Andrea Ramolo and Cindy Doire were both self–described road warriors developing an international fan base with solo careers and a few solo discs to their credit. But the longtime friends realized through circumstance, together they would be stronger, and when they decided to form Scarlett Jane back in 2011 they become a musical force to be reckoned with. The marriage of their abilities in writing and singing were already honed during a collaborative tour and when they came to record their debut disc, Stranger, and fans and critics immediately took note of these hauntingly dramatic collection of songs. This weekend, Scarlett Jane makes their Hamilton debut.
“Cindy and I met through via our ex-boyfriends who travelled in the same crew as the Trews,” recalls Ramolo. “They were making music and Cindy and I were just dabbling starting off our careers. This is over a decade ago but we became instant friends and haven`t left each other’s side since.
“It always comes back to ex–boyfriends, oddly enough,” laughs Ramolo on the origins of Scarlett Jane. “We were best friends for quite a while and doing our own separate touring, both of us were travelling across Canada and I’d go down into the US and Cindy would tour in Europe. I had released two CDs; Cindy had three with two being French albums. But it worked out that we both split up with our respective partners at the time and we’d already been hanging out all the time — we even did a couple of friendship tours where we’d go on the road with our solo projects. We learned each other’s songs and backed each other up and everyone in the audiences would ask, ‘where is this album’? We knew then it was inevitable that we would start a band together. We broke up with our boyfriends and started a chick band in the late fall of 2011. Everything came together so quickly and organically, we were in the studio two months later and we didn’t have a name picked out.
“When we decided to make a record together, we thought we were going to make a rock record but ultimately we didn’t write one rock song so we are not a rock band,” offers Doire. “We both loved Led Zeppelin and Fleetwood Mac and we wanted to do something edgy like that but as we got together, we wrote the songs and this is what came out naturally.”
Ramolo and Doire began writing songs that had a country folk base flavored with dramatic and perhaps European flair and immediately knew they were on to something.
“With two voices, two women, two lives, two hearts — we come together and everyone has told us that our voices resonate in such a way that it sounds almost like one voice,” says Ramolo. “We love singing together but we wanted to start something fresh and new that wasn’t just Cindy and Andrea joining together. We created this persona that has two names that are not representing each of us. Scarlett Jane is the epitome of us. The Scarlett is the fire, passion, sensuality and darkness that comes out in our music. The Jane is the everywoman. The persona is encompassing of all of it. When we get on stage, we are Scarlett Jane and we love the name. We didn’t plan to do this because we knew it would be a smart business choice but I think inevitably it was a smart business move. Our songwriting is stronger together than apart and you pick up on what your audiences are respective to.
“We incorporate a French, Spanish and Italian in our live performance,” offers Doire. “We’ve always been fascinated with verse and prose in all languages so inevitably there are traces of that in our sound in the dynamics and the cabaret feel to it. All of these things are present in our union. We meet each other half way, we co write everything together and our creative process is so fast. We compliment each other’s ideas and challenge each other so it’s different every time. It’s this beautiful, crazy thing that we always meet each other half way.”
With their debut album re–released with an extra French song, Scarlett Jane are getting rave reviews in la belle province, but are excited to introduce the ‘alt–country noir’ songs found on ‘Stranger’ to Steeltown.
“The song ‘Stranger’ is one of the first songs we wrote together and there’s a lyric in ‘Never Be Found’ that goes ‘Bless the hearts of the stranger that keep us from being alone’ — that’s a feeling that anyone who has been on the road can relate to,” offers Doire on the album title. “Sometimes it’s those strangers that make touring interesting and some strangers even become the basis for songs. Scarlett Jane being a character we made up, she was kind of a stranger to our world so it made sense to call this album Stranger.
“Longevity is key and I don’t think we’ll have a problem with that,” says Doire. “I think we’ll be buddies when we’re seventy years old and playing in a blues band. For now, we just like touring and we hope to do more dates across Canada. We haven’t been to Hamilton yet but we just need a reason to make our way there. Hopefully we have a wonderful turnout and hopefully we keep booking shows there. Sahra Featherstone is from the Burlington area and she’s joining us on fiddle for this show so that’s exciting. We’re going to be putting on the best show ever in Hamilton and we’re really looking forward to it. We won’t let people down.” V
Scarlett Jane plays this Friday February 7 at the Pearl Company. Doors are at 7:30 and tickets are $20 or $15 for students. Click on scarlettjane.com