Home > Reviews > Live Reviews > 24/01/2012 | Madison Violet – The Stables, Milton Keynes

24/01/2012 | Madison Violet – The Stables, Milton Keynes

Lisa Ward


It has to be said, the idea of leaving a warm flat on a cold, damp Tuesday in January to see a band I know little about seemed relatively unappealing, especially since it seems as though nothing has left me longing for more recently. That is until Brenley and Lisa strike up the first chord of If I Could Love You More. They harness a similar set up to the Indigo Girls, fusing melodies over harmonised vocals and I’m immediately captivated. Of course, reality is that whilst they might be unknown to me, they have whole string of ECMA nominations behind them, and even in just a few short minutes it becomes clear why.

They range from simplistic honesty in Small Of My Heart, which is granted an a capella interlude, to the more up-tempo Cindy Cindy, but it’s Christy Ellen Francis  which truly highlights their power as storytellers, Brenley’s Grandma encapsulated into three minutes of verse. They move from folk to country and back again: fiddles, harmonicas and steel guitars being interwoven into the songs with effortless grace and it’s not long before I can only berate myself for not having had Madison Violet on my radar before.

The focus of the night is clearly on their latest album – all bar one song from The Good In Goodbye making the set – but older fans are treated to award winning The Ransom and the emotive I’m Your Lady, which serve to confirm the longevity of their talent. As with many other folk musicians, it’s the mid set chatter and anecdotal stories which fuel the set and Stuck In A Love, though moving in it’s own right, is transformed with the knowledge of the pitfalls and problems of the marriage and divorce system that seems to plague gay couple’s across the continents.

Having grown up with Tom Petty and still never succumbing to his sound, there’s trepidation when they decide to launch into a cover of You Don’t Know How It Feels, but their version adds a new dimension, ultimately winning me over. Meanwhile the somewhat reserved crowd seem to to embrace the duos charm, joining in with Fallen By The Wayside as if they’d been secretly waiting for a chance all night. In many senses, there is nothing new about the duo. Storytelling over instruments, has, and always will be the backbone of folk, but as Home replays in my head for the duration of the ride home,  Madison Violet manage to snap me out of my January blues and rekindle my passion for live music.


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