“Tasker is one of the guitarists of his generation.” Maverick
“…in Iona Macdonald’s singing resides a loveliness that cannot be taught.” Rolling Stone
“…Mines the best of Scottish and American musical influences. Like the great Joni Mitchell they leave the listener simultaneously sated and devastated.” R2
November 2010 saw the release of “This Broken Key”, the second full album from Glasgow’s Doghouse Roses. Recorded in January 2010, and supported by the Scottish Arts Council, the album demonstrates the stark beauty of acoustic minimalism, interweaved with the richness of a rhythm section. It’s an album that is very much about the songs, created with the originality and musicality that sets Doghouse Roses apart from many of their contemporaries.
The unique sound of Doghouse Roses lies in the threads that connect British folk music and Americana. Inevitable comparisons have been made to musicians of the 60's folk revival, who drew strongly on American influence in their interpretation of traditional material and in their songwriting. The music of Doghouse Roses explores the landscape in a similar way, but is very much of its own time. What results, from the writing and musicianship of Tasker and Macdonald, is no pale imitation of what has come before, but a bold step forward in folk music.
Paul Tasker and Iona Macdonald started playing music together soon after meeting in late 2005. Iona describes their musical meeting of minds as, “a happy accident”. “We were a couple first and very quickly realised that we were compatible musically too. We’re both traditionalists, but not in the traditional sense. We look at music through the same eyes and find beauty in the musical moments that defy definition. Perhaps that’s why we often find our own sound difficult to define.”
On stage, whether playing as a duo or as a full band, the nature of Tasker and Macdonald’s relationship with music comes to the fore. “It was important to us, if we were going to invite anyone to play with us on a stage that they are more than just musicians to us. Their musical background isn’t as important to Doghouse Roses as their relationship to the music is, and their connection to us.” This is clearly seen when looking at who Tasker and Macdonald have chosen to work with in the years since they formed Doghouse Roses. The debut album, “How’ve You Been (All this Time)?”, was recorded and produced by award winning composer Malcolm Lindsay, who In June 2009 received a Royal Television Society Award for the score for ITV series Unforgiven. Malcolm joined Doghouse Roses on stage at Celtic Connections 2009, along with Sharon Hassan, former member of Dochas and an RSAMD graduate. The band made their second Celtic Connections outing in 2011, opening for Raul Malo in the 1200 capacity ABC1. This time the duo were joined on stage by Jen Cunnion (vocals) of punk-country outfit The Dirt, Brian McEwan (bass) and Stu Kidd (drums), former members of the infamous BMX Bandits, and Alan Scobie (keys) of the formidable Skerryvore. Alan Scobie also recorded and produced the second album, “This Broken Key”.
Like so many of their contemporaries, the couple has chosen a cottage industry approach to the way in which they manage the business of making music. To date, they have released 2 albums and 3 EPs on their own label, Yellowroom Music, and secured distribution with Proper Distribution in the UK and with Rough Trade in the Netherlands, Belgium and Luxembourg. Combining this with a strong commitment to live touring, which has seen the duo play hundreds of gigs across the UK and Europe, isn’t always easy, but Macdonald claims it’s worth it. “We make music because we love music, not because we love paperwork and red tape. There are times when it becomes so frustrating that it breaks your heart, but all of that melts away when you’re in the music. It’s our passion. If you’re not willing to give up an easy life for something you care so deeply about, you might as well give up altogether.”
Not content with the demands of running a label and life on the road, Tasker and Macdonald have also lent their talents to other musical projects. The duo have recorded guest appearances on numerous releases, including “49 Arlington Gardens”, by Nick Garrie (Elefant records, 2009), which was produced by BMX Bandit Dulgas T Stewart and Norman Blake of Teenage Fanclub. The duo was also invited to perform on the Willard Grant Conspiracy album “Pilgrim Road” (Loose Music, 2008). Their latest collaborative outing has seen Tasker and Macdonald contribute to the album “Traditionals” (In a Cabin With, 2011), the brainchild of Dutch music projects “Onder Invloed” and “In a Cabin With”, which also features numerous top-flight Dutch musicians.
So what does the future hold? Tasker says, “We’re looking forward to exploring the potential of a full band, but keen to also retain the ability to perform as a duo. In the end, as always, we’ll head in the direction that the music takes us and that’s exciting. Music’s more interesting when you don’t know quite where it’s going to lead you and that’s the beauty of it… the not knowing.”.
Iona Macdonald - Vocals, guitar
Paul Tasker - guitar, mandolin, vocals,
Malcolm Lindsay - guitar, piano
Sharon Hassan - fiddle
October 2010 - "This Broken Key" (YLLWRM-007)
3. Trouble Gathering
4. Thunder of the Dawn
5. Twisted Wheel
6. The Rain
7. Blue Moon on the Mountain
8. Any Kind of Love
11. Devil in Me
12. The Highwayman
October 2009 - "Folk & Blues Part 2" (YLLWRM-006)
1. Diesel Engine
2. Make Me a Pallet on your Floor
4. First of April
5. Both Sides of the Tweed
6. Wayfaring Stranger
January 2009 – “How’ve You Been (all this time?)” (YLLWRM-005)
1. Gone There
2. All I Knew
3. Greener The Grass
4. Pilgrim’s Tale
5. On My Mind
7. Border Hills
9. On The River
10. The Earth & The Breeze
May 2008 - “Greener The Grass / Years” (YLLWRM-004)
1. Greener The Grass
September 2007 - “Folk & Blues Part 1” (YLLWRM – 003)
1. Sycamore Tree
2. Ae Fon Kiss
3. Nine Hundred Miles
5. Ye Jacobites
6. 16 Tons
September 2006 - Doghouse Roses EP (YLLWRM-002)
2. Rises & Fall
3. The Whistle Song
5. Wee Instrumental
6. As The Crow Flies
7. Nottamun Town
Rolling Stone, Germany - Album Review
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The prefix "Nu" never promises anything good, when it refers to music. "Nu" stands for: modern adju...The prefix "Nu" never promises anything good, when it refers to music. "Nu" stands for: modern adjusted habits, also for flatness. NuJazz, NuSoul, NuFolk. The British duo Doghouse Roses gladly describe themselves as the latter, however, their tunes run deeper than that and in Iona Macdonald's singing resides a loveliness which cannot be taught and sometimes reminds one of Jacqui McShee. Can't be bad
Wolfgang doebeling, February 2009
Rock & Reel - How've You Been album review
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On their debut disc, alt.folk duo Doghouse Roses put the experience gleaned in treading the boards a...On their debut disc, alt.folk duo Doghouse Roses put the experience gleaned in treading the boards across the UK's folk and Americana circuit to good use. When presented with the veritable sweethop that modern technology presents, it's all too tempting to ladle on the sugar, icing and unnecessary hundreds and thouands - ultimately losing the heart of the music. Here however, the music is built around the essence of their live sound - Paul Tasker's intricate guitar and Iona Macdonald's crystalline voice. Tasker's soundtrack mines the best of Scottish and American musical influences, at one moment homespun and folksy, at another bluesy while Macdonald's
pure vocals are heart-achingly haunting throughout. 'Gone There' opens the album the album with an insistent, finger picked rhythm around which a tale of loss and regret is spun - all the while textured harmonies and ambient guitar sounds hover on the edge of hearing, adding an ominous sense of foreboding. Its not all gloom, though; elsewhere 'Greener The Grass' evokes a pastoral idyll while 'happines' is a languid ragtime blues that translates the title without resorting to trite mawkishness. However, perhaps the standout track is the tender, piano-led "Stalling", which like a great Joni Mitchell tune, leaves the listener simultaneously sated and devastated.
Lira Musicmagasin - How've you Been Album review
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Acoustic folklrock. It is not usual that newcomers write songs that feels like classics. Doghouses...Acoustic folklrock. It is not usual that newcomers write songs that feels like classics. Doghouses Roses does this, however, and the reason for their success is probably due to the chemistry between the vocalist Iona MacDonald and the guitarist Paul Tasker. After two former EPs, the Scottish Duo has gotten everything exactly right this time.
How’ve you been (all this time) includes 10 songs, of which 9 are written by Tasker and one by MacDonald. It involves ballads, peaceful melodies and folk rock. Some impulses appear – Celtic music, American folk song and Sandy Denna. Iona MacDonald has been compared with Denny and that is not an exaggeration. Together, this duo creates a moving landscape of sound, filled with feelings and spectacular lyrics"
Gert-Ove Fridlund Lira Musicmagasin, February 2009
Der Kurier - How've You Been album review
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There is earthy folk music; how you would imagine it to be in wood panelled, nicotine stained pubs, ...There is earthy folk music; how you would imagine it to be in wood panelled, nicotine stained pubs, and there is the folk music of the Doghouse Roses, who's spirit reminds of Scottish stone circles in the moonlight. Etheric, pure, nearly angel-likeso you are forced to grab deep in the drawer of adjective to describe the voice of Iona Macdonald. With this voice she presents the immaculate melodies with contemporary lyrics which are flattered by the virtuosity of Paul Taskers' guitar playing. This record is very beautiful to listen to and perfectly arranged, but all this perfection can momentarily be a little sterile. Overall Marvellous
Peter Sester 23/8/2008
Acoustic Magazine - How've You Been album review
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While these Glaswegians have a name that makes them sound like an 80s hair metal band from Los Angel...While these Glaswegians have a name that makes them sound like an 80s hair metal band from Los Angeles, their blend of Scottish folk and alt-rock is an unexpected success. Vocalist Iona Macdonald has an ethereal voice that gives songs like ‘Gone There’ an almost Clannad-like feel, while guitarists Paul Tasker and Malcolm Lindsay play with a level of expertise that immediately puts them head and shoulders above many similar bands. Well worth checking out
Sunday Herald, How've You Been album review
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This impressive full-length debut from Glasgow-based neo-folksters Doghouse Roses puts it best foot ...This impressive full-length debut from Glasgow-based neo-folksters Doghouse Roses puts it best foot firmly forwards.
Opening track Gone There sets out their stall assuredly with Iona Macdonald’s plaintive, anglo-vowelled voice chiming clearly over the urgent guitar-picking of Paul Tasker, a man who has clearly paid studious attention to the fingerwork of folk’s living legend Bert Jansch.
With production duties handled by acclaimed composer/producer Malcolm Lindsay (who recently recorded the Willard Grant Conspiracy album, Pilgrim Road, in his home-studio), vocals and guitar are given rightful prominence, with strings and horns embellishing the sound tastefully in the main – although things do go somewhat awry in Border Hills with the addition of campfire bongos.
It’s not surprising, given that Macdonald and Tasker are a partnership in more than just the musical sense, that they are strongest at their most intimate. All I Knew, Pilgrim’s Tale and Happiness all argue that their strength lies in the simple approach. ****
The Sunday Herald 28/9/2008
The List - How've You Been album review
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Glasgow duo Doghouse Roses have been kicking around Glasgow for the best part of three years and thi...Glasgow duo Doghouse Roses have been kicking around Glasgow for the best part of three years and this, their full-length debut, makes good on the promise hinted at on two EPs and a single (‘Greener is the Grass’) that they are something a little bit special.
Vocalist Iona MacDonald sings with an effortless clarity reminiscent of a young Sandy Denny and the aching expression of Natalie Merchant at her most mournful. It’s atmospheric stuff that strikes an engaging balance between tradition and contemporary storytelling, from the cyclical sobriety of opening track ‘Gone There’ to the driving rhythms of ‘Border Hills’. Above all it’s a record brimming with ideas and cemented by some terrific, measured musicianship.
Muska - How've You Been album review
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The story goes like that: at the end of 2005 Paul Tasker and Iona Macdonald leisurely sipped red win...The story goes like that: at the end of 2005 Paul Tasker and Iona Macdonald leisurely sipped red wine and listened to the good old music and decided that something had to be done.
Between 2006 and 2007 they recorded two EPs that impressed critics hence the decision to make an album wasn’t a tough one. Few other songs had to be written and a concept that would additionally ground their pleasing alt-folk-rock sound had to be found.
Tasker and Macdonald are experienced musicians - he is a highly regarded guitarist and songwriter, whereas she, among other, performed with Willard Grant Conspiracy. Critics compared her to Sandy Denny, Linda Thompson, even with Gillian Welch. Still, these references wouldn’t really count if they had produced a bad record, which they didn’t. Their record is interesting and listenable; pleasant songs with good lyrics where Iona Macdonald’s Pilgrim’s Tale sticks out.
In almost all the songs (all the others were written by Paul Tasker) there is a breath of memories and traveling – taking a road of a mundane life through the various lands where subject is searching for peace, happiness and love, and sometimes even encounters less pleasant things along the way – but it seems that Pilgrim’s Tale sums up this concept most gracefully. It’s the fourth song on the record be we can easily say that it is a central one.
The record was produced by Malcolm Lindsay, to some of you better known from the work with Willard Grant Conspiracy. Doughouse Roses doesn’t necessarily convey the folk-noir feelings from the albums of this group (GWC) nor does their record represent a turning point on the art-folk scene, but I am sure that you will gladly listen to it more than once.
Muska Magazine, Slovenia Issue 9+10 Sept/ October
Rootstime.be album Review
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Only Daniel Wylie from Glasgow was on the radar here and now we have another promising band, Doghous...Only Daniel Wylie from Glasgow was on the radar here and now we have another promising band, Doghouse Roses. At the heart of this formation is singer Iona Macdonald and guitarist Paul Tasker who also wrote 9 of the 10 songs here.
Their musical habitat is in the folk-blues scene, albeit with a lot of attention and respect for traditional acoustic sound. Doghouse Roses was formed in late 2005 by the couple after a few evenings and nights were spent listening to old music from their record collection. They then decided to try to create their own sound with all the musical influences of bands like "The Pentangle" and "Fairport Convention" in perfect harmony could be combined with vocal performances a la Gillian Welch.
After the first 2 EPs were gently thrown onto the market the general public are now treated to their first full length CD ("How've you been (All This Time)?" For the production they called on Malcolm Lindsay who previously earned his stripes as a producer for the Delgado's and Willard Grant Conspiracy.
Robert Fisher of WGC also recently invited both musicians to join him to work on his latest CD "Pilgrim Road" and subsequently had them join a part of the touring band. The beautiful voice of Iona Macdonald sound flawless and does frequently call to mind folk singers as Sandy Denny and Linda thompson.
The ten songs on this album are alt-folk and country folk oriented songs with our clear favourite being the intimate and acoustic songs such as "All i Knew","Greener The Grass" which appeared as the albums first single, "The Earth & The Breeze" (sounds like the work of Natalie Merchant) and Pilgrim's Tale, the only song written by Iona Macdonald. On the beautiful "Stalling" is subtle piano with added playful violins. But the general mood of the album remains intimate and sober. The captivating and ethereal voice of Iona Macdonald to us is the greatest instrument on this album.
Marcie, December 2008
Way Out West
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...On (Wilard Grant Conspiracy's) Pilgrim Road the textures are guided by (Malcolm) Lindsay's hand. ......On (Wilard Grant Conspiracy's) Pilgrim Road the textures are guided by (Malcolm) Lindsay's hand. Closing song Vesper borrow the mood of Estonian composer Avro Part, while The Pugilist is held together, barely, by harp and pizzicato string. Most suprisingly, perhaps, is the Great Deceiver, which draw in Paul Tasker's bluesy, Bert Jansch style guitar, before Iona Macdonald's vocals steer the song away from American country twangs toward a British folk tradition, and then the sudden entrance of a choral backing transports the listener to a kirk on a remote cottish island and the sound of the Lewis psalm singers.
1. On The River
2. Pilgrims' Tale
3. Thunder of the Dawn
5. Sycamore Tree
6. Nottamun Town
8. Make Me A Pallet On your Floor
8. All I Knew
9. As the Crow Flies
10. Ae Fon Kiss
11. Diesel Engine
12. Gone There
This set is a typical set list but will change from night to night. The set is approx 60 mins, and can be longer or shorter to suit.
There are no upcoming dates at this time.