Michelle Mandico is a young singer-songwriter from Colorado, in the US, who released this year an impressive debut album, Ptarmingan, which not only showcases her remarkable musical sensitivity and expressive voice, but that enters immediately among the best folk releases of the year.
The release notes of Ptarmigan say that Michelle spent 2 years writing and recording her album, and from what we hear the result of such effort is evident. Without knowing the details of Mandico’s writing process, I presume that most of the work consisted in “lightening” the music by removing all the superfluous and thus make the melodies and her sublime voice at the centre of each song. Ptarmingan is in fact extremely delicate and soft, and the arrangements are made so as to leave in each song an area of apparent emptiness that is filled by the listener’s imagination. This is music that has the ability to relieve you from the thoughts and concerns of your day, whilst Mandico’s voice captures your heart.
Yes, the voice. I believe that there are skills and abilities that can be learned and improved with hard work. However, there are also innate talents that every person possesses as a gift. That of Michelle Mandico, in my opinion, is to enchant the listeners with her beautiful voice.
From a musical point of view, Ptarmingan follows a style of American folk that’s quite close to the classics of the genre. This is probably one aspect on which Michelle Mandico can now concentrate her efforts, trying to develop a more characteristic and unique sound. The musical performance is however flawless and it also benefits from the value of the musicians who collaborated to this project.
Ptarmingan is one of those albums that can touch the soul of the listeners, and for this reason I recommend the LP also for those who don’t feel particular interest in folk music.
There is a new talent in the music scene, she is a songwriter gifted by an extraordinary and fascinating voice that we will follow con interest and curiosity in her next steps.
My favorite songs of the album are Astounding, 1000 Feet, My Colorado Sun and the title-track Ptarmigan.