Another day, another talented Americana songwriter immersed in the language of a faith he doesnât profess. Andrew Marlin, half of the North Carolina duo Mandolin Orange, is a church musicianâs son who no longer identifies with the church. But as heâs explained it, Christianity remains his vocabulary for speaking of spiritual things.
Right from the title, the duoâs third record presents its lyrical vision as an alternative to the otherworldly religiosity of old-time gospel. About a minute into the first song, âHouse of Stone,â Emily Frantzâs voice joins Marlinâs for the first time: âNow some may sing the sounds of âhallelujahâ / And dream about a mansion of gold / But . . . my dreams all are resting on a house of stone.â Mine too, and I dream those dreams in Christian community. Marlinâs life-affirming lyrics make me want to invite him to church, or at least send him a Wendell Berry book or something.