excuse me, that’s my emotional support album
Road May Rise Review
by Grace Acton
This fall has been super stressful, especially as a first year. Whenever I’m feeling particularly worried about COVID or missing home, I put on one of my comfort albums: Josh Ritter’s So Runs the World Away, The Milk Carton Kids’ Live From Lincoln Theatre, or the newest addition to my rotation, Road May Rise by Mark Mandeville and Raianne Richards.
Mark and Raianne always remind me of home, since they’re literally from home. They’re local to Central Massachusetts like me, and friends of my mom, a fellow singer-songwriter. One time they were planning on camping in our yard but ended up sleeping in our basement because of an unexpected thunderstorm. They’re some of the nicest people you’ll ever meet, and put out a very chill vibe that comes through in their music.
Road May Rise is a great mix of subtly political songs, like “There Will Come a Day” and “Winds of Change”, and really sweet songs like “Honey Bee” and “Hand I Hold”. My personal favorite on the album is “Don’t Let me Come Home a Stranger,” originally by folk duo Robin and Linda Williams. This track shows off how well Mark and Raianne’s voices mesh together, and it’s just lovely.
One thing that makes Mark and Raianne stand out is their unique instrumentation. In addition to guitar and ukulele, Raianne also plays wind instruments, namely clarinet and penny whistle. These aren’t instruments we’re used to hearing, especially in modern folk and Americana music. You can hear Raianne’s penny whistle at the very beginning of “Winds of Change,” which is a really clever use of the instrument: it literally sounds like whistling wind. There’s a distinctively-Raianne clarinet solo in the album’s title track, “Road May Rise.” In addition to Raianne’s combo of instruments, Mark plays guitar, banjo, and harmonica, which adds a classically folk element to their sound. Add on to that some session musicians playing piano, mandolin, upright bass, and, my favorite, pedal steel, and you’ve got an awesomely unique sound.
The TL;DR: if you’re looking for some cozy folk music to get you through stressful times, look no further than Road May Rise. It’s got cool combinations of instruments, gorgeous harmonies, and you can take comfort in supporting some really nice local musicians!