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ON Tour – In Good Company with Cassie and Maggie

In Good Company: 

Cassie and Maggie Q&A

Hello, what’s your name and what’s your role in Cassie and Maggie. What does that role involve on the road?Hello! Cassie here, of Cassie and Maggie, I’m the fiddler/harmony vocals/stepdancer in the band. On this, our very first tour of the UK, I’m also the driver! It’s been a real learning curve driving on the opposite side of the road, but I think I’m starting to get the hang of it!

You’ve recently released a new album “The Willow Collection” which includes an original song called “Willow Lullaby” Where did you find the inspiration for this particular song?Great question! Our new album, the Willow Collection, is inspired by the theme of the Willow tree, and every song features some association or reference to the tree. A lot of the traditional songs we were finding ended up being quite sad, as the Willow is often a symbol of grief or heartbreak… we wanted to include a song that portrayed the willow as more of a maternal, comforting figure… So we wrote a little lullaby with the idea that you could hand over any worries or troubles to the willow and she would do all the worrying for you, and you could wake up feeling comforted and worry free!

A lot of your music combines traditional and contemporary Celtic vocals and instrumentals. What first inspired you to create this unique sound?We grew up listening and playing a lot of traditional music in Nova Scotia  (our family is very musical and we always had tunes happening at our house) As we grew older, we began listening to a lot of contemporary singers/songwriters, and the evolution of our own music began to become more and more influenced by the new music we were listening to.

Of all the work you’ve done (not exclusively in rural touring) what’s been your professional highlight to date?Oh gosh! That’s hard to say! We’ve been so lucky to have had so many wonderful opportunities so far in our careers… I think the release of The Willow Collection marked a real highlight for us; it was a bit of a departure from our past recordings in that it was mainly a vocal album with nine songs and only two instrumental tracks. It went on to be nominated for Vocal album of the year, Ensemble recording of the year and Maggie was nominated for traditional singer of the year, and we were honoured to bring home the award for Traditional recording of the year at the 2017 Canadian Folk Music Awards. It was a real indication that we were on the right track musically and has really encouraged us to pursue singing and songwriting with a new confidence.

Thinking about your show, what’s the one thing overall that you hope audiences will take away from seeing the show?Another wonderful question! I hope personally, that they will come away with a new appreciation for traditional music and will look at it through new eyes and ears… we tend to think of trad music as sort of a stagnant, rigid genre, with not a lot of room for innovation, but that’s not the case at all! There are so many incredible young musicians putting their own stamp on the folk music they grew up with… it’s a very exciting time in traditional music at the moment, and we hope to pass that enthusiasm and passion along to all our audiences.

What is it about rural touring that appeals to you? What are the challenges? (If any!)Haha, well, we grew up in a pretty rural area of Nova Scotia, so we really love returning to our roots and playing in similar venue that we would play at home. There’s a special sense of community when you play a show in a rural town that you just don’t get when you’re in a big city… a different more palpable energy that’s hard to describe!  

Have you been to North Yorkshire before? If so, do you have a particular favourite location or place to visit? If not, is there anything you’re keen to see or do whilst you’re here?This is our very first tour of the UK, so everywhere is new and exciting for us! I’m really into haunted places and Ghost stories… and I’ve heard North Yorkshire is the place to go for all things spooky! So I’m really hoping to fit in a Ghost walk or some sort of supernatural experience while we’re with you all. 

What’s the one luxury you can’t live without whilst touring?Oh boy, well, you have to sort of learn to be flexible and not too fancy when on the road, suitcases’ get 
lost on airlines, and instruments don’t always turn up… so you have to really go with the flow a lot of the time. That being said, I really can’t live without good coffee on the road! It’s more of a comfort thing than a caffeine addiction I’d say, but a good hot cup of coffee almost always improves things.   

What music / radio is currently playing in the tour van? And who gets the final say?Man, we have music going in the car almost constantly, can’t drive without it! Our tastes are very eclectic, but right now we’re really into English folk music… we haven’t had much exposure to it at home in Canada, so it’s a real treasure trove for us at the moment! We particularly love Jim Moray and the Melrose quartet. Whoever is doing the driving usually gets the choice of music, and since it’s been all me on this tour, I’ve been really pumping the tunes! 

Cassie and Maggie perform as part of Rural Arts ON Tour this February:
8th – Settle Victoria Hall , 8pm (for tickets click here)
9th – Grantley Village Hall, 7.30pm  (for tickets click here)
10th – Great Broughton Village Hall, 7.30pm (for tickets click here)