Norma MacDonald’s voice holds sublime contradictions—it’s fluid but piercing, self-assured but full of yearning. Her fourth solo album, Burn the Tapes, is just as complex: her incisive lyrics exploring old stories and fresh heartbreaks with startling acuity, all woven into a warm and bright country/folk album.
MacDonald was born and raised in Cape Breton, and now lives in Halifax, NS. She likes Gram Parsons records, talking to strangers, potato chips, David Lynch movies and swimming in the ocean. Her new album, Burn the Tapes, is a sonic conglomeration of these affections. Recorded over 13 months in rural Upper Musquodoboit, NS, it marks MacDonald’s first time taking the reigns as sole producer. Burn the Tapes is at turns scrappy and slick, naive and confident, playful and heavy. From the summertime, old-friend nostalgia of the opening track “Company” to the quirky, unsettling country-noir of “Lighten Up”, to the dark, orchestral Springsteen homage “To Nebraska”, Burn the Tapes plays like the soundtrack to long night time drive that’s over too soon.
Burn the Tapes debuted at #3 on the national Earshot Folk/Roots chart the week of its release. It was nominated as Americana/Bluegrass album of the year by Music Nova Scotia.