Maggie's Wake's Debut Album - MuiscOntario Member Spotlight

Posted on
March 7, 2024

Award-winning London, Ontario folk group Maggie’s Wake is poised to launch their highly anticipated self titled debut album on March 17, 2024. The album, crafted over a year, showcases the talents of frontwomen Tara Dunphy and Lindsay Schindler, offering a departure from traditional folk with its eclectic instrumentation and storytelling. Singles like "Grosse Isle (Far Away)" and "New Frontier" transport listeners through tales of immigration and resilience, while guest artists add depth to the genre-crossing debut. With nods from the 2023 Forest City London Music Awards and an upcoming U.S. tour, Maggie’s Wake promises to invigorate Canada’s folk music scene.

About Maggie's Wake 

Maggie's Wake is a Canadian contemporary folk group, creating a new traditional sound. Blending high twang, classic country with fresh jigs and reels, cajun twin fiddles and reggae rhythms, their music is an original, genre hopping adventure that is constantly evolving. United in their passion for fiery tunes, soaring vocals with rich harmonies, meaningful stories and beautiful melodies, Maggie's Wake embraces their wide ranging influences and have built an exciting, new sound. The band features award winning songwriter and musician Tara Dunphy (The Rizdales, Luther Wright and the Wrongs) on tin whistle, flute, fiddle, guitar, banjo and lead vocals and award winning musician Lindsay Schindler (Rant Maggie Rant, Trent Severn) on fiddle and vocals. The powerhouse backing band includes Stephan Szczesniak on percussion, Andrew Kosty on bass Dean Harrison on piano and accordian and Kenneth Palmer on guitar. Dale Watson, the Texas honky tonk legend, says "You can't grow if you rip your roots out of the ground" and Maggie's Wake have taken that to heart. They are honouring tradition while forging their own path in roots music.

More about Maggie's Wake's Debut Studio Album 

Maggie’s Wake is set to release their long-awaited debut album on March 17, 2024. It took just over a year for Maggie’s Wake to write, record and release their first full studio album, which will finally be available on St. Patrick’s Day, following the success of their holiday single “Christmas is Coming (for You)” and the haunting fan favourite “Bridget O’Brien“. The album showcases their vast talents both as storytellers and musicians and has been a labour of love for the women who front Maggie’s Wake, singer, and multi-instrumentalist Tara Dunphy and Lindsay Schindler, fiddler and harmony vocalist.

Don’t let the Celtic instrumentation of fiddles, whistles, and flutes fool you. It may lead you to believe that Maggie’s Wake is just another folk band playing jigs with a slightly modern spin but what you’re going to find is a refreshing and exciting departure. From the first notes of the spaghetti western Sadies inspired “Grosse Isle (Far Away)”, you are transported to “New Frontier”, which delivers the harrowing true story of an Irish immigrant moving to Canada on a coffin ship. In typical Maggie’s Wake form, they depart from the expected and instead of a traditional pedal steel guitar, it’s the tin whistle delivering those mournful high notes, and the new frontier in question is not the Wild West, but the Island in Quebec that became the final resting place for thousands of hopeful immigrants.

The voyage continues through the turbulent “Harrison’s Way” and lilting “Adaptation”, instrumentals that manage to convey the feelings of turmoil and resilience more effectively than words could. Whether you’re being transported to “Louisiana”, and the decadence of New Orleans with the cajun sounds of twin fiddles or reverting to your free-spirited youth in “Arcane”, this album is all about the journey, not the destination. Most of these pieces were written throughout the pandemic, with “Bridget O’Brien” in particular being a product of Dunphy’s long walks through St Peter’s Cemetery, finding inspiration in the solitude and imagining the lives of these people who were now just names etched in stone. “Maid of Fortune” is a promise to be there, even in the darkest times, and “Dochas” is quite literally hope, in the Gaelic language. With guest artists, including legendary Canadian country picker Nichol Robertson and Canadian Folk Music Award-winning guitarist Kyle Weymouth, along with their incredibly versatile backing band, Maggie’s Wake has indeed made a genre-crossing debut that is authentic, original, and inspired.

The anchor to the album is the epic, four-movement piece “Maggie’s Wake”, which follows the path of grief through loss, remembrance, acceptance, and finally, a celebration of what once was and in the case of this band, what is still to come

Maggie’s Wake is a refreshing addition to Canada’s folk music scene, and already they have been recognized with the 2023 Forest City London Music Award for Best Folk/Roots group, they were official showcase artists at the Folk Alliance International conference in Kansas City, MO in February and will be embarking on their first U.S tour in the Fall 2024.

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