Guelph alt-folk singer-songwriter Innes Wilson landed on our radar earlier this year with his very well-received long player “Northumberland Slums”. A stripped down affair featuring just Innes Wilson’s voice, tenor guitar, tenor banjo and harmonica – that was actually his second new album after a six year break, the indie-pop “Bedford Hills EP” arriving in 2017. Innes Wilson has just released a further album, the four song EP “Seaview”. We caught up with Innes Wilson at home in Guelph to chat about his music. For more information about Innes Wilson, visit inneswilson.bandcamp.com. Music: Innes Wilson “Rough Falls” from “Seaview” (2018, Out Of Sound), “As Ink Dries” from “Northumberland Slums” (2018, Out Of Sound) and “The Ballad Of Earl Rowe” from “Seaview” (2018, Out Of Sound).
Guelph singer-songwriter Doris Folkens has released a new song for Remembrance Day. The new song, “All Our Roses”, is about her mother’s experience as a young child living in Hamburg, Germany during World War 2. Doris Folkens family history has provided rich material for a young singer-songwriter who is already developing a reputation as a storyteller. The song “Across The Sea” on her debut album is a song about a woman leaving home for love and a life across the sea. It’s also partly her mother’s story, as an immigrant from Germany, who found better opportunities in Canada. All Our Roses was produced by Andrew Collins who also plays mandolin on the new recording. We caught up the Doris Folkens in Guelph to chat about the new song. For more information about Doris Folkens, visit dorisfolkens.com. Music: Doris Folkens “Across The Sea” from “Doris Folkens” (2018, Self) and “All Our Roses” (2018, Self).
Jody Raffoul is just about to release his latest album “9 Wigle St Leamington Ontario”. Ten years in the making, it’s the story of his life so far, and a collection of true stories of love, loss, trials and triumphs with an emphasis on family. Often thought of as Canada’s answer to Bruce Springsteen, Jody Raffoul has built a very successful career as a working class pop-rock singer/songwriter who is as much at home in a small club as on the big stage. The Jody Raffoul Band will be performing CD Release shows at The Bank Theatre in Leamington on Friday, November 30 or Saturday, December 1 at 7:30 p.m (doors at 6:30 p.m.) and Sunday, December 2 at 7 p.m. (doors at 6 p.m.) with an opening performance from Jody’s son Billy Raffoul, who is now out in L.A. developing his own musical career. Jody Raffoul joined Jan Hall in the Folk Roots Radio studio to chat about this very special album and his hometown release shows. For more information about Jody Raffoul, visit jodyraffoul.com. To get tickets for the CD release shows (and they’re selling out quickly), visit banktheatre.com. Jody Raffoul will also be performing as part of the supergroup The S’Aints at Caesar’s Windsor for Sleighing Hunger, an annual holiday music show that raises funds for food banks in Windsor-Essex and Chatham-Kent. That event takes place on Friday December 21 this year. For more information, visit sleighinghunger.com. Music: Jody Raffoul “Feel Your Own Love”, “I’m So In Love With You” and “A Long Way Back” from “9 Wigle St Leamington Ontario” (2018, Self).
Jory Nash released his ninth album “Wilderness Years” earlier this year. It maybe his best yet, which is saying a lot for an artist who consistently produces great albums. It may also be his last – or at least for a while. As Jory explains during an in depth interview with Jan Hall at the Folk Music Ontario, its getting harder and harder to make a living as a singer-songwriter in a music world that is becoming so totally dominated by streaming companies that, at the present time, do not fairly compensate artists for access to their music. It’s a great interview, and well-worth checking out – and Jory also plays a couple of songs from the new album live for us. Wilderness Years was co-produced with Chris Stringer, and recorded at Union Sound with support from Jason Fowler, (guitars, mandolin), Devon Henderson (bass), Robbie Grunwald (piano, organ, accordion), Gary Craig (percussion), Dean Drouillard (6 & 12 string electric guitars), Burke Carroll (pedal steel), Kevin Fox (cello), Drew Jurecka (strings), Gene Hardy (sax), Jerome Godboo (harmonica) with Lori Cullen, Oh Susanna, Lydia Persuad & Chloe Watkinson (backing vocals). The new album has a lush and warm feel, and features 11 songs that are some of the most personal Jory has written, reflecting on the joys and responsibilities of new fatherhood, and crossing borders from folk and pop to soul, jazz and blues, with a nod to some of the great singer-songwriter albums of the 70s. Jory Nash plays Silence in Guelph on Saturday November 17 at 8 p.m. Visit Jory Nash online at jorynash.com. Music: Jory Nash “Sister Station” (Live), “Wilderness” (Live) and “The Astral Plane” from “Wilderness Years” (Thin Man Records, 2018).
Guelph based singer-songwriter Annie Sumi‘s 2017 album “In The Unknown” has been nominated for New/Emerging Artist of the Year at the 2018 Canadian Folk Music Awards. The follow-up to her critically acclaimed 2015 debut “Reflections”, In The Unknown is a fabulous release, filled with gorgeous songs that have a real connection to the world around us, and speak to the divine in everything. The bed tracks for the album were recorded off-the-floor at a remote Northern Ontario cabin while further instrumentation and vocal tracks were added at Revolution Recording and Union Sound in Toronto with producer Neil Whitford. With some wonderfully ethereal vocals from Annie, and a musical landscape created by guitar, piano, strings and more, it truly feels like you are wrapped in sound. We caught up with Annie at home in Guelph to chat about her music. You can find Annie Sumi online at anniesumi.com. Music: Annie Sumi “Nightingale”, “In Everything” and “Evaporating Life” from “In The Unknown” (2017, 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 embracing folk, pop, blues and gospel influences tastefully played on acoustic guitar, piano, accordion, and ukulele. Gathering Sparks are currently working on the second album, the first as a duo – original member Sam Turton leaving the band after the release of their self-titled debut album. Jane Lewis and Eve Goldberg joined Jan Hall in the Folk Roots Radio studio at the 2018 Folk Music Ontario conference to chat about their music, and sing three songs live. For more information, visit gatheringsparks.com. Music: Gathering Sparks “We Are Bringing In The Light” (Live), “You’re My Sister” (Live) and “Many Sparks Make A Fire” (Live).
Sara Gougeon is a twenty year old singer-songwriter from Sudbury, Ontario and a student at the prestigious Berklee College of Music in Boston. Sara was part of the Developing Artist Program that took place at the 2017 Folk Music Ontario conference, where she was mentored by Kaia Kater. You can check out our audio documentary from the 2017 Developing Artist Program HERE. Sara released her first EP “Home Again” this past August. Her song ”Home Again” was a finalist in the folk music category of the 2018 John Lennon Songwriting Contest. We caught up with Sara in Boston to chat about the new E.P. For more information about the music of Sara Gougeon, visit saragougeon.com. Music: Sara Gougeon “Michigan & Friends” and “Home Again” from “Home Again E.P.” (2018, Self).
London based singer-songwriter John Muirhead first landed on our radar as a member of the Developing Artist Program (formerly the Youth Program) at the 2016 Folk Music Ontario conference. John released his second solo EP “Foundational” (the follow up to “Yesterday’s Smile”) earlier this year. John will be releasing a series of singles throughout the winter, with the first, “I Can Sleep Anywhere” due November 8. John Muirhead sat down with Folk Roots Radio at the 2018 Folk Music Ontario conference to chat about his music. For more information, visit johnpmuirhead.com. Music: John Muirhead “Ambition”, “Foundational” and “Passenger’s Side” from “Foundational” (2018, Self).
Windsor ON based singer-songwriter Karen Morand has been pretty busy lately. After announcing the arrival of Even The Bird Was Free, her new rootsy, bluesy, gospel, Americana duo with Ukulele Bluesman Manitoba Hal (check out our great interview with Karen and Hal recorded at the Folk Music Ontario conference HERE), the Canada South Songwriting Competition winner is about to release her fourth album since 2012. The new recording, a solo E.P., “Every Flash Of Light” was recorded in St.Thomas, ON with Deni Gauthier and features five new Karen Morand songs (including co-writes with Linda McRae, Steve Hindalong, and others) and a cover of Corin Raymond‘s “That’s Life”. While retaining that warm gospel infused style we associate with Karen Morand’s music, the new songs come with powerhouse vocals, and a musical accompaniment from Deni Gauthier (acoustic/electric guitars, bass, keys, programming and percussion) and Broomsticks & Hammers‘ Paul Aitken on lead guitar and slide guitar that really makes you feel that this is Karen Morand unleashed. Karen Morand joined us in the Folk Roots Radio studio to chat about the new album. Visit Karen Morand online at karenmorand.com. Music: Karen Morand “When The Smoke Clears”, “That’s Life” and “Homeward Bound” from “Every Flash Of Light” (2018, Self).
Banjo toting roots singer-songwriter Carly Dow has just released her second album “Comet”. More celestial in tone than her earthy debut “Ingrained”, Carly is still deeply connected to nature and the wildness that lives amongst us – and within us, on ten new songs written at her, mostly off the grid, backwoods retreat in the wilds of Manitoba. The new album, co-produced with Matt Filopoulus, features Carly Dow on her signature clawhammer banjo and acoustic guitar with support from some fine Winnipeg based musicians including Matt Filopoulus on electric guitar, pedal steel and dobro; Murray Jewett and Julian Bradford (strings) and Jeremy Rusu (accordion) with harmony vocals from Madeleine Roger and Logan McKillop. Carly Dow sat down with Jan Hall from Folk Roots Radio at Folk Music Ontario to chat about the new album. For more information about the music of Carly Dow, visit carlydowmusic.com. Music: Carly Dow “Sunlight Remembers”, “Tiger’s Eye” and “Cut & Run” from “Comet” (2018, Self)
Winnipeg singer-songwriter Madeleine Roger released a fabulous album “Fairweather” in 2015 with her twin brother Lucas as part of the contemporary folk duo Roger Roger. Since that time, Lucas has decided to take a break from writing and performing to focus on his work as a luthier with Beardsell Guitars, allowing Madeleine to develop her own career as a solo artist. Madeleine Roger’s debut solo album “Cottonwood” features songs, written at home in Winnipeg and while on retreat at the family backwoods cottage, that reflect a female perspective on life and music. The album was produced with Lloyd Peterson (The Wailin’ Jenny’s, The Weakerthans, James Keelaghan) at Paintbox Recording in Winnipeg with true gender parity and equality a focus of the recording process. Madeleine Roger sat down with Folk Roots Radio at the 2018 Folk Music Ontario conference to chat about the new album. For more information about Madeleine Roger, visit madeleineroger.com. Music: Madeleine Roger “60 Years More”, “Cottonwood” and “Soldier Song” from “Cottonwood” (2018, Self).
Contra dance is a traditional social dance style with figures similar to square dancing but taking place in longways sets. Dancing occurs with live music from the Scots-Irish, French Canadian, and Appalachian folk traditions – though often given a modern twist. A caller leads the participants through the steps for each dance. It’s an inclusive, grassroots, and lively activity, open to all ages and a lot fun! Contra dance communities can be found in Toronto, Ottawa, Hamilton, and in many other places across Canada and the US. Drumlin Contra Dances take place at St James Church Hall in Fergus every fourth Friday each month, from September thru May. They are looking to entice more people to join them, so that their group can become truly sustainable. Kris Rosar from Drumlin Contra Dances joined us on Folk Roots Radio to chat about contra dancing and their group. For more information visit drumlincontradances.ca. Check out other links for Contra Dancing at contradancelinks.com, the Country Dance and Song Society at cdss.org and The Dance Gypsy. Music: The Old Sod Band “Julia Delaney, Tam Lin and The Banshee” from “Grass Roots” (2001, Self) and Les Frères Brunet “Queue De Lapin” from “Magie” (1994, Self).
Bilingual Canadian singer-songwriter Francine Honey (formerly Francine Leclair) has just released her third album “To Be Continued”. The new album, featuring tales of heartache and hope delivered with a mix of Americana, country, rock, Canadiana and blues, was recorded in Nashville with producer Neilson Hubbard (John Prine, Jason Isbell) with some fine support from guitarists Will Kimbrough and Kris Donegan, pianist Danny Mitchell, bassist Dean Marold and fiddler Eamon McLoughlin with backing vocals on “Snowflakes On My Eyelashes” from Beth Nielsen Chapman. Francine Honey joined us in the Folk Roots Radio studio to chat about the new album. For more information about the music of Francine Honey, visit francinehoney.com. Music: Francine Honey “Snowflakes On My Eyelashes”, “To Be Continued” and “Can’t Break Through To You” from “To Be Continued” (2018, Self).
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).
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).