I have a process that I go through when I’m reviewing CD’s, whereby I put the disc on for a good listen, and then read about the acts after I’ve made my initial notes. This is to see if I’ve ‘got’ the bands style, influences etc, and I think for the most part I was on the money with Madison Violet.
Brenley MacEachern and Lisa MacIsaac make up this Candian Duo, who released their album ‘No Fool For Trying’ in 2009. This is a bittersweet collection of 11 self penned tracks that delve into the realms of loneliness, loss, and a hard going life. All of these themes are traditional fare in the country/folk world, but what Madison Violet has done is given each of their lyrical stories an interesting structure, and poetic feel. They combine this with a well crafted musical melancholy, and a vocal that is almost two voices as one. I’m not really into the ‘country twang’, but I would say they are on the money for their genre vocally.
The album begins with ‘The Ransom’, with its subtle drum beats, moving on to livelier ‘Laura Lee’, which I could imagine people line dancing to. The banjo and mandolin sounds combine well together here, working their way through a rebellious ‘painting the town red’ style story. Other tracks like ‘No Fool For Trying’ hit the mid-tempo beat, and stand out with their easy to relate to lyrics. Equally deserving of recognition is ‘The Baby In Black And White’, which captivates with its darker, slightly rocky feel, and storyline of bad choices, and ‘The Woodshop’ which wins the award for most interesting lyrical imagery. These songs quietly stimulate the listener, though others may confuse. ‘Crying’ has frequent changes in tense, while ‘Hallways Of The Sage’, has an unclear storyline. My thoughts as this album draws to a close are mixed. While you can’t fault the consistency of the vocal harmonies, and musical arrangements, it would’ve been nice to hear more variety in the pace, and lyrical themes of the songs. As someone who would normally listen to country crossover artists like LeAnn Rimes, rather than roots/folk/traditional country, I did find some things that held my interest and won my praise, but overall the product is a little too mellow for my taste.
If you’re a country music fan, and would like to find out more about Madison Violet, then you can check them out now at www.myspace.com/madisonvioletmusic. ‘No Fool For Trying’ is available now, and the girls will be on tour in the UK from Jan 27th to Feb 5th. Also look out for them on Bob Harris’s Radio 2 show, coming soon!