Norma MacDonald, Artist of the Week
Runs Jan. 4-8th.
Norma MacDonald is a singer-songwriter and avid biology nerd, born and raised in Cape Breton, now living in Halifax. She was raised on AM radio country stations and Willie Nelson cassettes in her hometown of New Waterford.
She likes Gram Parsons records, talking to strangers, potato chips, David Lynch movies and swimming in the ocean.
Norma MacDonald’s voice holds sublime contradictions—it’s fluid but piercing, self-assured but full of yearning. Her fourth solo album, Burn the Tapes, is just as complex; her incisive lyrics explore old stories and fresh heartbreaks with startling acuity, all woven into a warm and bright country-folk album. Recorded over 13 months in rural Upper Musquodoboit, NS (at Phil Sedore’s Mountain Road Studio), it marks MacDonald’s first time taking the reigns as sole producer. Burn the Tapes is at turns scrappy and slick, naive and confident, playful and heavy. From the summertime, old-friend nostalgia of the opening track “Company” to the quirky, unsettling country-noir of “Lighten Up” (a duet with former Guthries baritone, Gabe Minnikin), to the dark, orchestral Springsteen homage “To Nebraska,“ Burn the Tapes plays like the soundtrack to long night time drive that’s over too soon.
MacDonald’s third album Morning you Wake received glowing reviews in Canada, the U.S and Europe and was the #3 most played album on Galaxie’s Folk Roots channel in 2011. It received three Music Nova Scotia nominations in 2011 (Female Solo, Folk and Country/Bluegrass Recording of the Year). Her second album The Forest for the Trees was nominated by the ECMA as Female Solo Recording of the Year in 2009 and was heralded by Exclaim! as “nothing short of delicious.”