Mandolin Orange returns to Vilar Center stage in Beaver Creek, Thursday, Oct. 13 | VailDaily.com

Mandolin Orange returns to Vilar Center stage in Beaver Creek, Thursday, Oct. 13

Andrew Marlin and Emily Frantz joined forces in 2009 to form a folk duo out of Chapel Hill, North Carolina, that has been gaining fans across the country.

Just like any other band or group, the two needed a name for their first performances, mostly bar gigs and small rooms the two could perform.

Marlin, in a very "Anchorman" fashion, was looking around the room and saw his little orange mandolin.

"We had to call ourselves something for our first gig, so that's what we threw out there, and here we are and they're still calling us that," Marlin said.

Eight years, five albums and thousands of miles of touring later, Mandolin Orange is still releasing new music and traveling the country, coming to the Vilar Performing Arts Center at Beaver Creek on Thursday, Oct. 13, as part of the Underground Sound Series.

The duo performed as an opener last year at the Vilar Center as part of the WinterWonderGrass Festival.

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"It's really exciting because they were here for WinterWonderGrass, and everyone just really loved them," said Ruthie Hamrick, of the Vail Valley Foundation. "We got a glimpse of how talented they are, and so it's definitely a show we wanted to have back for a full performance."

'BLINDFALLER'

Part of their performance will include songs from their newest album, "Blindfaller," which was released Friday, Sept. 30.

Songs for the album, which includes a full band joining the duo, were written beginning in 2014 and all the way up to the moment Marlin and Frantz walked into the studio.

"The inspiration is kind of all over the map on this one," Marlin said. "We don't really think about albums as far as a conceptual thing. It's kind of just a collection of tunes that we feel like fit together."

"Blindfaller" has songs and lyrics that address racism and growing up in the South, Marlin said.

"It's kind of a needed time right now," the songwriter said. "We wanted to try and gather our thoughts and put them into a song. … I'm just constantly writing. It's just one of those things that helps me internalize things and sort out how I'm feeling."

Mandolin Orange is able to evoke both feelings and thoughts with both its music and lyrics.

The musicians that joined Mandolin Orange on the recording, including a drummer, bassist and electric/acoustic guitarist, will be at the Beaver Creek performance.

Leif Vollebekk, a Canadian singer-songwriter, will be their special guest and opener.

'TRAVELING THE COUNTRY'

On Inauguration Day in 2009, Marlin and Frantz met at a bluegrass performance in North Carolina. It was a performance by Andy Thorn's first band, before he joined Leftover Salmon.

"We love traveling and playing together. It's been great," Marlin said. "The reception from people has been really encouraging and keeps us going, so that's definitely been a positive influence on our relationship."

Mandolin Orange's travels include appearances at Austin City Limits, Telluride Bluegrass Festival and Newport Folk Festival.

"Here we are eight years later, traveling the country," Marlin said.

UNDERGROUND SOUND PASS

Mandolin Orange's performance the Vilar Center is part of the Underground Sound Series, a run of "love for the locals" concerts before winter begins.

The series includes seven performances, and there are four more after Mandolin Orange. An Underground Sound Series pass costs $100 and includes a ticket to every show, as well as a drink at each performance. The pass is transferable, so it's a great way to share the sound of music.

"It's still a deal," Hamrick said. "The Ottmar Liebert show (Oct. 23) is $48 in itself. You're still saving money, and you get a free drink at every show."

After Mandolin Orange on Thursday, the rest of the series includes Igor Butman on Tuesday; Ottmar Liebert on Sunday, Oct. 23; K Phillips on Friday, Oct. 28; and Mandy Harvey on Monday, Nov. 7.

For Marlin and Frantz, they're excited to be back in the Centennial State.

"We're so happy to be doing what we're doing and meeting the folks that we're meeting, especially out in Colorado," Marlin said. "Colorado is a great place to play music. … I think playing folk music and bluegrass in Colorado is way more rewarding than anywhere else in the country."

Reporter Ross Leonhart can be reached at 970-748-2915 and rleonhart@vaildaily.com. Follow him on Instagram at colorado_livin_on_the_hill.

If you go …

What: Folk duo Mandolin Orange perform as part of Underground Sound Series.

When: 7:30 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 13.

Where: Vilar Performing Arts Center, 68 Avondale Lane, Beaver Creek.

Cost: $24. Purchase an Underground Sound Series pass for $100 and get a ticket to each show, as well as a free drink at each performance.

More information: To purchase tickets, visit http://www.vilarpac.org or call 970-845-8497.