse. While his other bands explore a little more interesting territory, Vandaveer seems to be the outfit that’s getting the most attention, which stands to increase with its steadily strong output of late. The 2009 album Divide & Conquer was full of creeping, sultry numbers like “Fistful Of Swoon,” but Heidinger called on his Kentucky roots for 2011’s Dig Deep Down, resulting in a heartfelt, worthy tribute to country classicism. A new album, Oh, Willie, Please… was released this spring.
Shank Hall
1434 N Farwell Ave

WUWM RADIO (Milwaukee Public Radio) – In-studio session scheduled for Fri. June 14th at 4pm.

TWISTED SOUTH RADIO – Phoner with Mark & Mars confirmed for Wed. June 5th at 7pm CDT.

Recommended Shows This Week (6/3 – 6/9)
Wednesday: Vandaveer @ Czar Bar
With all of the lame neo-folk bands like The Lumineers and Of Monsters & Men and the like, it’s refreshing to hear something that actually sounds authentic. Vandaveer are touring behind the fantastic album of murder ballads Oh, Willie, Please… and if there is a just deity up there, they should be huge soon so check them out on Wednesday in KC.

Vandaveer’s most recent album is an entire collection of traditional murder ballads.
Buy Vandaveer’s music HERE on Amazon or HERE on iTunes.

The Firebird in St. Louis welcomes the Kentucky-based folk act Vandaveer on Tuesday, June 4 at 8:30pm.

Mad Mackerel Best Of The Month – May 2013… Vandaveer – Omie Wise
Another murder ballad reinvented by macabre folksters.

AUDIO: Vandaveer Offers ‘Omie Wise’ Download; Extends Summer Tour

Vandaveer Offer Up Omie Wise
Mark Charles Heidinger of macabre folksters Vandaveer recently participated in our 5:1 Interview series, which in turn came on the back of the recent release of their brilliant album of reinterpreted and re-imagined murder ballads, Oh, Willie, Please…
The band have made a second track from it available for free download – so here is the perfectly told, tragic tale of the murder of Omie Wise.
He kissed her and hugged her and he turned her around
Then he pushed her in deep waters where he knew that she would drown
John got on his pony and away he did ride
And the screams of Omie went down by his side
Order the album here.

Vandaveer’s Involvement in the 78 Project Fuels an Entire Album of Murder Ballads
By Brian F. Johnson

Alan Lomax, the famous field collector of American folk music known as  The Man Who Recorded The World,  spent his life traveling the world recording musicians and was ultimately responsible for bringing legendary musicians like Woody Guthrie, Pete Seeger, Muddy Waters and Lead Belly, to the radio. Lomax passed away in 2002. But his passion for recording musicians has inspired others to continue searching the attic and basement of the American folk tradition and in 2011, filmmakers Lavinia Joes Wright and Alex Steyermark co-founded The 78 Project.

The basis for The 78 Project is simple: have an artist pick a classic song from the public domain to perform and record and put their own personal spin on. They use one microphone and a 1930 s direct-to-disc Presto recording machine   kind of the analog ProTools of the 1930s.

And that is where the Washington, D.C. group Vandaveer comes in. In 2011, the acoustic quartet which features vocalist/guitarist/songwriter Mark Charles Heidinger and vocalist Rose Guerin, participated in The 78 Project, recording the old murder ballad  Banks of the Ohio  at Ye Olde Carlton Arms Hotel in New York City.  It s this amazing hotel in New York where every room is decorated by a different artist. We went in and picked a room and set up and recorded our version,  said Heidinger during a recent interview with The Marquee. The recoding comes off as an amalgam of Heidinger and Guerin s personal favorite versions of the song, with him leaning toward the arrangements of Johnny Cash, Ralph Stanley and Doc Watson, while Guerin leans more in the direction of The Blue Sky Boys  rendition.

It was so much fun to do that by the time the recording was done, it felt like a bit of a letdown,  Heidinger said.  We wanted to do more. It was such a joy prepping for that, that we figured why not make a whole album of these songs. And later that spring after some planning, we found ourselves in Kentucky on this beautiful farm working on this album. 

The group gathered in a 200-year-old house outside of Lexington, Ky. and started piecing together a full album of classic songs.  We lived there. We were drinking coffee there in the morning and wine at night in his spectacular manor for a week, week-and-a-half and it was the most pleasant recording experience we ever had. It was really a wonderfully creative process,  said Heidinger.

While the band was in good spirits, the group began to notice a theme, and while they hadn t set out to do so, it turned out that the majority of the songs they had chosen were not just songs from The American Song Book, but specifically, murder ballads.  Banks of the Ohio,   Pretty Polly,   Omie Wise  and  The Murder of the Lawson Family,  to name just a few.

Ironically, the final result Oh, Willie, Please, released in early May, sounds upbeat, melodically speaking, compared to Vandaveer s last full-length, 2011 s Dig Down Deep.  The songs, or the melodies aren t dreary or melodramatic, its just that the stories are dark and gritty and sort of gruesome,  Heidinger said.  That juxtaposition, I think, is part of the reason they re really interesting songs to begin with, and people are fascinated with the darker side of the human condition. It s why the most memorable character in most books and movies is most often the villain. Like Javier Bardem in No Country For Old Men. Pretty much every character in every Cormac McCarthy novel is basically the cousin of all of the villains in any of these songs,  he said, laughing.  People love a good murder ballad. 

And Vandaveer loves a good opportunity to do a great video. Directed by Jared Varava, the production on  Pretty Polly  is phenomenal in recreating the events that lead to the classic song, and incorporating Vandaveer s haunting presence fully into the track. Heidinger said that the video continues on a tradition of the band being blessed with their videos.  We are very lucky to know people who are very gifted with film,  he said, adding with a laugh,  I can confidently say that we should not be allowed to make such videos. Our level of success does not warrant such productions but we re not going to turn them down. We ve been able to work with thoughtful filmmakers who have been able to make really nice pieces of art that are also, conveniently, promotional material for us. We hit the video lottery. It s a lovely thing to be a part of. 

:: Vandaveer ::
:: Ogden Theatre:: June 7 ::

Recommended if you Like:
” Jonny and June Carter Cash
” Avett Brothers
” Devil Makes Three

Vandaveer adds June tour dates in further support of their new album of traditional murder ballds “Oh, Willie, Please…”

Mark Charles Heidinger’s Murder Ballads
Oh, Willie, Please…

Vandaveer mastermind Mark Charles Heidinger’s new record, Oh, Willie, Please… collects eleven fine performances of traditional murder ballads. But the record is far more than a random compendium of scary tunes from a sub-genre that, as far as we know, dates back to sixteenth-century Europe. Willie excels because of Heidinger’s song selection, which gives it a thematic consistency that simultaneously allows him to delve into the past and to explore the ways in which contemporary recordings of traditional songs can provide social commentary on America’s present.

But before I can dig into an exploration of the narrative content of Willie – after all, lyrics are the life-blood of any traditional folk song – I need to offer a few words about Vandaveer’s excellent performance of the material. Heidinger’s chief partner in crime is Rose Guerin, who harmonizes expertly with him throughout Willie. Indeed, the opening cut “The Banks of the Ohio” indicates that Heidinger and Guerin can hold their own with Gram Parsons and Emmylou Harris. To quote Nicholas Cage, this is high praise. And when Guerin features as the main vocalist, as she does on “The Railroad Boy” and “The Drunkard’s Doom,” she shows off her vocal chops in all their twang-y beauty and intensity.

Throughout Willie, Heidinger, too, handles his vocal lines with expertise – hear “Omie Wise,” “Mary of the Wild Moors,” “The Knoxville Girl,” and “Poor Edward.” Heidinger never sounds like he’s trying to re-create how he thinks the original ballads were heard in their mysterious first incarnations; rather, he’s very credible in making the songs Vandaveer’s own.

In addition, Heidinger and Guerin surround themselves with terrific players, who strum, pick, and bang on their instruments with expertise. J. Tom Hnatow and Phillips Saylor help out on steel string, resonator, and pedal steel guitars, banjos and piano.

But Vandaveer’s music—albeit it renderings of traditional murder ballads delivered in traditional ways—comments, in Trollope’s phrase, on the way we live now, just as much as it educates us about American history; hence, the importance of Heidinger’s song selection, which provides Willie with a thematic consistency that makes it into somewhat of a concept album.

That’s right – a concept album of traditional murder ballads. The theme that binds the songs on Willie is (unsurprisingly, given the subject matter of murder ballads) violence. But a specific kind of violence – and one that sadly impacts American society today just as much as it did in previous centuries – intrigues Heidinger and makes him a socially aware artist like his folky forebears Bob Dylan, Joan Baez, and Bruce Springsteen, to name just a few.

The violence of which Heidinger and Guerin sing mainly concerns the atrocities that men commit against women and, sometimes, against themselves. Examples abound. “The Murder of the Lawson Family” tells the tale a man who murders his entire family before killing himself. It’s Capote’s In Cold Blood with a different ending. It’s school shootings and office building mass killings. “Omie Wise” narrates the story of how John Lewis drowns Wise after promising her “money and other fine things,” such as marriage. And “Poor Edward,” a Jekyll and Hyde tale, is the story of a man who kills himself and faces the torments of Hell after his lover jilts him.

After hearing these songs and many of the others collected on Willie, the complexities of Heidinger’s work begin to reveal themselves. Heidinger isn’t just primarily interested in male violence against women; rather, his exploration includes male violence against women in the context of romantic relationships. (Go to Vandaveer’s website to check out the media pictures, which depict Heidinger and Guerin in full wedding regalia.)

What makes this exploration so chilling is Heidinger’s Poe-like commitment to telling violence stories as objectively as possible. In other words, Vandaveer just gives us the facts, without any emotional ornamentation. This factual delivery isn’t akin to Poe’s investigation of cracked reasoning. Heidinger and crew, on the other hand, let the detached narrative perspectives of the traditional ballads allow the listener to respond emotionally. Take, for example, “The Knoxville Girl,” the first-person narrator of which courts a woman, only to “take a stick and knock that fair girl down.” The narrator is all the more frightening because he just says what he does, without providing any rational explanation.

By the end of Willie, Heidinger’s argument is all too clear: America’s de-sensitization to violence against women – and to violence, in general – isn’t a recent development. It’s been with the country throughout its history – thus, the popularity of murder ballads and all the violent books and movies that came in their wake.

Summer blockbuster season is upon us! —Paul Gleason

A Brief History Of The Murder Ballad: An Interview With Vandaveer’s Mark Charles Heidinger
By Paul Gleason

Vandaveer’s Mark Charles Heidinger talks to CITC about his band’s new album, the brutal origins of murder ballads and Michael Jackson.

Mark Charles Heidinger is the co-leader of the band Vandaveer, which just released an extraordinary collection of traditional murder ballads, Oh, Willie, Please…

Mark visited with CITC for a wide-ranging discussion of the history of the murder ballad, the song-selection and recording process for Willie, co-leader Rose Guerin’s incredible voice and sense of fashion, and Michael Jackson.

Caught in the Carousel: Oh, Willie, Please… is a collection of murder ballads. A lot of the songs you chose are scary!

Mark Charles Heidinger: (laughs) We’re just the conduits! We’re just the messengers not the culprits!

CITC: The first thing that struck me when I listened to the record was the two-part harmony that you and Rose do. I immediately thought of Gram Parsons and Emmylou Harris. How do you construct your harmonies?

MCH: It’s a pretty fluid, natural process. We’ve been singing together since 2010. I put out different Vandaveer records and solo records. By the time those records were out, she was already performing with me most of the time. She’s become a permanent member of Vandaveer, and it’s just been ongoing. She’s kind of a staple – she’s always there. I don’t tell Rose what to do. Her voice is a pretty special thing. I write songs, and she fills out the harmonies. I’m a very rudimentary harmony singer. I can’t come close to imagining some of the things she comes up with!

CITC: How does this apply to the songs on Oh, Willie, Please…?

MCH: These songs are very traditional folk songs. It’s far more in that traditional vein, and she grew up with that. She grew up in a big family full of famous folk musicians who sort of taught the kids along the way. This stuff comes naturally to her. So we’re very much fans of Gram Parsons and Emmylou, but it’s not something we consciously think about. Really, the hard part was figuring out what songs to do. We knew we wanted to do an album of murder ballads. Some of the songs are not quite murder—they’re suicide (laughs).

CITC: Or suicide as a result of murder (laughs)?

MCH: (laughs) There were a lot of songs to choose from. We had to whittle them down, and the songs really dictated the direction we took them in. We knew who the players were. We knew the location we were going to play them in. We knew who the voices were. But we weren’t quite sure how the songs were going to turn out. It was quite a natural process.

CITC: The songs seem to flow together and concern the violence that men commit against women.

MCH: Unfortunately, that’s a common thread in our culture. And a lot depended on when these songs were written. We did a crowd-funding campaign for this record through Pledge Music. We got to give ten percent of the funds to a charity of our choice, and we chose a charity based in Kentucky that deals with battered women and victims of domestic violence. We felt like if we’re going to focus on this to this extent, we need to do our civic duty and (laughs) have these bastards posthumously pay penance for what they’ve done!

CITC: The songs on the record give the facts of the violent situations, without delving into the emotional impact.

MCH: That’s the song structure of classic murder ballads. It’s almost like a news piece. These things would be scribbled down on broadside ballad sheets and passed around – and this is how people found out about the horrible things that had happened. But there is an eerie disconnected quality. For me, the most difficult song on the album is “The Murder of the Lawson Family.” We’ve got a guy who murders his entire family, including some of his youngest children. The melody is so pleasant – it’s the juxtaposition of those two things. That was a very literal translation of a Blue Sky Boys’ version of that song. They’re a folk band from North Carolina.

We all brought songs to the table, and that was one I brought. And we honestly didn’t veer too far from The Blue Sky Boys’ version because our version is in the same key, and the chord progression is very much the same.
I just thought, “That is so jarring that they took something so dark and evil and married it to something that’s just pleasant sounding.” It’s almost a children song’s melody, but it’s absolutely not children’s song material.

CITC: Many of these songs sounded like Poe with a twist. With Poe, you know that the killers are insane psychopaths because you’re aware of their reasoning. But in these songs, you have no idea what the killers are thinking. It’s very chilling.

MCH: When someone would get caught committing a crime like this, they would be forced to essentially write down what happened. If they couldn’t write, they would dictate what happened – and this would be put to verse. The earliest and oldest recordings of “Pretty Polly” have 12 or 15 verses. We whittled it down to six or seven, I think. Somebody wrote to me a couple weeks ago who’s a student of murder ballads. He’s an expert, and he has 37 different recordings of “Pretty Polly”! He has a whole 10-page article on his website where you can read all about the history of the song. That’s fascinating that someone has done that much research! I mean, these are cultural artifacts.

CITC: Out of all the tracks on the album, do you know which one goes back the farthest?

MCH: It might be “Pretty Polly” or “Henry Lee.” They both go way back. If you’re really interested, there are some places online where you can go down the rabbit’s hole and really get lost (laughs)! I’ve done it. We did it because we felt that we needed to do research leading into the recording sessions. I actually spent some time, and I wanted to get to know some of the characters a little better because, like you said, you don’t feel emotionally connected to some of them. And I wanted some of the backstory. In the case of “Owie Wise,” I wanted to see how the story ended – because in the versions of the songs that we’d heard, there wasn’t any ending. It was just, “No one would bail John Lewis out of jail.” It turns out that he escaped under some mysterious circumstances, and he wandered off to Kentucky, where he remarried. Then he died of pneumonia or pleurisy ten-years past the date of the crime, within one week. He was five days shy or five days past his killing of Owie Wise. So we then added a stanza to the end of the song that dealt with actually happened to him. It was the only modern touch up we did to any of the songs.

CITC: This song – like many of the songs on the record – deals with violence against women in the context of romantic relationships.

MCH: Often times, the women were pregnant – which is even more evil. This was basically a way of getting rid of what the villain thought was an inconvenient situation or an untenable one.

CITC: The pictures that go along with the record show you and Rose in wedding dress.

MCH: We made the record on a horse farm – in a giant manor that sits on an old horse farm. The shots were taken just outside the property. The wedding gear wasn’t intentional. We tend to dress up a bit when we’re on stage. We felt like for this album that visually it wouldn’t have made sense to do these songs and to be wearing t-shirts and hoodies (laughs)! The album has old content. It’s woody. Rose is such a fine dresser, and she has an incredible wardrobe of lovely clothes. You have to dress up to Rose. She sets the bar for how to dress.

CITC: I thought it matched the musical content very well.

MCH: Yeah! She’s very in touch with that, and to a lesser extent, the rest of us are. The wardrobe was intentional but not intended to look like a wedding party. But I like that! I like your angle, and we’re going to go with you (laughs)!

CITC: Why do so many of the characters die from drowning?

MCH: A lot of it comes down to variations and bastardizations of the same story. I think you can take a song like “The Banks of the Ohio” or “Owie Wise” or “The Knoxville Girl” and see a common theme. Two hundred years ago, people were probably stabbed and thrown in the river. That probably was not terribly uncommon, unfortunately.But I think in the context of the murder ballad, you’re seeing things that have been passed down orally with a certain change. The melody might change or the story details may change as they were passed down through Appalachia and beyond. You’d see variations of a similar story being told. This is one school of thought. I’m not speaking from any position of authority on this. That’s my assumption from what I’ve gathered from doing some research on the stuff prior to the recording of the album. This seems to be the case.

CITC: Is this record a conscious attempt to criticize the violence against women that we experience today? Have we really gotten that far past the nineteenth century?

MCH: These songs are relevant. I mean, you open up a web browser and go the Huffington Post and read about Chris Brown beating up Rhianna again. I just saw this in the news today: three girls kidnapped in the early 2000s, and they were kept in captivity for three years. They were just discovered or escaped or freed over the weekend. This stuff still happens. Horrible things still happen. The songs are still relevant because the human condition is not a fundamentally sound thing. People love CSI, people loved Edgar Allan Poe, people love murder mysteries and horror movies. It touches…I wouldn’t call them “pleasure buttons”…(laughs)

CITC: There is a fascination with the macabre. I was reminded of The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo when I heard the album.

MCH: I haven’t read or seen it. Actually, Rose was telling me that I need to read or watch it – and I don’t have any experience. I think that I would like that whole trilogy. I think that’s great!

CITC: One of the ballads you chose features a suicide, and there’s something scrawled on the woman’s chest. This reminded me of the book and movie.

MCH: Yeah, that’s “The Railroad Boy.”

CITC: What’s going on with “The Railroad Boy”? Why did you choose it?

MCH: That was one of Rosie’s contributions. We all came to the table with ideas of what we wanted to do, and she brought that one to the table. And I wasn’t familiar with the song until she shared it. But there are variations to that song where it takes place in Dublin or in London. But that’s one of the lighter songs. Well, it’s not “lighter” (laughs); it’s just less violent. The main character is swung by a dandy, who then leaves her, and she can’t cope and handle it. So she decides to end her life rather than deal with the shame and the loss of her innocence.

CITC: I was also interested in “The Drunkard’s Doom.”

MCH: Yeah, the temperance song.

CITC: That song made me think of the temperance novels of the nineteenth century. Walt Whitman actually wrote temperance fiction. I was wondering where you found that song. Does it go back to the nineteenth century?

MCH: That comes from Rosie’s family songbook. Like I said, she grew up in a large family versed in the folk music tradition. Her uncle is actually from a famous jug band named The Jim Kweskin Jug Band. Anyway, Rosie’s family had this huge songbook the size of the Bible, just full of songs. This was a song that she was taught and learned and sang as a child. And I knew The Bloomin’ Brothers’ song called “The Drunkard’s Doom,” and it’s kind of the same thing. But it has a different melody, different lyrics. The only thing that’s similar is the subject matter – and that’s it. It’s a cautionary tale about drinking too much.

With one exception, these songs all come from the public domain, so they are very, very old. I don’t know when “The Drunkard’s Doom” first surfaced or when it would have been written but definitely during the temperance movement.

CITC: Would you take us through the recording process of the album? You chose the songs – and there are two additional players on the album. Is that right?

MCH: Yeah, there are: a guy named J. Tom Hnatow, who played dobro, acoustic guitar, and pedal steel, and Phillips Saylor, who played Clawhammer banjo and acoustic guitar. They were both living in North Carolina at the time. Tom lives in Kentucky now, but Tom and Rosie were together when this whole idea sparked, before we made this record. We were doing a short tour, and we were invited to be a part of this very cool thing called the 78 Project, where bands are recording traditional songs in the public domain on a Freshtone 78 acetate-recording device – what Alan Lomax used on all his field recordings for the Smithsonian Collection.

Anyway, we were preparing for that. Tom was living in North Carolina, and he bumped into Phillips Saylor, the best Clawhammer banjo player I’ve ever heard. He was an expert in folk music, and we decided that we should bring him into the process – which was kind of a gamble because we had never worked together, and we weren’t sure what the work level would be like, but we clicked immediately. And Phillips duets on “The Knoxville Girl.” So all the banjo you hear comes from Phillips. He plays one called a Knot banjo, which is a single piece of wood, and it’s handmade. It’s fretless, and it has the skin of a groundhog.

CITC: The skin of a groundhog (laughs)?

MCH: (laughs). It’s the head of the banjo! It’s a fretless thing, and it’s the coolest sounding instrument I’ve ever heard. It’s just this fretless, very traditional mountain-style banjo. And it’s a wonderful thing! The process was very smooth. We all packed the great room of this farm house – and our producer brought a portable recording rig to the house, and we set up in the great room, with a 15-foot ceiling, a grand piano. We all just sat in the room and workshopped the songs and then banged it out. We did 80% of the album live. There was some overdubbing.

CITC: What did you tend to overdub?

MCH: A couple things like percussion and harmony vocals where we wanted to do something a bit more specific. Sometimes it was a matter of sound where we didn’t want the bleed. The mixing process was very interesting because the house was very much a part of the record. There were microphones throughout the house. A lot of the reverb you hear on the record is very natural – it’s just the microphone hanging from the chandelier.

CITC: I actually was going to ask you how you obtained that spacious feel . . .

MCH: You can imagine four players sitting in a great room with a 15-foot ceiling – and you’ve got this majestic house. You go up the winding staircase, and you just put a microphone 30 feet above everyone and you turn it up. I mean, you hear the space and the walls – that was a very important quality to us. Some piano stuff was overdubbed, a vocal line here and there, if we felt that we needed to get a different type of sound. But the goal was to go in and record in seven days and then mix. There were some follow-up sessions where we did some overdubbing but rarely mixing. That happened after the fact. But 95% of the stuff was tracked during that first week.

CITC: Did you and Rose sing into the same mike?

MCH: No, but we sat right next to each other. We each had our own microphone. But it’s interesting. If you could listen to the multi-tracks, you’ll hear each of us in the other mike. And you’ll hear the banjo come through. Or you can hear Rose’s voice.We embraced the bleed. We said, “This is the sound we’re going for.” And it created some challenges for our producer and mixer because there were times when – Rose has a very powerful voice, and it can really soar – and there are some songs where she sounds like she’s sitting 10 or 15 feet behind the band. Well, that’s because her voice is so powerful, and it was cutting through all the other instruments in the room. It was impossible to turn her primary vocal microphone up to give her more presence because it was cutting through all the other instruments so powerfully.

CITC: So I’m going to make an analogy here. Brian Wilson’s voice was so powerful that it risked cutting through The Beach Boys’ blend. But, I suppose, if you can sing like Rose or Brian that’s not a bad thing!

MCH: (laughs) Exactly, man, exactly!

CITC: I’d like to talk about your voice on the record. Where are you from?

MCH: I was born in Canton and grew up in central Kentucky. We were in a small coal-mining town, about a half-hour away from Canton. And then we relocated to a small town just outside Lexington in central Kentucky. I spent 23 years there.

CITC: I asked you that because your voice on the record has a Southern twang, which your speaking voice doesn’t have.

MCH: (laughs) I never thought about that! But, yeah, you’re not the first person who’s said that! When our last record came out, people said, “This is a country record.” But on our previous record, we were taking folk music and putting it through a Dr. Seuss-Pink Floyd machine! But there is some country – and I think it’s because Rose sings very traditional folk-style harmonies and there is a twang in my voice that comes out. But it’s not an intentional thing.

I think it probably has to do with what you’ve listened to. I love old classic country. Maybe I’m unintentionally doing my best George Jones or something (laughs)!

CITC: Who are some of your favorite country artists?

MCH: George Jones, for one – he just passed away. Tammy Wynette, Loretta Lynn – I like Johnny Cash, Willie Nelson, John Prine . . . But I didn’t grow up listening to any of that.

CITC: What did you grow up listening to?

MCH: I grew up listening to Michael Jackson, Madonna, and Weird Al Yankovic. And then I got into whatever was on MTV, so Guns N’ Roses, Nirvana, and Pearl Jam. It went splintering in a thousand different directions for me.

CITC: Thriller was my first album.

MCH: My first concert was the Jackson’s Victory Tour. I was seven years old. It was 1984 in Knoxville, Tennessee, and I slept through half of it because I was seven! But I was awake for all of the Thriller songs! But I slept through all the Jackson 5 stuff, apparently.

CITC: So you got the good stuff (laughs)!

MCH: (laughs) Well, I got “Billie Jean,” and I would have done it just for that.

CITC: “Billie Jean” is one of the greatest songs ever written. That bass line is just incredible!

MCH: It is, man, it is!

VANDAVEER/Oh, Willie, Please…: Classic folk music murder ballads done by pomo folkies that left their sense of irony at home when they showed up at the studio. Played straight but not straight from the folk music sarcophagus, you can dig this without being into either Dylan or Mumford. Like something you’d come across on either Tradition or Waterbug, this is music that doesn’t worry about fad or fashion and just delivers stuff from the wild side of life directly from the heart. These kids are authentic without being dusty and give you the sense they can do anything. This is a wonderful gateway to folk music exploration. Check this good ‘un out.

Vandaveer – “Oh, Willie, Please…”
Genre: Folky Murder Ballads

Though this band is currently based in the District of Columbia, lead singer, Mark Charles Heidinger, has made his way through Lexington-based bands – specifically as frontman of The Apparitions with Robby Cosenza. Because of this, Vandaveer has a pretty large following in this town, but somehow I failed to have heard of them until very recently. It’s a shame too, because their newest album Oh, Willie, Please… is excellent. The album is made up entirely of their renditions of eleven murder ballads – all of them dark and chilling, but making their impressions through equal parts uptempo tracks to those that are just downright slinky and spooky. The title of the album “Oh, Willie,” is heard referenced several times throughout the album, and lends it a sense of cohesion; the album is made up of made up of eleven stories – track by track – but listens almost like a concept album with a greater arcing storyline. What that bigger story might be is tough to tell, though – it tends to make me want to think of the tales of a small town, and the instances of anguish and revenge it has seen. The sound of the album is great too, being recorded in perhaps Lexington’s best known studio at Shangri-La. The layers of instruments are added with perfect pacing and the building of intensity on tracks like “The Railroad Boy” is created masterfully. Heidinger’s voice is paired perfectly with the rich tone of Rose Guerin’s, but with no knowledge about her, I’d have sworn that he had talked Emmylou Harris into recording with him. For all the pop music today that mistakes itself for folk music, Vandaveer is treating the genre the way it ought to be treated – this album is crisp, and for all dark, bleak, and hard-to-stomach subjects, it’s surprisingly a beautiful and refreshing listen.

Tracks I Liked – The Banks of the Ohio!, Pretty Polly!!, The Railroad Boy!!!, Mary of the Wild Moor!, Down in the Willow Garden!!, The Drunkard’s Doom!!!, Poor Edward!

Friday, May 24th-Waller w/ Vandaveer at The EARL
This band is pure Americana. The music speaks for itself and comes through the speakers with such roots clarity that everyone in the room will feel a bit of Americana nostalgia.

Nashville Scene Critic’s Pick … Vandaveer w/The Breedings
If any Vandaveer fans were concerned about the band’s fourth LP unexpectedly transitioning from acoustic Americana into, like, skate punk or something — fear not. Released on April 30, Oh, Willie, Please … makes up for what it may lack in excitement with beauty and precision. That’s exactly what we’ve come to expect from the brainchild of D.C.-based Mark Charles Heidinger, an Ohio native who also fronts The Apparitions and plays bass for These United States. Featuring a lovely/spooky balance of murder ballads (“The Banks of the Ohio”) and Southern gothic character studies (“Pretty Polly,” “Poor Edward”), the record is mainly a showcase for the great harmonic interplay between Heidinger and his female foil Rose Guerin. If you fancy the discography of Gillian Welch and David Rawlings, you should give Vandaveer a shot. Decide for yourself tonight.—Andrew Clayman
The High Watt
Thu. 5/23/13
Doors: 8:00 PM | Show: 9:00 PM
18 and over

KDHX RADIO (St. Louis Community Radio) – “Pretty Polly” Song of the Day
Song of the Day: ‘Pretty Polly’ by Vandaveer
In the annals of folk archetypes, “Pretty Polly” is perhaps the most searing, mysterious and infamous song of all. The melody is inexhaustible, the story unforgettable. Vandaveer takes hold of that essence and wrings out the full, threatening power of this ageless murder ballad.
From the album “Oh, Willie, Please…” out April 30, 2013.
Download the MP3.

THE COURIER-JOURNAL  (Louisville daily) –  Feature interview with band photos to preview local show.
‘Murder,’ they sang: Vandaveer picks (dead) folk music for its new album
Mark Charles Heidinger is a charming guy, polite and gracious, laughs a lot. He also likes to sing about people being murdered.

Heidinger is the leader of Vandaveer, a band well versed in a variety of American music. Heidinger saw The Jacksons, with Michael, for his first concert. He grew up in Lexington listening to Pearl Jam and Nirvana. He discovered folk music as an adult.

And folk music can get pretty bloody. For Vandaveer’s new album, “Oh, Willie, Please …,” he and his band combed through a list of their favorite murder ballads and picked 11. A family dies in one, so the body count is pretty high.

Murder ballads have been popular since the 1500s, when Europeans thrilled to stories of love and death. The songs made the trip to the Americas, where many were adapted and many more written.

“They definitely have staying power,” said Heidinger, who brings his band to Uncle Slayton’s on Wednesday. “I think it’s for the same reason that murder mysteries and Hitchcock films, or even shows like ‘CSI’ and ‘Law & Order’ are popular.

“For whatever reason, people love stories about the darker side of the human condition. You look at headlines and they’re always about the darker side of who we are as human beings.”

The most famous modern album in the genre is “Murder Ballads,” by Nick Cave. His was a demonic, overwhelming performance. Heidinger didn’t want to go that route because Cave couldn’t be bettered.

Instead, he and the band kept the songs grounded in tradition, and that classic approach holds up. These are unrequited love songs, after all, with understated arrangements and melodies contrasted by the grim details.

“We didn’t want to be melodramatic or overly emotive,” Heidinger said. “We felt like we were stewards of these songs, like we had checked these songs out of the public library and wanted to return them in good shape.”

Vandaveer, which is also Rose Guerin, J. Tom Hnatow and Phillips Saylor, returned to Heidinger’s former home to record ‘Oh, Willie, Please …,” setting up in a house on a Lexington horse farm. It wasn’t far from where Heidinger began his career, which now stands at four acclaimed albums and nearly 500 shows spread across the United States and Europe.
He began writing songs in high school with a hand-me-down guitar from his father, a youth minister. A Cobain youth, he first tried his hand at rock. “I picked up the guitar when I was 13 or 14, and I think I immediately started trying to write songs,” he said, “all of them awful.”

Heidinger eventually had a good band, The Apparitions, which broke up nearly nine years ago when he followed his girlfriend, now his wife, to Washington, D.C. Some of The Apparitions went on to form These United States, and he still works with a couple of them, including Hnatow.

Heidinger started Vandaveer in Washington as a solo project, and his writing took on more of a singer-songwriter feel. You’ll hear some folk, some 1960s pop, even hints of psychedelia at times. It’s a timeless sound, firmly rooted and free of trends.

“We tell people we play folks music, music for your folks,” he said, laughing. “Timeless is one of those descriptions that we genuinely appreciate. That’s about the loveliest thing you can hear when someone is talking about your music.”

When: Wednesday, 8:30 p.m.
Where: Uncle Slayton’s, 1017 E. Broadway
Tickets: $10 advance, $12 day of show, available at the venue or online at

ACE WEEKLY  (Lexington weekly) –  Simple show listing in Ace Picks.

LEXINGTON HERALD LEADER  (Lexington daily) –  Feature interview to preview local show.
Lexingtonian-founded Vandaveer fills new album with killer songs about murder
By Walter Tunis — Contributing Music Writer

In discussing the state of the alt-folk alliance known as Vandaveer, the band’s founder, Lexingtonian-turned-Washington, D.C., resident Mark Charles Heidinger, uses the new album Oh, Willie, Please as a measuring stick.

Instead of another platter of absorbing, though dimly lit, original tunes, Heidinger took Vandaveer back in time and down a dark country road. The repertoire on Oh, Willie, Please consists exclusively of traditional folk tales of murder and gristly misdeeds.

“For a record full of death and dismay, things are going pretty good,” Heidinger said.

Recorded in Lexington, with local producer Duane Lundy again overseeing sessions, Oh, Willie, Please explores tunes that will be familiar, at least in title, to fans of pre-bluegrass country music — especially songs such as The Banks of the Ohio, Pretty Polly, The Knoxville Girl and Omie Wise. But as always is the case with traditional material, songs exist in many versions, some with dramatically varying melodies, arrangements and even narratives.

“The pre-production was really just about which set of lyrics we were going to use and how we wanted to arrange the songs,” Heidinger said. “It was very collaborative in nature.”

Such a collaboration involved the two Vandaveer principals — Heidinger and longtime co-vocalist Rose Guerin — teaming with guitarist, dobroist and pedal steel player J. Tom Hnatow from the band These United States and clawhammer banjoist Phillips Saylor of Stripmall Ballads.

“Rosie’s family has a very rich folk stream. Her uncle is Jim Kweskin,” Heidinger said, referring to the leader of the ’60s-era Jim Kweskin Jug Band. “So she grew up with this music. It was very much a church for her. She knew a lot of songs that I wasn’t familiar with, and a lot of different versions. I might have known a Doc Watson version while she would come in with a version her family taught her of the same song that hadn’t been recorded.

“It was really interesting because a lot of the research was just figuring out which version of the song we were going to do. A song like Pretty Polly had been done by 100 artists, probably. Plus, you’re going up against people like Ralph Stanley,” one of the many performers to popularize Pretty Polly. “It’s not a competition, of course, but you want to make sure you do the song justice.”

The catalyst for making Oh, Willie, Please — the title is taken from a verse of Pretty Polly — was a similar folk project that was much larger in scope. Vandaveer had been invited to participate in The 78 Project, which chronicled contemporary folk artists cutting traditional songs on acetates in much the same way folklorist Alan Lomax made field recordings of folk material throughout rural America and Europe during the 1930s and ’40s.

“These guys would actually make 78 rpm acetate records on the spot,” Heidinger said. “So they invited amazing artists like Richard Thompson, Loudon Wainwright III and Rosanne Cash to come out and participate. And we were lucky enough to do one.

“In preparation for that, we found ourselves having a really hard time just picking one traditional song to cut, because for that project, you were supposed to do one song from the public domain on the A side and an original on the B side. So as we were just trying to pick a song, we thought, ‘We should just make a whole album of these songs.’ It was something we had already talked about casually, but this was sort of the galvanizing point for us. The second we had the idea that we wanted to make an album like this, then the race was on.”

Oh, Willie, Please proved a satisfying artistic endeavor for Heidinger, but one can’t ignore the inevitable question. How great a career move was it for an indie folk unit that has generated a respectable critical and commercial buzz to cut a record of generations-old murder ballads?

“It wasn’t a problem for me,” he said. “Of course, my manager might say otherwise. We started working with new management last summer, and I think this was a bit of a curve ball for them.

“We’re not exactly a household name, so this is not necessarily something that will make the most professional sense. But artistically, we really wanted to do this. We’re back in the studio now, as time permits, working on the follow-up to this record, which will be as far removed from this one in terms of sound and content as Vandaveer can possibly get. Part of the reason for that is we just want to keep doing engaging projects that we’re excited about.

“We loved the way this record turned out. I’d be lying if I said I thought this would be a smashing success or anything like that. I don’t think it’s going to be buying anybody a new home. But we think it’s important.”

Vandaveer, Bear Medicine
When: 8 p.m. May 17
Where: Willie’s Locally Known, 805 N. Broadway
Tickets: $10

LEO WEEKLY (Louisville weekly) – Positive Staff Pick show preview
12 things you should know about this week
Wednesday, May 22
Uncle Slayton’s
1017 E. Broadway
$10-$12; 8:30 p.m.
Vandaveer is a band that’s from all over the place, with leader Mark Charles Heidinger being born in Ohio, raised in Kentucky, and settled for the time being in Washington, D.C. But for all its roaming and a revolving cast of characters — including the enchanting chanteuse Rose Guerin — the band has returned to the banks of the Ohio with its latest release Oh, Willie, Please, a gritty set of “murder ballads and songs of self-ruin” that includes such chilling gems as “Pretty Polly,” “Mary of the Wild Moor” and “Knoxville Girl.” If death by drowning, stabbing or blunt objects is your forté, then this show is for you, with the arrangements and harmonies of Heidinger and Guerin sure to send a shiver up your spine. —Jason Howard

ATLANTA EXAMINER (Atlanta A&E site) – Positive show preview
Waller, Vandaveer and Rye round out a killer night of tunes at the EARL
By: Chris Martin

With so much to do this holiday weekend you really can’t go wrong with any of the numerous shows at the many venues all over town. Representing almost every genre of music there is something for everybody, but if you are asking my opinion, I would recommend spending Friday night at the EARL with Waller, Vandaveer and Rye.

Atlanta’s Waller has made a history delivering sweet southern music to the good folks of Atlanta and beyond. Whether it is a soothing ballad, soulful Southern jam or rock infused country twang they can do it all. Known for their live shows, Waller draws the listeners in and takes them on their musical voyage. Their songs are tailor made sing-a-longs and will have the packed house tapping their toes. A devout group of fans follow this local band around so get their early because the house will be full.

Mark Charles Heidinger is the mainstay for Washington, DC’s Vanderveer. With a host of musicians flowing in and out of the band you can never nail down who I sin the band at said time, but don’t worry the music never changes. Heidinger is a masterful wordsmith, penning heartfelt tunes about life and death. Not one to be rosy and happy Vandaveer’s music borders on the morose. With a new record, Oh, Willie Please, out for the masses it is time to hit the road for some live shows. As good as Heidinger’s music is, to hear him perform live is an experience you will want to treat your ears to. You will not want to miss Vandaleer.

Kicking things off for the evening is another Atlanta band, Rye. Their music is full of Southern melodies and is driven by their vocal harmonies. Successfully harnessing the sounds of classic 60’s folk/American music, their latest record Cumberland Island is a joy to listen to. The duo is made up of brothers David & Jonathan Fallis and when their music kicks in Friday night you will be mesmerized. Be sure you get to the Earl early so you do not miss out on their music.

Three great bands at one great music venue, you can’t beat that. The music will be tasty, the beer ice cold and the grub quite tasty, if you choose to eat there. Get there when the doors open so you can stake out a great spot and enjoy the musical styling of all three bands.

WHO: Waller, Vandaveer, Rye
WHEN: Friday, May 24th, 9:00pm

WASHINGTON CITY PAPER (DC weekly) – “One Track Mind” feature with album art and Prett Polly video.
One Track Mind: Vandaveer, “Pretty Polly”
Posted by Caroline Jones on May. 22, 2013 at 4:02 pm

Standout Track: No. 2, “Pretty Polly,” an England-by-way-of-Appalachia folk song about a murderous young man who kills his fiancée. The combination of clawhammer banjo and cello, along with the haunting vocals of Vandaveer members Mark Charles Heidinger and Rose Guerin, lends a macabre twang that distinguishes the song from previously recorded versions by The Byrds and Chicago bluesman Otis Taylor.

Musical Motivation: Heidinger considered covering “Pretty Polly” for the 78 Project, a Web series that challenges contemporary artists to select a song from the public domain and record it live using a 1930s PRESTO direct-to-disc recorder. Heidinger found it hard to narrow down his choices to just one, and the band wound up covering another tune for the project. But for Vandaveer’s new album, Oh, Willie, Please, Heidinger decided to record 11 other traditional murder ballads, finding himself strangely drawn to the “darker side of the human condition.”

Clap Your Hands Say Yikes: Listen to the lyrics and you’ll realize how dark “Pretty Polly”is. “He stabbed her in her heart and her heart’s blood did flow,” Heidinger sings.“And into the grave, pretty Polly did go.” It’s also one of the most percussive songs on the album, punctuated by hand claps and foot stomps. Heidinger, a self-described “habitual stomper,” says that the rhythm sharpened the song’s teeth. (Or perhaps its blade.) “It provided that urgency,” he says.

Watch the music video for “Pretty Polly” after the jump.
Vandaveer plays IOTA on June 22 and the Smithsonian American Art Museum on June 23.

INDY WEEK (Raleigh, Durham, Chapel Hill weekly) – Positive show preview.
Critic’s Pick & Recommeded Show: Vandaveer
Mark Charles Heidinger sounds like he could’ve fronted a famous frat-rock band in the mid-’90s; he lilts and croons, canters and winks with his voice, romantic and familiar and friendly. But as Vandaveer, Heidinger shows remarkable restraint with both his singing and songs. He builds around that tone with gentle and approachable acoustic skeletons, gilded by minimal electronics and faint harmonies. Deliberate and delicate, Vandaveer’s music confers familiarity through its transparency. With The Mike Roy Show.  – Grayson Currin Sunday, May 26, at Local 506. $8–$10/9 p.m.

CHARLOTTE OBSERVER  (Charlotte daily) – Show preview with band photo.
Saturday, May 25 10:00p
The Evening Muse Charlotte, NC

VANDAVEER is the song-singing, record-making, globetrotting project penned and put forth by alt-folk tunesmith Mark Charles Heidinger. Born in Ohio, raised in Kentucky, and currently camped out in the nation’s capital, Vandaveer offers up melodic Americana that is both haunting and easy, forlorn and welcoming, with stories as universal as the songs they inhabit. Vandaveer shapeshifts from studio to stage and back with a revolving cast of characters, most prominent among them Rose Guerin, offering up the loveliest harmonies heard this side of Eden.

CINCY MUSIC (Cincy music site) – Music Monday Must Haves –  Brief positive show preview with audio stream
“However Many Takes it Takes” by Vandaveer. If you are looking for a critics darling show this week, Vandaveer will be at The Southgate House Revival on Tuesday!
Also stock show preview with band photo here:

DETROIT FREE PRESS  (Detroit, MI weekly) –  Simple “Best Bets” show listing in Best bets for concerts in metro Detroit May 16-22 with band photo
Vandaveer will perform Monday, May 20, at the Ark in Ann Arbor.

ARBOR WEB  (Ann Arbor, MI A&E site) –  Brief positive show preview.
Vandaveer May 20 at The Ark in Ann Arbor.
D.C.-based alt-folk ensemble led by the duo of singer-songwriter and multi-instrumentalist Charles Heidinger and vocalist Rose Guerin. Its music, at once seductively melodic and unsettlingly desolate, draws on an array of influences from Shel Silverstein to John Steinbeck to explore the darker, death-haunted precincts of traditional American music. Its new CD, Oh, Willie, Please, is a collection of old-time standards, from “Pretty Polly” and “The Knoxville Girl” to “Mary of the Wild Moor” and “Henry Lee.”

CURRENT  (Ann Arbor, MI monthly A&E publication) –  Brief positive show preview.
Vandaveer May 20 at The Ark in Ann Arbor.
Vandaveer, the core duo of Mark Charles Heidinger and Rose Guerin augmented by other musicians, is currently camped out in Washington, D.C. Vandaveer offers up melodic Americana that is both haunting and easy, forlorn and welcoming, with stories as universal as the songs they inhabit.

DO 312  (Chicago, IL A&E site) –  Show preview  (stock bio) with band photo and DDD video
Vandaveer in the Studios at SPACE
Sun. 05/19
VANDAVEER is the song-singing, record-making, globetrotting project penned and put forth by folk-pop tunesmith Mark Charles Heidinger. Borned in cloudy Ohio, raised in Kentucky, and currently camped out in the nation’s capital, Vandaveer offers up melodic Americana that is both haunting and easy, forlorn and welcoming, with stories as universal as the songs they inhabit. Vandaveer shapeshifts from stage to studio and back with a host of revolving characters, most prominent among them Rose Guerin, offering up the loveliest harmonies heard this side of Eden. The macabre has long held uneasy sway over the human condition. From ghost stories to creation myths, from CSI to Shakespeare, from cable news voyeurism to Edgar Allan Poe, subjects of death, murder and all things ghastly have fascinated and frightened for centuries. Songs are no exception. From Old World roots to more recent incarnations in America, the murder ballad has traversed, shapeshifted and persevered. Despite our collective desire to be good and virtuous, people do very bad things. And then we sing about them. Death, murder and ghosts have long been underlying threads coursing through Vandaveer’s original music, but instead of weaving their own shadowy tales into their latest studio effort, Oh, Willie, Please…, the DC-by-way-of-Kentucky alt-folk collective have tapped into the wellspring of traditional folk’s darker side. Oh, Willie, Please… finds the group operating in a more collaborative spirit. In addition to the core duo of Mark Charles Heidinger and Rose Guerin, the talents of J. Tom Hnatow (These United States, The Mynabirds) and Phillips Saylor (Stripmall Ballads, The Shiftless Rounders) helped expand the project into a formidable ensemble, armed with steel string, resonator and pedal steel guitars, banjos and pianos, voices galore, and a common belief in the quality and relevance of the word ‘folk.’ Inspired by their recent participation in The 78 Project, the group gathered in a majestic old home on a picturesque horse farm in Lexington, Kentucky in the spring of 2012 and set to work re-imagining a collection of age-old murder ballads and songs of self ruin plucked almost entirely from the public domain. With longtime producer Duane Lundy once again at the helm, Vandaveer moved swiftly through the selected catalog, recording most of the tracks live in the manor’s great room. The result is a spacious, honest album that balances reverence and respect for the source material with a healthy coat of contemporary color. GA Limited Seating $15 (less)

MAD MACKEREL / UK (UK online music site) – Feature interview with photo and three audio streams
MM’s 5:1 Interview No 11: Vandaveer
Vandaveer is the project of Mark Charles Heidinger, releasing their debut album Grace & Speed in 2007 before following it up with the acclaimed 2009 release Divide & Conquer, which was the record of theirs that first made us sit up and take notice. Since then we’ve had the equally excellent Dig Down Deep in 2011, and now the wonderful Oh Willie, Please… a fabulous re-interpreting and re-imagining of age-old murder ballads and songs of self ruin.

Vandaveer To Release Album Of Murder BalladsIn fact these themes of “people doing very bad things, and then we sing about them“, have long been central to Vandaveer’s work, making them a nigh on perfect fit for Mad Mackerel. Death, hauntings, tales of evil, retribution and regret combined with plenty of pedal steel guitars, banjos, pianos and vocal harmonies are a mighty fine combination, and one that Vandaveer do far, far better than most.

You can order the new album from the band’s website here, and here are Mark’s answers to the usual set of Five to One questions.

Five words to describe your music:
Available mostly everywhere starting tomorrow.

One book you’d recommend to an alien:
John Steinbeck’s East Of Eden.

Five bands (or albums) that have most influenced you?
Michael Jackson’s Thriller.
Pearl Jam’s Vitalogy.
Pink Floyd’s Meddle.
Bob Dylan’s Desire.
Tom Waits’ Alice.
In that order.

One moment in time you’d like to have witnessed:
When I recommended Steinbeck’s East Of Eden to that alien visitor.

Vandaveer Photo by Rob MeyersFive people (living or dead) you’d love to share a stage-jam with:
John Lennon, Paul McCartney, George Harrison, Ringo Starr & Billy Preston.

One biggest regret in your career (to date):
Not sharing a stage-jam with John Lennon, Paul McCartney, George Harrison, Ringo Starr & Billy Preston.

Five things on your perfect rider:
There are only five things on our rider, so if we score ‘em all that’s pretty much perfect at this point.

One hour to live – who would you spend it with, and why?
My wife & my son. And my dog. And our cat. In one big pile.

Five perfect songs:
Um, Louis Armstrong’s – What A Wonderful World
The Beatles -Two Of Us
Ben E. King – Stand By Me
Beethoven – Moonlight Sonata
U2 – One
Jeez, that’s a little man-heavy… maybe Nina Simone’s version of Just Like A Woman, should be in there too…

One song of yours that you’d most like to be played in 50 years time:
Beat, Beat, My Heart.

DAGGERZINE (San Diego online music site) – Positive album review
VANDAVEER- OH, WILLIE, PLEASE- This time around, the “alt folk collective” zeroes in on the macabre – every song’s about death, murder, etc. Which sounds somewhat creepier than it is. Vandaveer’s take on traditional folk/bluegrass is so artfully arranged, meticulously produced, and smoothly delivered (albeit with gritty, hick-style vocals), you have to listen carefully for the gothic shadows. Creepy or not, this is perfect accompaniment for the Femmes’ Hallowed Ground, as well as some of the tracks on Ralph Records’ seminal alt. folk collection, Potatoes. MARY LEARY

THE ROANOKE TIMES (Roanoke daily) – Positive show preview in “Top Tickets” critics pick
The off-center folkies of Vandaveer has a new album, “Oh, Willie, Please …,” loaded from jump to close with old-time murder ballads. “Pretty Polly,” “The Knoxville Girl” and more get interesting new treatments courtesy Mark Charles Heidinger, Rose Guerin and their musical compatriots.

Details: 8 p.m. Kirk Avenue Music Hall, Roanoke. $15; $8 to students.,

DOWNTOWN ROANOKE (Roanoke A&E site) –Show preview
Date: Fri, April 27th 2012
Additional Time Info: 8pm
External Link: Event Website
Location: Kirk Avenue Music Hall

“Vandeveer is guitarist Mark Heidinger — a Lexington, KY native — and harmony vocalist Rose Guerin. ‘Power folk’ is the word that most comes to mind listening to the darkly beautiful melodies and the perfect blend of the two voices. Guerin has the strikingly retro appeal of a Parisian cabaret singer in contrast to Heidinger’s romantically disheveled folk troubadour look.” – Selena Frye,

ASH VEGAS (Asheville online A&E site) – Show preview with band photo and Pretty Polly video
Alt folk collective Vandaveer to perform Friday at rooftop garden in downtown Asheville
Sounds like fun. Performance at rooftop garden, no less. Press release here:

DC-by-way-of-Kentucky alt-folk collective Vandaveer will be performing a local show at Willow’s Dream Rooftop Garden in downtown Asheville this Friday. The show, and tour, is in support of Vandaveer’s forthcoming album of traditional murder ballads, Oh, Willie, Please… (out last week through Quack!Media).

Here’s the local show info:
Fri. May 10 Vandaveer 7:30pm at Willow’s Dream Rooftop Garden, 64 Broadway, Asheville, NC $10 suggested donation at the door

Death, murder and ghosts have long been underlying threads coursing through Vandaveer’s original songs, but instead of weaving their own shadowy tales into their latest studio effort, Oh, Willie, Please…, the DC-by-way-of-Kentucky alt-folk collective have tapped into the wellspring of traditional folk’s darker side.

Oh, Willie, Please… finds the group operating in a more collaborative spirit. In addition to the core duo of Mark Charles Heidinger and Rose Guerin, the talents of J. Tom Hnatow (These United States, The Mynabirds) and Phillips Saylor (Stripmall Ballads, The Shiftless Rounders) helped expand the project into a formidable ensemble, armed with steel string, resonator and pedal steel guitars, banjos and pianos, voices galore, and a common belief in the quality and relevance of the word ‘folk.’

HYPEBOT (music tech site) – News story on creative Vine video promos.
Watch This Ridiculously Simple Way That Vandaveer Uses Twitter’s Vine To Promote Live Shows
DC-based musician Mark Charles Heidinger and his project Vandaveer are known for an reflective alt-folk sound and memorable performances both here and abroad. For an upcoming show at the small but mighty Kirk Avenue Music Hall in Roanoke, VA (admittedly one of my favorite place to see live music), the band produced a ridiculously simple yet very effective 6 second video for Twitter’s Vine.
Since Vine videos are embedable anywhere, this video can also be posted on their site, and sent to the venue and fans for reposting. Watch:

MUSICALLY AMUSING (online music blog) – Pretty Polly video featured with album art, press quotes, tour dates and bio.

WVMP / THE VALLEY (Charlotteville AAA radio) – Show preview with band photo posted on their site.

WUKY RADIO (Lexington, KY Public/AAA radio) Fri. May 17 WUKY Studio Session 2pm (per Mike Graves)

WRFL RADIO (Lexington, KY College radio) Fri. May 17 WRFL Studio Session 6pm –  777 University Station, Lexington, KY

WTJU RADIO (Charlottesville Public Radio) – Studio session Wed. May 8 at 4pm.

PASTE MAGAZINE (online music magazine) – “Pretty Polly” included in Issue 91’s Audio Sampler.

LOS ANGELES MAGAZINE (Los Angeles monthly) – Pretty Polly featured on Music Video Monday.
Music Video Monday: Vandaveer “Pretty Polly”
Let’s call it Murder Ballad Monday
by Elina Shatkin
Washington D.C. band Vandaveer brings a not-too-modern sound to a traditional folk tune with their version of “Pretty Polly,” a murder ballad that long ago made its way from the British Isles to Appalachia. The video, directed by Jared Varava, is just as captivating as the lyrics, which tell the tale of a man who murders his fiancee.

Inspired by the grim carnival procession in the movie Something Wicked This Way Comes (adapted from a Ray Bradbury story), Jesus Lizard frontman David Yow plays the murderous Willie and actress Tricia Vessey embodies the doomed, ethereal Polly.

THE DETROIT NEWS (Detroit daily) – Positive Ann Arbor show preview with band photo.
Vandaveer & John Whitaker
Monday, May 20 8:00p
The Ark Ann Arbor, MI

Fresh takes on the dark side of traditional folk. Here’s a new take on old-time music! Vandaveer, the core duo of Mark Charles Heidinger and Rose Guerin augmented by other musicians, is currently camped out in Washington, D.C. Vandaveer offers up melodic Americana that is both haunting and easy, forlorn and welcoming, with stories as universal as the songs they inhabit. Death, murder and ghosts have long been underlying threads coursing through Vandaveer’s original music, but instead of weaving their own shadowy tales into their latest studio effort, “Oh, Willie, Please…,” Vandaveer has tapped into the wellspring of traditional folk’s darker side. Inspired by their recent participation in The 78 Project, the group gathered in a majestic old home on a picturesque horse farm in Lexington, Kentucky, in the spring of 2012 and set to work re-imagining a collection of age-old murder ballads and songs of self ruin plucked almost entirely from the public domain. The result is a spacious, honest album that balances reverence and respect for the source material with a healthy coat of contemporary color. Louisville native (and former Student Songwriter Series winner) John Whitaker is that little voice you hear around midnight whispering in your ear. His quirky heartfelt songs are full of the thoughts that keep us awake at night-and he opens tonight’s show.

THE FALCON’S NEST (Brazilian online music blog) – Pretty Polly featured Video of the Day with band photo.
Video of the Day: Vandaveer – Pretty Polly
From the excellent new album Oh, Willie, Please, a fine collection of murder ballads.

SIRIUSXM / THE VILLAGE (SiriusXM folk show) – Album added to rotation and Mary of the Wild Moor aired on Sunday May 5th (per Mary Sue Twohy)
Just wanted you to know – we love this record and we just added it to rotation. Thanks, Mary Sue

THE DELI NEW YORK – Album release and tour news with band photo
Vandaveer Releases Album, Goes on Tour!
Vandaveer, DC’s favorite roots act hailing from Kentucky, is going on a tour across the golden plains and through the dark mountains of America in support of their new album Oh Willie Please…, “a collection of traditional murder ballads and songs of self ruin” dug up from the faded graves and abandoned mines of Americana. Ravens croak cheerfully and everything smells sweetly of wildflowers, rawhide, burnt timber and blood. Good stuff.

R2: ROCK N REEL (UK monthly music magazine) – Editor Sean McGhee requested CD for review on May 1st (Quack to mail week of May 1st)

WPKN RADIO (Bridgeport, CT Public Radio) MD Jim Motavalli confirmed airplay on his show April 30th.

BUCKET FULL OF NAILS (online music blog)  – The Murder of the Lawson Family added to May 3rd Weekly Playlist

BROOKLYN VEGAN – Show with stock bio with Dig Down Deep video
Communion New York May Showcase SWIMM, The Ludlow Thieves, Vandaveer, Rachel Brown, DJ Sets by Ben Lovett
VANDAVEER is the song-singing, record-making, globetrotting project penned and put forth by alt-folk tunesmith Mark Charles Heidinger. Born in Ohio, raised in Kentucky, and currently camped out in the nation’s capital, Vandaveer offers up melodic Americana that is both haunting and easy, forlorn and welcoming, with stories as universal as the songs they inhabit. Vandaveer shapeshifts from studio to stage and back with a revolving cast of characters, most prominent among them Rose Guerin, offering up the loveliest harmonies heard this side of Eden.
“Fistful of Swoon” –

TIME OUT NEW YORK – Simple listing highlighted as Critic’s Pick.
Critic’s Pick: Communion: SWIMM + The Ludlow Thieves + Vandaveer + Rachel Brown

METROMIX LOUISVILLE (Louisville A&E site) Stock show preview with band photo
Vandaveer at Uncle Slayton’s in Louisville Sat May 22nd.

HELLHOUND MUSIC (online music site) – News posting (from press announcement) on record release with video link, band photo, tour dates and related links.

QUIRKY NY CHICK (NYC music blog) NYC show preview with band photo and Pretty Polly video.
Vandaveer To Release New Album + New York Show
Vandaveer w/ SWIMM, The Ludlow Thieves, Rachel Brown Thursday, May 2 Rockwood Music Hall, Stage 2
Vandaveer will release their album of morbid ballads, Oh, Willie Please… in North America on April 30.  Those into alternative folk will enjoy this collection of songs.
They have recently released a video for the track “Pretty Polly”.  Check out the clip below.

XPN2 RADIO / FOLKADELPHIA (Philadelphia AAA radio) The Murder Of The Lawson Family aired on Folkadelphia show 4/28
“A great record in 2013.” Fred Knittel / FOLKADELPHIA: XPN2

WVMP / 101.5 THE VALLEY (Roanoke AAA radio) Pretty Polly aired on Tad Dickens show April 30th, with band photo on Tad’s Roanoke Times “Cut N Scratch’ music page

C-VILLE (Charlottesville weekly) – Brief show mention.
Vandaveer at The Southern Cafe and Music Hall on May 8th! The Southern Cafe and Music Hall WNRN presents hauntingly melodic Americana from Kentucky native Mark Charles Heidinger.

CITY PAPER (Baltimore, MD weekly) – Brief show mention in The Short List.
The Short List:
SATURDAY – Washington-by-way-of-Kentucky alt-folk band Vandaveer plays at Roland Park house/venue Club 603.

DC MUSIC DOWNLOAD (DC-based online music blog) – Feature/interview with band photo.
Interview: Vandaveer

Mark Charles Heidinger could be called the modern traveling bard. As the man behind the D.C. collective Vandaveer, Heidinger has been spending much of 2013 on the road headlining shows across the country, playing supporting spots for acts like Matt Costa to They Might Be Giants.

The constant touring has given the group unique opportunities. Heidinger says that while They Might Be Giant’s audience is a little different than who they usually plays to, the experience has been great.

“When you do a support slot, you are playing for an audience that largely never heard you before,” Heidinger adds, as he mentions that the response has been positive overall.

Heidinger, with his frequent collaborator Rosie Guerin along with a backing band, have been touring in support of their latest album, Oh, Willie, Please…, which was officially released on April 30th.

Since releasing their first record in 2007, Vandaveer has focused on a defined image and sound for each record. Each recording has a start and finish, which helps to focus the group’s creative energy. For this new record, the band decided to cover a number of murder ballads, macabre and disturbing folk songs that have been an integral part of the nation’s musical canon for centuries.

“There are dozens of versions of these songs that have been done in many ways,” notes Heidinger. “They’re not really any one person’s song. They’ve morphed over centuries, and they transform and become something that collectively belongs to music in general.”

But what is important, Heidinger adds, is not losing the fundamental elements of each song. Take the band’s first single from their new album, “Pretty Polly”, which has over 30 known recorded versions. The band places its own haunting stamp to the song, while keeping its core folk components.

“At some point, they stop becoming covers, and they become versions of larger things,” he adds. “We don’t like to think of them as covers- it’s too small a description.”

For Heidinger, recording the album was freeing and rewarding for him along with the rest of the band.  It also didn’t hurt have a change in scenery, as Vandaveer recorded the album in Kentucky during the spring of 2012.

For this release, the group was insatiably curious to touch on the darker, more sinister topics to their folk offerings.

“I think it’s a part of the human condition to be attracted to some things that are little dark and a little gritty,” he adds. “People like murder mysteries. People like horror and thrillers, and these are essentially the same types of stories – but in song.”

While the band wanted to add a fresh perspective to the new album, Heidinger adds, “We don’t have some type of Dr. Seussian machine that we funnel music through and it comes out sounding like a Vandaveer song.” Instead, for Oh, Willie, Please… the band focused on traditional sonic and visual aesthetics. “When you move on to the next project, you keep in mind what you have done in the past,” which influenced the decision for the band to record an album of murder ballads.

Though the band has sprinkled some of the new material throughout their live shows, Heidinger admits that performing such intense music has its limits.

“Some of those songs are incredibly brutal,” Heidinger says, “We can’t play an hour of songs that all end in murder, death, suicide and infanticide.  We are [still] trying to work that into what we think will be a compelling live representation of what we’re trying do.”

With everything aside, Heidinger is proud of his current set of material and is already planning the band’s next album.

“We feel like we achieved what we are trying to do. I hope the record fits into the larger Vandaveer catalogue. When my kid’s a teenager and he listens to it, he’ll tell me if it’s cool.”

PASTE  (online music magazine) – Album review.
Vandaveer: Oh Willie Please…
Published at 10:01 AM on April 30, 2013
By Stephen M. Deusner
New folk revival bands like Mumford & Sons, The Lumineers and The Avett Brothers reimagine old-time music as uniformly fervent and life-affirming and white, but there’s some fucked-up shit in the American songbook: odes to deviant sex that would make E.L. James blush, descriptions of crimes so brutal they make Grand Theft Auto look like Super Mario Brothers and existential crises so bleak they give new meaning to the term “Great Depression.” To their credit, the DC-via-Kentucky folk act Vandaveer understand how dark this old, weird America can be; their new album, Oh Willie Please…, is a collection of “traditional murder ballads and songs of self ruin” that have more in common with that new Evil Dead remake than with “I Will Wait.”

Murder ballads are difficult to pull off so many decades later. They have to sound sincere, yet never perverted; remorseful, yet never whiny; violent, but not misogynistic. In 1996, Nick Cave’s Murder Ballads set the gold standard by exaggerating every act of violence, sodomy and regret, interpreting American folk as Grand Guignol. Others have been less successful: the Lemonheads recorded a drowsy version of “Knoxville Girl” that sounded like he was singing from the point of view of a Romero zombie.

Oh Willie Please… is almost too pretty, with Duane Lundy’s crisp production making room for dulcimer, fiddle, cello and the gorgeously textured vocals of Mark Charles Heidinger and Rose Guerin. Yet, the album succeeds because the prettiness of the music only heightens the ugliness of the actions. There’s a matter-of-factness that makes the slicings, stabbings, stranglings, suffocatings, drownings, hangings and shootings all the more grim. Heidinger doesn’t shy away from the horror of “The Banks of the Ohio” or “Down in the Willow Garden” nor does he wallow in their gruesomeness. Singing about stabbing his lover and drowning her in the river—on both songs even—he trusts the material to deliver its shock.

It helps that, unlike other attempts to revive these ballads, the violence on Oh Willie Please… is not an exclusively masculine. Guerin turns out to be a secret weapon, and not simply because she is female and therefore offers a counterpoint to Heidinger. She possesses a grand voice, full of expression and dignity, so when she takes lead on a song like “The Drunkard’s Doom” or “The Railroad Boy,” she sings with an almost accusatory inflection. Her protagonists take their own lives when jilted by men, but she gives their suicides a powerful and defiant agency.

Vandaveer’s only misstep is the too-slick “The Knoxville Girl,” a song made famous by the Christian country act The Louvin Brothers in the 1950s. It’s by far the most popular murder ballad of the 20th century, but the band don’t do much with it except quicken the tempo and turn it into a duet with Heidinger and multi-instrumentalist Phillips Saylor. How much better it would have been to put the song through the folk process and rewrite it for Guerin to sing. She could deliver a truly chilly “Knoxville Boy” and exact revenge for decades of Tennessee women mistreated by callous balladeers.

THE COURIER-JOURNAL  (Louisville daily) – Brief mention of album release in Tune In Tuesday release column.
Also out today:
Rock/pop — Vandaveer is a project of Lexington native Mark Heidinger, and “Oh, Willie, Please …” collects covers of murder and folk ballads

ZOIKS! ONLINE (online music site) – News post on album release (from press release) with press quotes and tour dates.

BUCKETFUL OF NAILS (online music site) – Positive album review with Pretty Polly video.
New Release: Vandaveer – Oh, Willie, Please…

When you set out to record an entire album of traditional murder ballads, most of which have already been covered by the likes of folk icons (Baez, Dylan) and country legends (Cash, Louvin Brothers), you are entering hallowed territory. Said album better be good. Said album requires a unique voice to ensure these traditional ballads are not bastardized to account for today’s tastes. Having already survived generations, there is no need to put a stamp on these age-old tales.

Drawing inspiration from locales as diverse as the Scottish highlands to the mountains of Appalachia, Washington, DC-based Vandaveer presents their latest release, Oh, Willie, Please… Rooted in English, Irish and American folk traditions — some dating back as far as the 17th century — Oh, Willie, Please… recounts tales that can only stand to reflect man’s timeless indifference to humanity.

But the villagers point out the spot
Where the willow droops over the door
Saying “There Mary died, once a gay village bride
From the winds that blew across the wild moor”

Like the oral tradition that passed down such tales over the centuries, the narrators of the 11 songs on Oh, Willie, Please… range from admitted murderers (“The Banks of the Ohio”), community folk recounting local tragedies (“The Murder of the Lawson Family”) to perhaps Death itself, claiming retribution for those he met not by his own hand (“Ornie Wise”).

He made no confession but they carried him to jail
No friends or relations would go on his bail
John Lewis escaped from the Carolina County Jail
And he fled for Kentucky on his way to hell

Death came a-calling ten years to that day
John Lewis fell ill and he met his rightful fate

Recorded in their former home state of Kentucky, Vandaveer’s founding duo of Mark Charles Heidinger and Rose Guerin provide the trinity of voices that drive the album’s first single, “Pretty Polly.” Joined by J. Tom Hnatow (The Mynabirds) and Phillips Saylor (Stripmall Ballads), the foursome fill out these age-old tales with instruments notably American in nature (dobros, pedal steel and banjos) yet more closely associated with country and bluegrass traditions than folk music.

However, it is the voices of Oh, Willie, Please… that deliver the album’s sheer power. From the voices of those singing to the voices of those for whom they sing — the murderers, their victims and those affected by such loss — Oh, Willie, Please… is a testament to the original power of these voices that they have lingered for generations.

Such tales of murder, fate and retribution can’t be reinterpreted; they can only be reiterated time and again. With Oh, Willie, Please… Vandaveer achieves this end. They do not attempt to update or modernize the stories that haunt our collective history. With a deft touch Vandaveer merely serves as a vessel from which history is relayed and sadly, likely to be repeated. Demonstrating the murder ballad still resonates as a powerful music form, Oh, Willie, Please… delivers further proof of the evil inherent in this world.

Vandaveer’s Oh, Willie, Please… is available today on CD, limited edition vinyl and digital formats from the band’s site.

Watch the video for “Pretty Polly” below and download the single here.

The band will begin their tour in support of today’s release this Thursday in New York. Tour dates are available here.

WITH GUITARS (online music site) – News post on album release (from press release) with band photo, tour dates and Pretty Polly video .

WHEN YOU MOTOR AWAY (online music blog) – Positive album review with album art and Pretty Polly video and mp3..
REVIEW: Vandaveer – Oh, Willie, Please
Vandaveer’s new album Oh, Willie, Please requires a strong constitution. Not the music, the music is terrific. Vandaveer’s core is a duo – Mark Charles Heidinger and Rose Guerin – and they are both terrific vocalists, with a real knack for the type of clear, evocative singing that folk ballads require. But the subject matter… well, it was only a matter of time, I suppose, before someone came up with an all-murder-ballad album. Inspired by their participation in The 78 Project (which featured other WYMA favorites and may inspire a post of its own on WYMA at some point), Heidinger and Guerin moved forward with just that in mind.
In addition to Heidinger and Guerin, the band on this album also features J. Tom Hnatow (These United States, The Mynabirds) and Phillips Saylor (Stripmall Ballads, The Shiftless Rounders) with steel string, resonator and pedal steel guitars, banjos and pianos. And these tragic, timeless ballads are played and sung impeccably, with intricate harmonies between Heidinger and Guerin, and lots of beautiful interplay between the string instruments. The pedal steel on “The Knoxville Girl” and the resonator on “Banks of The Ohio” and “Mary of the Wild Moor” are particular highlights, but it’s all at a very high level.

Heidinger takes the lead on the first few songs, and he’s got a great voice for this material. Not an otherworldly tenor like Ralph Stanley (whose “Pretty Polly” duet with Patty Loveless may be familiar to some readers), Heidinger’s mid-range vocal supplies a sense of gravity that makes this collection of songs very “earth-bound”, for want of a better desciption. It’s an approach that a whole album of material like this calls out for. Guerin takes the lead on “The Railroad Boy” and she’s got a clear, ringing voice that can occupy the lower register as it does on this song, but the higher one on some of the duets. She does a wonderful job with this song and her other lead “The Drunkard’s Doom”, which are really beautifully sung. Heidinger’s vocal highlight, in my opinion, is “Poor Edward” which, having more spare instrumentation, relies more on the singing, and to great effect.
The album is rich, full and as well-played as any folk album I’ve heard in years. The inspiration of America’s historical folk recordings that drove Vandaveer to make this record is obvious in the theme, the truly amazing vocals and the depth of emotion that is evoked. In listening, you are left with the sense that this band will be a tremendous live presence… and they are heading out on tour to support the album next week – more info here. The record is out Tuesday (Apr. 30) and you can learn more, or order the record from their website.
The above review is also link on the Bob Dylan fan site, Expecting Rain:

COVER LAY DOWN (online roots music blog) – Positive post and “Pretty Polly” mp3
With just three albums and an EP of original work on the market since he began performing in 2006, Mark Charles Heidinger, the core guitarist, arranger, and singer-songwriter behind Washington, DC-based alt-folk project Vandaveer, has already made his name on the ragged leading edge of the modern indiefolk movement. And we trust his ability to handle the old intrinsically, having features his work twice here on the blog: after a hauntingly beautiful 2008 take on Leonard Cohen in Teach For America benefit covers project Before The Goldrush, and a version of Long Black Veil on SpliceToday’s 2009 folk mix The Old Lonesome Sound.
Taking on an entire album of murder ballads is no stretch for Heidinger and co., and Oh, Willie, Please, the album that results, doesn’t disappoint, offering a dark indiefolk survey of the canon, bringing it into the modern with handclaps, banjo, piano and bowed strings much as Anais Mitchell and Jefferson Hamer’s recent survey into the Childe Ballads found nuance anew in the old songs of the folkstream. Leading single Pretty Polly is an apt indicator, with a driving urgency that builds to breathlessness and ruin; the collection, which drops April 30, promises more of the same, with takes on familiar and obscure songs from Down In The Willow Garden to Poor Edward and Omie Wise; stream the whole thing at Relix, and then pre-order from Vandaveer directly in digital or CD formats.

MAD MACKEREL / UK (UK online music site) –”Pretty Polly” one of the Videos of the Day April 29th
Videos of the Day: Black Books || Vandaveer || chromatic BLACK || Crystal Fighters
Videos today featuring the epic, driven – though dreamy – southern rock of Black Books, the murderous folk of Vandaveer, the post-punk and garage style of chromatic BLACK and their award winning video for 1, 2, 3, 8 and finally the brilliant new video from Crystal Fighters for latest single You & I.

FOLKEDELPHIA / WXPN (Folk show on Philly AAA station) – Positive facebook post on Relix album premiere.
Get gruesome this morning and stream Vandaveer’s forthcoming album ‘Oh, Willie, Please…,” a collection of fine murder ballads. The album is to be released next Tuesday, April 30th.

MUSICAL PEARLS (online music blog) – News post on album release (from press release) with album art.

DIGITAL TOUR BUS (online tour news site) – Tour dates posted with band photo
Vandaveer Announce Spring U.S. Tour
posted Joshua Weidling on April 26, 2013

Vandaveer announces a U.S. tour for this May and June, including dates with They Might Be Giants. You can check out the dates, after the break.

5/2 – Rockwood Music Hall – New York, NY
5/4 – Club 603 – Baltimore, MD
5/8 – Southern Cafe & Music Hall – Charlottesville, VA
5/9 – The Garage – Winston-Salem, NC
5/11 – Kirk Avenue Music Hall – Roanoke, VA
5/16 – Rumba Cafe – Columbus, OH
5/17 – Willie’s Locally Known – Lexington, KY
5/19 – Space – Studio Room – Evanston, IL
5/20 – The Ark – Ann Arbor, MI
5/21 – Southgate House – Newport, KY
5/22 – Uncle Slayton’s – Louisville, KY
5/23 – The High Watt – Nashville, TN
5/24 – The Earl – Atlanta, GA
5/25 – Evening Muse – Charlotte, NC
5/26 – Local 506 – Chapel Hill, NC
6/7 – Ogden Theatre – Denver, CO w/ They Might Be Giants
6/8 – The Depot – Salt Lake City, UT w/ They Might Be Giants
6/9 – Egyptian Theatre – Boise, ID w/ They Might Be Giants

SENSATION ROCK (online French music blog) – Positive album review in French.
Loose translation:
Vandaveer, Oh, Willie Please …
When asked Mark Charles Heidinger “why take the” murder ballads, it simply says “?” “Because we love them.” Exercise style course reminiscent of Nick Cave in the last century but the comparison stops there. Vandaveer takes these traditional folk songs with the blood that he knows and this collection of 11 pieces suits very well to the repertoire of Americans.
These “Murder Ballads” (sometimes we should not translate) allow Vandaveer to find the dark atmosphere of Divide & Conquer and storytelling is not in us remember Johnny Cash and American Recordings (The Murder Of The Lawson Family).
The duo Mark Charles Heidinger / Rosie is joined by J. Guerin Tom Hnatow (These United States) and Philips Saylor (Stripmal Ballads) to set to music the stories of death and murder. Banjo, pedal steel, strings give color folk of the album, where the tone of voice dylanien Heidinger as always marries perfectly with the serious and sweet Rosie Guerin. Rosie Guerin also carries in itself the Bluegrass Railroad The Boy and The Drunkard’s Doom.
Recorded for most live in a mansion in the wilds of Kentucky, Oh, Willie Please … is an album of authentic Americana, haunted, filled with ghosts. Between funeral march (Pretty Polly), black ballad (Poor Edward) and mortuary valse (Henry Lee), the fourth album Vandaveer is an exercise in style perfectly successful without cheating interpretation of these traditional pieces of North American culture.

RELIX (national monthly music magazine) – Exclusive full album premiere (April 24) Premieres New Album by Vandaveer
Vandaveer’s latest studio effort Oh, Willie, Please… is set for release on April 30. The alt-folk collective share a number of traditional murder-folk ballads on this recording, the fourth from the group. Here’s what Vandaveer’s Mark Charles Heidinger has to say about the material:

We’ve been asked at least a dozen times lately why we wanted to make an album full of murder ballads… Our first response was simply because we like them. These songs have been around for quite some time for good reason — they’re captivating, moving, compelling. And they’re historical. They tend to be a bit morbid, but so are most television crime dramas and a whole lot of what we see at the movies, so the subject matter wasn’t quite so shocking.

Some of these songs date back a few hundred years or more, and they served a very different purpose back then. They were news, in a way… they documented noteworthy events. They were cautionary tales for others to heed. The subject matter is dark and decidedly bleak, but I enjoy singing and listening to these songs. The stories and characters in Oh, Willie, Please… exist in the present tense during those moments. A good song can do that; it can suspend time. It just felt necessary and prudent to revisit these songs as students and practitioners of what we loosely call folk music. Recording and performing songs from the public domain is a little like checking out books from the library. They are valuable sources of information and inspiration, costing nothing but offering much.

Click here to listen to the premiere stream of Oh, Willie, Please….

ENGINE 145 (online Americana/roots music site) – Stream Vandaveer’s album of murder ballads, Oh, Willie, Please…, before its April 30 release date.

WPKN RADIO (Bridgeport, CT public radio) – Roots music host Jim Motavalli requested DL to LP for airplay (sent 4/25)

WWUH (University of Hartford, CT college radio) – Knoxville Girl aired on Ed McKeon’s Caterwaul show on 4/24

SKOPE (online music site) – News post about Relix premiere.

MELODIC NET (online music site) – News post (from press release) with band photo, tour dates and related links.

CHAPEL HILL MAGAZINE– Show highlighted as Weekend Best Bets.
Weekend Best Bets – Saturday, April 20
9pm: Matt Costa The singer-songwriter performs along with The Blank Tapes and Vandaveer. Cat’s Cradle, 300 E. Main St., Carrboro; $15; (919) 967-9053

THAT MUSIC MAG (Philly music site) – Philly show review with photos (as part of Matt Costa review(
Arriving late, I was able to catch the final song from the well-traveled Vandaveer. Born in Ohio, raised in Kentucky and currently living in the nation’s capital, Vandaveer is the moniker Mark Charles Heidinger performs under. He is the sole member who performs with a rotating cast of different individuals. Tonight he brought with him Rose Guerin. Together, at least for the last song, the two made for a beautifully harmonized tune with the simplest of set ups; just two microphones and a guitar. As the song finished, Heidinger helped his partner down off the stage and then quietly exited himself.

SPEAK INTO MY GOODEYE (Asbury Park, NJ music blog) – Bowery show review with photos (as part of Matt Costa review(
Matt Costa, The Blank Tapes, & Vandaveer Played The Bowery Ballroom (PHOTOS)
Opening the night was Vandaveer, a girl/guy duo from Washington, D.C. Mark Heidinger played acoustic guitar and Rose Guerin sang perched on a bar stool with chemistry hinting at just how extensively they’ve toured together (500+ shows). From his black boots and fraying shirt to the flowers clipped in her curls, you could tell before they began playing that they were country. The set was short and intimate, interspersed with Heidinger’s adorably self-deprecating banter and continual thanking the audience and other bands. It may have been a quiet audience but you could tell everyone was silently grinning.

CINCY GROOVE (Cincinnati music blog) – News feature (from press release) to preview Southgate House show on May 21st with band photo, tour dates, Pretty Polly video and related links.

WXPN’s THE KEY (Philly show preview) – Positive show preview with Pretty Polly video
Tonight’s Concert Picks: Bobby Long at World Cafe Live, B.B. King at The Keswick Theater, Vandaveer at Johnny Brenda’s
DC-based indie folk act Vandaveer plays Johnny Brenda’s tonight, opening for Matt Costa. The project of singer and songwriter Mark Charles Heidinger is releasing its latest record, Oh Willie Please, on April 30th; tickets and information on the 21+ show can be found here. Below, watch Vandaveer’s new music video for “Pretty Polly.”

FOX 19 TV (Cincinnati Fox affiliate) – Stock show preview posted on their site with band photo
Tuesday, May 21, 2013, 8:00 PM
Supporting Acts: The Seedy Seeds
VANDAVEER is the alt-folk song-singing/record making/globetrotting project penned and put forth by DC-by-way-of-Kentucky tunesmith Mark Charles Heidinger. Vandaveer’s debut album, Grace & Speed, a mostly live, stripped down affair, swiftly entered this great big dusty world in the spring of 2007 garnering rave reviews and comparisons to Donovan, Dylan, Waits, Drake, Simon, and the like. Vandaveer’s sophomore effort, Divide & Conquer, touches upon similar themes found in its elder sibling, winding timeworn themes of love & death, malice & goodwill, sin & perseverance into (mostly) four-minute vignettes. A decidedly more produced venture, D&C offers up a flourishing chamber folk companion to its bedroomy lo-fi folk/pop predecessor
Cost: $10.00 – $12.00 (Los Angeles A&E site) – Positive review with link to “Pretty Polly” video
The Riff Report: New music this week

Vandaveer – “Pretty Polly” (video)

Vandaveer revisit the ghastly tale of “Pretty Polly” with a haunting and gorgeously spare arrangement on their new album of murder ballads, “Oh, Willie, Please….” Alt-folk outfit Vandaveer have a new album of old-timey murder ballads, “Oh, Willie, Please …,” releasing April 30 via Quack!Media. These types of traditional tunes formed a sizable chunk of English and Scots/Irish folk music that later blended into bluegrass. “Pretty Polly” is an old British folk song that made its way to Canada and the Appalachian mountains and it’s been performed through the years by notables such as the Byrds, Ralph Stanley, Judy Collins and Pete Seeger. Vandaveer now revisit this ghastly tale with a haunting and gorgeously spare arrangement, using subtle restraint and carefully chosen notes from banjo and cello to perfectly create an atmosphere of foreboding and pain. It’s musically masterful.

DCist (DC A&E site) – Brief show mention.
Weekly Music Agenda
Competitive skater turned folksy wave-soaked singer-songwriter Matt Costa has a new self-titled album out this year. You’ll be able to see him perform some of those songs as well as older standards at U Street Music Hall. Come early for Vandaveer and the Blank Tapes. $20, 6:00 p.m.

TADOO (Lexington, KY online A&E site) – News post on video premiere
Featured video
Former Lexingtonian alt-folk group Vandaveer recently released this hauntingly lovely video for “Pretty Polly,” in advance of their forthcoming album of murder ballads, “Oh, Willie, Please…” The song features Ben Sollee on cello, and in an unexpected turn, the video features The Jesus Lizard’s David Yow. Directed by Jared Varava.

ORDER OF THE GOOD DEATH (online music blog) – Interview with “Pretty Polly” video and band photo (secured by Mark)
How did you come up with the idea of doing a full album of murder ballads?

This was actually J. Tom Hnatow’s idea — he of These United States and Mynabirds infamy. We were rehearsing for our contribution  to The 78 Project late last year, and we were having a helluva time whittling down our list of candidates to just one for the session. Tom was on the road with us at the time… at one point he said, “you should just make a whole record of these songs.” Immediately after, he threatened legal action if we didn’t include him in the record. We wisely obliged. That man can flat out pick a dobro.

What do you think murder ballads tell us about the culture from which they come, or more generally about the human condition?

I don’t know if I’m qualified to speak to either of those questions, profound as they are… but I do think we humanfolk have long been fascinated by the darker, gruesome aspects of the human condition. It’s the same reason shows like CSI or those real-life crime documentaries are popular today. People are strangely attracted to acts of evil. It’s a form a voyeurism on some level. For my part, I wanted to participate in the process of continuing the life of these songs. They all come from the public domain. They belong to all of us, and so I think it’s important to revisit, to reinterpret, to engage with them as living artifacts of our collective experience.

Is there a particular story in one of the ballads that moves you more than others?

Mary Of The Wild Moor is probably the most tragic tune on this record. It’s not a murder ballad, really. More of a tragic tale of ruin that ends in cold death. So dark, so very sad. Like an Edward Gorey story for really sad grown ups.

The concept behind your Pledge Music rewards for this record was very interesting. Besides the usual CDs or vinyl, you offered a lot of handmade or one-of-a-kind items. How does this approach jibe with the feelings your project is trying to evoke?

We felt that asking people to jump on board and participate in a glorified, protracted pre-sale endeavor was okay so long as we offered up enough interesting and unique items to personalize the process. I was a bit uneasy about the whole thing, but the response was very positive. We’re still trying to think of new one-of-a-kind things we can offer up to keep that spirit as the project progresses.

How did you come up with the vision for the Pretty Polly video shoot, and what was the shooting like?

The vision for the Pretty Polly video belongs to Jared Varava . That man has titanic creative spirit. We’ve worked together before, and I’d been keen to work specifically with him on a video for this song. He responded quickly and with a jarring, striking script/idea. So excited to see this clip finished. The shoot itself was remarkable. We hiked our way north of Bakersfield, CA to an old ghost town called Silver City. The place was stunning. And Jared had organized a lovely crew to pull the whole thing off. So many kind souls all working toward a common goal — it’s really what makes this endeavor worthwhile.

Was it odd for you to have a famous musician, David Yow, starring as an actor in your music video?

Not odd so much, but initially I was a little unsure how we’d get on. He always seemed like a dangerous character to me. I grew up in a small town in Kentucky, so The Jesus Lizard was very cutting edge. We joked about it on the set a little bit. He’s such a sweet, affable guy. And he was terrific as Willie. David’s got a great portrait project thing going these days called Get Faced, btw. He showed me some of his work and it’s really quite good. Very David Yow. I’m going to have him work up a piece for Vandaveer one of these days.

For an in-depth look at murder ballads, their history and implications for modern musicians, visit Murder Ballad Monday.

SUPAJAM (UK online music site) – News post with “Pretty Polly” video and band photo
Vandaveer kill Pretty Polly
Alt folk act Vandaveer have taken time off from writing new songs (which they do well), to cover an album’s worth of classic murder ballads. It’s called ‘Oh, Willie, Please…’, and is out at the end of April. To support it they’ve created a very filmic video for the classic song Pretty Polly. It’s not as dark as the Dock Boggs version, is almost too clean, but is still a good listen.

ENGINE 145 (online Americana/roots music site) – Link to “Pretty Polly” video in their New Videos posting

BUCKETFULL OF NAILS (online music blog) – Positive post on video with album art.
Video: Vandaveer – Pretty Polly

FOLKEDELPHIA / WXPN (Folk show on Philly AAA station) – Positive facebook post on video premiere.
Right up my alley – Vandaveer is releasing an album of murder ballads! Check out the video premiere of their rendition of “Pretty Polly.”

BEARLY RAMBLING (online music blog) – Positive post on video, with album art, tour dates, band photo and related links.
The last time Vandaveer were on here was back in December last year.

I was pleased to hear that Vandaveer had released a new single (and video) and that their forthcoming studio album of age-old murder ballads “Oh, Willie, Please…” will be released later this month.  April 30th to be precise.

This single is so good, I’ve been going back to it time and time again.

See what you think.

This astounding video was shot on location at Silver City Ghost Town, CA.

I wanted to add another great song of theirs from a few years back, this one is just as awesome as Pretty Polly. Proving they are a consistent band who always please.

Check out their upcoming tour dates, see if they arr in a town near you.  If you are that lucky don’t miss them.

POPMATTERS (online music magazine) – Exclusive premiere of “Pretty Polly” video with positive write-up
Vandaveer – “Pretty Polly” (video) (PopMatters Premiere)
Alt-folk outfit Vandaveer have a new album of old-timey murder ballads, Oh, Willie, Please…, releasing on 30 April via Quack!Media. These types of traditional tunes formed a sizable chunk of English and Scots/Irish folk music that later blended into bluegrass. “Pretty Polly” is an old British folk song that made it’s way to Canada and the Appalachian mountains and it’s been performed through the years by notables such as the Byrds, Ralph Stanley, Judy Collins and Pete Seeger. Vandaveer now revisit this ghastly tale with a haunting and gorgeously spare arrangement, using subtle restraint and carefully chosen notes from banjo and cello to perfectly create an atmosphere of foreboding and pain. It’s musically masterful.

Today, we have the pleasure of bringing you the video premiere of the single, which brings out the ghostly element of the music.

Vandaveer’s Mark Charles Heidinger tells us more about the song: “‘Pretty Polly’ was brought to the table by Rosie [Guerin] for this record. We knew we were going to make an album of traditional folk songs and murder ballads, but we hadn’t settled on a final collection of tunes. Rosie had a lovely recording of this song made by some family folks of hers that was so very striking. We spent a morning working up an arrangement of our own for this song during the session and things progressed quite quickly. We eventually had our good buddy Ben Sollee add a cello part and things really came together. By the time we made our way to California last fall to shoot the video the song had become a beast unto itself. Our friend and director, Jared Varava, cooked up a bombastic idea and we ran with it. We couldn’t be happier with result. There are moments when you realize how truly lucky you are as an artist to call what you do a career. This was one such moment.”

Director Jared Varava says, “This video was kind of a miracle that it happened at all. It started as a bit of a whim and then became something much larger. It was important to me to play with the song narrative but have the video tell a different tale. So we tried our best to invent the aftermath of the original narrative and have it coincide with what we thought was fitting for the vibe of the tune. Which meant “ghost story” obviously. Our friends Tricia Vessey and David Yow were perfect for the parts and a joy to spend long hours in the cold with. Which isn’t that what it’s all about…”

SKOPE MAGAZINE (online music site) – News posting (from press announcement) on PopMatters video premiere related link.

HELLHOUND MUSIC (online music site) – News posting (from press announcement) on PopMatters video premiere with video, band photo, tour dates and related links.

HOMETOWN SOUNDS DC (online DC-based music blog) – Positive post on PopMatters video premiere with video
Vandaveer – Pretty Polly video

All right DC, here comes the good stuff. Folk duo Vandaveer just released a brand new music video for Pretty Polly, the lead-off track of their new collection of murder ballads, Oh, Willie, Please… coming out April 30th, unless you supported the album via PledgeMusic and already have it. The song Pretty Polly has a long historical tradition, originally from England, Canada and Appalachia and notably performed by The Byrds, Judy Collins and Pete Seeger. This gorgeous video, directed by Jared Varava, evokes the tone of HBO’s Deadwood in trademark Vandaveer slo-mo. Check out the premiere post at PopMatters for lots more info. Vandaveer earned the top spot in Hometown Sounds Best Videos of 2012, and Pretty Polly is quite a strong entry for 2013.

DC MUSIC DOWNLOAD (online DC-based music blog) – Positive post on PopMatters video premiere with video and artist photo
New Music Video: Vandaveer

On the heels of their forthcoming album Oh, Willie, Please… (slated to be released on April 30th), Folk rock stalwarts Vandaveer premiered a stunning new music video on PopMatters this morning for their contemporary take on the English classic  ”Pretty Polly”.

“Pretty Polly” is a genuine reflection of what’s to be expected on Oh, Willie, Please…, which will include remakes of traditional folk songs and haunting ballads carefully chosen by the group. The video for “Pretty Polly” is as compelling as the song, chock-full of revenge, murder, grieving-and everything in between. Check it out below:

TRI STATE INDIE (Philly-based music site) – News post on video premiere (from press announcement) with video, tour dates and artist photo

TRI STATE INDIE (Philly-based music site) – Philly show preview with album art, PP mp3, BTR video and related links.
Vandaveer delivers fourth full-length EP
The DC by-way-of Kentucky alt-folk collective Vandaveer will be performing in Philadelphia on April 17th with Matt Costa in support of their forthcoming album of age-old murder ballads, Oh, Willie, Please… [followed by press release and tour dates]

WCSH 6-TV / NBC (Portland, ME NBC affiliate) – Live performance with interview featured on their 207 A&E show.
Vandaveer talks to 207
Vandaveer is an alt-folk project spearheaded by Mark Charles Heidinger. The band offers up melodic Americana that is both haunting and easy, forlorn and welcoming, with stories as universal as the songs they inhabit. Vandaveer’s new album, “Oh, Willie, Please” will be available on April 30th.
For more information on Vandaveer click here: VANDAVEER
Vandaveer was in Maine to perform at Port City Music Hall in a show presented by State Theater.
For more information on Port City Music Hall click here: PORT CITY MUSIC HALL
For more information on State Theatre click here: STATE THEATRE

BEAT SURRENDER (online music site) – Positive post with “Pretty Polly” mp3, BTR video, and album art
Sound & Vision – Vandaveer, album news and download
Oh, Willie from Vandaveer’s upcoming album that’s out in North America April 30th on CD plus limited edition vinyl and digital formats, download Pretty Polly from the album below.

THE COLUMBUS DISPATCH (daily) – Positive show review as part of their TMBG review.
Vandaveer, a duo of Mark Charles Heidinger and Rose Guerin accompanied by a friend on steel guitar, opened the show with a short set full of vintage Americana. Samples from the band’s upcoming album Oh, Willie, Please, showed its commitment to aged folk ballads and displayed considerable skill.

RADIO FREE AMERICANA (Verona, VA AMA Chart Reporting Station) – Chart debut at #197  the week of Feb. 27.

WJAA RADIO (Seymour, IN AAA radio) – “Pretty Polly” aired on Kyle Kaufman’s “The U & U Show” Feb. 21

SHARE THE MUSIC AND DANCE (online music blog) – Positive post with “Pretty Polly” mp3 and album art.
Vandaveer – ‘Pretty Polly’
n 2011 Vandaveer gave an amazing album with ‘Dig Down Deep’. They are coming back with a new album on april 30th. OH, WILLIE, PLEASE… A NEW ALBUM OF TRADITIONAL FOLK MURDER BALLADS. Sounds exciting ! The first single fit perfectly the description.
Grab a glass, lay back, listen to the ballad and Enjoy,
you can download the single here

SONGS FOR THE DAY (online music blog) – Positive post with “Pretty Polly” mp3
Vandaveer will be releasing a new album of traditional murder ballads and the like shortly. You should be excited about this. Take a listen to the first single, ‘Pretty Polly.’

MAD MACKEREL / UK (UK online music site) – Positive post with “Pretty Polly” mp3 and album art
Vandaveer To Release Murder Ballads Album
We’re long time admirers of Kentucky’s Vandaveer and so you can imagine our delight to learn that new album Oh, Willie, Please… will be a collection of their reinterpretations of age-old traditional folk songs and murder ballads. Sounds like pretty much the perfect combination.
For now, download Pretty Polly as your dark-hearted taster, and accompany her to her pitiful end as Willy, rather than marrying her as planned, chooses to prepare a freshly dug grave and deposit her in it instead.
In the original version of this song from 1750, the 35 verses tell of Polly’s pregnancy that has trapped Willy into the forthcoming nuptials, her subsequent murder, Willy’s escape to sea, and her ghostly re-appearance, together with baby, on his ship, precipitating Willy’s own madness and death.
Happy ever after all round then…
Oh, Willie, Please…is out on the 30th April via Quack Media.

FOLK HIVE (online music blog) – Positive post with album art and “Pretty Polly” mp3.
dudes, new vandaveer :: ‘pretty polly’
Here at the Hive, we love Vandaveer.
But we really love Vandaveer with a banjo. WITH A FUCKING BANJO, Y’ALL.
If the first single released from the band’s upcoming album Oh, Willie, Please is any indication, this album shall be a barn burner. Songs of murder and self ruin are said to abound and in regards to the latter, we’re sure that this album will take over our hearts (as self ruin is a favorite here, please see that Autobiographical Music Blogging tag to the side over there, ahem).
Oh, Willie, Please will be released 30 April via Quack!Media. Hit up that stream below and download the single. Your psyche implores you!
(Also, support the album via Pledge Music, which is a thing we think you can still do. And should. You should do that.)

YANKEE CALLING (online music blog) – Positive post with band and “Pretty Polly” mp3.
Vandaveer // Pretty Polly [Single]
Possibly the only good thing to come out of Kentucky other than Bourbon is the macabre song makers of Vandaveer. Their song writing is thick with themes of death, murder, and ghosts; one’s spinning dark tales of fiction and possible truth. Download “Pretty Polly” – a harrowing story telling song from the darker side of folk. Look for their next full release – Oh, Willie, Please… – coming April 30th.
Vandaveer: Site // Tour // Facebook

YOU AIN’T NO PICASSO (online music blog) – Positive post with album art and “Pretty Polly” mp3.
Here’s some great Valentine’s Day news for you: Vandaveer’s releasing his new album Oh Willie, Please… on April 30! And what would Vday be without a little gift to go along with it? Today Vandy’s given us an MP3 to, uh, celebrate the day with. I hesitate to say this song is going to “celebrate” much of anything, though because it’s a classic murder ballad.

ECLECTIBLOGS (online music blog) – News posting (from press announcement) with (stock) band photo, and related link.

FARONHEIT (Chicago-based online music blog) – “Pretty Polly” mp3  featured in their 2/13/13 Pick Your Poison.

HELLHOUND MUSIC (online music site) – News posting (from press announcement) with band photo album art, link to “” mp3 and related links.

ENGINE 145 (online roots music blog) – Brief news post with link to “Pretty Polly” mp3.

TOP 40 CHARTS (online music site) – News posting (from press announcement) with album art and related links.

MELODIC (online music site) – News posting (from press announcement) with band photo, link to “Pretty Polly” mp3 and related links.

BROADWAY WORLD (online music site)



The first time Tedo Stone ever set foot in a recording studio, he walked through the doors of Atlanta’s Glow-In-The-Dark Studios with a loose assemblage of backing musicians in tow. The location was well beyond their means, but they were working in the middle of the night in Studio B with an intern engineer at the boards. As mics were set up, they ran through the tune they were about to cut, one of Tedo’s newest, an anthemic ’70s-glam march called “War.” Just then, Grammy-winning, multi-platinum record producer Matt Goldman was wrapping a session in Studio A. Something unexpected caught his ear, and he followed the sounds straight down the hall to Stone and his buddies. “He thought we sounded like T. Rex,” Stone says.

Before the players realized what was happening, Goldman had sidelined the drummer, jumped behind the kit and taken over production of the session. “We’d never even considered working with Matt,” Stone says. “You couldn’t touch him—he’s part of this other world I had no idea about where he’s like God.”

By 9 the next morning, they’d recorded and mixed a powerful track that would ultimately end up on Stone’s forthcoming debut LP, Good Go Bad – and they forged a lasting bond in the process.

This all went down in July 2011. Not long before, though, Stone was in a bit of a limbo. He’d just finished college at Ole Miss, and wasn’t sure what he was gonna do next. To get his head together—and because it sounded like a good time—he booked a flight to Hawaii, and ended up crashing on a buddy’s couch in Maui for a couple months. After some serious pondering, he decided to put all of his effort into music. Of course, touring tiki bars playing Jimmy Buffet covers wasn’t exactly what he had in mind, so he packed his bags and headed back to the mainland.

“Being in that environment, on island time—it helps paint a clearer picture when you’re trying to evaluate something,” Stone says. “There’s nothing clouding what you’re trying to do. As soon as I got home to Atlanta, I went straight into the studio at Glow-In-The Dark.”

After co-producing “War,” Goldman had plans to record a whole album with Stone, but when scheduling became a problem, the project was temporarily shelved. Not wanting to lose momentum, in November 2011, Stone took a more fleshed-out, gig-tested lineup with him to Athens, GA, to record with legendary producer/engineer John Keane. “Being in that room where so many classic albums were recorded—Uncle Tupelo, R.E.M.—it was an incredible experience,” Stone says. “The place had this presence. We were a little taken aback by the whole thing.”

The hyper-efficient Keane shot the band out of a cannon, and after four intense days of live tracking, they’d finished their debut EP, Happy (released on Southern indie label This Is American Music). “John moves so fast, it creates an honest sound,” Stone says. “He never got in the way of a creative moment by us having to wait for him, and he pushed us the whole time—we were trying to keep up with him.”

To support himself and help pay for all this studio time, Stone took a day job as a technician for his older brother’s durable medical equipment company. When people are discharged from the hospital, Tedo sets up their oxygen or delivers a wheelchair to their house. “It’s rewarding,” he says, “but I’m always surrounded by people who are dying.”

His experiences on the job helped create a mindset that inspired many of the songs on Good Go Bad. “It’s really where the concept for the new album came from,” he says. “Life and death, in a broad sense—trying to avoid death and getting old. And it’s not just a physical thing; it’s mental thing. People can be old at a young age, or young in their later years.”

After a while, Stone was much closer to seeing things from the perspective of all the elderly folks he’d been assisting. “I can’t help but think about where they are, and where I am,” he says. “At that point in your life, there’s not a lot of doing left, not a lot to look ahead to, so you start reflecting on time spent. Realizing that while you’re still in your 20s makes you more proactive about what you really want. It motivates you to start creating something you’ll be proud of when you look back.”

You can hear this carpe-diem passion in Stone’s new record, which he recorded with Goldman and longtime bassist Billy Lyons. It’s in everything from the anthemic rockers to the little whispered ukulele ballad Tedo recorded on his cellphone back in Hawaii and ended up using as-is. It ripples through the pensive, psych-tinged bedroom pop numbers, awash in shimmering modern synths, tied in a bow with precise little mathematical guitar & keyboard hooks. The production on Good Go Bad recalls post-R&B Brian Jones-era Stones in that every track has at least one completely unique sound to set it apart. And throughout, Tedo drops cryptic little couplets—lines that boil T.S. Elliott down to the simple essence. Any English major worth their salt should see the parallel between the former’s “You gotta be awake to get the covers off / You gotta be awake to make a miracle” and the latter’s “Do I dare disturb the universe? … Do I dare to eat a peach?”

Most of all, though, the passion is in Stone’s expressive, instantly recognizable voice. Not many indie rockers can pull off his soul-inspired approach, repeating lines over and over, varying the melody and phrasing slightly each time, so as to juice every last ounce of meaning from them before moving on.

“I think this album has a lot more personality and depth than anything I’ve done before,” Stone says of Good Go Bad. “For me, recording has a lot to do with documenting my time here on Earth. I don’t keep a diary or anything like that. But building a catalog and being able to look back and see where I’ve been in life and as a songwriter, that’s important to me.”

Tedo Stone’s Good Go Bad will be released on CD and digital formats on July 9th through This Is American Music.



6/20 – TIAM Ath Fest Kickoff @ 40 Watt w/ Dana Swimmer / David Barbe and the Quick Hooks
(Athens, GA)

6/21 – Green Room – Ath Fest (Athens, GA)

6/26 – 12th and Porter (Nashville, TN)

6/27 – JJ’s (Chattanooga, TN)

6/28 – Firehouse Pizza (Normal, IL)

6/29 – Chicago house party

7/1 – Daytrotter session (Rock Island, IL)

7/10 – Rumba Cafe (Columbus, OH)

7/12 – Firehouse Pizza (Normal, IL)

7/13 – UW Madison Terrace (Madison, WI)

7/23 – PK’s (Carbondale, IL)

7/25 – Cosmic Charlie’s (Lexington, KY)

[more dates to be announced soon]


Good Go Bad Tracklisting:

1. Big As The Ocean

2. Good Go Bad

3. Taste

4. Who

5. Back Again

6. Circles

7. High

8. Time

9. War

10. Downtown


“Stone’s swaggering self-assurance shines through as he guides his band through one blissfully exuberant melody after another, throwing off hints of T. Rex and the Strokes in the process.” – LATEST DISGRACE

“Georgia’s Tedo Stone and band traffic in a brand of ’70s-esque, swaggering, peach fuzzy guitar rock, drawing influence from T. Rex most notably. A sound bound to interest Strokes Fans, as well as anyone who appreciates melodic rock.” – POPMATTERS

“Hearkens back to the Stones circa Out of Our Heads. A variation of the skinny white-boy insouciance popularized by Mick Jagger… Stone laces the retro sounds with contemporary touches that keep things lively and surprising.” – Bud Scoppa / GEORGIA MUSIC MAGAZINE

“Stone’s haunting voice leads the way as his band creates a spacey musical bubble that envelops listeners until the last amp stops buzzing.” – EXAMINER

“This guy is blessed with a powerful, soulful voice with a strange, sharp timbre to it, lending a mystical texture to songs that tend to draw from the darker edges of blues, country and ‘70s rock.” – STOMP & STAMMER



Tony Bonyata
Pavement PR
p: 262.903.7775


Charlie Whitehead, a.k.a. Raw Spitt, 1970 first full-length, produced by Swamp Dogg for Canyon records, and a highly sought after collectors’ album of unconventional Southern Soul. The remastered CD version includes 5 bonus tracks and new liner notes penned by Swamp Dogg. Raw Spitt will also be available June 25th as a Digital Download, along with Limited Edition Colored Vinyl exclusive to Bomp-mailorder.

The following are Swamp Dogg’s newly penned liner notes for Charlie Whitehead’s Raw Spitt album:
Top Ten on my very best friends list. Charlie Whitehead a/k/a Raw Spitt hails from Smithfield, Virginia; about thirty miles from my hometown, Portsmouth, Virginia. Nevertheless, we didn’t meet until 1966 in New York City. I was knocked out by his voice and delivery so I immediately got Musicor Records, who I was working for, to sign him. We cut one single, “How Can I Forget” b/w “Story Of Mr. Pitiful”, which was not unusual in those days. If you didn’t hit the first time out, your ass was grass and Broadway was the lawnmower.

Charlie was doing well financially with his singing partner, Joe Pond, making frequent trips to Europe as Sam & Dave and alone as Ben E. King. In the meantime I signed with Canyon Records and had plans of Charlie being the other Swamp Dogg; that’s why the two “t’s” in Spitt.  Upon release the album started getting play on underground stations, but Canyon went belly-up before sales could be realized. Charlie was on the FTA Tour with Jane Fonda, Dick Gregory, Peter Boyle, Donald Sutherland and I. I signed Charlie to United Artist but that didn’t last long. Just a single and they gave me the album back. Charlie’s contract called for two albums a year, so they had to pay us for the non-existing album. This gave credence to the axioms, “there’s some dumb motherfuckers in this industry” and “money don’t make you smart.”

We hit it big together in 1974 on Island Records with “Love Being Your Fool.” which was also covered by the Staple Singers, Jerry Reed, Coon Elder Band, Travis Womack (top 20 pop) and a few others. Charlie came to me with most of the lyrics and thought they were sh*t and I was not going to record it. He told me that he had adhered to every song and concept that I had suggested, without any success. He was right, so I swallowed my fu**in’ ego and let him have his day in court. He was right and I was happy to take credit for this genius change of directions. We have a tremendous past together which includes the writing of Dee Dee Warwick’s Grammy nominated “She Didn’t Know (She Kept On Talking)”.

Charlie is in Brooklyn, N.Y., where he’s a recent widower, avid gambler who always wins, and a sometime performer. If I divulge more you won’t buy my autobiography. – Swamp Dogg



1. Put A LIttle Love In Your Heart

2. Raw Spitt

3. Call Me Nigger

4. The Freedom Under Certain Konditions Marching Band

5. Midnight Rider

6. Who Do They Think They Are

7. I Dig Black Girls

8. This Old Town

9. Sweet Bird Of Success

10. Excuses

11. Between The Lines (bonus track exclusive to CD)

12. Predicament 2 (bonus track exclusive to CD)

13. That Ain’t My Wife (bonus track exclusive to CD)

14. Synthetic World (bonus track exclusive to CD)

15. Hey Jude (bonus track exclusive to CD)


Re-released for the first time on vinyl since its original release in 1970! Produced by legendary soul singer / songwriter / producer Jerry Williams Jr., aka Swamp Dogg, Lightnin’ Slim‘s High & Low Down will be available June 25th on CD and in Limited Edition Colored Vinyl exclusive to Bomp-mailorder.

The following are B.B. King’s original 1970 liner notes for Lighnin’ Slim’s High & Low Down album:
Over the years I have listened to many records and albums of many types of music. As a disc jockey I played many different kinds of sounds, but I guess as an entertainer I pull a little harder for the blues performers because I want them to be heard, played and respected as much as other music is; that is, when it merits it. Lightning Slim’s new album I think merits all the qualities that a great artist and a hit album should have. It’s some great sounds. This is my opinion. Musically Yours, B.B. King

And here is Swamp Dogg’s hllarious recollection on tracking down B.B. King 43 years ago for the above liner notes, along with his own take on Lightnin’ Slim:
After chasing B.B. around the globe for six months, the above doesn’t give me any insight as to how he feels about the recording or the artist. He’s a championship skater when it comes to saying nothing about a motherfucker.

After meeting with Sid Seidenberg, his deceased manager, I had to step out of the picture and let my wife (now deceased) Yvonne take over. She was a master when it came to detecting bullshit in any situation. Anyway, he finally wrote these watery liners after Yvonne went up to his penthouse suite in a ten star, New Orleans hotel; the Rosemont or some sh*t that had to do with a Mont.  I went back to the Ramada, after thinking about leaving my wife with a famous multi-millionaire blues singer. I said to myself, “fuck these liners, I’m going up there”.  I knocked on the door like a gentleman with my .38 in my shoulder bag. An attendant opened the door and the place was laid out with all kinds of champagne, finger sandwich sh*t, wines, food, etc. Don’t get me wrong, I didn’t blame him if his goal was what I thought. I just intended to foil the plot, and if Yvonne’s hair and clothes were disheveled, I was going to do some damage to both, and maybe (?), jump out the window. Nooooo, fuck that!  Upon my entrance and being introduced to him by my wife, he offered me a drink and commenced to write the above notes that could apply to any blues singer.

I’ve produced and written for some great artists in my life and Lightning Slim is in my top ten. He didn’t have to be coddled, nursed, etc. He learned the songs and got down to business. He only gave me three days to record him because he wanted to get back to Pontiac, Michigan to get back to his job at a lock factory. This album is as good as most blues albums and better than most. It has the Muscle Shoals, Alabama A-team rhythm section and the horn section that David Johnson (owner / engineer of Broadway Sound) and I assembled, which later became the Muscle Shoals horns.  I‘ll speculate that if Eric Clapton, Keith Richards, George Benson, Albert King and Freddy King ever heard this  blues album, they would rate Lightning’s great delivery, song writing and innovative swamp guitar style in their top ten of authentic blues men. – Swamp Dogg


1.  Rooster Blues

2. Things I Used To Do

3.  Bad Luck Blues

4.  My Babe

5.  GI Blues

6.  Oh Baby

7.  That’s All Right

8.  Crazy Bout You Baby

9.  Goodmorning Heartaches

10.  Voodoo Blues


July 27 @ The Echo / Funky Sole Party – Los Angeles, CA

October 4 @ The Ponderosa Stomp / Rock ‘n’ Bowl – New Orleans, LA

[more dates to be announced soon]



Tony Bonyata
Pavement PR
p: 262.903.7775


New Romantic founders return with their first new music in 29 years, just in time for the re-emergence of synth-pop as a major creative force.



Back in the late ‘70s and early ‘80s, New Wave spanned a sub-genre called New Romantic based around the same synthesizer beats as New Wave, but with an even greater emphasis on the pop side of the equation, with glamorous hair and fashion being integral to the genre’s sensibility. It sprang out of the London clubs back in 1979, heavily influenced by the music and style of David Bowie and Roxy Music. Visage was right there at the beginning, the seed of the burgeoning movement at the right place and time. Steve Strange worked as the doorman at the Blitz nightclub and Rusty Egan was the club’s DJ and from that locale the two of them joined forces with Ultravox’s Billy Currie and Midge Ure to form Visage.

The group had a number of hit singles worthy of remembrance, including “Fade to Grey”, “Mind of a Toy”, and “The Anvil”. But the peril of being so closely aligned to a particular fashion is that fashions change quickly and synth pop, especially the New Romantic variety, didn’t make it deep into the ‘80s as a mainstream sound. Fast forward to 2013 and synth pop is everywhere you look again and we have a pop diva culture headed by the likes of Lady Gaga (and Robyn for hipsters) that is tied very deeply to fashion.

That makes this the perfect time for Visage’s re-emergence as founders of fashionista synth-pop. The group will be releasing their first new album, Hearts and Knives, since 1984’s Beat Boy this June 11th. “It has been 29 years since the last Visage album and during that period it often seems like we have all lived through several lifetimes,” says Steve Strange. We couldn’t be more proud to premiere the band’s new video for “Dreamer I Know”.


Bonnie Whitmore‘s last album had a body count and a title, Embers to Ashes, that implied a fiery finality. There are broken bones and hard lessons learned on Whitmore’s new album, but its title – There I Go Again – suggests less ominous themes.

“I feel like I’ve grown up a lot,” she says. “I just turned 30 this year, and I’ve been in the business 15 of those years. There’s been this humbling aspect to my writing, this attempt to make the songs in a way that’s singable and relatable. It’s not as selfish as Embers, which was a record I needed to do to get through that period of my life. This one’s more a celebration of some successes but also learning from failures. Plus, nobody wants to hear two breakup albums in a row.”

Fittingly, the music also reflects a radiant change of direction. The rootsiness of Embers isn’t absent, but the songs on There I Go Again are decidedly less country sounding. Keyboards are played up in places a steel guitar might have inhabited, the drums are more prominent, and Whitmore lets her big voice run through some big, inviting choruses.

“We knew when we had these songs that we were making a pop record,” says Whitmore. “It’s not the same Americana sound that we had with Embers. This one is a lot more put together. I think it comes across as more polished. It’s definitely a pop record, and I love pop records.”

She cites Tom Petty’s ability to balance the earthiness of roots music with hooky pop parts as the model she aspired to on the album. “He made these amazingly awesome pop songs, but he was able to keep them within the lines, so you could hear just how beautiful these melodies were,” she says. “I hate the phrase – ‘who inspired you?’ – but his music has had a great influence on me throughout my life.”

Whitmore also credits her parents, both the music they chose to play at home in Denton and on the radio, and also her father’s band, which featured Whitmore starting at age 8, as well as her sister Eleanor.

By 15, Whitmore was playing professional gigs outside the family. She sang in Hayes Carll’s band for a while, and recently she spent quite a bit of time touring and recording with the Mastersons, the husband/wife band featuring sister Eleanor and Houston native and guitarist Chris Masterson.

They’re good family to have: Both of them play on Whitmore’s albums, which Masterson produced.

There have been tough gigs for Whitmore along the way. She went to Kickstarter to finance the new record. There she included a video with some footage from a particularly undesirable gig performing in a sports bar beneath the glow of a giant flat-screen TV.

“Those can be hard ones to play,” she says. “Three hour gigs, and it’s disheartening to play when nobody cares. It can be a humbling experience.”

But her album title speaks to a commitment to her music. “It seemed like a pretty good title for a second album,” she says. “But it has that sense of what you’re doing when you’re putting out music: Diving back into the deep end and seeing how well it floats. Nobody is really doing this for the money. Doing this because you love it is the only reason to do it at all. There’s nothing else I’d rather do. Once you’ve grown up and realized that’s your place and it’s what you’re meant to do, it doesn’t seem so bad. Then it doesn’t seem like you’re giving up anything. Sometimes you have three people come out, sometimes 30 or 50 will come to the show. But they do it because the love it and care about it and spend their time doing it. It goes back to Woody Guthrie playing union halls. It’s romantic in a way to know that this life is one you’ve chosen. And that it’s worth it in the end.” – andrew dansby

Bonnie Whitmore’s There I Go Again will be released on CD and digital formats on June 11th through This Is American Music.



June 5 Birmingham, AL @ Moonlight On The Mountain

June 6 Tuscaloosa, AL @ Egan’s

June 8 Athens, GA @ The Green Room

June 10 Knoxville, TN @ WDVX TN Shine

June 11 Nashville, TN @ High Watt (opening for Lee Dewyze. Bonnie Whitmore solo)

June 13 Hot Springs, AR @ Maxine’s

June 27  Denton, TX @ Dan’s Silverleaf

June 28 Oklahoma City, OK @ The Blue Door

July 2 Minneapolis, MN @ Lee’s Liquor Lounge

July 3 Winnipeg, MB @ TBA

July 4 Saskatoon, SK @ Rock Bottom (The Fez)

July 5 Edmonton, AB @ Avenue Theatre

July 6 Bonnyville, AB @ Bonnyville House Concert

July 7 Calgary, AB @ The Ironwood

July 8 Lethbridge, AB @ The Slice

July 9 Waterton, AB @ Waterton Park

July 10 Winlaw, BC @ Cedar Creek

July 11 Penticton, BC @ Voodoo’s

July 12 Vancouver, BC @ Kozmik Zoo

July 17 Los Angeles, CA @ Hotel Cafe

(more dates to be announced soon)


There I Go Again Tracklisting:

1. There I Go Again

2. Heartbreaker

3. Reckless and Young

4. Colored Kisses

5.Too Much Too Soon

6.Cryin’ Out For Me

7. You’re Going To Love Me

8. The Gavel

9. Borderline

10. Be The Death Of Me

“With a voice that goes from whispering softness to full throttle and alto to soaring soprano, and songs that plumb relationships with lyrics referencing Lewis Carroll, Hunter  S. Thompson and Radiohead, Bonnie Whitmore’s got Americana fans clamoring to hear her new work.” – AUSTIN MONTHLY

“Although her sultry Southern voice and country sound pay rightful homage to her roots, Whitmore’s music reflects an angst all her own.” – FLAGPOLE MAGAZINE



Tony Bonyata
Pavement PR
p: 262.903.7775

  • Archives

    • 04/23/24 THEE SINSEERS in El Paso, TX at Lowbrow Palace
    • 04/25/24 THEE SINSEERS in San Antonio, TX at Jaime’s Place
    • 04/26/24 THEE SINSEERS in San Antonio, TX at Jaime’s Place
    • 04/27/24 THEE SINSEERS in Austin, TX at Austin Blues Festival
    • 04/30/24 THEE SINSEERS in Houston, TX at Heights Theater