Toronto based troubadour singer-songwriter Jay Aymar has just released a new album that is surely his most complete artistic statement to date. Drawing comparison to no less than Canadian icon Leonard Cohen, with a nod to the groundbreaking work of Tom Waits, “Your Perfect Matador” sets out to explore love and yearning, and the place of art in our society or as his publicity material describes it… The acclaimed wordsmith and performer pulls out all the creative stops on these nine tracks spinning a poetic fable of seduction, obsession and addiction — while washing it down with a narcotic cocktail of edgy post-Americana, swampy southern roots-rock and even menacing soul-funk. I think you get the picture – this vision is fully realized. Musically the new album, produced by Michael Phillip Wojewoda, is an all-enveloping sonic wonder with some fabulous support from Champagne James Robertson on electric guitar, Robbie Grunwald (keyboards), Devon Henderson (bass), Wojewoda (drums, additional keyboards), Drew Dureka (strings) with wonderful cameo vocal appearances by Alejandra Ribera, Shakura S’Aida and Chloe Charles. We caught up with Jay Aymar at home in Toronto to chat about the new album. Visit Jay Aymar online at jayaymar.com. Music: Jay Aymar “Your Poet Bleeding”, “Us Wild Dogs” and “The Greatest Story Never Told” from “Your Perfect Matador” (2018, Self).
Kalon Hart is the singer-songwriter alter-ego of Canadian film/TV composer Rob Teehan, who also played the tuba with both the Lemon Bucket Orkestra and The Boxcar Boys. Currently based in LA, Kalon Hart will release his first album, “Love Is Surrender”, a seven song meditation on love and emotion, in 2019. Kalon Hart sat down with Jan Hall from Folk Roots Radio at the 2018 Folk Music Ontario conference to chat about his music. He also played two songs from the new album live. For more information, visit kalonhart.com. Music: Kalon Hart “Song For Bill (Don’t Lose Yourself To My Mistakes)” (Live), “Come On Out Of The Rain” (Live) and “I Think You Know” from “Love Is Surrender” (2019, Self) CDN.
North Carolina singer-songwriter Jonathan Byrd has just released his latest album “Pickup Cowboy”, the follow up to his great 2014 album “You Can’t Outrun The Radio”. The new album was actually delayed for a couple of years, after the sad death of cellist Paul Ford – long time member of Jonathan’s backing band ‘The Pickup Cowboys’. Paul was diagnosed with a brain tumour on the last day of recording the new album, and passed away a year later. The album was finally completed in Winnipeg with the help of Joanna Miller on drums, and Alexa Dirks and Andrina Turenne on backing vocals alongside Byrd and long time multi-instrumentalist and guitarist Johnny Waken. Pickup Cowboy features ten songs, eight Byrd originals (one a co-write with Charles Humphrey III, formerly with the Steep Canyon Rangers) and two songs by fellow singer-songwriter Matt Fockler, the inspiration for the title track. To learn more about the new album, we caught up with Jonathan Byrd at home in North Carolina. Visit Jonathan Byrd online at jonathanbyrd.com. Music: Jonathan Byrd and the Pickup Cowboys “Pickup Cowboy”, “When The Well Runs Dry” and “Do You Dream” from “Pickup Cowboy” (2018, Waterbug Records).
We celebrate the start of winter on Episode 413 of Folk Roots Radio with an interview with Toronto based vocal trio The O’Pears who have just released a lovely winter themed second album “Stay Warm”. We also stay with the winter theme as we check out music from Allison Lupton, Kenneth Paul Cooper, Kim Moberg, Sofia Talvik, Bob MacLean, David Lamotte and Katey Laurel. Check out the full playlist below.
Episode 412 of Folk Roots Radio features an interview with banjo toting Manitoba based roots singer-songwriter, Carly Dow, who sat down with us at the 2018 Folk Music Ontario conference to chat about her great new sophomore release “Comet”. We also check out more of the new music we’ve received including new releases from Caribou Run, Davie Furey, David Milton, Rachel Beck, Jesse Matas, Craig Bickhardt, Ben Heffernan and Abigail Lapell. Check out the full playlist below.
Multi-instrumentalist Ellen Froese grew up on a farm in Saskatchewan, and describes herself as a young hip-swinger who is not Joan Baez or a sheep, but the vibrato in her voice may suggest otherwise – which provides a big hint as to how much fun she is on stage. Ellen, who is also a member of folk trio In With The Old (currently on hiatus), released her second solo album “Ellen Froese” in Fall 2017. She’s now working on the follow-up with her backing band ‘The Hot Toddies’. Ellen Froese sat down with Folk Roots Radio at the 2018 Folk Music Ontario conference to chat about her music. Visit Ellen Froese online at ellenfroese.com. Music: Ellen Froese “New Year’s”, “Oh Alice” and “I Wish I Had A Foot Long Cigarette” from “Ellen Froese” (2017, Self) CDN.
“Stay Warm”, the new winter themed album by Toronto’s The O’Pears is quite lovely, and highly recommended for those of us who love snuggling up with some good tunes during the dark days of the winter. This is definitely not your typical seasonal fare, as it very carefully skirts the schmaltz and over the top nature of many holiday albums, in favour of a grounded approach that focuses more on winter as the season, recognizes the challenges that many people feel at this time of year, but also celebrates the joy of settling down to enjoy the shortest of days with family and good friends. The album features twelve songs – seven originals (including a musical version of Boris Pasternak’s poem “Winter’s Night”), a well chosen cover (Joni Mitchell’s River) and a few winter classics with some fine band arrangements, beautiful harmonies and wonderful a cappella. To learn more about the new album, we caught up with Lydia Persaud, Meg Contini & Jill Harris from the O’Pears at home in Toronto. For more information about The O’Pears and their upcoming tour dates visit theopears.com. Music: The O’Pears “A Candle Burned”, “Stay Warm”, “Hearts Grow Fonder” and “Find The Sun” from “Stay Warm” (2018, self) CDN.
The Big Little Lions are Helen Austin and Paul Otten. A remarkable songwriting duo, they actually live in two different places – Helen on Vancouver Island, and Paul in Cincinnati OH, and send song ideas back and forward as they work on them, individually and together. Big Little Lions released their latest album “Alive And Well” in February 2018 – a very well received folk pop recording chock full of poppy songs with clever hooks and great harmonies, and, at least in some cases, a distinct message. Helen and Paul from Big Little Lions sat down with Jan Hall from Folk Roots Radio at the 2018 Folk Music Ontario conference to chat about their music. Visit Big Little Lions online at biglittlelions.com. Music: Big Little Lions “Against The Wall”, “Static” and “Find Your Tribe” from “Alive And Well” (2018, Self) CDN.
Crooked Brother Jesse Matas released a fabulous solo album this year, “Tamarock”. Every now and again an album pops up on your radar that makes you sit up take notice – Tamarock is one of those albums. Jesse Matas has a great vocal style, the album features some fine playing, and it has a lovely sonic palate with a production that really gives all the instruments space to breath. But, above all, it’s full of some really interesting songs with great lyrical imagery – and that’s what makes this album, a recording that you really need to check out. Recorded (mostly) live-off-the-floor at Private Ear Recording in Winnipeg MB, Tamarock is Jesse’s first release since 2014’s “Thank You, I’m Sorry”, the third album from the Crooked Brothers. It’s definitely one of our favourite albums of the year. We caught up with Jesse Matas at home in Waterloo ON to chat about the new album. Upcoming dates (solo): Burdock (Toronto, December 6), Yeti Cafe (Kitchener,December 7), Silence (Guelph, December 8). Visit Jesse Matas online at jessematas.com. Music: Jesse Matas “Hardline”, “Monarch”, “Walking Human”, “Before, We” from “Tamarock” (2018, Self) CDN.
We don’t normally cover jazz on Folk Roots Radio but this is a rather special event, and the perfect gift for a loved one this holiday season. Acclaimed Canadian singer and pianist Carol Welsman will be coming to the Mary Webb Centre in Highgate ON on Saturday December 15 for a very special show of jazz and pop holiday classics billed as a Baby Grand Jazz Christmas. There will also be wine tasting courtesy of Pelee Island Winery and a Christmas Market. The show starts at 8 p.m. (Doors at 6 p.m.). Tickets are $40 in advance ($45 on the day of the concert). You can buy tickets online HERE. Carol Welsman joined us on Folk Roots Radio to chat about the show. Visit Carol Welsman online at carolwelsman.com. Music: Carol Welsman “What Are You Doing For The Rest Of Your Life” from “Swing, Ladies, Swing – A Tribute To Singers Of The Swing Era” (1999, Welcar Music) and “The Christmas Song” from “Journey” (promotional single) (2011, Justin Time) CDN.
Windsor ON singer-songwriter Karen Morand joins us in the studio on Episode 411 of Folk Roots Radio to chat about her great new EP, “Every Flash Of Light” which was recorded in St.Thomas, ON with Deni Gauthier. We also check out more of the new music we’ve received including music from Lucy Kaplansky, Joe Crookston, Dave McEathron, Ray Lambiase, Rich Krueger, Dave Hadfield and Natalie Merchant & Friends. Check out the full playlist below.
Episode 410 of Folk Roots Radio features an interview with singer-songwriter Ken Tizzard chatting about his latest release “A Good Dog Is Lost” – his loving tribute to Newfoundland Songsmith Ron Hynes who sadly passed away in 2015. We also check out more of the latest new releases, including new music from Paul Sachs, House Of Hamill, Tom Rush, Abby Zotz, Steafan & Saskia, Jesse Winchester and The Lay Awakes. Check out the full playlist below.
Acclaimed Cambridge ON singer-songwriter and vocalist Allison Lupton has just released a new single for Christmas, an original song entitled “The Eve of Christmas Day”. The new single was recorded at Canterbury Music Company in Toronto and also features BBC Radio 2 Folk Music award-winning trio The Young’uns (Sean Cooney, David Eagle, Michael Hughes) on backing vocals, New Hampshire guitar master Craig Werth, and a wonderful brass quintet arrangement by Tom Leighton. Check out the great video from the recording session HERE. Allison Lupton will be releasing her fourth full length album “Words Of Love” in March 2019 with release shows planned for Hugh’s Room Live (March 30), Kingston (May 24), Almonte (May 25), Goderich (May 31) and Cambridge (June 1). Allison will be joined by Tony McManus, Shane Cook, Joe Phillips, Ivan Rosenberg, and Andrew Collins. We caught up with Allison at home in Cambridge ON to chat about the new single. Visit Allison Lupton online at allisonlupton.com. Music: Allison Lupton “Half My Heart” from “Half My Heart” (2014, Self) and “The Eve Of Christmas Day” (single) (2018, self).
Sultans Of String are taking their Christmas Caravan out on the road again this holiday season, with an extensive tour that takes in B.C. and Ontario and then heads into the US, and depending on the date features some special guests. Christmas Caravan isn’t your typical holiday album – as the band and their guest performers take seasonal music into another realm altogether, with some fine vocals performances, wonderful high octane world beat music and some fabulous virtuoso musicianship. On this tour, the Sultans of String will also be raising money for the United Nations Agency for Refugees (UNHCR) in Canada who provide shelter, food, water, medical care and other life-saving assistance to refugees around the world. You can donate online HERE. Sultans of String leader Chris McKhool joined us again on Folk Roots Radio to chat about the upcoming tour. Check out all their tour dates at sultansofstring.com. Music: Sultans of String “Jesous Ahatonhia (Huron Carol)” (feat. Crystal Shawanda) and “The Little Swallow/Al Vuelo” (feat. The City of Prague Symphony Orchestra) from “Christmas Caravan” (2017, Self) CDN.
Episode 409 of Folk Roots Radio features an interview with Guelph singer-songwriter Tannis Slimmon who has been making music for over thirty years. Amazingly, she has done so while holding down a career in research at the University of Guelph. Over the years, Tannis Slimmon has been involved in The Bird Sisters, The Lucky Sisters, Boreal, Ondine Chorus, Essentia and more – while producing three wonderful solo albums including the Canadian Folk Music Award winning “Lucky Blue” from 2007. The good news is that Tannis is now making music full-time which makes it a very good time to catch up. We also take a look at more of the latest new releases, including new music from Kaia Kater, The HillBenders, Craig Robertson, Vishtèn, Rachel Baiman, Childsplay, Andrea Ramolo, and Jay Aymar. Check out the full playlist below.
Guelph alt.folk singer-songwriter Innes Wilson joins us on Episode 408 of Folk Roots Radio to chat about his latest album, a four song E.P. “Seaview”. We also check out more of the latest new releases we’ve received including new music from Lucy Wainwright Roche, John Wort Hannam, Monika Wall, Ray Bonneville, Ivan Rosenberg, John Muirhead, Stephen Fearing and Tomato Tomato. Check out the full playlist below.
Moonfruits are a bilingual folk duo featuring the beautiful harmonies Kaitlin Milroy and Alex Millaire, who captivate audiences with their songs and stories, often accompanied by just a banjo or parlour guitar. Moonfruits released their sophomore recording “Ste-Quequepart” in 2016, a French language folk concept album about a magical little town – that celebrates the lives of its inhabitants in song, and through those souls, the lives of everyday people living in small towns or communities the world over. Moonfruits bring an emotional passion and authenticity to their music that truly makes their music come alive, especially when they are telling stories about Ste-Quequepart. Kaitlin Milroy and Alex Millaire sat down with Jan Hall from Folk Roots Radio at the 2018 Folk Music Ontario conference. For more information about Moonfruits and their upcoming tour dates, visit moonfruits.ca. Music: Moonfruits “Les Marins”, “Ste-Quequepart”, “La Légende De Roustabout” and “Roustabout” from “Ste-Quequepart” (2017, Self) CDN
Rock bassist turned singer-songwriter Ken Tizzard has just released “A Good Dog Is Lost: A Collection Of Ron Hynes Songs”, a loving tribute to the Newfoundland songsmith who sadly passed away in 2015. Born and raised in St Johns, and now based in Campbelford ON, Ken Tizzard had a long career playing bass with Canadian rock bands The Watchmen and Thornley before setting out on a folk music career. Ken Tizzard considered Ron Hynes a friend and a mentor in the development of his own career as a singer-songwriter. The roots of this new project date back to November 2013, when Ron asked Ken to accompany him on bass for a 12-date duo tour of Newfoundland and Labrador. After the loss of his friend, as part of the grieving process, Ken Tizzard created an acclaimed one-man show, Hynesight, that was performed at the Westben Arts Festival Theatre in Campbelford. The new album is a natural progression from those performances, and features eleven Ron Hynes songs with support from Ken Tizzard’s regular bassist Ken Grant, drummer Steve Dagg, multi-instrumentalist Luke Mercier (fiddle, banjo, mandolin), and guitarist Ken Kelly; with cameos from Ron Hynes sideman Paul Kinsman (accordion) with backing vocals from Amelia Curran and Ken’s daughters Caitlyn and Cassidy Tizzard. We caught up with Ken Tizzard at home in Campbelford to chat about the new project. For more information, visit kentizzard.com. Music: Ken Tizzard “A Good Dog Is Lost”, “Judgement” and “St John’s Waltz” from “A Good Dog Is Lost: A Collection Of Ron Hynes Songs” (2018, Self).
Gathering Sparks are the graceful collision of Jane Lewis and Eve Goldberg – musical friends who bonded over finely tuned harmonies and the craft of songwriting. Their inclusive approach embraces folk, pop, blues and gospel influences tastefully played on acoustic guitar, piano, accordion, and ukulele. Eve and Jane join us on Episode 407 of Folk Roots Radio to chat about their music. They also play three live songs for us. It’s a great interview, and definitely worth checking out. We also check out new music from Belle Plaine, Zoe Speaks, Rachel Baiman, Kate Campbell, Childsplay and Lucy Wainwright Roche. Check out the full playlist below.
Guelph based singer-songwriter Annie Sumi joins us on Episode 406 of Folk Roots Radio to chat about her music, and latest album, 2017’s “In The Unknown”, which earned her a 2018 Canadian Folk Music Award nomination for New/Emerging Artist of the Year. We also take a look at more of the new releases we’ve received including new music from Jesse Matas, Vivian Leva, Andrea Ramolo, Jay Aymar, Innes Wilson, Craig Bickhardt, John Gorka and Jennifer Holub. Check out the full playlist below.