amazing icon

Your Country's Right Here: Madison Violet Begin to Blossom in U.S.

For all the heavy-duty bluegrass star power at the most recent DelFest in Cumberland, Md., it was the Canadian folk duo Madison Violet that arguably was the most exciting “find” of the event.

Known individually as Brenley MacEachern and Lisa MacIsaac, the duo has won an array of awards and has ardent fans throughout their native Canada, in Europe, and beyond. Yet the two are just now making a name for themselves in the U.S. An unexpected illness forced the duo to cancel the last two dates of the U.S. tour behind their latest album The Good in Goodbye, but the pair hope to be back in American clubs soon.

“We haven’t toured in the U.S. very often in the 13 years we have been playing together,” said MacEachern citing work permits and other red tape that has kept them away. “Now we have more of a focus on the States and that’s great. Our music shouldn’t be a struggle in the States; it’s kind of got an Americana feel.”

Although that’s true, the music clearly also has international appeal as underscored by the many fans” especially from Germany”that fly to Canada, the U.S. and elsewhere, to catch Madison Violet shows. Perhaps that’s not surprising when you consider the judges, including Elton John, Wyclef Jean and Mary J. Blige, that chose Madison Violet as the 2009 Grand Prize Winners of the John Lennon Songwriting Contest. The duo are the first Canadians to win the award.

While the prize certainly bolstered the group’s confidence in their own abilities, they still see a long road ahead as they work to establish their names in the States. The joy for them is that fans are fans and seem to have similar responses to their music, wherever they play. If they can just get before a crowd, as they did on Memorial Day weekend at DelFest, chances are they’ll win converts.

(more…)

The Community Coup Playlist

Imagine, they didn't even know each other before working at OurStage, and now... bffs

Ever wonder who is responsible for rewarding you your prizes, writing the OurStage blog posts and putting in all the extra elbow grease to keep the Web site running smoothly? Well, that’s us”interns hand picked by OurStage’s greatest to help run the community. But as the summer months quickly approach, it is almost the end of our stories here at OurStage. Others will replace us and the show will go on.  Before we go, we wanted to give OurStage  a little present. We picked songs that we thought deserved some recognition.  From rock to hip hop and electronica, we love it all.  Whether these tracks have won contests or flown under the radar, they all deserve a good listen. So here we are, the keepers of the community room dishing out some of our favorite  OurStage tunes.

[Editor’s Note: While they referred to themselves as “interns”, our co-op students are very much full time employees during their time here. They are valued and knowledgable members of OurStage’s community team and will be sorely missed.]

Brian here”that’s right, the guy who’s been bringing you Rapper’s Delight and Kickstart OurHeart for the past few months. I picked out a few sleepers from deep within the OurStage reservoir that I think deserve a little consideration. A hip hop song, of course, from a Brooklyn cat named Ahptimus Prime; an instrumental rock journey, by Shane Scheib, that will take you through a few generations of rock in under five minutes and a killer Chicago-style track from blues connoisseur Chris Dair. Enjoy!

Ahptimus Prime

Hey all! Emily here”I’m the blogger behind Get Lyrical and the weekly national artist Q&A’s on OurStage. Are you a fan of plucky guitar and warm harmonies? What about jangly, upbeat male-female duos? Gang vocals paired with breakdowns that’ll knock your socks off? I sure hope so, because you’ll find all the above and more in my playlist selections of Statue of Liberty, Madison Violet and Hands on the Stereo. Enjoy!

 

Madison Violet

If any of you know me (Dayton) from The Beat Generation, you know I have a handle on most things electronic and awesome. But did you know I have great taste in all other forms of music as well? It’s true! Here are a couple of OurStagers I wanted to make sure get some extra special attention. Sarah Aument is a singer-songwriter based out of Syracuse, NY whose soothing coo and gentle instrumentation are perfect for rainy summer days and quiet fall afternoons. LONGSHOT is a little bit harder; a Boston hardcore band that reminds me of my younger days with their gang vocals and intensity. Light Alive has been tearing it up in the Electronica Channel, and they’re about as slick and sweet as all get out. And I saved the best for last with Doctrine (who is CRIMINALLY UNDERRATED in my opinion) bringing dirty, filthy dubstep to OurStage. It’ll make your head nod.

Sarah Aument

As the monthly prizing girl (aka Chelsea) here at OurStage, I come across a lot of extremely talented musicians every month. Though each winning song is deserving of its success, there are a few artists that always catch my attention. The songs that I chose have all won monthly channels, but in very different genres”rock, singer-songwriter and pop. My playlist has catchy rock piece by Orange Avenue,  softer song with influences loosely tied to blues by Derek Stroker and a bubbly and sweet pop tune by Sierra Noble. Although the styles of music are very different, there is one common theme between these three songs”the talent of the musicians.

 

Sierra Noble

Hello OurStagers! Marissa here”although I don’t write any blogs, I am sure you guys have seen me in action on Twitter, Facebook, Tumblr and Foursquare. While digging deep into the OurStage vault, I found some songs that I really enjoy.  A light-hearted and airy song by Ben Carter, We Are Friends, a pop-punk song you can mosh to by At The Edge and a catchy hip hop tune from by my boy K.i.T. Check them out, I dare you.

There you have it. So sit back, relax and enjoy these sweet, sweet tunes. We can all assure that you won’t be disappointed.

Scene & Heard: Toronto, ON

Although Canada is shares the North American continent with the US, the Canadian music scene has a personality all it’s own. And while the many different markets in the US all offer they’re own unique flavor, Canada seems to be a more united artist community. Toronto’s music scene in particular seems to support this community vibe. The Toronto scene is a pretty small one, sort of like a close knit family in a big city, comments OurStage folk/pop act, and this week’s Scene & Heard ambassadors, Madison Violet. It’s an incredibly supportive community.

Toronto has a lot to offer in terms of style and genre. To begin, there’s a really diverse classical/chamber scene in Toronto. Like any flourishing classical market, there needs to be a conservatory. In this case, it’s the Royal Conservatory of Music. Without even mentioning the caliber of musician that graduates from their programs, the school has hosted eclectic concerts from The Bacon Bro’s to Yo-Yo Ma to Clark Terry.

Of course, we have to talk about Toronto’s impressive lineup of indie, rock and even hip hop artists that have hailed from this market”Rush, Barenaked Ladies, Anvil, Metric, Sum 41, k-os and K’naan. Obviously these are some of the most iconic Canadian artists, and they all seem to come from the same area. Whether it’s the indie/hip hop scene”which garners really interesting collaborations with pop/rock acts such as Metric”or the rock scene” who all seem to identify with each other regardless of their branch of rock,”Toronto has an impressive track record and plenty to offer

Madison Violet are a singer/songwriter duo made up of Brenley MacEachern and Lisa MacIsaac whose music lies somewhere between the genres of indie/pop and roots/folk songs. Being the winners of countless awards/nominations including many from ECMA as well as the Canadian Folk Awards and The John Legend Songwriting competition, the industry is clearly taking notice. The duo has performed with Brian Eno, Gordon Lightfoot and Ron Sexsmith before. Beyond numerous Canadian productions, they have also been featured on CMT during various shows and title segments.

Madison Violet was able to give us a little insight on the local scene, particularly in regards to what venues are good examples of the Toronto roots/indie scene. We both think that Hugh’s Room is the place to play for roots music, said guitarist/vocalist  MacEachern. It’s more of a sit down dinner theatre vibe. It’s a good sized venue, but smaller than a theatre. Plus, the sound is good, which is very important!

If you’re looking for a more rock-oriented set, a venue like The Opera House will deliver. This old converted opera house kept the 1900s décor but books an eclectic lineup of indie, rock and pop artists. Madison Violet would also like to direct you to The Dakota Tavern. It’s like walking downstairs into an old Country & Western movie.

Check out Madison Violet’s OurStage profile as the band is currently planning a tour of Germany and Switzerland. Be sure to check out Toronto to hear some really high caliber acts like Madison Violet.

Down Home Companion

Madison Violet

Madison Violet

Years of listening to your parent’s Dolly Parton and Neil Young records can lead to either a loathing of country and flannel or a predilection for heartache and wanderlust. For Madison Violet, the outcome was the latter. The duo is comprised of Brenley MacEachern and Lisa MacIsaac ” two lasses from Scottish towns in Canada. Their music has been described as tumbleweed pop, and the shoe certainly fits. With Lucinda Williams, Steve Earle and Indigo Girls as their touch points, the women of Madison Violet sing tales of love, longing and small town ephemera backed by banjo, fiddle, mandolin, upright bass and the occasional lap steel. Two voices ” one high and clear and the other a lower husk ” combine for gossamer harmonies that tug at the heartstrings while urging a slow dance with your sweetheart. Next time your landlord comes looking for the rent, or your girlfriend dumps you and takes the cat, look to Madison Violet for sweet commiseration.

Signatures_KateB