January 2nd, 2014 by Robin

Sometimes life gets in the way, sometimes it makes a better artist.  Over the last few years ArtFRONT has been keeping an eye on the musical projects of  Mandi Rae.  When we first discovered Mandi Rae at an Americana Folk festival near Nashville where the Avett Brothers and Old Crow Medicine Show were just getting their early fan bases started she was a solo folkie storyteller with a guitar who was entertaining enough in that incarnation to get her an opening spot in one of our best attended concerts to date.  She has sinced developed into a true country poet with a dedicated, tight, swinging full band.  As a songwriter Mandi Rae knows how to put the hooks into each of her songs.  Her subject matter is always memorable and her tunes stick in your head like the gum under the seat of an Alabama church pew.   Earlier performances and recordings put her almost in the arena of comedienne storyteller but several years of growing up, becoming a mom  to two little girls and suffering the loss of her husband to an incurable illness has  refined her in to one of the more solidly developed artists to emerge from the underground sub-Dixie circuit.  Birmingham and Nashville have taken notice and Mandi Rae and her band are now poised to start turning heads and developing a widespread fan base starting throughout the southeast then spreading wherever people get a chance to experience one of her solid and melodically satisfying performances.  This collection of songs and videos are all the recordings that comprised her 2006 full length album called Mandi Rae & Westover Water “Gettaway.”   I have replaced two of the songs with live video versions from Nashville’s Music City Roots performance which occurred just a couple of weeks after the tragic loss of her husband.  This was a significant turning point in her style of delivery.  Making an already potent entertainer who was filled with humor and the ability to grab an audience’s attention, into a mature and intense multifaceted presence who is in the game for the win.  As focused a performer as anyone out there, the current Mandi Rae shows are worth paying attention to  for a lot of reasons.  Elements of Bob Dylan, Loretta Lynn,  and a genuine southern voice that most Americana style performers can only emulate.  Mandi Rae is the real thing and You need to be paying attention.  ~R.


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