“…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
The unique sound of Doghouse Roses lies in the threads that connect British folk music and Americana. Their latest album, “This Broken Key”, Released in November 2010, was supported by the Scottish Arts Council, and demonstrates the stark beauty of acoustic minimalism with the richness of a rhythm section.
Their next release is scheduled for mid 2012 on their own Yellowroom Records label,
Doghouse Roses recent 2011 performances include tours of Germany in March and the Netherlands in May and October , as well as appearances at Edinburgh International fringe and a showcase Scotland appearance at Celtic Connections in January. Previous years of near constant touring including showcases at Popkomm in Berlin and a series of shows with Richmond Fontaine, and The Willard Grant Conspiracy among others, have formed Tasker and Macdonald into a completely balanced unit.
Soon after meeting in 2005, Paul Tasker and Iona Macdonald started playing music together. 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. Tasker recently conributed banjo to "My Kind of Paradise" by Brian Hughes which won album of the year at the British Country Music Awards 2011. 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, and 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.”.