Roots duo Scarlett Jane find their groove
Toronto musicians, Andrea Ramolo and Cindy Doire had solo careers of their own before they united in the fall of 2011 to become Scarlett Jane. They had been friends for some time, occasionally performing together and even appearing on each other’s albums. After separately spending years honing their skills writing music and performing, it was a matter of combining their common interests and finding the perfect timing for it to happen:
“We’ve always been a part of each other’s musical endeavours. We would go on these little friendship tours in the winter around the Ottawa valley area, through small towns like Picton. People would always ask us, “Why are you two not a band together?” I think we both knew it was inevitable, although the timing wasn’t quite right yet. We both had to go off and gather mileage on our own. Once we broke free of our commitments, we found a perfect opportunity to start from scratch. So by the fall of 2011, we began collaborating and writing more songs together.”
Together, they have put out two full length albums,Stranger (2012, remixed/remastered in 2014), and the newly released, Scarlett Jane, supported by the Warner Music Canada label. Away from life’s everyday pace and distraction, the girls decided to head to the sunny shores of Cuba where they wrote all the songs for their second album. It was recorded at Bathouse Studio, with producers, Colin Cripps and Chris Stringer, who also brought some great collaborative ideas to the table.
Each of the 10 tracks display their mutual influences of country, folk, roots, pop, and rock, but are awash with an ambiance that lends to the music’s atmospheric quality. Cindy’s delicate, higher-pitched and Andrea’s rounder, stronger vocal timbres blend naturally together. Their perfect harmonies produce a rich, warm tone, enveloped in their heartfelt lyrics. All are one-of-a-kind, well-composed, piano/guitar-based songs, steeped in passionate, memorable, and mood-stimulating melodies.
“Little Secret”, is uplifting and bright, in its happy-chugging beat and strong country essence. “Tin Can Rebel”, another fast-paced track, with fuller instrumentation and a rockier tone, speaks of a relationship come undone. “Tic Toc”, a delicate piece about falling in love, showcases the girls’ outstanding vocals within minimal, and later building instrumentation. “Havana”, in its new age-folk flavour, sweeps along in its hypnotic three-quarter time. I love their frequent use of minor scales, which add to the mystical vibe of many of their songs. “Cours”, a French piece, is beautifully textured in its layered instruments/vocals, stops and starts, and lushness throughout its gorgeous flowing melody. “We All Just Wanna Be Loved”, my favourite on the album, grips me in its minor-scaled melancholiness, echoing piano simplicity, deep moaning guitar segments, and earworm-inducing chorus.
“Creatively, we’ve honed in on our sound as Scarlett Jane, and we’ve found our groove in writing together, travelling together, and putting on a great show. We’ve each performed for over a decade and reached a level where we feel that we are prepared professionally. Our songs are deep and rich in meaning…they carry with them the true tales of the last few years of our lives. We’ve shared a lot of living together…heartbreak, family members passing, and just the bump and grind of what it means to be an artist.”
Watch the video for “Little Secret” from their latest release below:
Though they occasionally play with a full band, the girls frequently perform as a duo, with their guitars, piano, and self-produced percussion. Scarlett Jane head out on their cross-Canada 2015 tour, which will begin with their duo act performance here at Ottawa’s CityFolk Festival, on Thurs. 17 Sept. @ 6pm on the Ravenlaw Stage. For more info on Scarlett Jane, tour dates, and merchandise, please visit their website.