Southern Ontario based folk group Same Latitude As Rome released “1812”, their most ambitious project to date, a suite of original songs to commemorate the Bicentennial of the War of 1812, in 2012. They are now getting set to release its follow-up “Early Days” – which is expected this Fall. And, they will also be performing at the inaugural Kingsville Folk Festival, August 8-10 2014. The current line-up features Peter Boyer on acoustic guitar and vocals, Anneke McCabe on percussion and vocals) with JK Gulley (guitar/mandolin) and Besnik Yzeiri (violin). For more information, visit samelatitudeasrome.com. We caught up with Peter Boyer at home in Fergus. Music: Same Latitude As Rome, “Better Days Will Come” and “Song For Louis Riel” from forthcoming album “Early Days”.
Lauren Mann has been delighting audiences with her folk-pop since 2008. After making the decision that gigging as much as possible was the thing to do, she formed a band with some fellow travellers and hit the open road. Lauren Mann And The Fairly Odd Folk released their second album “Over Land and Sea” in 2013. They gained national attention this year as winners of the very popular CBC Searchlight competition. They will be in the Guelph area on August 2 2014 for a show at the Eden Mills Community Hall. Tickets are $30 for adults, and $10 for students and available at the Bookshelf in Guelph or by contacting Kathie Lamie at 519-501-3550. The show starts at 8:00 p.m. (doors at 7:30 p.m.). We caught up with Lauren Mann on the road between Thunder Bay and Sault Set Marie. For more information visit laurenmannmusic.com. Music: Lauren Mann And The Fairly Odd Folk, “I Lost Myself” and “Over Land And Sea” from “Over Land and Sea” (2012, Wanderer)
Slide guitarist Dennis Johnson is creating quite the stir with his second album “Slide Avenue”, the follow up to “Slide Show”. Slide Avenue moves effortlessly between genres, from Blues to New Orleans Jazz to Rock to Swing, as it takes you on a ride that stays with you long after the album has finished. Featuring three Robert Johnson reinterpretations alongside a slew of Dennis Johnson originals it’s an album with so many standout tracks its hard to pick one though “She Looks Good”, featuring some outstanding fiddle from Joe Craven, deserves special mention. California based Johnson has a mission to take the slide guitar to points unknown; we’ve no doubt he’ll get there – Slide Avenue definitely delivers. We reached Dennis Johnson at home in California. Music: Dennis Johnson, “She’s So Good” and “Phonograph Blues” from “Slide Avenue” (2014, Self).
Singer-songwriters Stephen Fearing and Andy White will both be playing the Hillside Festival this year. This year’s visit will be a bit different from previous appearances because they will be playing together as Fearing & White, the project they started with a self-titled album in 2011. They’ve just released its follow-up, “Tea & Confidences” and we talked with Andy White from Edmonton. For more information on Fearing & White visit fearingandwhite.com. Music: Fearing & White, “We Came Together” and “Think Of Me Like Summer” from “Tea & Confidences” (2014, Lowdenproud Records)
Canadian powerhouse blues performer Matt Andersen returns to the Hillside Festival this year. Matt released his latest album “Weightless” this past February. Matt is currently on the summer festival circuit in North America, and before heading to Europe for a tour of the UK, Ireland and the Netherlands this fall, we caught up with him at his home in New Brunswick. For more information, visit www.stubbyfingers.ca. Music: Matt Andersen, “Weightless” and “Let You Down” from “Weightless” (2014, True North Records).
Rowdy folksters Union Duke made a big splash at the Mariposa Folk Festival in 2013, this despite having to go through the audition showcase process. That they were invited back in 2014 speaks volumes to the quality of the music and their outstanding live performances. Anyone who saw them lift the roof off the Mariposa Pub Tent in 2014 would know that this band is heading for bigger things – Catch them while you can. Thoughtful lyrics, soaring harmonies, and a foot stomping beat; you might just be checking out Canada’s version of Mumford and Sons! They’ve just released their second album, “Cash and Carry”, the follow-up to 2013’s “Bandits and Bridges”. We caught up with Ethan Smith and Matt Warry-Smith after the pub tent performance. For more information, visit unionduke.com. Music: Union Duke, “That Old Feeling” and “A Little More” from Cash & Carry (2014, Self)
Colorado’s Elephant Revival were one of the highlights of this year’s Mariposa Folk Festival. Their music has been described as transcendental folk because of the way they take elements of celtic folk, traditional folk, bluegrass / country, and occasionally reggae, hip-hop and jazz to create something entirely unique. Good words to describe their performances would be hypnotic and mesmerizing. Accomplished performers all, they should be a must see at the upcoming Hillside Festival. You do not want to miss this band! Their latest album is “These Changing Skies”. We caught up with Daniel Rodriguez and Bridget Law after a workshop at Mariposa. For more information, visit elephantrevival.com. Music: Elephant Revival, “Remembering A Beginning” and “Birds And Stars” from “These Changing Skies” (2013, Itz Evolving Records)
Toronto based band Graydon James and the Young Novelists will be bringing their folk-rock stylings to Guelph on July 18 2014 for a noon hour concert in St George’s Square. Formed in 2011 their first E.P., “A Small Town Eulogy” was released to critical acclaim. They followed that with a live album recorded at Dublin St United Church in Guelph and their first full length long player “In The Year You Were Born”. They are about to head into the studio to start work on their latest release. We caught up with Graydon James in Toronto. For more information, visit www.theyoungnovelists.com. Music: Graydon James and the Young Novelists, “Small Town Hymns” from “In The Year You Were Born” (2012, Self); Graydon James and the Young Novelists, “Hear Your Voice” (Single) (2013, Self)
Jane Carmichael and Kevin Kennedy are The Marrieds. They’ll be bringing their beautiful melodies and sweet harmonies to Guelph in July for a Thursday night residency at Magnolia Café. Sharing the stage with them will be Shannon Kingsbury (July 10), Vanessa Tignanelli (July 17), Ian Reid (July 24) and Peter Light (July 31). All the shows are Pay What You Can events and they start at 8:00 p.m. We caught up with Jane Carmichael and Kevin Kennedy at home in London ON. For more information visit www.themarrieds.ca. Music: “Come To Bed” and “The Rest Of My Days” from The Marrieds’ 2013 album “Saving Hope”.
Philadelphia based acoustic instrumentalist Trevor Gordon Hall is heading to this year’s Mariposa Folk Festival. With two successful acoustic albums under his belt, Trevor’s musical creative aspirations were upsized by the birth of the Kalimbatar, an innovative acoustic guitar that features the Kalimba, a sub-Saharan thumb piano. Trevor’s most recent album is Entelechy (2011). We caught up with him this week at home. For more information on Trevor Gordon Hall, visit trevorgordonhall.com. Music: Trevor Gordon Hall, Missing You and Kalimbatar from Entelechy (2011, Candy Rat Records).
Durham County Poets are five guys from the Chateauguay Valley in Quebec who have played in blues bands, gospel groups, Cajun, vaudeville, folk, rock and country bands. Since coming together as the Durham County Poets they have developed a sound that is uniquely their own. A collective blend of styles from Dan Hicks to James Taylor, the Band to Leon Redbone, they are a melting pot of inspired tunes to enjoy. They released their first album “When The River Flows” in 2012, and have just released their follow-up, the intriguingly titled “Chikkaboodah Stew”. We caught up with lead singer Kevin Harvey this past week to talk about the new album. For more information visit durhamcountypoets.com. Music: Intro: Chikkaboodah Stew, Outro: Lipstick Sky from Chikkaboodah Stew (2014, Self).
The Birds of Chicago should be very familiar to regular listeners to Folk Roots Radio. We’re big fans of the band that features JT Nero from JT and the Clouds and Ally Russell from Po’ Girl. How much do we love them? Well we’ve already had them join us for a live studio appearance on the show and now we’re getting excited because they will be back in Canada in early July for appearances at the Mariposa Folk Festival (July 4-6) and the Vancouver Island MusicFest (July 11-13). Birds of Chicago are one of the hardest working bands on the folk scene today, they tour almost constantly. Fortunately they do take a break now and again. And we caught up with JT Nero this week at home in Chicago. For more information, visit birdsofchicago.com.
Music: Birds Of Chicago, Barley from Live From Space (2009, Self); Birds Of Chicago, I Have Heard Words from Live From Space (2009, Self)
The Wailin’ Jennys play the Enwave Theatre at Harbourfront Centre in Toronto on Saturday June 21 2014. Tickets are $35 and are available online here. Since their humble beginnings in Winnipeg, the Jennys have grown to become one to the most beloved folk acts on the international scene. Founding members Ruth Moody (vocals, guitar, accordion, banjo, bodhrán) and Nicky Mehta (vocals, guitar, harmonica, drums, ukulele) along with New York-based Heather Masse (vocals, upright bass) continue to create some of the most beautiful music you are ever likely to hear. We caught up with Nicki Mehta earlier this week. For more information check out thewailinjennys.com.
Newfoundland Singer-songwriter Ian Foster joined us on Folk Roots Radio on June 14 2014. He’s just released his latest album “The Great Wave”. His Guelph CD release show takes place on Thursday June 19 at the ANAF Club, 32 Gordon Street, Guelph. Joining Ian on the bill will be Graydon James & Laura Spink from Toronto based folksters Graydon James and the Young Novelists. Showtime is 8 p.m. and tickets are just $10. For more information about Ian’s music, visit ianfoster.ca.
Sweet Alibi are Jess Rae Ayre, Michelle Anderson and Amber Quesnel. They are in Guelph this week for two shows at Magnolia Café on Friday June 13 and Saturday June 14 2014 at 8 p.m. Tickets for both Guelph shows are just $10. Due to the intimate size of the venue, reservations are recommended. Call 519-766-4663 to book your place. We caught up with Amber Quesnel in Toronto. For more information about Sweet Alibi, visit sweetalibi.com.
Guelph-based blues musician Dennis Gaumond (Gomo) joined us on Folk Roots Radio on May 24 2014 to chat about Jennis, his new project with Toronto based multi-instrumentalist Jen Gillmor. Jennis release their first album, “The Current”, in Toronto on May 30 and in Guelph (Eden Mills) on June 6. For more information visit jennis.ca.
Craig Cardiff joined us on Folk Roots Radio on May 17 2014 to chat about his latest album, Love Is Louder (Than All This Noise). Craig will be in Cambridge on Friday May 23 2014 for a show at the Galt Club (2nd floor above Cafe 13), 13 Main St, Galt, Cambridge. Tickets are $15 online from www.craigcardiff.com or $20 at the door. The support act will be The Vaudevillian. Show starts at 8 p.m. (Doors open at 7 p.m.).
Sarah Jane Scouten will be in Guelph for a show at Magnolia Café on Thursday May 22 2014 at 7:30 p.m. Sarah has just released her second album “The Cape”. Joining Sarah for this show will be her Brilliant String Band featuring Sarah Frank on fiddle, Luke Fraser on mandolin and Mathieu Lacombe on bass. Tickets are $10. Due to the intimate size of the venue, reservations are recommended. Call 519-766-4663 to reserve your place.
For more information, visit sarahjanescouten.com.
Montreal-based progressive celtic/bluegrass band The Bombadils joined us in the studio on May 10 2014. Their music draws from Québecois, Irish, and bluegrass folk influences but as a whole it’s pure Bombadils; a decidedly contemporary sound that combines soaring melodic lines, tight rhythmic energy, and virtuosity.
Formed in 2009 at McGill University, the band has performed regularly since then around Montreal in pubs and cafés while completing their studies in jazz and classical music. They released their debut CD “Fill Your Boots!” in 2012 and will release their new album, tentatively called Grassy Roads, Wandering Feet (after a Yeats poem that forms that basis for a song on the new album) later this year.
For more information, visit thebombadils.com.
Owen Sound based musician Drew McIvor joins us on Folk Roots Radio for a chat and a few live songs from his great new album “Porchlight”. Drew should well-known to Guelph listeners as a member of reggae-acid-funk combo House of Velvet. These days however, Drew front’s his own band ElectroNova and also spends time with Mambo Nation, Nicehaus, and the Mackenzie Blues Band. For more information, visit drewmcivor.com.