Vandaveer’s opens its album and title track with the advice, “Dig down deep/don’t fold/for the faintest wind might blow.” There could be no better explanation for the tone of what’s to come than this very forward. With their third LP, Dig Down Deep, Vandaveer joins a laundry list of alt-folk musicians that have managed to successfully re-sound, if you will, the sounds of Americana into something accessible to the mainstream music listener.
Vandaveer is a Washington based alt-folk band head by Mark Charles Heidinger. Heidinger formed the band in 2007 after finding other members to add to the project, including notable vocalist Rose Guerin. Guerin harmonizes Heidinger’s rough and wailing voice on virtually every track to create an album that is simply pretty.
Dig Down Deep’s tracks flow together, just as a single stream of consciousness, or faintest blow of wind might. The lyrics throughout the album continue the themes present in 2009’s Divide and Conquer– love and loss, hate and perseverance, and even self-pity.
Heidinger laments on the mellow acoustic and piano track Beat, Beat, My Heart, "I’ll wager my fate for a glimpse of Technicolor love/oh, enough with all these grays.” The mellow tone continues until things get slightly more positive right around the rhythmic track The Nature of Kind. It is also right around this time that Heidinger could use a little less Guerin, who would be made all the more sweet with an effective use of her refreshing folk voice.
XM Café labeled Heidinger, “this generation’s Nick Drake,” but I have to disagree. Drake was far more timid and introverted than Heidinger proves to be on this album. Heidinger has a more powerful voice than he is letting on, and perhaps an even more powerful message backed by the rest of Vandaveer. There is a lot of potential for growth, which may only be revealed in hopeful albums to come.