Hailing from Toronto and Cape Breton, the feel-good pop-country duo Broadtree shares a breath of fresh air with their recent 11-track album, 'Feeling Bad. Feeling Better.'
Consisting of two theater performers Armand Antony and Nicole McCafferty, both artists deliver their timeless stage presence into each of their tracks, allowing listeners to anticipate the duo's live performances once again. Always writing from personal experiences, Broadtree utilizes their musical theater storytelling overtop of pop-country's uplifting sound, which can be heard on their latest album, 'Feeling Bad. Feeling Better.'
Opening the album is the upbeat intro track, "Running Shoes." The instrumentals begin their uplifting venture with help from powerful drum breaks, heartfelt acoustic strumming, and a sparkling electric guitar whaling in the background. As Nicole McCafferty starts singing rather personal and emotional lyricism, she floats her way to the hook alongside Armand Antony as the two set sail into a sonic wonderland. Listening to their lyricism, Broadtree touches on themes of devoting oneself to be by someone's side for the rest of time, which leads the track to a sweet ending while perfectly setting the album's heartfelt theme.
Moving onto the next piece, "Remember The Time," this is where Broadtree gets incredibly nostalgic. As Antony and McCafferty open the song with their reminiscent lyricism and detailed storytelling, they remind us of easier times with loved ones that we took for granted. Not to mention the crisp, powerful, and bright country instrumentals, Broadtree flawlessly switches up their musical approach within the next track, "Home Is Where The Heart Aches." While the instrumentals open the song on a nostalgic 90s country note, Broadtree later serenades us while pouring their emotional aches and pains over our speakers for us to grasp and take away.
The next track, "This Side," truly caught our attention right off the bat, as Broadtree emphasizes their musical theater backgrounds with help from their cinematic instrumentals. While Antony opens the song with his dynamic vocal stylings, he continues singing about a troubled relationship and forgiving someone's mistakes time and time again. We truly adore the sincere and authentic feel of this song; it's almost as if Broadtree has taken us to a full-fledged country musical, as we're starting to pick up on the album's deeply emotional themes surrounding a broken relationship. As the song comes to an orchestral ending with help from a chilling string section, we move onto the next piece.
As we begin to reach the album's halfway point, we're met with the tender acoustic ballad, "Wendy," where Broadtree opens the song with McCafferty's bright vocals singing about the song's protagonist and her wild imagination. While Antony makes his way in and adds to the deep and introspective atmosphere, he continues touching on Wendy's adventurous lifestyle and how she strives for freedom. Moving onto the next emotional piece, "Even Now," Broadtree serves us more heartfelt songs that emphasize the album's delicate and passionate theme. While Antony serenades us with lyrics surrounding the rush of memories with a past lover, Broadtree truly allows their audience to feel lost in their impeccable storytelling and relatable concepts.
Holding tight onto their musical theater backgrounds, the next piece, "Welcome Home," perfectly exemplifies this. As McCafferty opens the song with her lush vocal stylings, she begins singing of holding someone's hand through thick and thin while helping them back down to earth mentally. As Antony makes his way in, he continues the song's genuine theme over top of the soothing country instrumentals. The song's luminous electric guitar and accompanying acoustic truly make for a chilling experience. We must also note the contrast between this track and "Home Is Where The Heart Aches," as Broadtree goes from searching for a place to lay their head, to feeling at home in someone's presence merely within the space of five tracks.
Sweetening the instrumental atmosphere with the next song, "The Other Side," the piece blissfully opens with tender piano melodies and McCafferty's soothing vocal performance. As she begins singing of feeling lost, confused, and down, Antony later makes his way in to remind listeners that their light hasn't dimmed in the slightest. We truly adore the tender and fragile feel of this song, as it perfectly complements the next song's energy and concept, "Bad For Each Other." While the song opens on an upbeat note with swinging acoustic guitar melodies and Broadtree's duo vocal stylings, they begin letting us into another romantic atmosphere. While singing a conceptual story of two lovers and their journey, Broadtree leaves us with the utmost love while putting aside their differences to work through their relationship.
Reaching the album's second last track, "Champagne Problems," Broadtree takes us through another emotional and fragile atmosphere as they open the song with soothing acoustic guitar picking and McCafferty's heavenly vocals. As we dive deeper into her lyricism, she tells a reflective story of dropping someone's heart like glass and watching the pieces shatter before her eyes. While a tender cello begins sonically serenading us, Antony makes his way in a tells the other side of the story as he describes watching love slip out of his hands and control. We're genuinely head over heels for Broadtree's detailed storylines, as it blurs the lines between country and musical theater seamlessly.
Landing on the album's outro track, "Shining Star," the song opens with short acoustic guitar bursts and McCafferty's introspective lyricism. As she begins letting us into her vulnerable and heartfelt atmosphere for the final time, she tells us an incredibly reflective story of waiting around for someone's call while feeling as though time has frozen. Listening to Broadtree's lyricism, we begin to understand the album's overall theme and concept as the duo takes us through the troubles of a modern-day breakup throughout the project's entirety. Leaving us with the outro track, Broadtree reminds us to brush ourselves off and start anew. Truly a refreshing outro, we feel more than satisfied with the album's fluid concept and heartfelt delivery.
Discover the dynamic stylings of Broadtree with their latest genuine and conceptual album, 'Feeling Bad. Feeling Better.,' now available on all streaming platforms.
We genuinely admire the deep and conceptual storyline within your recent album, 'Feeling Bad. Feeling Better.' How long was this project in the making? When did you begin writing songs and creating lyrical concepts?
Nicole: Originally we had only planned on releasing one song together, a cover of ‘Red’. That recording became so special to us that we decided to hold a Livestream to release it performing some favorite covers; the covers we played there became our first EP, and before the EP was even out, we started getting excited about the possibility of writing some of our own songs together. We both come from a background in theatre, musical theatre in particular - it was hard to avoid that making its way into the songs, which was never a bad thing. It actually made songwriting quite easy and allowed us to develop our relationship as songwriters extremely well right off the bat. We always seem to somehow know what the other is thinking, whether it’s a line, a melody, a song concept - we were at a point where we were churning out a new and complete song every rehearsal. Thinking of the voice of ‘speaker’ in the song as their own person, their own character, helped us separate our experiences from ourselves and make them more universal. We wrote our first song on December 29, finished writing 6 weeks later, and had the album released exactly 100 days since writing our first song together. It’s been a wild ride.
Did your duo work entirely solo for the album 'Feeling Bad. Feeling Better.?' Or did you reach out to any musicians, producers, or engineers to heighten the album's sonic emotion?
Armand: This was our baby from the beginning and we kept a pretty closed lid on it. All the music and lyrics were strictly heard and seen by us. We didn’t really show the songs to anyone until the very end for some final checks. But some songs were definitely influenced by others. For certain songs, like Wendy, a song about having everything and losing it, we reached out to a good friend who had lost her big acting break because of COVID, and her story helped shape the song. The entire performing arts industry has lost so much, but we wanted to find a unique way to tell that story without making an obvious statement about how sad we are about what we’ve lost. Some other singer/songwriter and musician friends also provided some great feedback; little changes that made a huge difference. Another example is the key change in ‘Remember the Time’, which was an amazing suggestion that gave the song such a great energetic (and emotional!) boost at the end.
Could you let us know what inspired the concept and theme behind the album 'Feeling Bad. Feeling Better.?' How did the album's storyline come about?
Nicole: The last year has been hard on everyone, but as we said before, it’s harder when you finally have what you’ve always wanted, and what you’ve worked towards most of your life has been stripped away from you. Pre-pandemic, both of us had reached a point in our lives where we were essentially ‘living our best life,' and without warning, that was gone. Add on some of the dark places we’ve both been in and it would have been very easy for this to be a REALLY depressing album. But we wanted to find hope, and add a layer of hope, however small or however big, to each situation.
Armand: We helped each other to do that, whenever it got too dark. For example, a song like Remember The Time, which is all about saying goodbye to a friend, focuses on the good rather than the sad farewell; that lasting promise that this isn’t really the end. A song like Welcome Home, about the dark side of mental illness, focuses on what a positive end could be like rather than the pain being lived through.
Is there a track within your album 'Feeling Bad. Feeling Better.' that's your duo's personal favorite? What draws you to that song in particular?
Armand: Shining Star was a personal favorite to write. It’s a song that has been interpreted so many ways by different people when we released it as a single a month ago. Some look at it as a statement about hope, some about the nerves of starting something new like the first date in a new relationship, and others see it as a desire to be heard and seen. As actors, the experience of going through self-doubt, auditions, rejection, success, and thrill was what shaped the song. But that’s something magical about music - anyone can hear anything and take away something that’s theirs. It’s humbling to know we were able to write a piece of that that others can take away, that they can self-interpret and relate to.
Nicole: Wendy is also very special to us. I still get goosebumps whenever we sing it. It’s a story I love telling and has so many facets to us. We both love fables and fairy tales, and to find a way to turn a very real and current experience into something with a hint of magic and mysticism was a very cool experience. It almost even has a ‘moral’. I think people will be surprised by that one - and hopefully, it might help them to find a little bit of hope in these so-called ‘trying times,' too.