Oh man, just the opening lines of this CD grab the heart from the git-go. A dulcet lapsteel (Les Cooper) and acoustic guitar (Lisa MacIsaac) drip with sadness and oceanic lament preluding Branley MacEachern's vocals, MacIsaac chiming in behind, a bittersweet chorus of achingly human portrayals of the down side of a musician's life:
The money ain't comin' like I hoped
It'd probably seem incongruous when I say this group—a duet actually, with accompaniment—can also occasionally be a kickass outfit, but it can, somewhat quietly, and the proof is shown no sooner than the second cut, Lauralee, with its smoothly propulsive rhythms. Then the third number blends the two in a delicate mid-tempo No Fool for Trying. MacEachern remains the dominant voice (and plays an acoustic like her writing partner) but MacIsaac is the perfect foil and harmonizer, making the two a kind of country-rock Wilson sisters (Heart).
There's a down home palpability and folk authenticity to their music that's rather amazing, but take a look at the label: True North. Thus, don't be surprised when you find that every moment of this beautiful release is captured with crystal clear faithfulness, indeed audiophile quality, by engineer David Travers-Smith, laying out a 3-D environment. The instrumental matrix of Les Cooper (who also produced the stunning affair), Chris Coole, and others is as though all involved were siblings, so sympathetic become the atmospherics.
No Fool for Trying is Madison Violet's third release, and it follows on tours under The Indigo Girls, Runrig, Ron Sexsmith, and others, wowing crowds near and far. If the disc doesn't prove to nab them the recognition they richly deserve, then I may have to turn in my critic's card and don a hairshirt, 'cause it'll be more than obvious there's no justice in the world. This CD is a certified gem with the warm tarnish of perfection.
Edited by: David N. Pyles
Copyright 2009, Peterborough Folk Music Society.
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