Sultans Of String are taking their Christmas Caravan out on the road again this holiday season, with an extensive tour that takes in B.C. and Ontario and then heads into the US, and depending on the date features some special guests. Christmas Caravan isn’t your typical holiday album – as the band and their guest performers take seasonal music into another realm altogether, with some fine vocals performances, wonderful high octane world beat music and some fabulous virtuoso musicianship. On this tour, the Sultans of String will also be raising money for the United Nations Agency for Refugees (UNHCR) in Canada who provide shelter, food, water, medical care and other life-saving assistance to refugees around the world. You can donate online HERE. Sultans of String leader Chris McKhool joined us again on Folk Roots Radio to chat about the upcoming tour. Check out all their tour dates at sultansofstring.com. Music: Sultans of String “Jesous Ahatonhia (Huron Carol)” (feat. Crystal Shawanda) and “The Little Swallow/Al Vuelo” (feat. The City of Prague Symphony Orchestra) from “Christmas Caravan” (2017, Self) CDN.
Moonfruits are a bilingual folk duo featuring the beautiful harmonies Kaitlin Milroy and Alex Millaire, who captivate audiences with their songs and stories, often accompanied by just a banjo or parlour guitar. Moonfruits released their sophomore recording “Ste-Quequepart” in 2016, a French language folk concept album about a magical little town – that celebrates the lives of its inhabitants in song, and through those souls, the lives of everyday people living in small towns or communities the world over. Moonfruits bring an emotional passion and authenticity to their music that truly makes their music come alive, especially when they are telling stories about Ste-Quequepart. Kaitlin Milroy and Alex Millaire sat down with Jan Hall from Folk Roots Radio at the 2018 Folk Music Ontario conference. For more information about Moonfruits and their upcoming tour dates, visit moonfruits.ca. Music: Moonfruits “Les Marins”, “Ste-Quequepart”, “La Légende De Roustabout” and “Roustabout” from “Ste-Quequepart” (2017, Self) CDN
Rock bassist turned singer-songwriter Ken Tizzard has just released “A Good Dog Is Lost: A Collection Of Ron Hynes Songs”, a loving tribute to the Newfoundland songsmith who sadly passed away in 2015. Born and raised in St Johns, and now based in Campbellford ON, Ken Tizzard had a long career playing bass with Canadian rock bands The Watchmen and Thornley before setting out on a folk music career. Ken Tizzard considered Ron Hynes a friend and a mentor in the development of his own career as a singer-songwriter. The roots of this new project date back to November 2013, when Ron asked Ken to accompany him on bass for a 12-date duo tour of Newfoundland and Labrador. After the loss of his friend, as part of the grieving process, Ken Tizzard created an acclaimed one-man show, Hynesight, that was performed at the Westben Arts Festival Theatre in Campbellford. The new album is a natural progression from those performances, and features eleven Ron Hynes songs with support from Ken Tizzard’s regular bassist Ken Grant, drummer Steve Dagg, multi-instrumentalist Luke Mercier (fiddle, banjo, mandolin), and guitarist Ken Kelly; with cameos from Ron Hynes sideman Paul Kinsman (accordion) with backing vocals from Amelia Curran and Ken’s daughters Caitlyn and Cassidy Tizzard. We caught up with Ken Tizzard at home in Campbellford to chat about the new project. For more information, visit kentizzard.com. Music: Ken Tizzard “A Good Dog Is Lost”, “Judgement” and “St John’s Waltz” from “A Good Dog Is Lost: A Collection Of Ron Hynes Songs” (2018, Self).
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).
Tannis Slimmon has been making music for over 30 years. Tannis grew up in a musical family on a farm in Manitoba before moving to Guelph ON in 1980, announcing herself on the Canadian folk scene as a member of the critically acclaimed Bird Sisters (with Jude Vadala and Sue Smith). Since then, her music career has gone from strength to strength – with three great solo albums (with support from her partner Lewis Melville), taking home Contemporary Vocalist of the Year at the 2008 Canadian Folk Music Awards, for her second solo album, the fabulous “Lucky Blue”. Tannis has also been involved in many other musical collaborations including vocal groups Essentia & Ondine Chorus, The Lucky Sisters and currently Boreal (with Jude Vadala and Katherine Wheatley). Boreal’s annual Songs For The Snowy Season concerts start in late November. For more information on this year’s dates, visit borealsongs.ca. There’s also a new duo – Sweetcorn and Sunflower with fellow Guelph based singer-songwriter Annie Sumi – they’re just back from a tour that took them out to Vancouver Island. Check out the great video session they recorded at BNB studios HERE. The good news, for such an accomplished artist, is that Tannis is now able to make music full-time allowing her a renewed focus on her solo career, and her other projects. We caught up with Tannis Slimmon at home in Guelph to chat about her music. Visit Tannis Slimmon online at tannis.ca. Music: Tannis Slimmon “Our Time Now” from “Lucky Blue” (2007, Self), “Good News” from “In And Out Of Harmony” (2013, Self) and Boreal “Shovelling Snow” from “Winter’s Welcome” (2014, Self).
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).