DC Cardwell & Marjorie Cardwell are a husband & wife musical partnership based in Melbourne, Australia. They each have released debut albums in 2010 and 2012 respectively.
Growing up in Northern Ireland
They both grew up in Portadown, Northern Ireland and met at high school where they quickly discovered that they had a shared love for music and almost identical tastes in many genres, with a particular passion for classic, hook-filled rock, pop, punk and soul. They both listened to legendary BBC DJ John Peel‘s forward-thinking radio show, spent hours in record shops and were constantly being inspired by cutting-edge new music while also keenly digging back deeper and deeper into the roots of rock.
DC was pleased to find that Marjorie’s favourite LP was The Beatles’ “Revolver“, an album that was legend among the rock intelligentsia but not found in the bedroom of many 15 year-olds at the time. She also had all of George Harrison‘s singles which marked her as having been a musically precocious young girl in the early 70s!
Even more striking, perhaps, was the fact that she, like DC himself, had a treasured copy of Jonathan Richman‘s “Rock’n’Roll With The Modern Lovers“, and that she even had Wild Man Fischer‘s new album, which DC had taped in its entirety off the John Peel show but hadn’t been able to find in the shops!
It wasn’t long until the two young NME readers were travelling together on the train to Belfast to see punk melodicists Buzzcocks, excited that one of their favourite bands had plucked up the courage to visit a province that was generally shunned by artists fearful of the heavily publicized sectarian violence perpetrated by a few against the peaceful majority.
Bypassing university, as you could in those days, DC embarked on a career in medical science whilst Marjorie left high school early to became a journalist. They married soon after, acquired a cat, Joni, followed by their first son, Joel, and meanwhile developed a small semi-pro music career with a band and also as an acoustic duo.
These were among the worst years of Northern Ireland’s infamous “Troubles“, with bombings and killings occurring almost daily, and opportunities for music were very sparse unless you played country & western or in Ireland’s peculiar variation of Top 40 music, the so-called showbands.
In 1988, Marjorie, DC & young Joel moved to Vancouver, Canada, where they settled happily. DC carried on his medical science career and Marjorie worked part-time as a journalist. Their younger son, Samuel, was born in Vancouver. They continued to play music live, this time as an acoustic/electric duo in Vancouver’s rock clubs. They were occasionally accompanied on drums by their good friend, John Cody, a near-legendary figure on the Vancouver scene who has played with many of the great Canadian and overseas artists from Bachman Turner Overdrive to Neko Case. These were the classic alternative/grunge years, where the indie music scene, particularly in the Pacific Northwest, suddenly opened up, major labels started to become passé, and nothing seemed impossible.
In 1996 Marjorie & DC, now with two children in tow, emigrated again, this time to Melbourne, Australia, where they have lived ever since. As the boys were growing up, Marjorie commenced an impressive series of studies, starting with a BA and culminating in a Masters degree.
While Marjorie was immersed in her academic pursuits she wound down her musical career temporarily, so DC decided to start singing and writing his own songs – the first time he had done this with any degree of seriousness. At this time, MySpace came along and further opened up the possibilities for independent artists. DC quickly found that many people loved his music, so he began to immerse himself in writing, recording and navigating the new world of social networking.
DC began gigging without Marjorie for the first time, his debut album, Some Hope, was released in the US, he travelled to Los Angeles to record for movies with music supervisor/composer Jaymee Carpenter, his song I Am Still The Same won a major Australian song contest, and he eventually retired from his science career to work on music full-time.
By this time, Marjorie was well into her new career in teaching, but in 2012 everything seemed to grind to a sudden halt when she was diagnosed with a brain tumour. She had major brain surgery to remove it, but even before the operation she decided to release her own album and started to write new songs! She recorded enough new basic tracks the weekend before her surgery to make an entire album, and during her convalescence she and DC worked on overdubs and together they produced her own debut album, In Another World, which was released in August 2012. As well as Marjorie’s own guitar & ukulele playing, the album features DC and both of their sons, Joel & Samuel, on guitars, bass, drums, keyboards etc.
And Marjorie was very thrilled and honoured when one of her music heroes, Don McGlashan, of New Zealand’s Mutton Birds, played euphonium on the opening track, a touching song about her experience with the brain tumour.
Fortunately Marjorie’s brain tumour was benign and the operation was successful. Her recovery was rapid and while she’s not exactly 100% fit yet, there was absolutely no effect on her brain function and she is now writing songs for a follow-up album, which will probably come out after DC’s new album in 2013.
Oh, and Joel and Samuel, what are they doing? Well, they are both brilliant musicians and they often play live and in the studio with DC and Marjorie. And they’re following their own academic paths at university, so who knows what direction their careers will take. But one thing is for sure; like their parents, they will both be playing music as long as they are breathing!
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