Pacific Northwest based songwriter duo Dave McGraw & Mandy Fer voyage even further out to sea on their 2016 self-produced/recorded release, Off-Grid Lo-Fi. Recorded entirely with solar and wind powered electricity on a nearly uninhabited, remote, off-grid island in northwest Washington state, McGraw and Fer have ventured into new territory, both geographically and artistically.
McGraw and Fer were invited to a seaside farm to care-take for four old donkeys and a flock of chickens for three months on a non-ferry serviced island with a winter population of fewer than eight people. Seizing the opportunity for a solitary writing residency, the duo loaded all of their instruments, minimal recording gear, and groceries into a tiny 16’ aluminum boat and crossed the channel towards the US/Canadian border for what they called their ‘feral’ adventure.
Pushing wheelbarrows full of provisions in their rubber boots, they made their way to a hand-built cabin where they recorded Off-Grid Lo-Fi in a living room overlooking the Pacific inland sea. The recording set-up was basic. No computer screens or editing. No Auto-Tune. All real takes. The result is a twelve-song album drenched with rich vocal harmonies, poignant songwriting, Fer’s potent electric guitar playing, acoustic guitars, percussion, cello and newly prominent banjo and piano (all played by Fer and McGraw). Off-Grid Lo-Fi is an intimate, authentic and refreshingly honest exploration into the genres of folk, rock, and roots music.
Known as a standout electric guitarist and multi-instrumentalist, Mandy Fer is unafraid to dominate the stage for an extended guitar solo, defying long-held gender barriers for female guitarists. Dave McGraw’s emotional songwriting riffs on natural elements of the world around him. McGraw spent a decade as a wildlife biologist, studying endangered birds in remote locales from the deserts of Mexico and the Grand Canyon to the mountainous rainforests of Washington. McGraw and Fer joined forces in Flagstaff, Arizona in 2010 before relocating to the Pacific Northwest in 2012.
The duo’s 2014 release Maritime charted at #1 on the EuroAmericana Chart for two consecutive months and was praised by The Telegraph for “…soulful songs, intuitive musicianship, and fine singing.” Together, their exceptional vocal harmonies coupled with Fer’s pioneering electric guitar work have become a vehicle to carry them around the world. The pair has honed their skills touring extensively throughout the US and Europe, sharing stages with fellow troubadours including Iron & Wine, Glen Hansard, Gregory Alan Isakov, Kelly Joe Phelps, Birds of Chicago and many others.