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A video from that impromptu showcase session, taken by Dennis DaCosta, is posted on Youtube and can also be viewed on her website.
So, a€?Wowa€? being the operative term, when the opportunity to feature her presented itself, we jumped at it. Layah grew up in the east end of Toronto in an area called a€?The Beaches,a€? near Lake Ontario.
This was the point at which Layah connected with long-time friend, Oliver Johnson, to handle the studio end of making the demo. As Oliver recounts it, he was lucky to have gotten supportive parents in both his father and stepdad. When he was at his fathera€™s house, theya€™d jam till the wee hours and sometimes the police would come.
In order to learn musical theory, Oliver approached a guitarist, Wayne Cass, to show him what he needed to know to get into the Humber jazz program.
Toward the end of his first year at Humber, he damaged his hand while moving a heavy table. At a certain point, the road started to wear Oliver down and he decided to focus on production.
At this point, Layah approached Oliver to produce the demo for which shea€™d gotten a grant. In the statement that follows, we can see the wheels turning as she weighed her options: a€?I came home knowing that I really wanted to pursue music and I made my first recording. Layah enrolled in and completed a three year program at The Toronto School of Homeopathic Medicine and received a DSHomMed, Homeopathic Certification. While involved with her studies she was pursuing music as well, performing quite a bit with Oliver.
Not strictly a purist, she believes that a mixture of alternative and traditional Western medicine, a€?the best of both worlds,a€? according to each patienta€™s needs is the best solution. For two or three years, Layah and Oliver remained friends while they played music together. Layah says that Oliver has influenced her, injecting some jazz, R & B, soul and funk, given that he had gone on tour with some of the better Canadian players in that realm.
Ita€™s easy to see why The Ontario Arts Council, and the Foundation to Assist Canadian Talent on Records (FACTOR) came through with grants at critical moments. Additionally, Acoustic Live will be hosting its own annual guerrilla showcase at the Northeast Regional Folk Alliance and wea€™ll get to watch Layah and Oliver play a set in our own room. The new CD, Honey, from Layah and Oliver is just about ready for release and wea€™ve gotten to hear a few sample songs. When Oliver was 9, his mother married a Canadian folk artist, a childrena€™s songwriter, and he then split his time between Toronto and New Hampshire. After high school, following her year of touring and playing, the artistic and practical sides of Layah collided.
We here in the Northeast can thank our lucky starsA  for a number of chances to see her live. Christ instructed His disciplesa€¦and us, His 21st Century disciples, to fulfill the Great Commission (Matthew 28:19-20) a€“ to go and make disciples for Jesus Christ.
In our review of key Psalms, today we will be studying Psalm 78, which in its verses gives a reason for the continuance of faith in God through the generations.
6These are the commands, decrees and laws the Lord your God directed me to teach you to observe in the land that you are crossing the Jordan to possess, 2 so that you, your children and their children after them may fear the Lord your God as long as you live by keeping all his decrees and commands that I give you, and so that you may enjoy long life. 13A Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. 5 If any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to him. Do not leave the Battle line when you are dressed for battle and have the Presence of God and His Word to comfort and guide you! You can quote all the Scripture Verses to someone else when they are going through a huge battlea€¦but what about you? In Battle there is a Fog of Wara€¦a Fear of Deatha€¦the Very Real Sense of Possible Defeat. When your Children or Grandchildren go through battles, pray for Goda€™s intervention in the lives of wayward children or grandchildren. Any particular day in our lives we might face a battle a€“ emotionally, physically, spiritually, practically or relationally. Forgetting is an issue, but another issue is when one challenges Goda€¦putting God to our own test. Our children observe the whole world around themselves calling them a fool to put their hope in God.
May Psalm 78 give you healthy direction in the decisions you are making and the lives that you influencea€¦for good, and for God!
The marginal has always held an attraction for me, partly because I love discovering things that are little known, and partly because things that are on the margin, that are in between, have a very particular kind of energy.  (1) In any case, this month I've decided to write about the Gypsies, a group that has lived on the margins for as long as anyone can remember.
A little more than a year ago, on February 9, 2010, Madison Violet appeared as part of John Platta€™s On Your Radar series at the Living Room in New York Citya€™s East Village. Although it is sporadically written that fiddler Natalie MacMaster is a relative, they are not related. Brenley MacEachern was born in Montreal and grew up in a small Scottish community in the town of Kincardine on the shores of Lake Huron.
Brenley started writing, but harshly appraises her efforts as a€?pretty rough.a€? She didna€™t really know how to write using the guitar, so a couple of times shea€™d get together with another guitar player and sing the melody while he played along, but never liked the end result. Both Brenley and Lisa thought they were going to work in the medical field, Brenley as a lab technician and Lisa as a pharmacist. Lisa states, a€?I was in grade 12 and was asked to do a musical comedy touring show called the Cape Breton Summertime Review.
From online interviews we learned that Brenley had bought a looping machine and had looped her own voice.
The longer they played together, the rootsier their sound got, the old record collection seeping in more and more.
Of particular influence was an album they discovered around 2005 by Nick Lowe called The Convincer (released in 2001), which had a feel that reminded them of the old a€?Charlie Rich days.a€? The writing was a€?so strong,a€? said Brenley, it convinced them to go back to their roots.
When they sold their albums at shows, the fans took note of the more-produced sound on the CDs as opposed to the stripped-down sound of their live performances.
Les Cooper, a big Alison Krause fan and a local Toronto producer, was their choice to guide their most recent album, No Fool for Trying. I forgot to ask if the pedal steel on the first track, a€?Ransom,a€? was a result of the girlsa€™ insistence. While I love their latest CD, Ia€™m going to have to attest that I love hearing them rock out on their earlier work. Brenley was exposed to music from the time she was very young.A  There were two cousins who played guitar and everyone on her fathera€™s side of the family sang.
Brenley started writing, but harshly appraises her efforts as a€?pretty rough.a€? She didna€™t really know how to write using the guitar, so a couple of times shea€™d getA  together with another guitar player and sing the melody while he played along, but never liked the end result. Lisa states, a€?I was in grade 12 and was asked to do a musical comedy touring show called the Cape BretonA  Summertime Review.
When they started out, and Brenley asked Lisa to jam on fiddle and sing a bit with Zoebliss, an a€?ambient trip-hop band,a€? they were light years away from their current style. During the 2009 Northeast Regional Folk Alliance Conference, he said, a€?Youa€™ve got to head over to the DJsa€™ afternoon meeting. He played Bruce Cockburn, Joni Mitchell, Dire Straits, The Pointer Sisters, Bruce Springsteen, The Beach Boys, Cyndi Lauper, Kate Bush a€¦ I never did any rebelling against my parentsa€™ choice of music.
The question concerning what direction to take with her life still hung in the air and she appears to have approached it with a calm deliberation in incremental stages. Although music was primarily a hobby, he had an array of musical instruments in the living room, including a drum kit.


Hea€™d jam with friends at his dada€™s all summer and then spend the school year with his mother and stepdad in Toronto.
Hea€™s still amazed at the way his father would cajole the officers, claiming the sound wasna€™t all that bad.
He never really studied a€¦ until he went to Humber College in Toronto, which has a program similar to Berklee College of Music in Boston. Cass was a€?a great guitar player and a great teacher,a€? a favorite that Oliver would watch play in clubs.
He found a partner and opened up a studio that, today, works predominately on television projects. She got the grant for her first demo and began recording, but decided that she wanted to pursue a degree in homeopathy as well.
In addition, some readers might remember the Dove Self Esteem Funda€™s 2006 a€?True Colorsa€? TV Campaign. Each time Layah had any doubts about music as a chosen path, every time she needed it, a grant would come through.
Layah had to put the guitar aside and let Oliver provide the instrumental accompaniment solo.
When I touched on this, Oliver demurred, saying that Layah had brought her own wide range of influences for him to have had all that much effect on her sense of style. Layah and Oliver will be playing Music on 4 in Manhattan on November 18th and Our Times Coffeehouse on Long Island on November 19th. Theya€™ll also play a formal Tricentric showcase and numerous other showcases (see the performance list below). Layah will always have a keen ear for the vagaries of love and relationships, but she has her eye on the fate of humankind as well. During the 2009 Northeast Regional Folk Alliance Conference, he said, a€?Youa€™ve got to head over to the DJsa€™A  afternoon meeting. TheA  question concerning what direction to take with her life still hung in the air and she appears to have approached it with a calm deliberation in incremental stages. Hea€™d jam with friends at his dada€™s all summer andA  then spend the school year with his mother and stepdad in Toronto. He never really studiedA  a€¦ until he went to Humber College in Toronto, which has a program similar to Berklee College of Music in Boston.
Her soaring, pitch-perfect vocals and melodic sense are mesmerizing.A  Then, therea€™s the writing.
Layah and Oliver will be playing Music on 4 in Manhattan on November 18th and Our Times Coffeehouse on Long Island onA  November 19th. 3 Hear, O Israel, and be careful to obey so that it may go well with you and that you may increase greatly in a land flowing with milk and honey, just as the Lord, the God of your fathers, promised you. 5 Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength.
7 That man should not think he will receive anything from the Lord; 8 he is a double-minded man, unstable in all he does. As as I stated before my motives for them were not the best.A  I used them to scare my sister and friends sometimes.
During this half day experience Les Arts Turcs team takes you to the various locations, neighbourhoods where the gypsies are living.
The following fall they showed up at the Northeast Regional Folk Alliance (NERFA) Conference.
Within about six to eight months, she had met her future musical partner, Brenley MacEachern.
Brenleya€™s father is from Cape Breton, so she spent two weeks of every summer with family there, a€?down east,a€? about a mile away from where Lisa grew up. I took the last couple of months of school off, faxed in my work, and finished high school that way. During a rehearsal session with Lisa, she left to get something and, from another room heard her own voice again, but with Lisa having added her own. When Lisa and Brenley compared the collections a few years back, it was a€?pretty uncannya€? to recall the number of Loretta Lynn and Dolly Parton albums their parents had. They have one EP and three full CDs out to date a€” Mad Violet (2002, EP), Worry the Jury (2004), Caravan (2006) and No Fool for Trying (2009).
The fans would buy the earlier CDs and come back and ask if there wasna€™t a recording that captured their live sound. Brenley began writing in a folkier rootsy style for the two of them, and Zoebliss fell away, since the other members of the band had day jobs and couldna€™t keep pace. When I started taking piano lessons at home at 8 years old, I started studying show tunes, so I could sing along with what I was playing, and I got into musicals.
Their families were close friends and theya€™d have various holiday dinners, celebrating a variety of spiritual doctrines together as they saw fit. During those 3 months, he got a job in a computer store that sold software for digital recording. During the first few years of pursuing music, I had some questions about how it would pan out and whether this really was a good spot for me. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can stand up under it.
On city streets, it might take the form of a long-limbed beauty wearing high-heeled knee-high boots. As they described their evolving life paths to me, the phone line hummed and crackled with their energy. The street they grew up on is called a€?Fiddlera€™s Rowa€? because every house on the street has had someone in the household who plays fiddle.
In the second semester, I started dating the guitar player, hanging out with the a€?wronga€™ crowd, having way too much fun and playing guitar all the time. Lisa hadna€™t yet sung on stage with Brenley due to her fear of being heard, and Brenley, having not been aware that Lisa sang, was thunderstruck at the sound of their voices together. My two closest friends and I would sit together on the school bus, squished together, and sing three-part harmonies on Rankin Family songs.
The same similarity applied to the number of fiddle albums, Gordon Lightfoot, Beach Boys and Elvis Presley records. They changed their name to Madison Violet for the most recent CD, to reflect their evolved style.
Playing in Australia for three to four months of the year also gave them a chance to evade the Canadian winters.
Brenley commiserated with the ethos of their fans, saying she also gets disappointed when she buys an album and the layered production obscures the nature of the songs shea€™d heard live.
His decision to strip the sound down to a bare minimum met some resistance, both women wanting more instrumental backup, especially from feisty Lisa.
She was 7 years old when she started taking step-dancing and piano lessons.A  At 9 years old, she and her three closest friends would go to the local community hall every Wednesday evening for group fiddle lessons. I used to sing in the church choir, which was fine, because it was a group and you could kind of hide behind things, as with being a fiddle player, you can hide behind your instrument. We have home videos of me prancing around in my diapers, singing along with the music that he loved. He learned about the software and about producing and, as an employee, was able to purchase the software at an affordable price. The a€?lemonade-from-lemonsa€? character of both accidents might lead one to believe that a certain magic guided them. Lisa and Brenley were trading snippets of mutually shared childhood background a few minutes after they met. I was going to go to college at Saint Francis Xavier University in Antigonish, Nova Scotia, and study science the first year before studying pharmacy.
The fearful part was having my lips on that microphone and knowing that it was raw and everyone in the audience could hear what was coming out of me.


When I characterized Gordon Lightfoot as a Canadian-bred country influence, Brenley countered that, as a touchstone, he was a lot folkier, less country-like than, for instance, Neil Young, one of her major influences. Their style is what might be termed a€?jazzy folk.a€? I asked if shea€™d be singing for the DJs and she responded that it had already taken place. In 3 months, Oliver learned everything he needed to know to get into Humber, entering at age 22. When it came time to re-enroll in school, he was tapped to play for a group that toured all over Canada. Stepping off the stage during a pause, she fell when the overturned plastic bin that was placed as a makeshift step collapsed [too late for a lawsuit at this point, I suppose]. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. I learned what I know about songwriting as well as what I know about guitar playing from Brenley,a€? Lisa said.
I didna€™t think I had the stomach to be a doctor and I thought that the closest I could get to the medical profession was to be a pharmacist.
While theya€™d initially steered away from their parentsa€™ tastes, they both admitted to a secret love of American country music. The teacher, Stan Chapman, was heavily involved in the careers of many a professional player in the younger generation in Cape Breton. Behind his back, when she was around 12 or 13, Brenley would sneak into his room and play it whenever he went out to play with his friends.
I would be about a foot away from the microphone until the lead singer would turn around and look back and then I would put my mouth up to it and pretend that I was singing into it. He learned a lot of theoretical things that allowed him to communicate ideas, rather than hashing them out by demonstrating on the guitar. He chose that and, between playing on the road and producing when he got home, he never went back to school. Even though Ia€™m primarily pursuing music at this point, it enriched my life in such a great way, in terms of being able to help myself and my family and friends and broadening my understanding of the human body. The Greek word for a€?serpenta€? is the word ophis, which is the normal Greek word that refers toA a snake.A It is a fact that Jesus told us that we need to be a€?wise as serpentsa€?! September came and I went to a€?Frosh [Freshman] Weeka€™ and got the university out of my system during that week and never enrolled for any classes.
A couple of other interested presenters showed up, as I suggested we go to my own guerrilla showcase room. The Greek literally means weA need to be as prudent, discerning, intelligent, thoughtful, and careful as snakes! As the two began to tour more as a duo and less with a band, it was their desire that their albums become more a€?strippeda€? down and attempt to replicate their sound as a duo. Lisa stated, a€?I dona€™t know what he does or how he does it, but just about every fiddle player who does it for a living thata€™s come out of Cape Breton was taught by Stan Chapman.a€?A  Lisa played for traditional Scottish square dances on weekends and in various folk bands. As the two began to tour more as a duo and less with a band,A  it was their desire that their albums become more a€?strippeda€? down and attempt to replicate their sound as a duo. Thus, about six of us got our very own private Layah Jane showcase performance a€” about 3 songs.
It wasna€™t like one day it occurred to me, a€?Oh, I could do this.a€™ It just naturally grew, I think.
I realized the first time I sang on stage, right from the get-go, that it was what I had to do.
Brenley has said that she never saw him cry and [paraphrasing here] thinks it woulda€™ve done him some good.
That was her means of income, as opposed to working in a fast-food restaurant, a more typical fallback for a teenager. Some elements in her learning progression included using her brothera€™s Eagles songbooks, and picking up songs from Crosby Stills and Nash albums from a frienda€™s father.
She also recalls learning how to play Don McLeana€™s a€?American Pie.a€? Later, while dating a guitar player in college, she got introduced to the songs of Cat Stevens. Within the first sentence that came out of my mouth, singing in front of a live audience, it was like I was struck by lightning a€” I know this sounds cheesy a€” Wow! In concert, sometimes she sings solo with just Oliver on guitar and on some songs, she and Oliver both play guitar. I wrote in the following montha€™s NERFA wrap-up issue: a€?Shea€™s like Diana Krall with a guitar. The vilest aggressor can walk right past, butA the serpent is not noticed because it has blended so well into the landscape. Layah Jane would be the result.a€? On paper, that might not seem like much, but seen live, it packs quite a wallop. Additionally, it happens that Oliver is a brilliant, seasoned guitarist, having toured Canada with top-of-the-line acts.
Acting hastily before all the facts are gathered and assimilated can lead us to make erroneous decisions. It is better to lay low, stay quiet, and blend into the environment for a while, learning from the sights and the facts we observe.A Let me give you an example.
Their ideas were great, perhaps even from God; but because they had actedbefore they understood the full picture, they ruined their testimony and lost a glorious opportunity. In reality, it was utterfoolishness to start such fantastic projects without first understanding the challenges, risks, and dangers.
Therefore make the choice to move slowly and steadily, gathering all the facts, analyzing the information, and then listening to what the LordA will say to us about the facts we had learned. Then and only then are you to make anannouncement about your plans.A To make such an announcement without first taking the previous stepswould have been a mistake. I strongly advise you to take your time and be sure of the actions you take before you ever act. But rather than seize theA moment and walk through that door, they pause to pray just a little bit longer. God brought themA exactlyA what they had been praying for, but because they paused, they lost the opportunity. Fearful that they willA be led astray or that they will make a mistake, they sit on the sidelines and watch other people achieveA success, while they remain right where theya€™ve always been. If we learn to depend on the Spirita€™s leading, we will walk through many strategic doors at key moments.
You see everything and know exactly what is really happening, so I am leaningA on You to lead me in every situation. His mind makes me sensible, intelligent, prudent,A discerning, and accurate in the way I think and behave. Because the Holy Spirit isA producing the mind of Christ in my life, I make very few mistakes. In fact, I am getting betterA and better all the time at seeing things accurately and knowing what to do in differentA situations.
Have you had a moment in the past when you knew an opportunity was passing before you a€” and you had to strike right at that moment or youa€™d lose the opportunity God was giving you?A 2. Did you hesitate and lose the golden moment God was trying to drop into your hands, or did you seize the opportunity and strike?A  If you hesitated and lost the opportunity, have you asked the Lord to forgive youA for letting fear defeat you?
Fearful that they will be led astray or that they will make amistake, they sit on the sidelines and watch other people achievesuccess, while they remain right where theya€™ve always been.




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