Jeremy Albino is a young musician with an old soul, and the classic sound of old time country blues surging through his veins. Musically he is the real deal – when he plays live, it’s like he’s channelling music from another place and time. Jeremie grew up in Scarborough Toronto before deciding to pass up city life for the slower pace and rooted appeal of rural Prince Edward County. Though still developing as an artist, and yet to put anything down on record, he’s already building quite a name for himself. Jeremie Albino sat down with Jan Hall from Folk Roots Radio at the Folk Music Ontario conference to chat about his music and play three of his original songs live. Jeremie Albino will be playing the Roots North Music Festival in Orillia ON on Saturday April 21 2018. For more information about the music of Jeremie Albino visit jeremiealbinomusic.com. Music: Jeremie Albino “Shipwreck” (Live), “Klondike Man” (Live) and “Trouble” (Live).
Playful Americana-folk duo The Rough & Tumble first arrived on our radar with their very cute video for their song “Teeny Tiny Folk Band” from their 2017 E.P. “Cardboard and Christmas Lights”. After a string of E.P.s, they’ve just released their first full length album “We Made Ourselves A Home When We Didn’t Know” (2018, Rock Candy Recordings). Featuring the close harmonies, versatile instrumentation and engaging songwriting of Mallory Graham and Scott Tyler, the album celebrates their chosen nomadic lifestyle, out on the open road, travelling from gig to gig in their sixteen foot camper van, with their dogs for company. A beautiful Americana duo recording, We Made Ourselves A Home When We Didn’t Know features some lovely harmonies from Mallory and Scott with an accompaniment of accordion, melodica, bells, home-based found sounds, and a bowed glockenspiel that gives it that homespun feel. The album was recorded by Dave Coleman at Howard’s Apartment Studio in East Nashville, with rhythm section support from Mike Shannon & Chris Leonard. We caught up with Mallory and Scott live from the road, to talk about the new album. You can visit The Rough & Tumble online at theroughandtumble.com. Music: The Rough & Tumble “Wildfire”, “Baggage” and “Let’s Get The Band Together” and “Take Me With You” from “We Made Ourselves A Home When We Didn’t Know” (2018, Rock Candy Recordings).
The music of five times JUNO nominee and seven times Canadian Folk Music Award winning mando-maestro Andrew Collins (Foggy Hogtown Boys, Creaking Tree String Quartet) can broadly be described as folk, bluegrass and jazz though as a composer, it’s all about creating new original acoustic music and trying not to sound like other things. His most recent recording, the critically acclaimed instrumental concept album “And It Was Good” (2016) was based on the biblical seven days of creation – one track for each day of creation plus the title track to wrap it all up. Andrew Collins is now back in the studio working on a new project, two separate but connected albums – one a vocal selection of mostly reworked and reimagined cover songs, the other an album of new instrumental music. In live performance, the Andrew Collins Trio, featuring fellow string-meisters Mike Mezzatesta (mandolin, guitar, fiddle) and James McEleney (bass, mandocello), love to take the audience on a fun ride that effortlessly moves from folk to new acoustic roots, to bluegrass, and jazz, with some fine interplay on a variety of stringed instruments, punctuated by lead vocals from Andrew Collins and fine harmonies from his bandmates. Andrew Collins sat down with Jan Hall at the Folk Music Ontario conference to chat about his current projects and future plans, and played an instrumental and a couple of songs live for us. For more information about Andrew’s music, visit andrewcollinstrio.com. You can find an interview recorded at the time of the release of And It Was Good HERE. Music: Andrew Collins “Banish Misfortune” (live), “Coming Into Hard Times Blues” (live) and “Nothing About Us” (live).
Ryan Cook started out playing punk and heavy metal music before discovering a love for classic country and western music from the 40s and 50s and the likes of (early) George Jones, Patsy Cline, Ernest Tubbs and Jimmy Rodgers. His latest release, album number four, “Having A Great Time” playfully explores the ups and downs of life on the road as a snowbirding itinerant troubadour singer-songwriter, travelling from place to place in a thirty five year old camper van. Whether performing live solo or as part of a duo or trio, expect to be regaled by some of Ryan’s fine original country folk – with a modern sensibility, alongside a few songs from the golden age of country music. Ryan Cook joined Jan Hall from Folk Roots Radio at the Folk Music Ontario conference to chat about his music, and played a song from the new album live. For more information about Ryan Cook, visit ryancook.ca. Music: Ryan Cook “Cult Of My Own” from “Having A Great Time” (2017, Self), “Uncomplicated” (Live) and “Memory Foam” from “Having A Great Time” (2017, Self).
Multi-instrumentalist (fiddle, mandolin, guitar and piano) singer-songwriter; two time Juno Award winner; and inductee in the BC Entertainment Hall of Fame, Shari Ulrich has released 23 albums to date during a storied career that has also included work with Pied Pumkin, The Hometown Band, Ulrich Henderson Forbes (UHF), Bentall Taylor Ulrich (BTU), and the bluegrass band, The High Bar Gang. As a songwriter, Shari is a huge believer in serving the song. “It’s not about the ego or proving you are a great player. When I’m performing I’m celebrating the song and what it does for people.” Her most recent solo release, 2014’s “Everywhere I Go” took home the Canadian Folk Music Award for (English) Songwriter of the year. She’s currently hard at work on a new solo project and will be touring Ontario in May 2018 with her trio featuring her daughter Julia Graff (on violin, mandolin, guitar & vocals) and fellow High Bar Gang member Kirby Barber (on bass, guitar and vocals). Shari Ulrich sat down with Jan Hall from Folk Roots Radio at the 2017 Folk Music Ontario conference. To learn more about her music, visit shariulrich.com. Music: Shari Ulrich “Freefall” from “Everywhere I Go” (2014, Borealis Records), The High Bar Gang “Don’t This Road Look Rough & Rocky” from “Someday The Heart Will Trouble The Mind” (2016, Borealis Records) and Bentall Taylor Ulrich “You Got Lost” from “Tightrope Walk” (2016, Borealis Records).
Vancouver based singer-songwriter Chris Ronald moved to Canada from England in 2002 and has built himself a great career as a songwriter renowned for his songcraft producing an Americana and Canadiana sound that has been described as “Canadian folk with British roots”. Chris released a lovely fourth album, “Fragments” in 2017 on the Canadian folk label Borealis Records. In live performance, whether solo or with his trio with multi-instrumentalist guitarist John MacArthur Ellis and fiddle player Mike Sanyshyn, Chris draws on his abilities as a highly skilled singer, storyteller, and musician to deliver a fabulous show. Chris sat down with Jan Hall from Folk Roots Radio at the Folk Music Ontario conference to chat about his music and play three songs live from Fragments. To learn more about Chris Ronald, visit chrisronald.com. Music: Chris Ronald “Everything Goes Green” (Live), “Mosquito” (Live) and “Retirement Plan” (Live). All of the tracks can be found on the 2017 Borealis album “Fragments”.
Prolific Toronto based writer and musician Mark Martyre has just released his latest collection, “Rivers” – his fifth full-length studio album since 2012, and following on from “Down, Record” (2012), “London” (2013), “Red Letters” (2014), “Bluebird” (2016), and several live recordings, and bootlegs. Mark’s also published a collection of his lyrics, spanning his music between 2012-2016. Rivers features ten new reflective Mark Martyre songs, with his characteristic Tom Waits like vocal delivery, some beautifully relaxed piano work and some lovely backing vocals from Stacey Dowswell. Also, joining Mark Martyre (guitar, vocals & harmonica) on the album are Darrin Baldwin (piano), Matt Antaya (electric guitar), Graydon James (drums), Jason Lapidus (bass), Ed Michael Roth (accordion), and Raha Javanfar (violin). Rivers was recorded in Toronto at the Lincoln County Social Club with John Dinsmore. We caught up with Mark Martyre in Toronto to chat about the new album. For more information, visit markmartyre.com. Music: Mark Martyre “Come Lie Beside Me, Dear”, “Carry On”, “(I Think) We Might Be OK” and “Anywhere But Here” from “Rivers” (2017, Self).
Acclaimed Prince Edward Island singer-songwriter Ashley Condon released what might be her most thoroughly PEI album to date, “Can You Hear Me”, in October. Her third full length recording, Can you Hear Me features a series of co-writes with other PEI artists and artists who came to PEI on creative exchanges. The album also features some beautiful harmony vocals from Ashley’s fellow Eastern Belles – Catherine MacLellan and Meaghan Blanchard, and a sophisticated sonic palette thanks, in part, to her producer, (Anne Murray’s nephew) Dale Murray (formerly of The Guthries and Cuff the Duke). The album is not the only new thing on Ashley Condon’s horizon; she has also launched a PEI-based microbrewery Copper Bottom Brewing with her husband and brewmaster, Ken Spears. We caught up with Ashley at home on PEI to chat about the new album, the island’s wonderful music community and the family microbrewery, which is also a music venue, in Montague PEI. For more information about the music of Ashley Condon, visit ashleycondon.com. Check out the video for “The Rain” HERE. Music: Ashley Condon “Diamond Sky”, “The Rain” and “Oh My Love” from “Can You Hear Me” (2017, Self).
Canadian world folk supergroup the Sultans of String have just released their first holiday album, “Christmas Caravan”. Turning the notion of holiday music completely on its head, the new album, recorded and co-produced with JUNO Award winning engineer John ‘Beetle’ Bailey, features Quebecois fiddle tunes and collaborations with a traditional Turkish string ensemble, and jumps from a classic Andrews Sisters holiday sound, to a Himalayan sleigh ride, African roots music, Gypsy-jazz, rumba flamenco, ska, and the grandeur of the symphony. You name it, its in there. To help celebrate the season, the band brought in an all star cast of guest musicians including six times Grammy winning Paddy Moloney (The Chieftains), Ruben Blades & Luba Mason, platinum-selling jazz vocalist Nikki Yanofsky, Alex Cuba, Benoit Bourque of Quebec’s Bottine Souriante, African-American a cappella group Sweet Honey in the Rock, Cameroon’s Richard Bona, Rebecca Campbell (Emmylou Harris, Alanis Morissette), singer Mary Fahl from NYC’s October Project, a recording collective of Turkish Roma violinists in Istanbul, Sudanese-Canadian singer Waleed Abdulhamid, Nashville-based JUNO Award winning country singer Crystal Shawanda, sitar virtuoso Anwar Khurshid, and hang drum player David Charrier from France. We caught up with Sultans of String fiddle maestro, Chris McKhool, at home in Toronto, to learn more about the new album. The Sultans of String will be touring the album across Canada in the run up to the holidays, including a visit to the Registry Theatre in Kitchener ON (December 1), the Isabel Bader Theatre in Toronto (December 2) and Aeolian Hall in London (December 3). Check out all the dates and visit the Sultans of String online at sultansofstring.com. Music: Sultans of String, “Turkish Greensleeves”, “Himalayan Sleigh Ride” and “Hallelujah” from “Christmas Caravan” (2017, Self).
Erin Costelo from Halifax NS released a wonderful album in 2016, “Down Below, The Status Quo”. A fabulous slice of genre-bending soulful pop that skips from R&B/Soul to bluesy jazz, the album was a joy from beginning to end, and deservedly one of our Favourite Albums of 2016. We caught up with Erin Costelo at the 2017 Folk Music Ontario conference, to chat about the critical response to the recording, and her current musical activities. To learn more about Erin Costelo, visit erincostelo.ca. Photo credit: Kimberly Sinclair. Music: Erin Costelo, “Fighter”, “Turn It On” and “The Line” from “Down Below, The Status Quo” (2016, Venue Records).
Montreal based blues roots performer Rob Lutes released a fabulous new album, “Walk In The Dark”, early this year. Featuring twelve strong originals, a couple of co-writes with award-winning Americana songwriter Dale Boyle and a cover of John Prine‘s “Rocky Mountain Time”, the album finds Lutes, a Kerrville New Folk winner, Maple Blues and Canadian Folk Music Awards nominee exploring a wide range of subjects and paying homage to some heroes: James Cotton (on “There’s No Way to Tell You That Tonight”) and guitarist Joseph Spence (on the instrumental “Spence”). Rob Lutes soulful voice, some great fingerstyle playing and support from some of the finest blues and roots players in the business, including regular side player guitarist Rob MacDonald, keyboardist Bob Stagg, Guy Bélanger on harmonica and Joe Grass on mandolin – the album is, truly, a tour de force. I’m sure it will up there for consideration at awards time. We caught with Rob on the road to chat about the new album. Check out Rob Lutes online at roblutes.com. Music: Rob Lutes “A Little Room”, “Believe In Something”, “Rabbit” and “Walk In the Dark” from “Walk In The Dark” (2017, Self).
Raine Hamilton, the Winnipeg based singer-songwriter with the ethereal voice and the wonderful string trio will release her second album “Night Sky” in March 2018. Recorded in Winnipeg with Lloyd Peterson, the album features eight new Raine Hamilton songs and two co-writes with support from, among others, her regular string trio members Quintin Bart on double bass and Natanielle Felicitas on cello. Raine joined us in the mobile studio at the Folk Music Ontario conference for a wonderful conversation about the making of the new album, plus two songs from the new album live and a first spin of the album’s first single “Lift Me Up”. You can also check out the new video for “Lift Me Up” HERE. For more information about the music of Raine Hamilton, visit rainehamilton.com. Music: Raine Hamilton “Robin Hood” (Live), “Bury My Heart” (Live) and “Lift Me Up” from “Night Sky” (2018, Self).
Hamilton folk singer-songwriter Piper Hayes is getting ready to release her first full-length album, “Piper & Carson”, which also features her partner Carson Ritcey-Thorpe. Produced by Chris Bartos, the album was recorded live off the floor at Thorpe’s Organic Produce farm in Millgrove, ON (near Hamilton) in the summer of 2017. Joining Piper Hayes (lead vocal, rhythm guitar) on the album are Carson Ritcey-Thorpe (vocal, lead guitar), Kevin Neal (pedal steel), Leah Ritcey-Thorpe (back-up vocals) and Chris Bartos (upright bass, piano, electric and acoustic violin, electric guitar, Moog, vocals). Album release shows take place in Hamilton, at This Ain’t Hollywood, on Thursday, December 7, 2017, doors at 8:00 p.m. (show at 9:00 p.m.) and in Toronto, at The Dakota Tavern on Friday, December 8, 2017, doors at 6:00 p.m. (show at 7:00 p.m.). The support for the Hamilton show will be the great Guelph-based folk group The Lifers, while Owen Sound folk duo Our Shotgun Wedding join Piper for the Toronto release. Piper and Carson joined Jan Hall from Folk Roots Radio at the 2017 Folk Music Ontario conference for a fun chat about their music and a couple of live songs. For more information about Piper Hayes, visit pipersings.com. Music: Piper Hayes “In My Bones” from “Piper & Carson” (2017, Self), “Careless” (Live), “Big Red” (Live) and “Honey” from “Goodbye Mister Nice Guy” (2016, Self).
Jabbour are Guillaume Jabbour (Lachute, QC.), Carl Rufh (Ormstown, QC.) and Bill Collier (Charlottetown, P.E.I.). Having played in various bands prior (Grouyan Gombo, Les Perroquets, Durham County Poets), the three combined their creative abilities to form a project focused on original work and an engaging live sound. Walking the line that often separates Canada’s two solitudes drives songwriting that features dramatic waltzes, tales reminiscent of Quebec chansonniers, swinging rhythms and toe-tapping two-steps. Jabbour released their debut album “Round The Clock” in 2015. They are currently working on their next album, due in 2018. Jabbour joined Folk Roots Radio in the mobile studio at the 2017 Folk Music Ontario conference to chat about their music and play three songs live. Visit Jabbour online at jabbourband.com. Music: Jabbour “Honey” (Live), “Son Secret” (Live) and “You’re Gone” (Live).
Peterborough ON’s fuzz-folk duo Mayhemingways have had a fabulous couple of years since the release of their debut album “Hunter St. Blues”. The Mayhemingways have spent a lot of 2017 on a cross-Canada tour as side players and the support act for Bill & Joel Plaskett and their new collaboration “Solidarity”. Benj Rowland (synth. bass, accordion, banjo, guitar and vocals) and Josh Fewings (Drums, backing vocals) are now working on their sophomore release, provisionally titled “Skipland”. We caught up with the Mayhemingways at Summerfolk to chat about their music. To learn more about the Mayhemingways, visit mayhemingways.wordpress.com. Photo: Michelle Fortier. Music: Mayhemingways “Hunter St. Blues” from “Hunter St. Blues” (2015, Self).
Ken Yates is one of Canada’s brightest young singer-songwriters. Unforgettable melodies, emotionally charged storytelling, and top-notch guitar chops are all on display on his new Jim Bryson produced album “Huntsville” – its 11 tracks capturing his artistic evolution amid extensive touring over the past three years. We caught up with Ken at Summerfolk 2017 to chat about his music. Visit Ken Yates online at kenyates.com. Photo: Michelle Fortier. Music: Ken Yates, “Roll Me On Home” from “Huntsville” (2016, Self).
Toronto-based singer-songwriter and fingerstyle guitarist Shawna Caspi has just released her fourth album “Forest Fire”. The new album features seven Shawna Caspi songs alongside cover versions of Lynne Miles “Brave Parade” and the “Tennessee Waltz” (Redd Stewart and Pee Wee King). Forest Fire was produced by Don Kerr (Rheostatics, Ron Sexsmith) with musical support from Rosalyn Dennett (fiddle, backing vocals), Joel Schwartz (electric guitar, baritone guitar, rhythm acoustic guitar, mandolin, resonator, tenor banjo), Dave Matheson (piano, organ), Alyssa Wright (cello), Ben Whiteley (standup bass) and Don Kerr (drums, backing vocals, cello). Shawna recently joined us in the Quantum Sound Productions studio in Kingsville Ontario to record an episode of the Sun Parlour Coffee House Sessions. Musicians join us in the studio to record six songs live and sit down with Folk Roots Radio to chat about their music. We’re pleased to bring our interview with Shawna to you today. For more information about the Sun Parlour Coffee House Sessions visit sunparloursessions.com. To learn more about Shawna Caspi, visit shawnacaspi.com. Photo: Dale Butler. Music: Shawna Caspi “Love In A Moving Van” and “Brave Parade” from “Forest Fire” (2017, Self).
Singer-songwriter Ken Dunn’s 2015 album “The Great Unknown” was one of my favourite albums of the year. An exquisite slice of beautifully played thoughtful folk with Ken Dunn’s lovely languid singing voice, it was an absolute pleasure to listen to it. His wonderful new album “Wondrous Beauty,” (his seventh,) is the start of a whole new relationship with his music. 10 new well-crafted Ken Dunn songs – with some really nice harmonies from partner and keyboard player Anna Green, some great fiddle from Tyler Beckett, and a lovely understated production from Ken himself. Ken joined us in the studio with partner Anna Green to chat about the new album. For information on Ken Dunn visit kendunnmusic.com. Photo: Michelle Fortier. Music: Ken Dunn: “Hold On”, “Hills Of Strathavon”, “Wondrous Beauty”, “Wild & Free” from “Wondrous Beauty” (2017, Self).
Coco Love Alcorn lives in the moment. A gifted performer in folk, pop and jazz, and a wonderful harmonizer and improviser, Coco has had an absolutely fabulous year since the release of her latest album “Wonderland” – which came out of her non-denominational gospel song project, The Spirit Sessions. Since the album’s September 2016 release, Coco has been touring Canada extensively (including a three week Christmas tour with John McDermott) and working with choirs from all across the country. This fall she will be heading off on the Invitation to Sing tour which includes a two night stint in Vancouver where she will be joined by five choirs who will add more than 200 voices to her performance. We caught up with Coco at the Summerfolk Music & Crafts festival. Our 2015 interview with Coco, recorded at the Folk Music Ontario conference is also worth checking out. Find it online HERE. For more information, visit cocolovealcorn.com. Photo: Michelle Fortier. Music: Coco Love Alcorn “Wonderland” from “Wonderland” (2016, Self).
Bare Sierra is an alt. folk duo featuring John Muirhead and Jesse Bydevaate. John and Jesse met at school in Halton Hills ON, and since that time have been part of a variety of different musical projects. John was also part of the 2016 Developing Artist Program (formerly Youth Program) at the Folk Music Ontario conference. This summer they were party of the great Youth Discoveries program at the Summerfolk Music & Crafts festival. They will be going into the studio to record their first E.P. this fall. We caught up with John and Jesse at Summerfolk to learn more about their music. Visit Bare Sierra online at baresierra.com. Photo: Michelle Fortier. Music: Bare Sierra “Domino” (Live Demo).