Award-winning singer-songwriter Karen Morand & Ukulele Bluesman Manitoba Hal are now making music together as rootsy, bluesy, gospel, Americana duo Even The Bird Was Free. Karen Morand and Manitoba Hall have toured together before, providing harmony vocals on each others songs. Their new acoustic live show features stripped down gospel rich roots songs written by both members individually and, now, together. On stage, with an assortment of instruments in hand, the long time friends have an easy rapport and a playful energy that’s hard to resist. They’ve just released their first self-titled EP. Karen and Hal sat down with Jan Hall from Folk Roots Radio at the 2018 Folk Music Ontario conference to chat about the new project and also played a couple of new songs live. For more information visit eventhebirdwasfree.com. Music: Even The Bird Was Free “Call Me Blue” (Live), “This Old World” (Live) and “Lucky Fighter” from “Even The Bird Was Free (2018, Self).
Born and raised in Leamington ON in the heart of Canada’s Sun Parlour, barefoot musician Justin Latam, has been making music for over thirteen years now. A hard-working singer-songwriter, Justin has made several trips to Nashville to further his craft and recently released “Six”, a stripped down six song solo acoustic E.P., the follow up to his poppy fifth album “Barefoot”. Justin is currently on his fall Home County Tour and joined us in the Folk Roots Radio studio for a chat about his music. Visit Justin Latam online at justinlatam.ca. Photo credit: Jake Klassen. Music: Justin Latam “Your Love”, “D.L. Filer (Down She Goes)” and “Call Home” from “Six” (2018, Self) CDN
“Fires, Floods & Things We Leave Behind”, the great new album from Melanie Brulée, is a fabulous slice of pedal steel driven country music that comes equipped with its own widescreen spaghetti western like vibe to kick things off. Melanie Brulée is in fine voice on twelve tracks that reflect on relationships, loss and addiction while taking us back to the golden age of country music, and joined by some great players including pedal steel player Kevin “The General” Neal who brings much of the sound to the recording, with guitars from Champagne James Robertson (Lindi Ortega, New Country Rehab), Kyle Teixeira on bass and Adam Warner on drums. This is definitely not your average country album – and a recording you must check out. We caught up with Melanie Brulée in Toronto to chat about the new project. For more information about Melanie Brulée and upcoming tour dates, visit melaniebrulee.com. Photo credit: Emma-Lee Photography. Music: Melanie Brulée “I Will”, “Pretty Wasteland” and “Whiskey & Whine” from “Fires Floods & Things We Leave Behind” (2018, Lapin Blanc).
Canadian singer-songwriter David Graff has just returned to writing and recording music with his wonderful new release ”Supposed To Fly”. Despite some early success, with songs placed in movies and television, and an EP called “Some Of What I Know”, David dropped out of the music business in the late nineties to pursue a career as a visual artist. However, his love of music as a creative outlet has brought him back with a strong collection of songs co-produced with his daughter Julia Graff and James Perrella that really deserve loads of airplay. With a voice that feels like a blend of Tom Petty, Don Henley and Joe Walsh, and some fabulous musicianship from a strong group of side players including Steve Dawson, Kirby Barber, David Barber and John Ellis, this radio friendly release has some finely crafted songs that run the gamut from reflections on life, to cautionary tales about relationships, and favourite trucks. We caught up with David at home on Bowen Island to chat about the new album. For more information, visit davidgraffmusic.com. Music: David Graff “The Only One I’ve Got”, “Supposed To Fly” and “Tough City” from “Supposed To Fly” (2018, Self).
Erin Costelo, the Halifax NS based keyboard playing singer-songwriter, composer and producer, is about to release another soulful R&B masterpiece, “Sweet Marie”, the follow up to 2016’s critically acclaimed “Down Below The Status Quo” — one of our favourite albums of that year. The new album (album number 5), featuring 10 songs recorded in 10 days last winter in a house by the sea in Little Harbour NS, was produced by Erin Costelo and also features Glenn Milchem (Blue Rodeo) on Drums, Anna Ruddick on bass (Randy Bachman, Ben Caplan), Leith Fleming-Smith (Matt Mays, Hawksley Workman) on organ and Erin’s long-time partner, Clive MacNutt on guitars. Leanne Hoffman and Kwento supply backing vocals, and there are also guest appearances by the Blue Engine String Quartet, Andrew MacKelvie on saxophone and flute, and Andrew Jackson on trombone. A ‘making of the album’ documentary directed by Juno-winning songwriter Amelia Curran is due to air on CBC TV this fall. We caught up with Erin Costelo on the road to chat about the new project. For more information and upcoming tour dates across Canada and the US and into Europe, visit erincostelo.com. Photo: Mat Dunlap. Music: Erin Costelo “Lights Down Low”, “All In Your Head” and “My Love” from “Sweet Marie” (2018, Venue Records).
Winnipeg based singer-songwriter Madeleine Roger joins us on Episode 400 of Folk Roots Radio to chat about her debut solo album “Cottonwood”. Madeline produced a fabulous album “Fairweather” in 2016 with her twin brother Lucas – as duo Roger Roger. Lucas Roger has now decided to step away from writing and performing to focus on his work as a luthier, allowing Madeleine to forge ahead with her own solo career. Madeleine Roger is a great interview, and this new conversation is no exception. During our chat, Madeleine chats about the making of the new album, the importance of achieving gender balance and equality in the studio, the live experience, and why Winnipeg has such a great music scene. It’s a great interview – definitely well-worth sticking around for. We also check out more of the new music we’ve received including new releases from Georgian Bay, Sam Loaker, Lennie Gallant, Mike T. Kerr, Braden Gates, Ken Tizzard and Tragedy Ann. Check out the full playlist below.
Ottawa based musician Jack Pine joins us on Episode 399 of Folk Roots Radio to chat about his music and 2017 album ”Left To My Own Devices”, nominated for a 2018 Canadian Folk Music Award in the New/Emerging Artist Category. We also check out music from some of the other nominees at this year’s awards taking place in Calgary the weekend of November 30 – December 1, 2018. For more information about the Canadian Folk Music Awards, visit folkawards.ca. Check out the full playlist below.
Toronto singer-songwriter and guitarist Noah Zacharin joins us on Episode 398 of Folk Roots Radio for an in-depth conversation about “A Startle Of Wings”, his stripped down and intimate follow up to the genre-defying electric album “Strange Rider”, one of our favourite albums of 2016. We also check out new music from Sugar Brown, Judy Brown, Sue Foley, Cousin Harley and Laura Cortese & the Dance Cards. Check out the full playlist below.
The hard to categorize British roots duo with the wide appeal, Red Dirt Skinners join us on Episode 397 of Folk Roots Radio to chat about their wonderful new album “Under Utopian Skies”. It’s a great interview and well worth sticking around for. We also check out more of the new music we’ve received including new releases from Rob McHale, Oliver The Crow, Laurie MacAllister, Kris Lager Band, Brooks Williams and Cris Cuddy. Check out the full playlist below.
Fiddler Emilyn Stam from Balfolk Toronto joins us on Episode 396 of Folk Roots Radio to chat about Balfolk, that’s the modern revival of traditional, predominately Western European, social folk dances and the upcoming Big Branch Festival a three day “Balfolk” festival/camp taking place the weekend of September 7-9. We also check out new music from Alan Barnosky, David Davis & The Warrior River Boys, The Furious Seasons, Steve Dawson, Laüsa, Duo Rivaud Lacouchie, Steve Howell & The Mighty Men, Bobby Sweet and Chuck Brodsky. Check out the full playlist below.
Toronto-based singer-songwriter and guitarist Noah Zacharin released one of our favourite albums of 2016, the genre defying electric album “Strange Rider”, a widescreen production that moved effortlessly between blues, jazz, folk, pop and r n’ b, and even threw some doo-wop into the mix. Noah’s just released the follow-up, “A Startle Of Wings”, which sees Noah playing almost strictly solo acoustic guitar on 14 songs that show the depth and quality of his songwriting – a stripped down recording he describes as best enjoyed in a quiet space with headphones. This is an album that deserves to be explored and savoured. We caught up with Noah Zacharin at home in Toronto to learn more about the new album. For more information about the music of Noah Zacharin, visit noahsong.com. Music: Noah Zacharin “Morning Comes On”, “Starlings” and “Wood And Wire” from “A Startle Of Wings” (2018, Self).
The Big Branch Festival is a three day “Balfolk” festival/camp hosted by Balfolk Toronto taking place September 7-9, at Unicamp Ontario, in Honeywood near Shelburne ON (along the Bruce Trail). “Balfolk” is a modern revival of traditional, predominately Western European, social folk dances. Dances range from simple partner dances like the waltz, mazurka and schottische, to hypnotic chain dances like the andro, gavotte, and ride from Bretagne as well as energetic mixer dances. Balfolk dances are simple and easy to learn, and leave lots of room for improvisation. The intent of a Balfolk session is simple – relax and lean into the music and see where it takes you! The Big Branch Festival will feature dance and music workshops, with performers from France (Laüsa, Duo Rivaud Lacouchie, Duo Le Bour Bodros), Italy/Canada (Filippo Gambetta & Emilyn Stam) and dance instructor Louise Marius from the Netherlands. We caught up with one of the organizers, fiddler Emilyn Stam, to learn more about Balfolk Toronto and The Big Branch Festival. For more information, visit thebigbranchfestival.com. Music: Laüsa “Nau Gojatas” from Laüsa (2018, Tradethik) and Duo Rivaud Lacouchie “Ordich Janeta / Scottish d’Eugene Tarrade” from “Ordich!” (2016, AEPEM).
Hard to categorize British roots duo Red Dirt Skinners will be releasing their new album “Under Utopian Skies” this September. Featuring multi-instrumentalists Sarah Skinner and Rob Skinner, the band have become big favourites on both the British blues and country scene, but with influences that range from Pink Floyd and Supertramp to Crosby Stills & Nash and John Prine, they really do have an across the board appeal. Renowned for their soaring choruses, fabulous soprano sax solos and clever thought provoking lyrics, the title of the new project reflects on their love for their new home in Canada, after emigration in 2017. We caught up with Sarah and Rob Skinner at home in Ontario to chat about the new album. For more information about the music of the Red Dirt Skinners and upcoming tour dates, visit reddirtskinners.com. Photo: John Milford. Music: Red Dirt Skinners “Hey Crawford”, “Blossom & Rain”, “Lay Me Down” and “This House” from “Under Utopian Skies” (2018, Self).
Canadian Americana/folk singer-songwriter Tia McGraff joins us on Episode 395 of Folk Roots Radio for an in-depth conversation about her wonderful seventh album, “Stubborn In My Blood”. Recorded with partner Tommy Parham and some top class support, the new recording has already garnered some great reviews. We also check out new music from Oliver The Crow, Alan Barnosky, Jon Brooks, Sam Bush & Bela Fleck, and the Kris Lager Band. It’s a great episode. We hope you’ll check it out. Check out the full playlist below.
We’re getting set for the 2018 Summerfolk Music and Crafts Festival which takes place the weekend of August 17-19 in Kelso Park, on the shores of Georgian Bay, just outside Owen Sound. One of the friendliest festivals out there, and now in its 43rd year, it’s always a fabulous weekend. Each year, Summerfolk prides itself in putting together a wonderful musical line-up, and the 2018 edition is no exception. This year’s festival features more than 40 different musical acts from Canada and across the world in genres that range from folk, roots, country and bluegrass, to blues, and even hip-hop and funk. As always, there are also lots of children’s activities, community workshops, artisan booths, dozens of food vendors… and two licensed areas. Artistic Director James Keelaghan joins us on Episode 394 of Folk Roots Radio to chat about the role of the AD and some of the artists he’s excited to see at the festival. We also check out music from Summerfolk 2018 performers Rose Cousins, Bahamas, Suzie Vinnick, Susan Aglukark, Goitse, Calan, Harpoonist & The Axe Murderer and Vishtèn. Check out the full playlist below.
There’s nothing better than having a new album come in, you play it once, and then want to play it again… and again… and again. Canadian Americana/folk singer-songwriter Tia McGraff has just released a fabulous seventh album, “Stubborn In My Blood”. The new album is her most personal album to date, and features 11 thoughtful and reflective songs – most written with her partner Tommy Parham alongside co-writes with Wood Newton, Pete Riley, Henry Priestman and Devon O’Day and a cover of the classic “One Tin Soldier”. It’s an album that’s clearly intended to move and inspire her growing worldwide audience. With some great musicianship and support from some of the industry’s top players, powerful lyrics and strong vocals, and an album cover that features Tia in boxing gloves, its clear that this time around, she’s not holding anything back! As well as the new album, Tia is now also a published author having released a children’s book, Jake The Road Dawg, based on her dog Jake’s adventures on the road with a couple of crazy touring musicians. Tia will be appearing at the Fred Eaglesmith Charity Picnic in Aylmer on August 18 and at MacKenzie Hall Cultural Centre in Windsor ON on Friday August 24 before heading to the UK for a September tour. We caught up with Tia at home in Port Rowan ON to chat about the new project. For more information about the album and upcoming tour dates, visit tiamcgraff.com. Music: Tia McGraff “Pilot Of Change”, “Let ’em See Your Strong”, “Travelin’ By Guitar” and “Stubborn In The Blood” from “Stubborn In The Blood” (2018, Bandana Records).
The 2018 Summerfolk Music and Crafts Festival takes place the weekend of August 17-19 in Kelso Park, on the shores of Georgian Bay, just outside Owen Sound. A beautiful site – it’s the perfect situation for a summer festival. Each year, Summerfolk prides itself in putting together a wonderful musical line-up, and the 2018 edition is no exception. This year’s festival, the 43rd edition, features more than 40 different musical acts from Canada and across the world in genres that range from folk, roots, country and bluegrass, to blues, and even hip-hop and funk. As always, there are also lots of children’s activities, community workshops, artisan booths, dozens of food vendors… and two licensed areas. To learn more about this summer’s festival we caught up with artistic director James Keelaghan. Check out the full Summerfolk line-up HERE. GET TICKETS. For more information about Summerfolk, visit summerfolk.org. Music: Calan, “Senwir Solomon” from “Solomon” (2017, Sain Recordiau Cyf.), Harpoonist & the Axe Murderer “Get Ready” from “Apocalipstick” (2017, self) and Vishtèn “Figeac” from “Vishtèn Live” (2009, Sandbar Music).
Toronto singer-songwriter and activist Duane Forrest joins us in the studio on Episode 393 of Folk Roots Radio to chat about his music. He also plays three songs live. Its a very inspiring interview, and definitely worth checking out. We also have new music from Lucy Ward, Sarah McQuaid, Laurie MacAllister, Andrew Collins Trio, Ali McCormick, Rory Block, Cris Cuddy, The Barra MacNeils and Laura Mulcahy. Check out the full playlist below.
St John’s NL singer-songwriter Peter Willie Youngtree specializes in gritty thought-provoking country songs that he delivers with a wonderful world weary old time country voice that feels like it comes from another place and time. Peter Willie joins us on Episode 392 of Folk Roots Radio to chat about his forthcoming album “Musical Chairs” with his band The Blooms, the follow up to his critically acclaimed 2015 album “Country Hymns”. Peter Willie also plays three new songs live for us. It’s a great interview – definitely worth sticking around for. We also have new music from Jon Brooks, Jory Nash, Kellie Loder, The Jeremiahs, Tim O’Brien, Andrew Collins Trio, Annie Lou, Ian Reid, David Stone and David Davis & the Warrior River Boys. Check out the full playlist below.
We’re giving over the whole of Episode 391 of Folk Roots Radio to some great artist interviews we recorded at the 2018 Hillside Festival. We had an absolutely fabulous time at the festival again this year – it’s hard to put into words how wonderful it is. Set in the beautiful setting of Guelph Lake, just outside Guelph, in Southern Ontario, If you’ve not experienced it yet, you definitely should try and make it there at least once. Hillside has an incredible vibe and musically there really is something for everyone. With all the craziness going on in the world just now, it feels like a respite from all the insanity. Authentic, inclusive, respectful and environmentally sustainable… Hillside you’re just the best! Stay tuned as we chat with Frank Evans from The Slocan Ramblers, Martin Harley, the Fortunate Ones and Cécile Doo-Kingué. We also squeeze in music from Hillside 2018 favourites, Rev. Sekou and female Latino vocal group LADAMA.