Photo courtesy of Lucky Bird Media

Michelle Mandico Flies with ‘Ptarmigan’ (album premiere)

Folk artist Michelle Mandico's new album, Ptarmigan, is a graceful flight through both darkness and light.

Michelle Mandico may have traded the wintry slopes of Colorado for Nashville’s bustling scene, but her music still exhales a cool Denver air. The folk singer-songwriter’s new album, Ptarmigan, is her graceful dedication to her home, detailing a path taken with both highs on lows on the road to Music City. Like the color-shifting bird that the album is named after, Mandico shifts through times of darkness and light, through woe and exuberance, her delicate vocals painting a nostalgic picture of Colorado landscapes against gentle, unsuspectingly intricate arrangements.

It’s a style of folk music that is unmistakably western, evoking images of picturesque, snowy mountainsides with each serene step forward. Yet, subtle tinges of Nashville twang pervade Ptarmigan from a distance, such as in the pedal steel that carefully dances through the album’s beautiful opening number, “Water Bearer”. Mandico’s knack for crafting songs that carry gifts of nature along with them is her special talent and one that doesn’t seem to come along too often. Mandico wears her heart on her sleeve and rends others’ with it, but there’s something more to it, too—a vivid human consciousness that imbues itself into Ptarmigan’s every thread.