Valentine’s Ohrwurm: Mandolin Orange

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The Science of Kissing by Sheril Kirshenbaum. Click on photo for Amazon page.

So, I was thinking about Valentine’s Day, and that led me to think about kissing, and that led me to think about Sheril Kirshenbaum’s book, The Science of Kissing, and not because I’ve kissed Sheril – though I have, in a collegial and brotherly way, out of respect for the fact that she has a husband named David and, well, because my wife has a husband named David as well.

Well, that was less than graceful.

This ramble brings me to a video of a great song by a Chapel Hill, NC-based duo whose male member, Andrew Marlin, was introduced to me by Sheril. Somewhere back in her ScienceBlogs archives for The Intersection blog, Sheril spoke three-and-a-half years ago about being stopped in her tracks at Durham, NC’s Broad Street Cafe by this voice and words that have the wisdom of someone two or three times his age.

Andrew and Emily of Mandolin Orange were featured on the cover of last year's Jan/Feb issue of Chapel Hill Magazine. Click on picture for the article.

I was equally taken aback about a two years ago when I first heard the following song on WUNC-FM’s, The State of Things, by Andrew playing with his musical partner and real-life love, Emily Frantz. These two have been absolutely tearing up the Southeast acoustic and hipster circuit.

They were also featured last year in the Valentine’s feature of Chapel Hill Magazine. There, I learned the story of the lead song on their first CD, Quiet Little Room, released in April, 2010. The first time Emily was away from Andrew for a long period of time, he wrote her a song called These Old Wheels. The lyric, “how I love to hear, ‘I love you,’ in a dry morning tone,” already gave me the warm fuzzies before I learned the whole story behind the song.

My little girl and I recently had the chance to talk with the acoustic instrument store owner who sold Emily her 1840s violin. The owner told us that she offered it to Emily at a price less than she paid, but only because knew that Emily must have it after she heard her play.

I know that we are all empirical scientists and want data for everything, but when it comes to music I still think that magic can happen. So kill me.

For your Valentine’s listening pleasure, here’s my favorite Mandolin Orange song as played live in the studio of WNRN-FM in Charlottesville, VA. And for a totally spot-on description of the duo, check out this article by Rick Cornell of The Independent Weekly.

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