Monday, May 29, 2017


Madison Violet is the group that has survived, despite every conceivable obstacle, from family tragedy to a heavy romantic break-up, from a name change (formerly Madviolet) to significant changes in sound.  Yet somehow, the duo keeps moving on, and moving ahead, now with 18 years in and a brand-new album out Friday, called The Knight Sessions.  It's a return to a more acoustic sound, in line with their Cape Breton roots. 

Their shared past has a lot to do with the reason they've stuck it out, and continue to thrive. "When we met we knew there was magic in the beginning," said Brenley MacEachern, and for good reason.  While raised in Ontario, MacEachern used to spend summers in her father's old home of Creignish, Nova Scotia.  That's where Lisa MacIsaac was from, but the pair somehow never met, until they were both living in Ontario.  That's when the realization set in.

"How we met in a city of three million people and find out that our fathers sat beside each other in a school of 300 in Cape Breton," said MacEachern, still amazed at the story all these years later. "I'm glad that we have each other, and have stuck it out.  We've have been through so much together that I'm glad we do have each other to have shared that."

Those shared moments of success, and of personal loss and pain have given them the strength to get through times that would have ripped apart other groups.  As recently as 2016, they reached another roadblock, when a new album was stalled and sat unreleased by their record label.  Not wanting to lose momentum in their career, the pair instead regrouped, and came up with a brand-new concept, which resulted in The Knight Sessions.  The pair had seen their sound evolve over the years to modern, electronic music, which had lead to their album The Year of the Horse, but now they were ready to get back to basics.

"It was very much a heavily produced dance pop record, and we had so much fun with it," said MacIsaac. "The fans loved it but they also wanted to hear the songs in the more original form.  We took five songs from that album and five new ones we had."  That became The Knight Sessions, which features the songs recorded acoustically, with just a touch of atmosphere and production. "I think modern acoustic is a good description, it's sort of indie folk," said MacIsaac.

The songs, both lyrics and melodies, have to stand on their own merits now.  Not surprisingly, several of them involve battling and prevailing against adversity.  "I think a lot of the stories and the lyrics on this record are about getting through, getting past and dealing," said MacIsaac. "I don't think we met to do that, it just happened organically.  All the things that we've dealt with in our lives, we've always found a way to move past them."

Madison Violet quick off the album release tour by returning to the East Coast, the band's spiritual home at least, thanks to their fathers and their own long friendship.  The group plays the Seahorse Tavern in Halifax June 6, the Trailside Music Cafe in Mount Stewart, P.E.I. on June 7 and 8, Berwick, N.S. at the Union St. Cafe on Friday, June 9 and on Saturday, June 10 the group is at the Waterways Paddling Festival in Victoria by the Sea, P.E.I.

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