For Andrew Marlin and Emily Frantz, music grows organically.
The pair make up the folk duo Mandolin Orange.
Over the course of 10 years, they have released five albums and slowly built up their fan base by touring.
Mandolin Orange will make a stop at the KiMo Theatre on Tuesday, Jan. 14, in support of its latest album, “Tides of a Teardrop,” which was released in February.
Over the years, Marlin has been the main songwriter, although Frantz does get involved.
“Because we’ve operated as a team for so many years now, there are ways that I chime in, or can be more of a sounding board for him. I usually try and wait to be asked,” Frantz says.
Marlin says Frantz is good about knowing his limits and helping figure out when a song is finished.
“Or when there are a few lines that have been thrown together somewhat lazily or overlooked,” Marlin says. “An important part of the song, to me, is being able to read the lyrics and have them stand on their own.”
Marlin admits to writing on a stream-of-consciousness level.
Then the lyrics are tightened during a second pass.
In “Tides of a Teardrop,” Marlin confronted the loss of his mother at age 18.
“It’s always been present in my songwriting,” Marlin says. “I think her passing was almost the genesis of my writing. That was when I really began to find refuge in writing songs. I feel like I tried to find a voice around that time, just because I needed the outlet.”
Frantz says grief and loss have always been present in their songs.
She adds that on this album, Marlin’s specific loss is more direct.
“Mother is gone, her journey’s unending/She’s leaving this shore for the sea of all-knowing,” Marlin sings on “Suspended in Heaven.”
“I’ve been holding on to the grief for a long time,” he says. “In some ways, I associated the grief and the loss with remembering her. I feel like I’ve mourned long enough. I’m ready to bring forth some happier memories now, to just remember her as a living being.”
In creating this album, Frantz and Marlin faced some pressure. Their 2016 album, “Blindfaller,” was their breakout album, and their profile began to rise.
So the duo challenged themselves with the album.
“This was the longest that we’d gone – that we’d been able to go – between records,” Frantz says. “This time, for various reasons, we were riding it out a lot longer. But then we had so much more time to overanalyze. We’ve never been ones to sit down to figure out, ‘OK, what do we want this album to be?’ before we even start writing.”