11/15/2013 09:07 am ET Updated Dec 06, 2017

A Conversation with Matrimony's Jimmy Brown, Plus Celtic Woman's 'Joy To The World' Exclusive


Photo courtesy of Celtic Woman

As you know, the holidays start a little earlier each year, but what's wrong with some extra joy, right? No strangers to Christmas music, Celtic Woman is back with more seasonal music in the video ""Joy To The World" from their new CD/DVD bundle Home for Christmas: Live from Dublin, plus a little explanation from vocalist Susan McFadden.

"The music of Christmas connects us in a very special way," Susan explains. "The songs bring us back to the magic of the holidays during our childhood and sparks a sense of excitement and happiness as we gather with our family and friends in celebration. One of my favorite moments while performing in our Home for Christmas: Live from Dublin concert was watching the expressions on our audience members, especially the young children, as the magical memory of Christmas resonated across their smiling faces while performing lush and harmonious arrangements of many beloved Christmas classics." expresses Celtic Woman vocalist Susan McFadden.


A Conversation with Matrimony's Jimmy Brown

Mike Ragogna: How did Matrimony get first together?

Jimmy Brown: When Ashlee and I were dating we both had separate musical careers and we quickly figured out that the idea of us both touring all year round would mean we would never see each other, so we figured if we joined forces we'd be together. We loved the idea of playing music together although we had never really done it before - it was one of those strange things that just made sense to both of us. In case you're wondering, we didn't derive the name Matrimony from our marriage it was the goal of a marriage between words and music that the name came from. After about two years of touring our debut EP, The Storm & The Eye, Ashlee's bro's, Jordan & CJ got done with their respective bands and joined Matrimony making it what we'd all always wanted it to be - a family band.

MR: How did the concept of Montibello Drive come up?

JB: Montibello Drive is the street the Hardee's (Ashlee's family) grew up on in south Charlotte, North Carolina. Although it was their family homestead it was also home to a lot of other musicians and passers through. It was a safe place to create and experiment and a lot of songs had their genesis in that place. I also lived there for a couple of years and we all feel like it sums up a time in our lives where we all came together to make what is now, Matrimony.

MR: Why an EP and not an album?

JB: The EP is part of an album which is coming out early Feb 2014. We decided to release a few tracks early to give people a taster of what is to come.

MR: Paste says you're the best of what's next. What do you think of that?

JB: Extremely flattered.

MR How will the eventual album differ from the EP?

JB: As I touched on before, the album is a continuation of the EP. It was all recorded at the same time and was written in the same time period. I think it expands upon the theme of the first four songs -- the EP -- but it really was put together to listen from start to finish.

MR: What's the band's creative process like?

JB: You know it's a little different every time, sometimes myself or Ashlee will have a melody and some words and then we will all get together with the band and start to tweak it and arrange it etc. and other times we will be all singing together and some words will be born out of that which kind of awakens us to what the song should be about. Other times songs are a combo of ideas that had been floating around that somehow feel like they were always supposed to be together. There's no formula for us.

MR: What advice do you have for new artists?

JB: In terms of songwriting which is the most important part, I'd say work really hard to find those moments were you feel truly connected and excited about an idea that you have and start from there. If it doesn't feel right to you it probably won't feel right to anyone else. I'm also a huge fan of playing as many shows as you can possibly play, you really can't beat being on a tour playing every night - you just work out so many kinks that would otherwise never get addressed.