1. Madison Violet, Saturday April 17th, 7pm - Virtual Roguery
"If the Indigo Girls and Lucinda Williams had a love-child (or two) and they were Canadian, they would be Madison Violet." - Curve Magazine
Lisa MacIsaac is the sister of maverick fiddler Ashley. She too plays fiddle, but mostly sings and plays guitar. She has the most amazing blue eyes. Brenley MacEachern is the other half of Madison Violet. Possessed of a smoky voice and penetrating lyrical invention, she shares a common heritage with Lisa. Both their families were born and raised in Cape Breton. Brenley grew up in Ontario, and a chance meeting with Lisa over coffee and omelettes brought them together in the realization that their common roots also included very special musical talent. That was over two decades ago, now. Since then they have made 9 albums together - the latest being Sleighbells in the Snow (2020), which includes a collaboration with Ron Sexsmith - and Everything's Shifting (2019). I first heard them in the nascent days of Vancouver's Shore 104fm where they were getting plenty of well-deserved airplay.
After 20 years together, Madison Violet are as much wanderers as they are musicians. It is a career filled with endless roads stretching into the horizon, winding through changing landscapes, each kilometer traveled carrying with it the promise of inspiration. Perhaps that is the secret of what has made Madison Violet such an enduring band. Because with each new town, each new venue, their curiosity grows, their love of music deepens, their desire to push musical boundaries expands.
It is believed that the spark that ignited Madison Violet’s irrepressible curiosity came from an unlikely source; while sitting in Brenley’s grandmother’s kitchen in Cape Breton, filled to bursting with family, friends, instruments, and miles from their adopted home of Toronto, two musicians looked at each over the flickering light of the old wood stove and knew that theirs would be an unconventional journey. Inspired by their heritage, emboldened by their vision, Lisa and Brenley decided that they would create a sound that would have it’s roots in their past while continually exploring new sounds. From the beginning, the multi-instrumentalists have carried authenticity with them like a talisman, writing all of their own music and lyrics, believing that the best way to connect to their audiences was to treat them like old friends sharing a secret and a smile. As vocalists they have an innate ability to break your heart, slyly knowing that their soaring harmonies will mend it, often all in the span of one song.
Yep, that's how I like to think of them. Weaving their magic around our vulnerable hearts and caressing our ears with their beautiful words and voices. You can enjoy this experience in the comfort of your own home this Saturday evening. You won't regret it, folks! Whenever they have performed at the Rogue over the years they have packed the place. We know that some day they will be able to do so again. Meanwhile why not treat yourselves to a sublime concert of original Canadiana with these two wandering souls from Cape Breton and their universal message of peace love and understanding? Tickets are on sale right now right here
2. Radio Waves
This week's edition of The Saturday Edge On Folk is still to be planned and recorded, but there will be some exciting new releases including the likes of Rhiannon Giddens & Francesco Turrisi's second album together, Irish troubadour Declan O'Rourke, English trad folk outfit The Banter, and kora master Ballake Sissoko. With the impending launch of Richard Thompson's new book, Beeswing, which explores his early years with Fairport Convention, I'll spin a few vintage tunes from the master as well. All this and much more from 8am to noon on www.citr.ca I hope you will tune me in and turn me on.
3. Rogue Anniversary May 14th
We were hoping to bring you a virtual April In Paris this month, but the current lockdown has prevented this. However, we hope to celebrate The Rogue's 34th Anniversary on "Bonny Black Hare Day", Friday May 14th by presenting a live band from The Rogue's very special home at The Mel Lehan Hall at St. James - probably The Sojourners - and recording two more for later broadcast. Stay tuned to www.roguefolk.com for more details (Covid permitting, of course.)
4. Keep Calm and Rogue On
It's hard to recall now, but almost a year ago to the day we had a concert planned with Canadian duo Madison Violet. Along with a host of other shows we had to cancel it when the pandemic forced us to close down. It's been over a year since that frenetic second week in March 2020 when we had shows with Toronto blues chanteuse Shakura S'Aida, Irish accordion diva Sharon Shannon, Welsh troubadour Martyn Joseph, and two concerts with the Canadian musical comedy legends The Arrogant Worms. In the space of 8 days we had presented 5 absolutely fabulous shows. Since then, not much, I'm afraid!
We see a lot of people protesting lockdown these days. Don't they realize there's a war on? There's an invisible enemy out there, and a deadly one at that. My parents lived through a six year lockdown in WWII. They were not only subject to curfews, they had rationing, and people hurling bombs and bullets at them as well, for 6 times as long as we've had to endure this pandemic! Let's have a little bit of perspective here, people! Vaccinations are happening. So is the deadly third wave of the virus. Yet some don't believe there is a problem. Well, I do think there is a massive problem, but the solution may not be too far away. Protesting won't get us out of the pandemic. Herd immunity is the way. Please get vaccinated, or stay away from me!
Meanwhile we at The Rogue are hard at work, striving to bring you some good, healing, inspirational music. It hasn't been easy. Every time we think we can have a small gathering to celebrate music together, another lockdown comes along to set us back on our heels. Paul Norton and I are still presenting radio shows every week, bringing you the best in new releases and old favourites on CiTR and Coop Radio. Occasionally we sprinkle in a fabulous virtual concert like Madison Violet ...
Stay safe everyone! Above all, Be Kind. And Rogue On!