It has been said that the most personal is the most universal, and for the folk duo Madison Violet, that is proving to be true. The duo has just been nominated for two East Coast Music Awards (ECMAs) with an album and video they call their most personal yet. They are about to set off on a Canadian tour. They will be in Yorkton on March 9 at the Anne Portnuff Theatre as part of the Yorkton Arts Council’s Stars for Saskatchewan series.
Lisa MacIsaac and Brenley MacEachern are the singer-songwriters who make up the duo, and will be hitting communities where they’ve never been before, singing songs and telling stories about where they’re from and how they got to where they are.
“I think as musicians we’re very lucky that we get to see a lot of, not only our own country, but of other people’s countries, probably more than most. Going to new towns, for us, it’s the most exciting to find the best local coffee shops and find all of the little gems in these towns that the locals know about. Singing to new audiences, it’s exhilarating, because as musicians you’re always putting your heart on your sleeve, but you’re hoping to win them over. Our show is as much a concert as it is sitting around a campfire and getting to know one another.”
The tour comes after their ECMA award nominations, one for Contemporary Roots Album of the Year for Everything’s Shifting, their most recent album.
“We touched on a lot of topics that we found very difficult to write about over our twenty year career, being open about things that happened to us and our family members over the years. It’s a very personal record, so I’m touched that was recognized.”
The other is a nomination for the Fan’s Choice Video of the Year award, which is for the video for their single Tell Me. The video represents MacIsaac and MacEachern 20 years ago, starting a band, touring the country, and beginning a relationship.
“We had a lot of recommendations from industry veterans that told us we had to hide who we were and hide our relationship to get anywhere in the music industry. We were young, and new onto the scene, and it was scary advice. We bought a camper van, ran down to the south and wrote a record basically in the desert. The video encapsulates that whole story, of us breaking down on the side of the road on our first road trip. I’m honored to be nominated to be nominated in that category, especially since it was a video that was a labor of love, put together by 15 people who donated their time and so many hours of their time.”
One of the songs on the album, All Over Again, concerns MacIsaac’s brother, fiddler Ashley MacIsaac, and the backlash that occurred when he came out as gay, both nationally and at home.
“Everybody’s story is different, but there are definitely still people who can relate to the difficulties of coming out.”
Another song is Nobody, which talks about MacEachern having a miscarriage when they were on the road in Germany.
“This is another topic so many women don’t talk about. That’s what the song is about, opening the dialog. So many people stay silent about it, and there are lot of women, and their partners who deal with it.”
While they sing about some difficult subjects, and those are some of the most personal songs on the album, MacIsaac said that is not all the record is about.
“There are some happy songs on the record too, don’t get me wrong!”
The new music is something they’re extremely proud of, and while some of the subject were difficult to talk about, MacIsaac said that they realized how important it was to be open and honest in their music, not just for themselves, but for their audience as well.
“I don’t want to say we censored ourselves, but we censored ourselves a little bit, because our parents are still around and you never want to hurt them or make them feel uncomfortable. We realized that we underestimated the strength of them, their love for us and our music, and we decided to be very vocal and very open because we have a platform and it was time for us to use it.”
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