Free at Noon Flashback: Lily & Madeleine bring new album and lots of feeling to World Cafe Live

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Lily & Madeleine | photo by Gabriela Barbieri for WXPN

Sister singer-songwriter duo Lily & Madeleine celebrated the release of their new album, Canterbury Girls, at today’s Free at Noon concert. The duo have released music together since 2013 and each of their albums since then sparkles with deeply personal lyrics, lush harmonies, and meditations on who they are in an ever-changing world. The album title refers to Canterbury Park in the sisters’ hometown of Bloomington, Indiana. However, the young songwriters — ages 21 and 23– have burst out of their hometown bubble this past year. They moved to Brooklyn and recorded their new album in Nashville in collaboration with Tashian and Fitchuk, the co-producers behind Kacey Musgraves’ Grammy-award winning album, Golden Hour. Their new album explores this experience of leaving home, loving and losing, and searching for who you are along the way.

Lily & Madeleine opened their set with the pre-released single, “Self Care.” It’s declarative piano melody tells the story of a failing relationship and the decision to walk way from love gone wrong. It set the town for the set and the album as a whole, which meditates on the emotional baggage we all carry. The sisters switched between upbeat disco-pop melodies in “Supernatural Sadness” to Motown inspired beats in “Can’t Help the Way I Feel.” The band shined with featured electric guitar and cello solos as well as passionate percussion. Lily & Madeleine have moved from their defined folk sound of their first two albums into a new, pop territory. The change was well received by the audience as the duo managed to balance resonate, narrative lyrics with singable melodies and moments of levity.

For their final song, band members left the stage for Lily and Madeleine to perform the last song on the new album, “Go” alone. It is a fitting final song, with stripped back piano and vulnerable vocals. “I said I wouldn’t leave so easy / But I know you want me to see me go, go, go,” Lily and Madeleine sing with their signature, tightly-wound harmonies. Like many family bands, the visible connection between the sister singer-songwriters makes for a compelling show, and their new album has proved itself to a poignant exploration of how it feels to be young and open-hearted in today’s dizzying world.

Lily & Madeleine will perform at the Wold Cafe Live Upstairs tonight with opening act Brother Bird; more information on the show can be found here.

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