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Nadia and Jason Burnstick have been writing music together since their first date

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So what did you do on your first date with your significant other? Did you go out for coffee, a movie or a concert? For Jason Burnstick and Nadia Gaudet, it was something totally different. They wrote a song.

“Oh, that’s interesting!” was their reaction.

“Music has always been part of who we are as a couple,” said Nadia at last year’s Folk Harbour Festival in Lunenburg, NS.

Before meeting, Nadia was a solo artist performing Francophone music, while Jason played with a wide variety of artists. Since forming the duo Burnstick, they’ve been nominated for a Canadian Folk Music Award for 2019’s Kîyânaw. They were winners of Single of the Year in 2020 for “Some Kind of Hell.”

Jason was nominated for a Juno Award for Aboriginal Recording of the Year in 2007 for his album Burn.

Their upcoming sophomore album, Made of Sin, is set for a May release.

The centrepiece of the Burnstick sound is the Weissenborn guitar. It’s an instrument that instantly attracted him.

“I heard it, and it just called out to me. When I play it, it just makes sense for me,” Jason said.

Growing up on blues, bluegrass and folk music, Jason is also a fan of ambient/movie soundtrack music.

“It was calling to me so that’s the sound I’m trying to emulate,” he said.

When they first got together Nadia and Jason just concentrated on writing songs. But as time went on, they started to lock in on the “sound.”

“In recording Kîyânaw, we sort of found our sound mid-way through the process,” said Nadia. “The next album, Made of Sin, is very much our sound. We’ve settled into what we are. It came with the writing and with playing the songs.”

As with many duos, their first album was comprised of their individual songs, which they used to create Burnstick songs. Made Of Sin contains full collaborations, right from the creation of the songs.

“We’ll come up with an idea,” said Nadia, “and then we’ll really push each other to finish the song as a Burnstick song. Without really trying we come up with our sound.”

What helps them in creating their music is a home studio where Jason writes music for television and film, occasionally enlisting Nadia to play keyboards. They’ve had the studio for about 10 years, and when they moved during the pandemic into a new home, they included a recording studio into the building plans. It’s better having the dedicated recording space, they said, since it used to be in their bedroom.

“There was a song I was working on one time where I was playing the piano line over and over again,” Jason said. “I heard Nadia get up, exasperated and half asleep. She gets to the piano, and without even looking at it, plays it perfectly and then goes back to bed!”

So far in their careers, Nadia and Jason have produced themselves, although they’re always open to the possibility of an outside producer.

“Producing our own stuff is part of the fun of creating music,” said Nadia. “It’s really enjoyable to do that, and I wouldn’t want to not have that experience as part of our album.”

For more information on Burnstick and Made of Sin, go to http://www.burnstickduo.com.

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