Madison Violet brings their truth to Port Hawkesbury

Madison Violet consists of Brenley MacEachern (left) and Lisa MacIsaac.

TORONTO: A Canadian musical duo with Strait area roots will be performing in Port Hawkesbury later this month.

On April 26, the Port Hawkesbury Civic Centre’s Shannon Studio will be hosting Madison Violet, consisting of Creignish native Lisa MacIsaac, and Brenley MacEachern, whose father has roots in the Craigmore area. In fact, “Chrissy’s Look-off,” just off Route 19, is named after MacEachern’s grandmother.

MacIsaac, sister of fiddler Ashley MacIsaac, said this is the pair’s first appearance at the Shannon Studio, after playing local venues like the Granville Green Outdoor Concert Series.

“I know both Brenley and I have a lot of family and friends come to the show, which makes it that much more exciting and also nerve-wracking,” MacIsaac said. “I think Port Hawkesbury, Halifax and Toronto are three shows that I always get really nervous for, but it’s good nerves, good butterflies.

“After the show I know that mom, Carmelita, she’ll have a scoff ready for us. Some family will come over and we’ll make it a reunion. Brenley used to always go to her grandmother’s house.”

In 1999, MacEachern and MacIsaac met in Toronto, instantly formed a band and eventually became a couple. At the recommendation of some in the Canadian music industry, they were told to hide their sexuality and their relationship – which they did for many years.

“Twenty years ago, we met, formed a band, fell in love and by recommendation of a lot of industry people, management, we were told to basically keep quiet about who we are, and our relationship,” MacIsaac recalled. “And it took its toll, and it really just played a big role in the first three, four, five years of our relationship.”

So, they ran away to the desert with their guitars in tow and wrote their first record.

“Basically we bought a camper van and we ran away to the desert,” MacIsaac explained. “We drove all the way south to New Orleans and all the way across to the desert to California.”

Recently, Madison Violet shared the new video for their single “Tell Me,” which was shot in Joshua Tree, California and directed by Jillian Martin, who was recently featured in Adweek’s “2018 Creative 100” as an emerging director to watch.

“We felt that this was the time and the place for us to really show the world who we are and where we come from, which is a lot truth on the record and in this video,” MacIsaac noted.

This video is a glimpse into their adventures and misadventures on that first road trip together.

“The video basically encapsulates that journey and the struggles,” MacIsaac said. “When you see the two beautiful women who are there to play us, versions of us, you’ll see one of them end up climbing underneath their broke-down truck trying to fix it. Many times on the road, did Brenley and I do that, when we’d be on our way to a gig and we’d be like, ‘whose turn is it next,’ and we’d have climb under and hit it with a hammer to get it going.”

While it was freeing, this road to embracing their truth was not a smooth one as they were pressured by Frank Magazine to come-out publicly even though they already did so years before to family and friends.

“We had one of those moments where a journalist basically said ‘if you don’t tell your story now, we’re going to tell it for you,’” MacIsaac recalled. “I don’t think it’s right or fair for anybody to pressure someone into sharing their truth and sharing their story.

“Of course, it was typical Frank Magazine; the worst, scuzziest thing on the planet that they could have done, which was pressuring us into telling our story, when we wanted to do it on our own terms.”

Celebrating 20 years together, the Juno nominated singer-songwriter duo kicked-off the Western Canadian leg of the “Everything’s Shifting” tour on April 3 and will travel to the United Kingdom in May. Full tour details are available at: www.madisonviolet.com/tour.

Their new album, Everything’s Shifting, is a collection of 11 original songs recorded and mixed by Hill Kourkoutis and Daniel Ledwell. Released on March 8, the new album debuted at: #3 on the Canadian iTunes Singer/Songwriter chart; #6 on the German iTunes Singer/Songwriter chart; and #34 on the UK iTunes Singer/Songwriter chart. Singles have been featured on Spotify’s “New Music Friday,” “Folk & Friends,” and “ChillFILTR Roots Collection.” The band has been garnering attention from RXMusic, MusicLifeMagazine, Canadian Beats, CBC Radio One, SiriusXM “North Americana,” Great Dark Wonder, Stingray’s “Adult Alternative” and “Pop Adult” channels, and SiriusXM “The Breakdown.” Everything’s Shifting is available everywhere.

MacIsaac said local audiences can expect a mix of old and new Madison Violet songs, along with the talents of Jake Zapotoczny who plays bass, electric guitar, keyboards, and is a back-up vocalist.

“There will definitely be a mix,” MacIsaac said. “It’s one of those things where if you go to a live show of a band, that you are a fan of their music, and they play all new stuff, that can be disappointing. You want to sing along to some of the stuff you know.

“We’re definitely playing some of the new record as well because we’re really proud of the songwriting.”

Madison Violet is a Juno-nominated Canadian music duo which has achieved an impressive list of accolades throughout their 20 year career including a Juno nomination, a Canadian Folk Music Award for Best Vocal Group Album of the Year and a Critic’s Choice Award from Country Music People’s Magazine. Their songs have been featured in the notorious music magazine MOJO’s Top 10 Playlist, and received a mass of acclaim from outlets such as the BBC, the CBC, Maverick Magazine and NPR, and have earned the duo the Grand Prize in the Maxell John Lennon Song Writing Contest. Madison Violet were on Germany’s WDR’s list of “Best Bands of All Time” and with a bit of a departure from their rootsy sound, their single “These Ships” was released in 2014 on one of the largest dance labels in the U.S., Ultra Records, garnering over 1,200,000 plays on Spotify. Madison Violet has nine studio albums to their credit.

MacIsaac added that most days, it does not seem like the duo has been together for two decades.

“I think we’re really lucky, in finding each other,” she said. “We travel really well together. We have a lot of similar things that we enjoy; we’re both foodies and coffee buffs. We love discovering new places and meeting new people. I think that’s been very beneficial to our relationship and the feel of the tours. But don’t get me wrong, we can fight like cats and dogs and that’s what families do.”