Canadian singer-songwriters, Brenley MacEachern and Lisa MacIsaac from two small Scottish towns met up nine years ago and have since become an impressive vocal duo. With three albums to their name, the first two recorded in London and produced by John Reynolds (Sinead O’Connor, U2 and Damien Dempsey) it is now the time of new beginnings. For the girls have not only changed their name (they were previously know as Mad Violet) but with extra experience they girls serve-up music rich in warmth and blissfully tight vocal harmonies. They wrote all the songs with only the banjo and mandolin aided old-timey hinted ‘Laura Lee’ featuring other than work from their own pen.
With sensitive instrumental support such delights as ‘Small Of My Heart’, warmed in slide guitar and percussion and throaty lead vocals it plus arguably their most impressive composition ‘Baby In The Black And White’ ensure the standard is of a high order.
Playing between them acoustic guitar, fiddle, harmonica supplemented by lap steel, banjo, organ, electric guitar, upright bass, drums, accordion, piano and percussion from time to time the lyrics are supported rather than over-shadowed. Like when Les Cooper’s mandolin and slide electric guitar adds much to the plaintive ‘Crying’ as folk and country of a bygone era pleasantly merge. ‘The Woodshop’ featuring strains of accordion offers the thoughts of someone mourning the loss of another at a young age, and it stands right up there with as one of the most outstanding songs on the album, ‘Part Of Your Love’ —a song that nestles, snugly as it is embraced with gentle picking and typical sweet vocal harmonies.
Closing the album is ‘Time And Tide’, that through the warmth of the vocals and the manner in which they combine reminds me of Baskery’s song ‘Oscar’s Restaurant Bar’. Needless to say, it is an outright winner. Given a couple more years and another album or two then Madison Violet could well be the finished article. As of now the harmonies are superb, the songs are good, but a little more edge and passion to some of the songs would help take them to another level.