Review: Madison Violet, “Everything’s Shifting”

Madison Violet

It is often said that time flies when you’re having fun, so one can only assume that for Madison Violet, this duo of Brenley MacEachern and Lisa MacIsaac do not collectively have enough fingers, thumbs and toes to tally all of the fun times they’ve had recording and sharing their music since bursting onto the music scene.  Forming in 1999 as Madviolet, and later becoming Madison Violet, this folk-pop duo are poised to celebrate their twentieth anniversary with “Everything’s Shifting,” a brand new album set for release today.

Per their own bio, this Juno-nominated duo “are as much wanderers as they are musicians.”  Just taking a cursory glance at their touring schedules, past and present, and you’ll quickly see that Madison Violet rarely confine themselves to any one place for too long.  As both incredibly talented musicians and global road warriors, Brenley and Lisa can most likely be found sharing their tunes with an audience on any given night, in any given locale; “because with each new town, each new venue, their curiosity grows, their love of music deepens, their desire to push musical boundaries expands.”  With their hectic touring schedule, and frequent overseas excursions to both Germany and Australia, it is truly hard to contemplate how this pair have found time to once again create and record another amazing album.

Just last spring, we were fortunate to catch a Madison Violet show in Ontario, which gave us an opportunity to hear a selection of tracks from the upcoming album.  Indeed, the duo would commence that particular show with the new tune, “Tell Me;” a track released just a few weeks ago as the lead single from the album.  Just one listen to this upbeat single and you’ll recognize that this is vintage Madison Violet, once again featuring Brenley’s dominant vocals and Lisa’s added harmonies at pivotal points.  This has all of the ingredients to be a Madison Violet fan-favorite from the off-set, and will no doubt feature heavily as a set-list regular for many years to come.  New tracks such as “Nobody” and “Time To Right The Wrong” were also performed on that given night, as was “Sight Of The Sun,” complete with a slow, moving, piano intro that gracefully yields to Brenley once more.  Filling the airwaves with her distinct vocals, Lisa rotates in and out with both harmonies and her signature fiddle too, quickly providing yet more of the trademark Madison Violet sound.

Recorded and mixed by Hill Kourkoutis and Daniel Ledwell, “Everything’s Shifting” once again sees Madison Violet at the top of their game.  “The album is a heartfelt examination of how memory can splinter a heart, how loss shapes perspective and how sometimes no matter how hard you try, you can’t have love without regret.”  With this in mind, go ahead and immerse yourself in the feel-good, country inspired “Mama Told Me,” before skipping to the divine “Real Love,” which not only closes the album with an incredibly emotional roller-coaster of a track, but pretty much guarantees many repeat plays before you’ll move on.  Madison Violet believe this to be an album “listened to on the open road, with the windows rolled down: a love letter to their fans, from two wanderers who continue to follow the melodies wherever they lead.”  With the depths of winter showing no signs of abating anytime soon, Brenley and Lisa’s timing for this album is perfect.  Those fresh mental images of both open roads and open windows are just what we need right now to kick the winter blues to the curb.  Another top-notch release from Madison Violet, and a worthy addition of everybody’s album collection.

Visit Madison Violet’s website.

Martin Noakes

The British guy that crossed the ocean and crash landed in central Pennsylvania (to quote Greg Keelor, “And I wonder what am I doing here?”). As the youngest of four siblings, exposure to music from a very early age nurtured my passion and appreciation for many musical genres. Continuing to discover some amazingly diverse and talented musicians based in Canada, I gravitate to live music experiences and remain devoted to spreading the word about such a vibrant music scene.

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