New Albums from Five Acts Show a Genre Thriving on the Best US Influences
by Gerry Quinn
Canadians Madison Violet’s fourth album is The Good in Goodbye (True North Records). The Juno-nominated duo of Brenley MacEachern and Lisa MacIsaac (sister of fiddler Ashley MacIsaac) present 11 polished, folk-inspired songs, underlined by perfect harmonies and luscious melodies. Fallen By The Wayside — penned with compatriot Ron Sexsmith — and the title track are performances of cool assurance and earthy authority. Come As You Are employs a slow southern-rock type tempo, guided and nurtured by a deft Neil Young-style harmonica. Cindy, Cindy is propelled by a sweet bluegrass banjo and features backing vocals from Ruth Moody, who delivers her own first full-length solo record, The Garden (Red House Records), on January 16. A member of the Billboard-charting folk super-group, The Wailin’ Jennys, the Winnipeg-reared singer jettisons the band safety net to introduce her blend of folk and country. She and her cast of players fashion a dozen intimate tracks of sublime beauty, highlighted by a breathy, evocative soprano voice.
Moody’s vocal delivery and phrasing is reminiscent of Alison Krauss, a voice rich in personality. Moody’s an adept instrumentalist, playing guitar, banjo, piano, ukulele and accordion. Producer David Travers-Smith creates a warm and intimate setting on the record for Moody’s intensely personal narratives. The Garden is a perfect introduction to Moody’s soulful expression of restrained beauty.
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