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  • Writer's pictureThe Sound Cafe

JUNO-Nominated Duo Madison Violet Cover Personal Struggles In Moving Video For 'The Sycamore'

JUNO Award-nominated Folk duo Madison Violet have just released their brand-new studio album “eleven”. The duo are widely recognized as exceptional storytellers and skilled multi-instrumentalists. In over two decades as a musical duo, Madison Violet have received dozens of notable accolades for their work, including a JUNO nomination for Roots & Traditional Album of the Year. They have brought home a Canadian Folk Music Award for Best Vocal Group Album of the Year, have reached the top 5 on the Canadian iTunes download charts, amassed over one million streams on Spotify, and have placed on CBC’s Top 20 multiple times throughout their career. Their music is consistently played across Canada and throughout the world, and the internationally acclaimed artists are no strangers to receiving glowing reviews for both their studio work, and live performances.

As the duo performs at shows and festivals across Canada on their summer tour, Madison Violet's Brenley MacEachern and Lisa MacIssac have just released their brand new, moving video for "The Sycamore" from their eleventh studio album that chronicles their deeply personal experiences with eating disorders.

Written and performed as a discussion between someone suffering from disordered eating, and the loved one caring for them, Madison Violet's "The Sycamore" is a profoundly moving and inspiring song aimed at shedding the stigma around eating disorders, and letting those suffering as well as their loved ones know they are not alone.

A song about not suffering in silence, “The Sycamore” details the deeply personal experience of suffering from, and caring for, a loved one with disordered eating. Written as a conversation and sung in that format, "The Sycamore" marks the first time that Lisa and Brenley have shared their journey with an eating disorder publicly, addressing their experiences from nearly 20 years ago in the song.

With its warm, comforting, and hopeful melody, the song gently opens with Lisa addressing Brenley's struggles, followed by Brenley explaining how she felt in the throes of her battle with her eating disorder in her late teens. Noting that the song is not just for those suffering in silence but for the ones who care for them, Brenley and Lisa masterfully express their emotions surrounding that time period through their lyrics, and instrumentation. The video for the song carefully draws listeners even deeper, by adding a delicate yet descriptive visual component to the track. Directed by Andrew Beach who previously worked with the musical duo on “Time to Right the Wrong”, the cinematic video for Madison Violet’s “The Sycamore” beautifully captures the tender and intimate bond between two girls, one of which suffers from an eating disorder.

With delicate sequences of wind rustling through hair and light dancing past trees at dusk, the video's stunning visuals paint a vivid picture of a romantic relationship in which one of the partners is struggling quietly with their health. With contrasting scenes of joy and sorrow, light and darkness, and harmony and dissonance the video portrays the fluctuating emotional landscape of both girls in the relationship. With the goal of shining a light on an issue that is so often hidden and stigmatized, Madison Violet's video for “The Sycamore” is an unflinching yet hopeful depiction of the silent struggle facing those with disordered eating, and the people who love them. The duo explain, "The story behind “The Sycamore” was born 20+ years ago, through a personal experience of ours. This is a song that we wrote for anyone who has suffered with eating disorders as well as those loving and supporting them.

There continues to be a stigma around eating disorders, and we fully understand that it is challenging for both the person suffering as well as for those around them. Loved ones face the challenge of not knowing how to help, or even what to say, as even the slightest of comments can alter the way the person suffering may feel. We wrote this song to support those that are currently suffering. If you’re out there, there’s always someone here for you, to love and help you through it." After over 20 years together, Juno nominated singer-songwriting duo, 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 kilometre 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 Island, Nova Scotia, filled to bursting with family, friends, instruments (and maybe even a foe or two), and miles from their adopted home of Toronto, Ontario, 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 MacIsaac and Brenley MacEachern decided that they would create a sound that would have its 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.

The shared belief in themselves and their fearlessness to follow their dreams did eventually pay off and accolades and awards soon became synonymous with Madison Violet; including a Juno nomination, a Canadian Folk Music Award for Best Vocal Group Album of the Year and a Critic’s Choice Award from Country Music People’s Magazine.

Their songs have been featured in the notorious music magazine MOJO’s Top 10 Playlist, and received a mass of acclaim from outlets such as the BBC, the CBC, Maverick Magazine and NPR, and have earned the duo the Grand Prize in the Maxell John Lennon Song Writing Contest (which was voted on by a panel of distinguished artists including Elton John, Tim McGraw, Black Eyed Peas, Fergie, John Legend, Enrique Iglesias and Mary J.Blige). Madison Violet were on Germany’s WDR's list of ‘Best Bands of All Time’ and with a bit of a departure from their rootsy sound, their single ‘These Ships’ was released in 2014 on one of the largest dance labels in the U.S., Ultra Records, garnering over 1,000,000 plays on Spotify. Madison Violet has 9 studio albums to their credit including the new Christmas classic “Sleigh Bells in the Snow” featuring their friend and collaborator Ron Sexsmith, singing on Frosty the Snowman.

In early 2019, Madison Violet released their album “Everything’s Shifting” - a heartfelt examination of how memory can splinter a heart, how loss shapes perspective and how sometimes, no matter how hard you try, you can’t have love without regret. Their latest album "eleven", named after their number of releases, marks the duos' journey into self-producing their own music, and was released on July 1 2022.


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