Canadian Folk Warm a Winter's Night.

Madison Violet

Theatre Severn

Walker Theatre



There was a busy and anticipatory audience that were awaiting the arrival of Madison Violet. There were newbies like this reviewer and there were older more partisan fans. But new and old alike knew from the first song that Madison Violet were going to share their golden notes and deliver their own brand of Folk/Roots music and no-one went home disappointed.

Madison Violet comprise two ladies, Brenley MacEachern and Lisa MacIsaac. They were ably assisted on bass and keys by non band member Jake. The girls say he was a great friend, a great musician, and a fine budgeter. Someone one might need to take on a three month tour of The Antipodes, Europe and the U.K. As this band has!

Since the British Folk revival began back in the 1960’s folk was considered to be for the purists, audiences sat in silence hardly daring to breathe and of course countless ceilidhs (k-aleys) As years passed one saw the introduction of Roots music and the Folk became a massively broad church covering a multitude of things. So whilst the purists argued about ethnicity there was music pouring in now from all over the world enlarging the scene and making a wholly more vibrant and exciting place. Madison Violet are one such band who just got on with it regardless and brought a whole new and beautiful strain of Folk Music to the table.

It is obvious when one reads the accolades these two have received that they are a seriously popular duo. Now based in Toronto the girls both have Cape Breton roots, one is aware of Nova Scotia or New Scotland settlers, and of course it was a delight to see that musical crossover. The fiddle played a big part in tonight’s concert as it does all over the folk world. But look closer, understand that the first Scottish settlers had no Netflix or telly they made their own entertainment so the violin will have played a very important part in the evening’s fun. Now Cape Breton has a fiddling tradition as fine as any one might hear here in the UK.

With a backline of Fiddle, Acoustic Guitars, Acoustic Bass, Keys and harmonica. A simple combination but , although they made it look easy; time after time they so effortlessly provided the anticipatory ears with such beautifully weaved notes and one was warmed. Both Brenley and Lisa were consummate musicians and Jake too. All three delivering note after perfect note into the air to float like stars ready to envelope the well constructed verses of their beautifully crafted songs. As one stated there was a simple set up by there was nothing simple about this music. This is sit up and listen stuff.

Dealing with all the angsts of life and especially the angsts of womanhood the songs were so sensitively constructed. There was a human understanding and interaction between performer and audience and at times we all became one. It isn’t fair to say they were sad or miserable in their songs just accurate. But some did raise a tear when one was hearing about situations that until that moment, one had believed that happening was unique to oneself. It’s an eye opener when you hear that the people on the stage entertaining you, don’t live in ivory towers, far from it, they have lives too and the most honest way they can tell us about those lives is through their lyrics. Some of the songs were just so perfect that one was able to see and understand what this folk music is. It’s music that is complicated, confrontational and gripping and yet it all seems so simple.  One wonders how can so much sound come from such an acoustic backline. It does and its great.

Already boasting a career together of 24 years they have been nominated for award after award and one is hardly surprised. This was the antidote for the Winter blues and a lot of people went home happier for their experience. Look out for them. They are on Youtube, Facebook and of course have their own website where merch can be bought.

When one goes to a show knowing little or nothing about what one might see there is always an air of anticipation. Will it be good, bad, or indifferent? These are the sort of questions one asks oneself. There was no need to worry to coin an Americanism which is something this reviewer isn’t noted for, they smashed it out of the park.

This is a Four-Star Review.

Owen J. Lewis



Sofia Lewis Sofia Lewis
For many years Sofia wrote here under her male name Owen J. Lewis. She is now mostly writing under her own name of Sofia Lewis. Sofia, who worked on independent radio for over ten years, lives in Shrewsbury and writes plays. She has over 15 titles published and her plays are performed all over the world. She is especially popular in America. Her poetry is also often noted and she writes reams of it most weeks. Since graduating in theatre in 1997 Sofia has been an Actor, Filmmaker, and a Secondary School Teacher. Reviewing theatre is something she thoroughly enjoys and she loves to see great theatre. As a musician Sofia is known throughout the UK she is a folk singer, and is often seen or heard around her native county singing and having fun. Sofia has contributed to for over a decade and enjoys sharing her views on theatre. Sofia has one daughter and grew up in Church Stretton.

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