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Borough of Queens, New York, United States | Established. Jan 01, 2000 | SELF

Borough of Queens, New York, United States | SELF
Established on Jan, 2000
Band Alternative Folk




"Violet's debut CD"

Brooklyn husband-and-wife duo Violet-singer/guitarist Meredith Minogue and Jim Barry, who plays everything; Mandolins, finger cymbals, glockenspiels, and wood blocks-blended folk and new-wave influences to create "We Both Know It's Out There," an album full of easygoing, but not easy listening songs.--Mary Huhn - New York Post

"Minogue and Barry deliver an impressive and habit forming record"

Violet's music is sophisticated and persuasive with an ability to be breezy and serious at the same moment. The songwriting duo of Meredith Minogue and Jim Barry creates pliant and supple pop with shades of Cowboy Junkies and Yo La Tengo, though more cosmopolitan than the first and more alert than the latter. Minogue's voice is entirely intoxicating and reminiscent of Over the Rhine's Karin Berquist in an unearthly, smart, aloof way. Barry works his way through a knee-high pile of instruments on We Both Know It's Out There -- including guitars, mandolin, glockenspiel, woodblocks, tambourines, and everything but the small assortment he leaves for the capable sidemen who fill the record out. The songs on this record run the emotional and musical gamut from mournful minor key supplications to jangly, banjo-enhanced pop bounces to dark love/hate recriminations and meditations. Violet is texturally complex and lyrically ambitious without losing its sense of fun or taking itself too seriously. Whether it's studying the sky in "Twilight Sleep" or indicting a less-than-likable narrator in "Gift," Minogue and Barry deliver an impressive and habit-forming record.
-- Clay Steakley - Performing Songwriter Magazine

"We Both Know It's Out There is a blend of all that is great about simplicity and quietness."

Over the course of ten inherently different tracks, Violet establish themselves as a band that's almost defiantly difficult to categorize. Beginning with the opening "My Blue Son", with its haunting vocals and admittedly Nick Drake-influenced style, Violet hops energetically between genres. It works beautifully.

Mainly an acoustic album, We Both Know It's Out There is a blend of all that is great about simplicity and quietness. "If I Only Could" wanders down the road of a Celtic-style lullaby, while "Amber Falling" delivers blues a la the Cowboy Junkies. This is not to say that Violet don't take chances with straight-ahead rock; they do so on the rollicking "Undercurrent" with an aggressiveness that's hard to match.

Vocalist Meredith Minogue has a voice that is soft and lilting, yet not remotely weak. Her delivery is striking,similar in style to Emmylou Harris or Chrissie Hynde: powerful at the right moments, but never too soon. On the aforementioned "Undercurrent", Minogue could be an understudy for Hynde, delivering the same swaggering, womanly attitude when it's needed most.

We Both Know... was also blessed with loving production. Violet managed to snag Adam Lasus (Yo La Tengo, Helium) to put his special touch on the album, and as a result the sound is full and clear. Lasus seems to have worked with admirable restraint, allowing for beautiful production without sacrificing the music's intimate feel. In essence, that's what We Both Know... is: a personal, straightforward album.

While We Both Know It's Out There won't hit you in any specific way, it shows the band at their best. For an avid new music listener, it will provide many tracks for a variety of mix tapes -- a song for every mood, if you will.
-- Amy Leach - Splendid Magazine

"Violet pours out ten very well written and well produced pop/folk songs."

Singer/Songwriter sensibility and purity with a strong pop/rock appeal. That's how I like to describe Violet. Meredith Minogue and Jim Barry make up this exciting duo of intelligent musical vision. The songs are complete with feeling and raw emotion. Meredith pours on that flavor of emotion with her moody and distinctive vocal style. There is a sadness in her voice that is so real and so full of charm, that the listener can't help but understand the emotions that these songs present. The musical arrangements are also quite extraordinary. Using several music influences, Violet pours out ten very well written and well produced pop/folk songs.

For those who believe that the era of the singer/songwriter is a thing of the past, it's obvious that they've had their head up that proverbial butt. Violet is just one of those artists/bands that still have something important to say with their music. This music is art in every definition of the word. Music like this isn't created in a factory. It take a special kind of songwriter, a special kind of singer, a special kind of musician. Violet are definitely the full package. This music is sure to appeal to those interested in the intellectual aspects of real musical artistry. Then again, I don't see why the rest of the world can't enjoy it as well. Good music is good music, and this is good music.
-- Michael Allison - Global Muse

"A haunting acoustic ramble..."

Adam Lasus produces Violet's "We Both Know It's Out There" with his usual deft touch. The record is a haunting acoustic ramble that strikes the distinction of being a direct descendent of the O'Kanes seminal "Keep on Runnin'". Terrific numbers like "My Blue Son" and "If I Only Could" glow under the warmth of Meredith Minogue's Sinead O'Conner-via-Emmylou Harris-through-Kelly Willis vocals and phrasing. "We Both Know It's Out There" is another "quiet" record that lacks no confidence or personality.
-- Kurt Hernon - Bangsheet

"Listening to this honeysuckle sweet album makes you feel part of something larger...something good"

Violet is a folky, breeze warbling in from the north, smelling of crackling firewood and musty canvas. Listening to this honeysuckle sweet album makes you feel part of something larger...something good. - Songwriter Monthly

"The voice of Meredith Minogue nearly broke my heart"

This one came out of left field, a totally unexpected surprise hidden in a stack of dull CD's on my desk one afternoon. The voice of Meredith Minogue nearly broke my heart immediatly. So much emotion, pain, despair, resignation, eventual joy, all recorded in a mist of reverb that only enhances the ethereal quality she naturally possesses. Jim Barry's plays nearly every instrument ( might even be every), and they're not all standard issue, as there is a whirlwind of harmonicas, finger cymbals, glockenspiel, lap steel, mandolins, E-Bow, and even a Tibetan bell. Exotic instruments for an exotic voice. Nothing else would have done. Sometimes when we're narrowing down our lists for our top five picks of the year an album will be there by default, simply because we constantly find time in our schedules to listen to it long after we've reviewed it and (supposedly) moved on. This is one of those albums.-- DJ Johnson - Cosmik Debris

"Violet is a mostly acoustic duo memorable for its folk-pop melodies and warmly lyrical voice of singer Meredith Minogue."

Violet is a mostly acoustic duo memorable for its folk-pop melodies and warmly lyrical voice of singer Meredith Minogue. Not at all deconstructionist or even particularly "indie", their stuff is nevertheless engaging by virtue of it's aw heck, it just sounds good! They're a solid rock-folk band in the mold of Fairport Convention, interspersed with Crazy Horse romps. Sure there's only on Sandy Denny, but Minogue's voice is really quite distinctive; this gal can carry a song. At times she reminds me of pure voiced plangent tenors like Tim Buckley and Emmit Rhodes-weird because the second song (Tangled Root) is almost a dead ringer for the Merry Go Round¹s "Live". Mostly, Violet feels caressing,an effect attributed not only to Minogue's singing but also the careful arrangements. Partner Jim Barry produces an impressive array of obbligatto parts: acoustic twelve string, overdriven electric, slide, mandolin. Adam Lasus' production is both full sounding and transparent. The backup musicians include Deni Bonet (violin), Joe McGinty (piano), Byron Estep (banjo), Skip Ward (bass, and Antonio Graci (drums). These songs capture a whole set of feelings, difficult to define, but each quite memorable in its way. We Both Know It's Out There rewards repeated listening.
--Dan Baker - Brooklyn Rail

"We Both Know It's Out There is an album of unfashionably assured, warm songs made by and for adults, though all ages are welcome."

Williamsburg's Newest Hitmakers!!! Yes, in a better reality than the one we're currently stuck in, Violet would have that appellation stuck on them, and they'd deserve it.

Violet are Meredith Minogue (vocals) and Jim Barry (guitars & the like), with able assistance provided by hometown heroes such as Joe McGinty, Skip Ward and the sublime viola of Deni Bonet. We Both Know... is their first full-length album, and it's a gem. Violet are a band out of time, and while it may (in these times of "niche marketing") work against them from a "commercial" standpoint, from a musical/artistic one we all the richer. Violet recall a time when the craft of songwriting -- personal songwriting, with integrity and depth -- was valued. (When was that? you might wonder. Let's just say "pre-1977," because that's when the record companies began their decline into beancounterland. Not that the pre-'77 era was an anything-goes Wonderland Of Artistic Purity, but the record companies used to be run by music-heads who were also businessmen. Try, if you will, to imagine a major record company in 2001 releasing blatantly UNcommercial albums like Lou Reed's Metal Machine Music or the John Cale/Terry Riley masterpiece Church Of Anthrax. But I digress...)

The album that is We Both Know... (as opposed to a bunch of songs thrown together) basks in a warm glow of analog sound, as opposed to the digital sheen that dominates -- it also is blissfully free of the intentionally haphazard "basement" sound that is so prevalent in the indie-rock sphere. Violet are like The Velvet Underground, Sandy Denny-era Fairport Convention, pre-superstardom/divorce-era Fleetwood Mac and mid-70s Neil Young. Note that they don't "sound like" the aforementioned, they ARE like the aforementioned, possessing the same feeling/talent for sustaining moods without become oppressive; using melancholy, modal melodicism honestly; for using elements of the pre-NashVegas country music lexicon (dobro, harmonica, country rhythms) without playing country music (not that playing country is a bad thing, it's just not who they least not yet.)

Meredith sings (I hope she will excuse my familiarity) with a mature, spirited, slightly weary yet unbowed bittersweet quality that is truly memorable, somewhere betwixt Sandy Denny, Beth Orton and Sleater-Kinney's Corin Tucker. The guitars jangle and smolder, the melodies equally and rapturously rich with melancholia that never slides into whiny self-absorption. "My Blue Son" and "Amber Falling" sound like...ah, try to imagine the ballads from the Banana-cover VU being played by the couch-cover VU, but sung by Mimi Farina (or Beth Orton). We Both Know It's Out There is an album of unfashionably assured, warm songs made by and for adults, though all ages are welcome. To obtain: their gigs, or
-- Mark Keresman - Waterfront Weekly

"Big, pure, deep, the kind of voice that can send chills down your spine."

The opener would lead you to think the disc is going to be a folky foray of introspective, haunting numbers. But then, surprise, for the second track Violet steps on the gas pedal and electrifies things, with a rhythm and beat not unlike They Might Be Giants. For the most part, Violet is Meredith Minogue and Jim Barry, the former handling the vocals, the latter guitar. And oh what a voice Minogue has. Big, pure, deep, the kind of voice that can send chills down your spine. And over the eclectic mix of songs they play here, that voice is the constant that holds it all together (though Barry is no slouch on guitar). Call it post-modern folk if you must, but it's cool stuff indeed.
-- Bill Ribas - NY Rocks


The Last Cathedral (Wine & Vinyl Music, 2005)

We Both Know It's Out There (Wine & Vinyl Music, 2001)

Coast to Coast (Jarmusic, 2002) - Compilation disk that includes Cowboy Junkies and Ani DiFranco

Magnet New Music Magazine Sampler, Vol. 19 (2001) Also includes Low and Calexico

Pop Culture Press CD #14 (2001)



Meredith Minogue (vocals, guitar) and Jim Barry (guitar, other stringed instruments) began writing together in 1994 and have been playing and refining their sound in the clubs of New York ever since. Their music developed into a blend of their biggest influences -- folk music and New Wave.

Minogue and Barry have performed as a duo and with a full backing band (drums, string bass, violin) at numerous events and venues including The CMJ Festival, The Knitting Factory, and Webster Hall. They were also were featured on "The Fringe," a pilot for a live music television series.

For their first full-length record, Violet linked up with producer Adam Lasus, who had previously worked with Yo La Tengo, Helium, Clem Snide and Madder Rose. Adam's studio, a converted 19th century firehouse, proved the perfect setting for the duo to craft its blend of the old and new. "We Both Know It's Out There," is a modern album that recalls the analog warmth of the 60s and 70s.

Violet created Wine & Vinyl Music to release the record in September of 2001.

The record received reviews in over 25 print and online publications. Violet performed 75 regional gigs (northeast) and high profile New York City shows.
Songs from the record received airplay on over 150 radio stations nationally including WFUV. Violet was selected by Jarmusic, a German record label, to contribute a track to Coast to Coast a compilation that included the Cowboy Junkies and Ani DiFranco

Violet's follow up record, "The Last Cathedral" will be released in 2005. A tour will follow.