College can be a place to discover who you are. For Madeline Ayala, the added bonus of finding a friend for life in college, along with witnessing the beginning of a passion, made college a landmark experience. She attended the University of Minnesota and met Laura Lou DuSchane, even living with her for a couple of years. Laura eventually transferred to Augsburg College to study music, following her passion. That transition turned out to be one her best decisions, especially in meeting Becky Shaheen, whom will becoming the other half of The Twins of Franklin.
“They write music together, both super talented. She’s (Laura) always been very passionate about music and never afraid to sing a song if you ask her to for any occasion,” shares Madeline.
Madeline has lived in Madison for the last seven years, but makes as many of their shows as she can. It’s also a great reason for all the people Madeline loves and misses to get together, gathering in support of their friends. The last live music show she went to was the Twins of Franklin album release show at the Icehouse. Witnessing the progression of her friends with a brand new album, a professional new music video, and seeing them grow, has been beautiful for her.
“I was pregnant, so I didn’t have as much fun as some people that night.”
In the Absence of Live Music
Madeline had that first child in July, so that’s kept her busy throughout the pandemic. Her husband and her both enjoy live music, going out to restaurants, and checking out new music venues. They both quit their jobs with the intention of traveling and taking a break, to be free humans for awhile. Then the pandemic hit and everything stopped.
She’s replaced live music with a healthy dose of Fleetwood Mac radio and the Spotify Discover Weekly playlists. Something is always on at their home and if it hooks her attention, Madeline will look up the artist and listen through their albums. Live Streams have been a bit more rare to catch, but notes her uncle’s 60th birthday party landed on the same night as a Twins of Franklin online show. She made everybody sit down and watch the show together.
The absence of live music has created a new outlet for them as well. They play in a virtual board game league with Laura Lou and her husband Patrick. There are tournaments that keeps them interacting and working together to succeed. It’s helped to pass the time and make them still feel connected to other people during the pandemic.
The Twins of Franklin One-On-One
Madeline shares that “What’s The Point” stands out as a new sound and direction from their album. Knowing the release of the music video was a huge milestone for them makes the moment even more special. She says there’s a feeling of camaraderie when they perform together.
“I love how much they love performing together. Just being able to see good friends really do what they enjoy to do, especially during a time when they haven’t been able to do that, will be really special.”
Tucked inside Caydence Records on a late January evening, everyone sat caffeinated, filled with anticipation. The overall vibe of the show was different from the others as everyone inside knew each other and were longtime friends. That comfortableness emerged with the inside jokes and comedic banter before they begun. The Twins started out with “Low” and it was an instant reminder of the strength of their voices and ability to blend together. The message tucked inside the song is one to be kind to yourself, which resonates a bit deeper due to the pandemic.
They followed it with “When The Snow Falls”, another song off their new album. With the snow outside and Christmas wrapped up, the nostalgia permeated through the venue. We all missed the holidays with our families and having that sense of normal.
“But when the snow falls
And we sing those songs
Is when I miss you”
No better example of the strength of their vocal harmonies comes than “Better Me.” A powerful ballad about loving oneself, Becky’s lead on the song covered the space with the waves of oh’s from Laura Lou. Although not having sang together since October, the Twins were in sync in this acoustically driven gem.
The performance of “What’s The Point” solidified the natural abilities of The Twins of Franklin even further. A song typically performed with synths, keys, and drums, the acoustic version felt more intimate. The sense of joy they have performing together as they smiled and swayed on stage is the reason live music has weight. There’s a partnership between the band and audience in being in something together, visually, emotionally, and physically.
Exclusive Video – “The Rope”
The Meaning of Live Music
Madeline shares that knowing The Twins of Franklin personally, it’s a different experience watching them perform live. That interaction between songs and the exchanges with the audience isn’t canned.
“You can tell they’re both so genuine and there’s no charade onstage. They aren’t trying to be anyone other than themselves,” she states.
Live music is about believing the stories and feelings that the songs represent. The authenticity can often unlock that deeper connection with the music. Seeing that interaction between songs and feeling that joy of performance makes live music an experience that many of us miss. It can’t be duplicated through a screen.
Listen and follow The Twins of Franklin at the links below.