Roots & Routes: Vandaveer

A photo essay of a band on the road.

The hugs goodbye always last a little longer than the hugs we share in greeting.

One a.m. finds us on a quiet, tree-lined street in the Georgetown neighborhood of Washington DC. Vandaveer has just finished a run of east coast shows with a gig at Gypsy Sally’s. Frontman Mark Charles Heidinger pulls the van — crammed full of guitars, drums, keyboard, pedals, merch, and luggage — up to the home of a longtime friend with whom the band will be spending the night.

A cab is waiting to take me to Union Station, where I will board a three a.m. train back to New York City. Too tired to find the right words, I try to convey my gratitude in the embraces we exchange. Then I conduct the requisite check: backpack, camera bag, phone, wallet, ID.

I will never quite understand how bands don’t leave a trail of items behind as they criss-cross the country. Or maybe they do. Hansel & Gretel breadcrumbs of touring, to find their way back to the start.


I get into the cab. As we pull away, I gaze back to see Mark and Tom ascending the steps. Their last night away from home for a while.

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First the Whisper: Anthony D’Amato


He’s shared bills with Josh Ritter, Justin Townes Earle, Rhett Miller, and Joe Pug. His songs are heartsore yet sure-footed, grounded in classic folk but modern in their buoyant rhythms and electric streaks. His name is Anthony D’Amato and his latest album, The Shipwreck From the Shore (New West), feels tailor-made for the season as we wend our way toward an idea of home.

“Good and Ready” gives off a crackling warmth as D’Amato sings sweetly on variations of doom, describing all the ways in which perishing would be preferable to waking up if it ain’t next to you. The album is fleshed out by the contributions of Bon Iver’s Matt McCaughan on drums, Megafaun’s Brad Cook on bass, and Sam Kassirer, of Josh Ritter’s band, on keyboard. (Kassirer also produced the album.)

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