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JUNO-nominated duo Burnstick soon to release new album

The married couple known as Burnstick is looking forward to releasing their second album and sharing their harmonic sound with more of Canada.

Jason and Nadia Burnstick are making a name for themselves in Canadian folk music. Currently on tour, the Indigenous, Manitoba-based duo is set to release their sophomore album, Made of Sin, on May 24.

The duo’s music features hauntingly beautiful melodies and powerful, heartfelt lyrics. Nadia described it as “moody folk.” The duo has already been recognized with numerous awards and nominations, including a JUNO Award nomination for their 2019 debut album, Kîyânaw. They also composed multiple songs for the renowned Canadian television series, Little Bird.

Family and togetherness are clear cornerstones of Burnsticks’ music, which was evident in their most recent single, Hands Tied.

“We love our family, and we love the people that we get to spend time with,” Nadia said. She explained that Hands Tied was inspired by the idea of not taking time with loved ones for granted. Not only is the Burnsticks’ love for friends and family evident in the song’s gentle harmonies, but so is their love for music itself.

“Music has always been part of my life, and I knew it always would be,” Nadia shared.

 Jason echoed a similar sentiment, and said that his older brothers were his first musical influence. These days, he’s often inspired by his peers. Whereas Nadia said that she’s always been moved by female vocalists ranging all the way from Joni Mitchell and Sarah McLachlan to Taylor Swift.

Both Jason and Nadia had solo careers prior to teaming up. But, they agreed that touring and making music is more “fun” when they do it as a family. It also offers an array of new possibilities, and the opportunity to blend each other’s distinct styles to create something truly unique.

“When I’m by myself, I don’t sound like Burnstick. When Nadia’s by herself, she doesn’t sound like Burnstick,” Jason said. “But when we work on this thing together, it has a sound to it. And it’s just something that’s grown organically over the years.”

Nadia noted that playing as a duo is one of her “favorite things to do,” and that it enables them to create harmonies that neither could create alone.

“I wouldn’t trade what we have for the world,” Nadia said. “I love it so much.”

Jason explained that while his personal style leans more towards the blues, Nadia’s gravitates more towards pop. Nadia added that the combination of pop and blues riffs is what she thinks makes their music “so special.” She also pointed out Jason’s playing of the Weissenborn guitar as another source of the duo’s distinctiveness.

“Some people play it, but not a lot. And I think that that really drives our sound,” Nadia said.

The duo is enthusiastic about Made of Sin. Even though it’s a new album, Jason quickly pointed out that it’s “still us.” He explained that it took a lot of time perfecting every song, but creating the album allowed them to “push the envelope in terms of our own musicality.”

“I’m really proud of this one,” Jason said. “This is some of our best work, and I can’t wait to share with everyone.”

Right now, the duo is touring British Columbia. They have a packed schedule — not only are they set to feature in Saskatchewan’s Napatāk Ramble Festival in July and Nova Scotia’s Lunenburg Folk Harbour Festival in August — they are also excited to perform with the Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra in October.

Burnstick visited Alberta earlier this year, and are eager to return. Nothing is set in stone yet, but they hope to return in the fall.

As for their goals for the future?

“World domination,” Jason said with a laugh. And it seems likely.

Natalia Gala

Natalia is a first-year student majoring in conservation biology. Her favourite pastime is exploring other planets by writing dystopian science fiction. When not inventing alien civilizations, she’s learning languages or running.

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