Madison Violet finds its muse in broken relationship
Being around an ex-lover is always tough, but touring and practically living with one has to be especially trying.
Madison Violet's Brenley MacEachern and Lisa MacIsaac were a couple for about 10 years before breaking up recently. So what did the Canadian roots duo do? The Juno Award-winners wrote an album about it. "The Good in Goodbye" has been called an "open diary of their personal and professional experiences together as friends and musicians."
"We don't write the happiest albums," MacIsaac, the sister of fiddler Ashley MacIsaac, said with a laugh.
"Thankfully, the production around our lyrics can sometimes make what is, if you listen and read the lyrics, a very sad song sound a bit more uplifting. With this album, there were a lot of changes in Madison Violet as a duo. Myself and Brenley had a lot of changes in our social lives, a major break-up and a change in our relationship together."
MacIsaac said the transitional period was "quite the challenge. Being in a band is like a family, considering musicians spend nine to 10 months together.
"It's like a marriage," MacIsaac said. "Sometimes it's a polygamous marriage with you and your tour manager and your bass player. It's a challenge no matter what to keep a band going for many years. I totally respect artists that are able to keep it going, especially after such a crazy change in the relationship of the band members."
With "The Good in Goodbye," Madison Violet is hoping to crack the American market, something that the duo has avoided, not really on purpose.
"We really neglected the American market, which is a shame," she said. "I mean, you guys are so close and there's such a great music scene. We had some bad luck with immigration problems several years ago. So we got a bit scared off a while ago. I know a lot of musicians have hard times getting their work permits and stuff, but something we're really looking forward to is actually going down there and trying to make a little dent.
"It's a pretty big place to make a mark. So I know it'll take a lot of time. I see a lot of fellow musicians who work for years and it takes many years to make that dent. But we're willing to put in the effort."
The next leg of its U.S. tour begins May 17 in Ithaca, NY. Madison Violet -- the 2009 winners of the "Maxell Song of the Year Award" from the John Lennon Songwriting Competition for "The Ransom" -- is flying down as a duo.
"Over the last 12 years, we've done the majority of our touring as a duo and a lot, actually, as a trio," MacIsaac said. "This will be a duo. It's the first time we've played in America in what feels like forever. We'll be playing the majority of the tracks off our new album and also some songs form our three previous albums.
"We converse a lot with the audience. We want the audience when they leave our show to feel like they've gotten to know us -- or have gotten something from the show other than just the music. For me, if I go to a live concert and I see a band and I'm a huge of their album and I just hear them play the album top to bottom and I don't feel like I've gotten to know the artist, honestly I'd rather just sit at home and listen to the record."
17 - Ithaca, NY - Castaways
18 - Burlington, VT - BCA Center
19 - Rockingham, VT - Barnaby's Bluegrass Blowout
20 - Boston, MA - Club Passim
22 - New Haven, CT - Cafe Nine
23 - New York City, NY - Living Room
24 - Philadelphia, PA - World Cafe Live
25, 26 - Cumberland, MD - DelFest
27 - Roanoke, VA - Kirk Ave Music Hall
29 - Athens, GA - Melting Point
1 - Atlanta, GA - Smith's Old Bar ATL room
2 - Carrboro, NC - The Arts Center
3 - Asheville, NC - Altamont Theater
6 - Vienna, VA - Jammin' Java
7 - Pittsburgh, PA - Club Cafe