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    Formerly-DC-based band Vandaveer is going through some changes. They’ve just dropped their seventh album, The Wild Mercury (their first in three years), released just after frontman Mark Heidinger moved back to the old Kentucky home.

    Growing up in Lexington and moving to DC over a decade ago, Heidinger has now settled in Louisville. “We moved in August. I grew up in Lexington, down the road. So, Kentucky has always been home, but we were in DC for about 11 years. So, it was an adjustment, coming back. But it was an adjustment leaving, too. So far, it’s been great. We’re glad to be back in Kentucky, closer to family, all manner of things.

    “We didn’t randomly pick Louisville. There were about a dozen reasons we felt like this was a good fit for us. It was very close to family, but it’s got a wonderful creative arts scene. It’s known for its art community, music community and that’s important for us. Not just for me, personally, but it’s important for our kids to grow up in a community that feels vibrant and relevant and forward-thinking,” says Heidinger.

    Heidinger is adjusting well to the Louisville music community, citing friendships with Cheyenne Mize, Ben Sollee, Joan Shelley and Kevin Ratterman, as well as his hope for more connections:  “I got to go [to the WFPK Anniversary show] and it was the first time I’d seen Howell Dawdy, and I was totally smitten. I thought, I want to get to know that guy.”

    As for The Wild Mercury, it’s the most candid of Vandaveer’s album so far. “I just sort of felt like it was time to do something a bit more direct. Autobiographical, maybe. A little less flourishy with the metaphors and a little more straightforward,” says Heidinger.

    The album is sanguine and surreal, full of little love songs — not strictly to a single person, but to family and friends, places and moments in time. Heidinger’s vocals paired with Rose Guerin’s, over an acoustic guitar, create a distinctive sound that’s inherently optimistic. The album is beautiful and dreamy and, at one point while listening I realized: this guy just doesn’t see the world in the same way that I do.

    Says Heidinger: “I think songwriting is equal parts exploration and therapy… I try to put forward what I think is an authentic take on things. An authentic point of view, which happens to just be mine. But I’m also very aware that opinions are fleeting and, you know, entirely relative to your personal experience.”

    Vandaveer’s distinct sound, and Heidinger’s lyrics’ abstract imagery create an opportunity for a bit of escapism for the listener; a chance to drift into someone else’s stories, someone else’s experiences for a little time off, as told through a few melodies.

    Vandaveer kicked off their tour for The Wild Mercury with a show at Zanzabar on February 27. You can catch them close to home again in Lexington, Newport and Berea. Find tour dates here. 

    Image: Vandaveer


    Michelle Eigenheer's picture

    About Michelle Eigenheer

    A Louisville transplant beginning to appreciate all the city's small things.

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