# A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z

Madison Violet - No Fool for Trying

  by Malcolm Carter

published: 13 / 8 / 2009

Madison Violet - No Fool for Trying
Label: True North Records
Format: CD


Classic-sounding country on third album from harmonic and passionate-voiced Canadian girl duo, Madison Violet

It’s the voices. The first thing that you notice on ‘No Fool For Trying’, the third album by Canada duo Madison Violet, is those voices. Pure and sounding like a match made in heaven these girls can really sing. They’ll have you believing from the very first time you hear them… Maybe after recording their first two albums in London with producer John Reynolds who has worked with U2 and helped create Sinead O’Connor’s best work a return to their native Canada with a new producer in Les Cooper has spurred these two talented female singer/songwriters into making what will, in future years, be hailed as a mini-classic in the roots / alt. country genre. This duo of Brenley MacEachern and Lisa MacIsaac composed all of the eleven songs here and it’s telling that the least successful song on offer is the only one where they had a little outside help, namely ‘Lauralee’. Maybe that song recalls a little too much of one of the duo’s influences, Dolly Parton, or it might well be that every time I hear the name Laura Lee I expect a gritty-voiced female to start shouting about ‘Women’s Love Rights’ or declaring that it’s all a ‘Rip Off’ or more possibly it’s because that song is sandwiched between two of the strongest songs on this album, opener ‘The Ransom’ and the title song, ‘No Fool For Trying’. That opening song with lap steel and upright bass adding authenticity to those sweet voices is one of those songs that will stop you in your tracks. No matter how much we love this thing called music there are times when the lack of anything new or exciting forces us to return to the music from our earlier years; to return to music that moved us because it was new and fresh. I was going through one of those periods recently. There was so much new music arriving almost weekly but very little of it moved me, it was a case of hearing the same old thing played the same old way and on the rare occasion something did push boundaries then usually it had no tune. Then I heard Madison Violet… ‘No Fool For Trying’ unashamedly has its roots planted firmly in the music of the past, there’s no doubt about that, but when voices gel as perfectly as those of Brenley and Lisa’s do the result is breathtaking and for all its backwards glances the resulting sound comes across as something new and fresh. That title song could have come from Lucinda William’s self-titled album that was released on Rough Trade years before she was the popular artist she is now or even an early Alison Krauss album. The duo write pretty melodies and thankfully producer Les Cooper has kept those voices to the fore and not drenched them with instruments. The sound is rich but still stripped-back and it suits the songs that make up ‘No Fool For Trying’ perfectly. If this was a vinyl album you could drop the needle practically anywhere and hear a gorgeous tune floating beneath the best female voices you will hear all year. Every word is clear, even every note played speaks to you; on ‘Darlin’ listen out for the touches of tremolo tenor guitar played by Brenley which manages to convey almost as much emotion as her vocals or even the harmonica which is applied to great effect on this track. But if just one song has pushed this album to the best album of the year so far and make no mistake, at this moment in time nothing else released in the preceding eight months prior to its U.K. release comes close to the singing on this album , then it has to be ‘Small Of My Heart’. You will be humming this song the first time you hear it and again those voices are just heartbreaking. As soon as the girls sing “Whenever I’m away I keep you in the small of my heart” they’ve won over anyone whose heart is still beating. It’s a perfect song performed brilliantly, not least the parts played by Paul Mathew on upright bass and Joel Stouffer on drums. We all lose the way sometimes, we all need something to shake us up again, to reaffirm our faith in music in some way and by injecting just the right amount of passion and emotion in their music and by being blessed with two of the best female voices we have had the pleasure to hear in years Madison Violet have looked to the past to create a sound that is both new and exciting. It’s doubtful we will hear another album as strong as this before the year is out.

Track Listing:-
1 The Ransom
2 Lauralee
3 No Fool For Trying
4 Small Of My Heart
5 Baby In The Black & White
6 Hallways Of The Sage
7 Crying
8 The Woodshop
9 Darlin'
10 Best Part Of Your Love
11 Time And Tide

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The Knight Sessions (2017)
Fantastic hook-laden eighth album from Canadian duo Madison Violet which mixes new songs with reimagined acoustic versions of older tracks
Come As You Are Live (2013)
The Good in Goodbye (2012)

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