One of the best loved Folk Roots Radio episodes from the past year or so, we devote most of the hour to an interview with Kentucky musician, folklorist and social activist Sue Massek about “Precious Memories”, a companion cast album to a Si Kahn original play about the life and work of songwriter and coal camp activist Sarah Ogan Gunning, and one of our favourite albums of 2015. We also include music from some other albums we loved this year: “Sweet Memories… Never Leave” from Erynn Marshall & Carl Jones, “Joe Hill’s Last Will” by John McCutcheon, and the wonderful compilation Dear Jean: Artists Celebrate Jean Ritchie – a 37 track compilation featuring an impressive list of Jean Ritchie fans and admirers.
This episode features an interview with Chris Coole from bluegrass – old time band, The Foggy Hogtown Boys who will be bringing their show based on the music of The Carter Family and Johnny Cash to Toronto, Peterborough and Guelph. And as the holiday season is just about upon us, we’re including songs to welcome in the Winter Solstice, and some seasonal music that’s a little bit different from the usual fare.
Sue Massek is a musician, folklorist and social activist from Kentucky who’s been making music for nearly forty years, both solo and as the banjo player in the Reel World String Band. Sue released one of our favourite albums of 2015 – “Precious Memories”, a companion cast album to a Si Kahn original play about the life and work of songwriter and Kentucky coal camp activist Sarah Ogan Gunning – and brought to life, in a one woman show, by Sue Massek. We caught up with Sue at home in Kentucky to chat about the project. Music: Sue Massek “Precious Memories”, “Come All You Coal Miners”, “I’m Going To Organize”, “The Lonesome Death of Harry Simms” (feat. Si Kahn), “Dreadful Memories”, “Down On The Picket Line” and “Girl Of Constant Sorrow” from “Precious Memories” (2015, Strictly Country Records).
Barnstorming bluegrass and old time band, the legendary Foggy Hogtown Boys are heading out on tour in January as they celebrate the music of The Carter Family and Johnny Cash. They’ll be making stops in Toronto and Peterborough before arriving in Guelph for a show at the ANAF Club 344, 32 Gordon St on January 9 at 8 p.m. Advance tickets for the Guelph show are $20 and available online HERE. The Foggy Hogtown Boys are a Canadian bluegrass and roots music institution that’s been together for over 17 years – since the start of their famed “Lonesome Wednesdays” residency at the Silver Dollar Room in Toronto, with a membership that reads like a who’s who of Canadian roots music. Chris Coole (banjo/acoustic guitar), John Showman (fiddle), Andrew Collins (mandolin/fiddle), Chris Quinn (banjo, rhythm guitar) have all been with the band from the start while Max Heineman (bass) joined the band eight years ago. Discovered in 1927 at the legendary “Bristol Sessions” in Bristol TN, the music of The Carter Family has been a huge influence on the development of American music, in particular, in the bluegrass, country, folk and Gospel genres. Johnny Cash, of course, needs no introduction – and when he tied the knot with June Carter in 1968, he married into this “First Family of Country Music”. The rest, as they say is history. To learn more about the Foggys mini-tour we caught up with Chris Coole at home in Toronto. Photo: Mark Somerfeld. Music: The Foggy Hogtown Boys “Kitten & The Cat” and “John Henry” from “Animals Insects & People” (2014, Self).
Well, It’s that time of year… Time to pick our favourite albums of 2015. And you know what, it doesn’t get any easier. There’s just so much great music out there, and it’s been our great privilege to bring lots of it to you each week on Folk Roots Radio. Like last year, most of the albums on this list aren’t a surprise as I raved about them during the year. This time around though I selected a twenty-five album long list, then narrowed it down to the Top 10 you can read about below.
On Sunday January 9 2016, the Mill Race Folk Society celebrates the end of the Christmas season with Twelfth Night, an evening of traditional music and dance. Refreshments will be provided and there will be a cash bar. Advance tickets are $15.00 online HERE, $20.00 at the door. As this event regularly sells out so it is better to purchase your tickets early.
This week’s Live & Local reflects the fact that the Christmas season, or the holidays or whatever you like to call this time of year, is rapidly approaching. This week, Brad McEwen, Artistic Director at the Mill Race Folk Society joins us to chat about a couple of fun seasonal events in their calendar. We also include some other musical ways to celebrate this time of year.
Vocal group The Ondine Chorus are gearing up for the winter solstice with concerts at the Wellington County Museum in Elora on December 13, the newly-renovated Art Gallery of Guelph (formerly MacDonald Stewart Art Centre) (December 17) and at the beautifully-situated Paul Morin Gallery in Alton on December 18. If you’ve not yet seen Ondine Chorus in concert, you’re in for a treat – their performances are fantastic, with a repertoire that features some stunning original work alongside gorgeous reinterpretations of traditional songs. Check out the event and ticket information below. Check out all the details below.
The Mill Race Folk Society has a couple of great events that take place each year during the holiday season. Pub Carolling with the Orange Peel Carollers and Village Band takes place on Sunday, December 13 from 3-6 pm at the Brownestone Gastropub, 39 Queen St. E. in Cambridge ON. It’s a free event, though donations for the musicians are gratefully accepted – and lots of fun! And Twelfth Night: An Ancient Midwinter Celebration takes place on Saturday, January 9 at The United Kingdom Club of Cambridge, 35 International Village Dr., Cambridge ON. Advance tickets $15 ($20 at the door). Artistic Director Brad McEwen joined us to chat about the upcoming festivities. For more information visit millracefolksociety.com. Music: Coope, Boyes & Simpson & Fraser, Freya, Boyes “Bodmin Wassail” and “While Shepherds Were Watching” from “Voices At The Door – Midwinter Songs & Carols” (2006, No Masters).
The Mill Race folk Society presents Pub Carolling with the Orange Peel Carollers and Village Band on Sunday, December 13 from 3-6 pm at the Brownestone Gastropub, 39 Queen St. E. in Cambridge ON. These carols are not the standard Christmas stock you hear piped into every shopping mall; they are often more boisterous and secular in nature, and have been preserved in the pub environment in several Yorkshire villages for at least the past 200 years. Most of the carols will be unfamiliar to modern ears, but with their folky sound and rousing choruses, many are very easy to learn, and lots of fun to sing. Admission if free, but donations for the carollers are very welcome.
Don’t miss Twelfth Night: An Ancient Midwinter Celebration on Saturday, Jan 9, 2016. The United Kingdom Club of Cambridge, 35 International Village Dr. Advance tickets $15 ($20 at the door). For more information visit millracefolksociety.com.
Kitchener-based singer-songwriter Lynn Jackson joins us on New & Noted this week to chat about her new recording “Songs of Rain Snow & Remembering”, an album that sees her broadening her musical palette with the addition of piano and cello to add texture to her acoustic guitar driven songs. As always, we also including a good selection of music from the new releases that we’ve received. We also pay our own tribute to one of Canada’s greatest songwriters, Newfoundland’s Ron Hynes who sadly passed away last week.
Gregory Hoskins and Kevin Breit will be sharing the stage for a series of concerts across Southern Ontario this December. They join us in the studio for a fun conversation about their collaboration and discuss what people can expect when they come out to one of their joint shows. And it’s that time of year – Tannis Slimmon, Jude Vadala and Katherine Wheatley come together each Christmas as Boreal to put on a series of concerts, “Songs For The Snowy Season”. Jude Vadala joins us to chat about their annual ritural, and their 9th annual show in Guelph on December 5.
Tannis Slimmon, Jude Vadala and Katherine Wheatley come together each Christmas as Boreal to put on a series of concerts “Songs For The Snowy Season”. They’ll be paying their annual visit to Guelph on December 5 (number nine if you’re counting!). They also have trips to the Victoria Jubilee Hall in Walkerton (December 4) and Hugh’s Room in Toronto (December 16). This year’s Guelph show, in collaboration with Folkway Music, takes place at Guelph Little Theatre, 176 Morris St, Guelph on Saturday, December 5 at 8:30 p.m. (Doors, 8:00 p.m.). Tickets $22.60 (includes HST) / $25 at the door and available from Folkway Music by phone at 1-855-772-0424, email claire[at]folkwaymusic.com or in person (22 Dupont Street East, Waterloo); The Bookshelf (41 Quebec Street, Guelph) and online through Event Brite HERE. We caught up with Jude Vadala at home in Guelph. For more information about Boreal, visit borealsongs.ca. Music: Boreal “So Much Snow” and “Shovelling Snow” from “Winter’s Welcome” (2014, self)
Gregory Hoskins and Kevin Breit will be sharing the stage for several shows across Southern Ontario this December. They’ll be in Guelph (December 4), Elora (December 5), Oakville (December 10), Stratford (December 11) and Toronto (December 13), with support for individual shows from Geoff Arsenault on drums and Russ Boswell on bass. Don Rooke leader of The Henrys will be a special guest for the Oakville and Stratford shows. The Guelph show will be at Dublin St United Church on Friday December 4. Advance tickets are $22.50 and available online HERE. Check out the shows and buy tickets HERE. Gregory Hoskins and Kevin Breit joined us in the studio to chat about the project. Music: Gregory Hoskins “Carry Me” from “Pleasure & Relief” (2008, Gripworks), The Henrys “A Weaker One” from “Quiet Industry” (2015, Self) and Kevin Breit “Seven Silver Buttons” and “Murderous Dimitri” from “Ernesto & Delilah” (2015, Poverty Playlist).
Kitchener-based Singer-songwriter Lynn Jackson has just released her eighth album “Songs Of Rain, Snow and Remembering”, out now on Busted Flat Records. As with her last record, “The Acoustic Sessions”, the new album was co-produced by Norman Blake from Teenage Fanclub. “Songs of Rain, Snow and Remembering” is an album that sees her broadening her musical palette with the addition of piano and cello to add texture to her acoustic guitar driven songs. The coming year will see Lynn embark on a tour of Western Canada in the spring, and head back to Eastern Canada later in the year. We caught up with Lynn at home in Kitchener to chat about the new album. For more information visit lynnjackson.net. Music: Lynn Jackson, “Sky Looks Like Rain”, “Water & Glass” and “Riding Out The Storm” (2015, Busted Flat Records).
Fresh off a fabulous show at Erin Roots, Toronto Blues Society 2015 Talent Search finalists, Jennis bring their multi-instrumental rootsy sound to the ANAF, 32 Gordon St, Guelph on Saturday, November 28. Joining Jennis on the bill will be the duelling banjos of the Banjo Mechanics – Ian Pattison and Lewis Melville. $15 cover. Join us for an evening of fabulous live roots music that is sure to engage, delight and inspire!
Hamilton-based singer-songwriter Duane Rutter joins us on this week’s new release hour to chat about his wonderful new album of roots rock “Crazy Things” which includes a fantastic cameo from the Band’s Garth Hudson and his wife “Sister” Maud Hudson. We also have a great selection from some of the best new releases of the last few months.
Toronto-based singer-songwriter, Jay Aymar joins us this week to chat about “The Chicken Came First”, his new book/live CD and his show at Hugh’s Room on Thursday November 26. We also have something very special, new music from Scott Merritt. Scott has just released his new album “OF” and will be on tour across southern Ontario through December.
Hamilton-based singer-songwriter Duane Rutter has just released his third recording “Crazy Things”, an album of bluesy country-roots songs which playfully mixes in some occasional psychedelic flourishes. The album features a stellar group of musicians including Andrew Aldridge (electric guitar), Carrie Ashworth (bass), Nick Burson (drums) and Steve ‘Honeyboy’ Wood (pedal steel) and JB Reed (vocals) among others, with cameos from The Band’s Garth Hudson and his wife “Sister” Maud Hudson. We caught up with Duane in Hamilton to chat about the new album. For more information visit duanerutter.com. Music: Duane Rutter “Who Found Who”, “Crazy Things” and “Take That Water” from “Crazy Things” (2015, Busted Flat Records).
Jay Aymar has just released his seventh album, a live album “The Chicken Came First”. This album is a little different though, it comes as part of a book “The Chicken Came First (And Other Half-Truths From My Life as a Touring Songwriter)”, a collection of short stories culled from his popular blog, the twelve songs on the live CD bookending the twelve chapters in the book. Jay wraps his summer tour with a show at Hugh’s Room on Thursday November 26 at 8:30 p.m. Tickets are $20 in advance online HERE and $22:50 at the door. Joining Jay for the Hugh’s Room show will be Sahra Featherstone (violin, harp), Joe Ernewein (guitar, piano), Vivienne Wilder (upright bass) and Justin Rappel (drums). Richard Flohill, a Toronto-based publicist well-known in the folk community, will read a chapter from Jay’s new book while Jenie Thai will be bringing along her piano-based folk and blues to open the show. We caught up with Jay Aymar at home in Toronto. For more information, visit jayaymar.com. Music: Jay Aymar “Crow,” “Always in Her Dreams” (feat. Jadea Kelly) and “Walls are Pages” from “The Chicken Came First” (Self, 2015).