Maddie & Tae - Start Here

Dot Records

Armed with two guitars and sass rarely heard from newcomers in country music, Maddie Marlow and Tae Dye were just 18 when they took America by storm in the summer of 2014 with their cheeky yet insightful Girl In A Country Song. Following the soft-release of a four-track EP at the end of last year, the girls have now released their appropriately titled debut album. A confident and irrepressible blend of plucky, high-powered acoustic-driven country that showcases a hearty mix of sweet and spitfire, its signature sound centres on the girls’ playful interactions and deft harmonies. A naturally formed duo, the Maddie & Tay story began at 15, when they met through their mutual vocal coach. Following high school graduation they moved to Nashville and within a year they’d signed with the newly activated, once legendary Dot Records, which is now an imprint of the highly successful Big Machine Records.

They’ve been given unusual freedom for a new, young country music act, being co-writers on all eleven tracks—four of which were included on their previous four-track EP. Their approach to country is equal parts smarts and real girl spirit as they expertly merge their love of mainstream country and traditional Southern upbringing into a journey of discovery—an exploration of the brightest and darkest corners of the heart of a teenager; the weakness and triumphs, and the celebration of joy in their lives and in music. There is something keenly fresh and original about their songwriting. The fiery hand-clapping Your Side Of Town sports fiddles, banjo and steel guitar as they pull no punches in their fist-thumping warning to their love rival to stay away. In contrast, the fiddle-driven After The Storm Blows Through is a stunning ballad telling a yearning love story that will win through despite all the set-backs. The self-affirming Fly, Maddie & Tae’s second single, taps into the vein of coming of age, in much the way the Dixie Chicks did with Wide Open Spaces some 18 years ago.

There are just so many magical moments to enjoy on this collection of songs that either gallop with hilarity in their utter honesty or that invite a reflective stillness all tinged with rubbed raw honesty and pure country grit. Doggone it, Mae & Tae is one of the best things to have happened in country music in recent years. Their music is an impossibly perfect mixture of down-home charm and staggering intelligence drawing on acoustic instruments, the sound of fingers on strings, swooping harmonies that quiver with the tentativeness of being young and wanting—technically astute vocalists who know how to imbue emotion without losing control. Though it’s music for the young, much like the music of the Everly Brothers some 50-odd years ago, this is the kind of teenage pop-country music that can, and should, appeal right across the board.