Similar but different. One listen and you’ll hear it; powerful and soft, edgy and smooth, poignant and lyrical, passionate and soothing. Aidan Mayes and Mandy Cole combine these seemingly opposite elements with deft simplicity. Smooth harmonies, heartfelt lyrics, and playful guitar are the main ingredients that make up this grounded, inspiring, and talented duo. They might tell you openly that their heroes are Janis and Joni, Fiona and Tori, but secretly they’d whisper their love for all things musical theatre. So it’s fitting that it was their love of musical theatre that brought the two together, during the Soundstage production of the rock musical Hair in Penticton, B.C.
While it’s easy to compare this duo to the folk/country harmonies of the Dixie Chicks, Blue Rodeo and Indigo Girls, comparisons such as these do no justice to the unique sounds Aidan and Mandy achieve through their similar, but different musical stylings. There is something distinctly Okanagan about this pair. A little bit country, a little bit folk, a little bit rock and roll, and a little bit different from everything else in the world. This might be a recognizable description of the desert region of B.C. to an outsider lucky enough to visit on occasion.
Wherever the wine flows, the lake sings, and the stars shine, the sounds of Aidan and Mandy won’t be far away. From their humble beginnings busking at the Penticton market, the two quickly realized they had something special, discovering an almost instantaneous and insatiable appetite for their music within the community. It wasn’t long before their voices were dazzling sold-out audiences at the world renowned Dream Café in their hometown Penticton, BC, but also landing on festival bills alongside 54-40, City and Colour, Mother Mother, The Current Swell and Yukon Blonde.
These singer-songwriter/music teachers are no strangers to hard work. In 2016, the twosome focused their collective creative energies on recording their much anticipated first album, ‘Siren Songs’. They decided to enlist the expertise of juno-winning producer, Ryan Stewart (Carly Rae-Jepsen, Hedley, Andrew Allen, Bif Naked) from Vancouver, BC, who helped create a stunning country-folk-pop vibe for their single ‘Lost Lovers’. As well as teaming up again with local producers, Sean Perdue of Half Capo Productions, Kelowna, BC & Dave Mai of DM Productions, Penticton, BC, to round out the rest of the album, which features a colourful array of talented local musicians. “We are so incredibly proud of this album. It is US”.
The successful release of their debut EP “Hello Hercules” in 2013, which includes their CBC Searchlight 2014 acclaimed track ‘Expecting Fireworks’, along with accolades continuing to pile up both locally, in the form of the 2015 & 2016 Best Local Musician Finalists for Okanagan Life’s BEST OF THE OKANAGAN, “Best Music” prize at the Penticton Arts Awards, and nationally as finalists in CBC’s Searchlight competition 2014 (Top 10) & 2015 (Top 25) have our songstresses excited to see where their music will take them next.
Yet, it is their unpretentious, friendly and down-to-earth demeanours, epitomizing the values of their Okanagan roots and a “true to themselves” attitude that may best describe the soulful and powerful sound of Aidan and Mandy. They hope you’ll find listening to their music as uplifting and rejuvenating as creating it has been for them. If you find yourself sipping a glass of wine, sitting next to a lake on a starry summer night, it might just be time to give Aidan and Mandy a spin.