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THE MADISONS - GROWING UP
PRESENTED BY LAUREN PETREE
Singer-songwriter Dominic Solis (Sweetwater, TX) and violinist/multi-instrumentalist Rachel Lane (Brentwood, MD) met while volunteering for AmeriCorps in 2009 (surprise, they didn't move to Austin to play music). They didn't talk to each other almost the entire year, but eventually struck up a conversation after being forced to carpool. That conversation quickly lead to the creation and subsequent breakup of their original six-piece band, Jubal's Lawyer, in early 2011. After taking a few months off and almost quitting music for good, the two began writing and performing together as an "indie-folk" duo, Madisons.
Over that summer they wrote and recorded a DIY album, You, Me, and a Ghost, by laying down the tracks themselves in Austin and exchanging the files over the internet with friend and NASA Engineer Josh Buchanan, who produced the album from his home in Las Cruces, NM. Despite recording with very basic equipment and little know-how, they were, with the help of Buchanan, able to capture the duo's style, modest but full of heart.
Using the recordings as their resume, the duo began recruiting other musicians and booking shows. Andrew Mortazavi (fresh off a writing fellowship in Madison, WI) was snapped up after responding to a Craigslist ad as a pedal steel guitarist and banjoist. Longtime friend and former metal head Chuck Short (Fort Worth, TX) joined as well. Later in the year, as the demo began gathering some steam, local pedi-cabber Cassie Baker (drums, Lorena, TX), Thomas Damron (upright bass, Houston, TX), and Solis's childhood friend Oscar Gomez (trumpet, Sweetwater, TX), joined the mix. In addition to these seven, many musicians rotate in and out to fill in the rest of the sound. The band can have anywhere from seven to twelve members, and shows have become high-energy events.
The resulting group has developed a sound that reflects its eclectic makeup. Rooted in Americana and awkwardness, the songs hit on everything from punk to classical without being pretentious or cliche. The vocals and lyrics are prominent and sad while the stomping and clapping keep the rhythms joyous with a sense of cohesion. To break character here, at shows, sometimes we see almost as many people cry as we do dance.
As a result, we have a small but dedicated fan base. These aren't friends that like going to the bar, these are strangers that are somehow finding these songs and sharing them with everyone they can. We've played packed houses in Austin, Los Angeles, Oregon, and Dallas.
While looking for somewhere to record our album, we returned to local producer and engineer Matt Smith of HotTracks!!! studio (The Eastern Sea, Leatherbag, Golden Bear). We had worked with him on our previous project. Building on a mutual musical respect for each other's talents and a great friendship, we recorded our debut album, Desgraciados, over five months at Smith's home in Smithville, TX. We are currently gearing up for its release in Fall of 2012.
We've been quietly at this for a while. We feel the sound and how we communicate with listeners is a reflection of how we approach life. Like the lives of many of the characters in our songs, our lives can often be hard in a very beautiful way. We don't make fans, we make family, and we do our best to always remember that if we keep working on the things we love, treat people right, and celebrate whenever we're lucky enough to all be in the same place at the same time, good things will come.
BalconyTV Austin is produced by Capital Media Corp. Audio and video production - Joe Lynch. Sound Engineers - Nick Smith & Brittany Malm.
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