Lily & Madeleine ‘Can’t Help the Way I Feel’ Premiere: ‘We Talk to Each Other Through Songwriting’
By Gary Trust
The sister duo’s new LP, ‘Canterbury Girls,’ arrives Feb. 22.
Music has long been known to be therapeutic for artists, helping to provide a path to insights about themselves that otherwise might never be traveled.
Similarly, listeners can crystalize truths through music.
Sometimes, artists can speak to other artists through their creations. And, when the act experiencing that connection is a sister duo, an already deep bond can be fortified even further.
For pop/folk/Americana twosome, and sisters, Lily & Madeleine, music has assisted communication that is sometimes elusive even in the deepest of relationships.
“Lily and I are so similar emotionally, and we’ve shared so many experiences, that whenever she’ll bring me a song, I pretty much always know what it’s about. Or, I can relate very viscerally,” says Madeleine (the elder of the pair by two years; the sisters’ shared last name: Jurkiewicz).
“I think we find out things about each other. I think we talk to each other through songwriting,” Lily says.
Referencing a song from the duo’s fourth LP, Canterbury Girls, due Feb. 22 on New West Records, Lily says, “Something that I told Madeleine in ‘Self Care’ was that she has always been into bubble baths and face masks, and taking time for yourself, and she was in a really terrible relationship two years ago, when I wrote the song.
“So, I was trying to tell her that the best thing she could do was separate herself from that boyfriend and focus on herself. And she finished the song when she was still dating him and had no idea what I was talking about. But, then, she figured it out.”
“I knew deep down what I needed to do,” Madeleine says. “But that was a warning from Lily, and I finished it, somehow.”
“Through a song, even though it’s me writing, there’s some sort of a separation that you can create,” Lily muses. “It’s a safer place to talk about things.”
Canterbury Girls follows Lily & Madeleine’s 2013 eponymous set, 2014’s Fumes and 2016’s Keep It Together, all of which reached the top 15 on Billboard’s Americana/Folk Albums chart.
The new effort is named after Canterbury Park in Indianapolis, where the duo grew up. Explains Lily of the title’s meaning, “When I was, like, between 12 and 14, I used to spend a lot of time there, just thinking about who I wanted to be, as a woman, as an artist, and as a person.”
The duo’s first two LPs present a fairly pure folk sound, mixing plaintive ballads and jangly uptempo tracks, while Keep It Together expanded to deeper pop production, a style further explored on the new album. Helping helm the latest phase of the tandem’s evolution: co-producers Daniel Tashian and Ian Fitchuk, who co-produced Kacey Musgraves’ Grammy-nominated 2018 album Golden Hour.
“We got with them right in time, because they’re going to be in such high demand,” says Lily with a chuckle.
“We started out writing with them in Nashville,” adds Madeleine, and the partnership grew to production for the new album. “It worked out so well: the two guys and the two ladies in the studio, with a really talented engineer. It was kind of effortless.”
Beyond “Self Care,” highlights of Canterbury Girls include the cinematic “Pachinko Song,” the swirling “Supernatural Sadness” and the joyous, Motown-reminiscent “Can’t Help the Way I Feel,” which Billboard is premiering exclusively.
“We were clapping along in the studio,” Madeleine recalls of recording “Feel,” a song that Tashian conceptualized. “A ’60s female group is undeniably cool, so I hope we can pull that off in our music.”
On Feb. 18, four days ahead of the release of Canterbury Girls, Lily & Madeleine will begin a February-March tour, including dates at Rough Trade NYC in Brooklyn; Deluxe at Old National Centre in Indianapolis; and Bootleg Theater in Los Angeles. Also during the run: a showcase at the South by Southwest Music Festival in Austin, Texas, in March.
Says Madeleine of the new set and how she and Lily expect its songs to translate to live shows, “It’s more similar to the styles we listen to day-to-day. Also, we wanted to create something brand new for ourselves and something that our fans hadn’t heard before.”
“I think folk music is, at its core, about simplicity; simple, peaceful, uncomplicated beauty, so I think it was the easiest genre for us to fall into when we started out,” Lily says. “But, pop is more complicated, from a production standpoint, so it’s fun to challenge ourselves and switch it up.”