• Release
      April 30, 2013

  • 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, the 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 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.’

    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 & 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.

    Vandaveer’s Oh, Willie, Please… will be released in North America April 30th on CD, limited edition vinyl and digital formats, courtesy of Quack!Media.



    Oh, Willie, Please… Tracklisting:
    1. The Banks Of The Ohio
    2. Pretty Polly
    3. Omie Wise
    4. The Railroad Boy
    5. The Murder Of The Lawson Family
    6. Mary Of The Wild Moor
    7. The Knoxville Girl
    8. Down In The Willow Garden
    9. The Drunkard’s Doom
    10. Poor Edward
    11. Henry Lee





    Tony Bonyata
    Pavement PR
    p: 262.903.7775
    e: tony@pavementpr.com

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    • ”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 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.” - PASTE
    • “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.” - LOS ANGELES MAGAZINE
    • “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.... using subtle restraint and carefully chosen notes from banjo and cello to perfectly create an atmosphere of foreboding and pain.” – POPMATTERS
    • “Musically masterful.” – LA.COM
    • CRITIC’S PICK … Beauty and precision is exactly what we’ve come to expect from Vandaveer’s brainchild Mark Charles Heidinger. 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. - NASHVILLE SCENE
    • 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. - KDHX RADIO / ST. LOUIS
    • Chilling gems. If death by drowning, stabbing or blunt objects is your forté, then this is for you, with the arrangements and harmonies of Heidinger and Guerin sure to send a shiver up your spine.” - LEO WEEKLY
    • [9/10] Vandeveer’s Oh Willie, Please is an Americanaphile’s delight. This is a disc firmly rooted in the purity of the ancient and it’s all the better for it. - AMERICANA UK
    • 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. - THE JEOPARDY OF CONTENTMENT
    • “STANDOUT TRACK: ‘Pretty Polly’ is 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.” - WASHINGTON CITY PAPER
    • "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." - MILWAUKEE JOURNAL-SENTINEL
    • “Vandaveer has kept these 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.” - THE COURIER-JOURNAL
    • “Vandaveer’s Heidinger and Guerin can hold their own with Gram Parsons and Emmylou Harris.” – CAUGHT IN THE CAROUSEL
    • “Vandaveer offers up melodic Americana that is both haunting and easy, forlorn and welcoming, with stories as universal as the songs they inhabit.” – ANN ARBOR CURRENT
    • “A great record in 2013.” - Fred Knittel / FOLKADELPHIA: WXPN
    • “We love this record.” - Mary Sue Twohy / SIRIUSXM’S THE VILLAGE
    • “Interesting new treatments of old-time murder ballads.” - THE ROANOKE TIMES
    • “Vandaveer’s gorgeous video “Pretty Polly,” directed by Jared Varava, evokes the tone of HBO’s Deadwood in trademark Vandaveer slo-mo.” – HOMETOWN SOUNDS DC
    • “Fresh takes on the dark side of traditional folk.” - THE DETROIT NEWS
    • “Vandaveer combine the harmonic power of The Avett Brothers with the honest instrumentation of contemporary acts like Trampled By Turtles and The Devil Makes Three. This is Americana in its most candid form: earthy, acoustic guitars sway, banjos twang, and playful pedal steels dance on top of it all. The combination of Heidinger’s voice with Guerin’s gives way to full-bodied harmonies, much like a modern-day Johnny and June Carter Cash. The lead single “Pretty Polly” pits the two singers against each other, and a funky banjo line, held together by some rousing stomping and clapping, portrays Vandaveer at their best.” – IN YOUR SPEAKERS
    • “Authentic without being dusty and they give you the sense they can do anything. This is a wonderful gateway to folk music exploration.” – MIDWEST RECORD
    • “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.” - WHEN YOU MOTOR AWAY
    • “Possibly the only good thing to come out of Kentucky other than Bourbon is the macabre song makers of Vandaveer.” – YANKEE CALLING
    • “It is the voices of Vandaveer’s 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.” – BUCKETFUL OF NAILS
    • “Pure Americana.” - ATLANTA MUSIC GUIDE
    • “[Vandaveer’s] excellent new album Oh, Willie, Please… is a fine collection of murder ballads.” - THE FALCON’S NEST
    • “Hauntingly melodic Americana from Kentucky native Mark Charles Heidinger.” - C-VILLE