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Mike Marshall & Darol Anger: At Home and On the Range

REVIEW: Mike Marshall & Darol Anger: The Duo Live
2.23.2002 by Sean

Mike Marshall & Darol Anger: The Duo Live: At Home and On the Range [Compass Records, 2002]

Two words? Gorgeous mandolin/violin.

At Home and On the Range is a bit of an off-putting title. I expected twangy banjo music with lots of “yeee-haw”ing and foot stompin’. However, when I put it on I was pleasantly surprised to hear a hauntingly beautiful Celtic tune.

The album bills itself as folk-grass-jazz-classical, which sums it up pretty well. The tracks range from traditional folk melodies to fast and furious Celtic fiddling to swamp-jazz. And not a trace of banjo throughout! In fact, between the disc’s songs, Mike Marshall rails against banjos: “Once the banjo craze started that was it for us mandolin players and we really haven’t recovered since.” Which is a real pity, because mandolin and violin sound gorgeous together and they are played with unbelievable skill and precision on this album.

Mike Marshall and Darol Anger started out playing together in the David Grisman Quintet and have played together as a duo for over 23 years. Their versatility as musicians is very impressive. On this album Mike plays mandolin, guitar, fiddle, and something called a mandocello, while Darol plays fiddle and baritone violin.

Both are, quite simply, superb musicians and the album is beautiful and invigorating.

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