Winnipeg troubadour singer-songwriter Kevin Roy released a great country roots album “Heartworn Highways” in 2016, the follow-up to his well-received 2014 debut “Taller Than The Trees”. With a lovely twanged up, and a live off the floor feel, the album was co-produced with Lloyd Peterson at Winnipeg’s Paintbox Recording. Joining Kevin on the album are William J. Western (co-producer of Del Barber‘s JUNO-nominated Prairieography) on pedal steel, Crooked Brothers honorary percussionist Daniel Bertnick, and Red Moon Road‘s Daniel Peloquin-Hopfner on banjo, with harmony vocals from Madeleine Roger (Roger Roger), Amelia Peterson and Logan McKillop. Kevin Roy is out on the road this Spring including some dates in Ontario. We caught up with Kevin at home in Winnipeg to chat about his music. For more information visit kevinroymusic.com. Music: Kevin Roy “Heartworn Highways”, The Mighty River” and “Same Old Sky” from “Heartworn Highways” (2016, Self)
St John’s NF singer-songwriter Ian Foster has just released his latest album “Sleeper Years”, the follow-up to his very well-received album from 2014, “The Great Wave”. Sleeper Years is quintessential Ian Foster featuring song stories like the excellent “The Stinging Nettle” and “Postcards” alongside issue related appeals “Feels Like It Wants To Rain” or “New Rush For An Old Town”. Ian Foster’s growing interest in film is clearly evident with many of the songs having more of a indie cinematic feel than some of his earlier efforts. The album also contains a beautiful tribute to the late great Ron Hynes who passed away in 2015. We caught up with Ian at home in Newfoundland to chat about the new album. For more information about Ian Foster and upcoming tour dates, visit ianfoster.ca. Photo: Chris LeDrew. Music: Ian Foster “Our Love Was”, “The Stinging Nettle” and “You Left A Song (for Ron Hynes)” from “Sleeper Years” (2017, Self).
Montreal based art folk songstress Emily Millard is renowned for a beautiful and ethereal voice, that somehow feels like it comes from another place. Over the past ten years, Emily has released four albums under the name Miss Emily Brown. Her new album, the dreamy “By Heron & By Season” (2016), produced in Toronto with Sandro Perri, is the first to be released under her birth name, as Emily Millard. Emily joined Folk Roots Radio at the Folk Music Ontario conference to chat about her music and play a couple of songs, from the new album, live for us. For more information about Emily’s music, visit emilymillard.ca. Music: Emily Millard “Toxic Town” from “By Heron & By Season” (2016, Self), “Origami Valentine” (Live), “Where Is God” (Live) and “Hunter” from “By Heron & By Season” (2016, Self).
Singer-songwriter Scott Shea started out in music in the 90s, singing songs with his brother in Toronto, before giving it up in favour of a successful career building custom homes. In 2008, Scott found himself re-evaluating his life choices when his father, Red Shea, former lead guitarist for Gordon Lightfoot passed away. Relocating to Vancouver Island with his family, Scott returned to songwriting in 2013. Since then, he has released two albums – “Let It Storm” (2015), recorded in Austin, and his latest, 2016’s “Pendulum” which was recorded in both LA and Toronto with producer Bill Bell, and a band featuring Kenny Aronoff (drums), James “Hutch” Hutchinson (Bass) and Chris Joyner (Keys). Pendulum features some great songs about life and relationships, that while at times introspective and reflective, also have an optimistic feel for the future. It’s also a perfect companion for the long car ride. With a music career that’s now firmly based on giving back, all the proceeds from sales of Pendulum go to support Scott’s favoured charity, SOS Children’s Villages. Scott Shea joined us at the Folk Music Ontario conference to chat about his music. For more information visit scottsheasongs.com. Music: Scott Shea “Crazy Love” from “Pendulum” (2016, Self), “Shine” (Live), “Vanity” (Live), “Scattering Crows” (Live) and “(Gone) Too Young” from “Pendulum” (2016, Self).
Growing up in Cape Breton, you’d expect Mike McKenna Jr. to have celtic music coursing through his veins. Indeed he has – his first instrument was a fiddle, but he also fell in love with the storytelling aspect of being a troubadour singer-songwriter with east coast grit in his voice. After leaving Cape Breton for a new home base in Montreal, Mike released his first E.P., “Travelin Man” in 2016. He’s currently readying his first full length album, “Pacific Northwest Bound”, for release in May 2017. Mike joined us in the studio at the Folk Music Ontario conference to chat about his music, and play three songs live. For more information about Mike McKenna Jr., visit mikemckennajr.com. Music: Mike McKenna Jr. “Travelin Man” from “Travelin Man” (2016, Self), “The Highway” (Live), “Little Things” (Live), “Die In The West” (Live) and “Take Me Home” from “Travelin Man” (2016, Self).
Montreal based troubadour singer-songwriter Bobby Dove released her debut album “Thunderchild” in October 2016. Recorded in Peterborough, Ontario with producer James McKenty (Blue Rodeo, Gordon Lightfoot), the album harks back to the golden age of country music, and features a mix of broody ballads, honky-tonkin two steps and reflections on the what-ifs of life. Bobby joined us in the studio at the Folk Music Ontario conference to chat about her music and to play a couple of songs live for us. For more information about Bobby’s music, visit bobbydove.com. Music: Bobby Dove, “Thunderchild” from “Thunderchild” (2016, Self), “Gridlock” (Live), “Another Doggone Day” (Live), “Too Late To Go Home” from “Thunderchild” (2016, Self).
As a touring artist, Manitoba roots singer-songwriter Carly Dow is as comfortable on the banjo as the guitar, and playing solo as much as playing with a band. Carly arrived on the solo scene with her 2015 debut “Ingrained”. With a songwriting style that’s not afraid to tackle important issues – without sounding preachy, her music has been likened to that of Neko Case, with some Gillian Welch added into the mix. Carly Dow stopped by our mobile studio at the Folk Music Ontario conference this past October to chat about her music and play three songs live, including a couple of songs that are yet to be recorded. This summer, Carly Dow will be playing the Hillside Festival (July 14-16 2017) at Guelph Lake in Ontario. For more information about her music, visit carlydowmusic.com. Music: Carly Dow “Soil To Dust” from “Ingrained” (2015, Self), “Too Much To Go Back” (Live), “Something Lost” (Live), “The Coyote Song (working title)” (Live) and “Down This Road” from “Ingrained” (2015, Self).
Shawn William Clarke released his most recent album “William” in 2015. A lovely recording, it features some great songs with engaging lyrics and quirky titles, with Shawn’s gentle voice and harmonies resting over an understated musical accompaniment, including some fine finger picked guitar, pedal steel, accordion and some very nice use of brass. A sonic delight, it became one of our favourite albums of 2015. Since then, Shawn has been working on an ambient project Will Moor with fellow Toronto singer-songwriter David F Gluck (2016), and is now working on the follow-up to William at the Currie Brothers studio, Currie Music & Antiques, in Gravenhurst. Shawn stopped by the Folk Roots Radio mobile studio at the Folk Music Ontario conference this past October for a fun and engaging conversation, and to play three songs live – including two that have yet to make it on to disc. Music: Shawn William Clarke “I Blame The Loyalist Ghost” (Live), “Untitled” (new song about stage anxiety) (Live) and “Autumn in New Brunswick” (Live).
Richard Laviolette is a songwriter who really puts his life and personal passions into his music. His new country roots album, “Taking The Long Way Home” (2017, You’ve Changed Records) is all about remaining resilient in the face of life’s challenges whether they relate to personal issues, family, health – whatever – basically everything we all deal with on a daily basis. It’s also an album that emphasizes how much it helps to take the daily ups and downs with as much of a sense of humour as you can manage. With some lovely warm production from Andy Magoffin from the House of Miracles studio in Cambridge Ontario, and some really talented roots players who know how to play with a light touch – it’s a joy to listen to. Joining Richard on the album are Lisa Bozikovic on piano, Matt Reeves on lead guitar, Jessy Bell Smith (Skydiggers) on vocal harmonies, Julia Narveson (Ever Lovin’ Jug Band) on fiddle and double bass, Aaron Goldstein on pedal steel, Heather Kirby (Ohbijou) on electric bass, and Aaron Curtis on drums. We caught up with Richard Laviolette at home in Guelph to chat about the new album. Music: Richard Laviolette, “Grey Rain”, “Someone Tell My Story When I’m Gone”, “You’ve Really Got Me On The Run” and “Taking The Long Way Home” from “Taking The Long Way Home” (2017, You’ve Changed Records)
Country blues powerhouse Gina Horswood swopped her native Australia for North America in 2011 – just in time to head to Nashville to work on her 2013 album, the “Nashville Sessions EP”. After relocating to Canada, she released “Porcelain”, the album that put her firmly on the North American musical map, in 2016. Produced with Andre Wahl (Luke Doucet, Hawksley Workman, Amy Sky, Shania Twain) and placing Gina’s soulful vocals front and centre, Porcelain is a warm, bluesy experience with more than a hint of gospel and jazz. It’s the perfect introduction to an artist who at times can sound like a young Mavis Staples, Bessie Smith or Billie Holiday. With support from Tom & Sly Juhas (Banners, Jadea Kelly), Rich Levesque (Blue Rodeo, Jason McCoy/The Road Hammers, Melissa McClelland) and Robbie Grunwald (Jill Barber, Coco Love Alcorn), Porcelain is a tour de force from an artist who really deserves to be checked out on disc – and live. This spring, Gina Horswood is heading out on the “Saints & Sinners” tour of Southern Ontario with fellow singer-songwriter Karen Morand – starting off with a show at The Bank Theatre in Leamington on Saturday April 22 2017. GET TICKETS. We caught up with Gina at home to chat about her music. For more information, visit ginahorswood.com. Music: Gina Horswood “Come Hell Or High Water”, “Caged” and “Why Should I Wait?” from “Porcelain” (2016, Self).
Banjoist Jayme Stone has just released “Jayme Stone’s Folklife”, the follow up to The Lomax Project album. Inspired by further exploration of songs catalogued by noted folklorist Alan Lomax and other folklorists, Jayme Stone’s Folklife is a beautiful collection of Sea Island spirituals, Creole calypsos and Appalachian dance tunes dusted off and re-imagined for modern ears. Joining Jayme this time around are American folk singer extraordinaire Moira Smiley, Sumaia Jackson (fiddle, voice), and Joe Phillips (bass, voice) alongside special guests singer Felicity Williams (Bahamas), Dom Flemons (Carolina Chocolate Drops) and cornetist Ron Miles from Bill Frisell’s band. Jayme Stone’s Folklife is another great Jayme Stone album. I’ve already gone on record to say that I’m sure it will feature somewhere in my best of the year at the end of 2017. It’s that good! Jayme Stone joined us on Folk Roots Radio to chat about the album. Music: Jayme Stone “There Is More Love Somewhere”. “Buttermilk”, “Drunken Hiccups” and “Candy Gal” from “Jayme Stone’s Folklife” (2017, Borealis Records)
Playful Americana-folk duo The Rough & Tumble feature the close harmonies, versatile instrumentation and engaging songwriting of Mallory Graham and Scott Tyler. They’re new on our radar, and peaked our interest when they sent us a link to a very adorable video for their song “Teeny Tiny Folk Band”. You can check it out HERE. The Rough & Tumble used to tell people they were from Nashville TN, before deciding they preferred to be permanently on the road, in their sixteen foot camper van, with their two dogs for company. They’ll be in Southern Ontario on tour this April, including two shows in Toronto and a visit to The Cornerstone in Guelph on April 13 2017. We caught up with Mallory and Scott, live from the road, to learn more about their music. Visit The Rough & Tumble online at theroughandtumble.com. Music: The Rough & Tumble “Teeny Tiny Folk Band” and “Take Me With You” from “Cardboard & Christmas Lights” (2017, Rock Candy Recordings), “Pieces by Pieces” from “Pieces by Pieces” (2016, Rock Candy Recordings).
Singer-Songwriter Danny Michel went further than he’d ever done before when he recorded his latest album “Khlebnikov” far above the arctic circle, while aboard the Russian icebreaker Capitan Khlebnikov, in the middle of the arctic ocean. Danny was part of Generator Arctic, an expedition put together by Canada’s musical astronaut Col. Chris Hadfield and featuring scientists, photographers, writers and videographers whose role was to capture the arctic wilderness using their chosen medium, sharing those results in real time, and, later, as a lasting record of their 18 day journey. Danny for his part, recorded a whole album, inspired by his life onboard, in a makeshift studio in his cabin. The album features some Danny Michel songs alongside incidental music composed by Rob Carli, and “Fall”, a song about autumn, written by and featuring Chris Hadfield (with words by Russian romantic poet Alexander Pushkin). Danny Michel will be appearing at the Roots North Music Festival taking place in Downtown Orillia on April 21, , Stan Rogers Festival, June 30 – July 2 and Summerfolk, August 18-20. We caught up with Danny at home to chat about the new album. For more information on Danny’s music visit dannymichel.com. Music: Danny Michel “Khlebnikov”, “The Dishwasher’s Dream” and “24,000 Horses” from “Khlebnikov” (2017, Self).
Windsor singer-songwriter Karen Morand is getting ready to release her latest album with her band Bosco, “Junkyard Heart”. Junkyard Heart features eight new Karen Morand songs with more of a confessional revival meeting style than her previous work, while still retaining the warm acoustic feel we associate with her band. The CD release takes place at The Bank Theatre in Leamington with special guest, the fabulous Aussie-Canadian bluesy country roots singer-songwriter Gina Horswood on April 22 2017. GET TICKETS. Following the album release, Karen and Gina head off across Southern Ontario together on their Saints & Sinners tour. Bosco features Aaron Verhulst on guitars and mandolin and Benny Santoro on cajon, with Karen Morand on lead vocals, guitar, ukulele, accordion and banjo. We caught up with Karen Morand at home in Windsor to chat about the new album. For more information about Karen Morand and the rest of the tour dates, visit karenmorand.com. Music: Karen Morand “Sucker Creek”, “Junkyard Heart” and “Big Muddy” from “Junkyard Heart” (2017, Self).
After winning the Juno for Indigenous Music Album of the Year with “We Are…” in 2010, aboriginal roots rockers Digging Roots, featuring Shoshona Kish and Raven Kanatakta, further enhanced their reputation with 2014’s critically acclaimed “For The Light” and their Maple Blues Cobalt Prize winning song about Canada’s missing and murdered indigenous women, “Hwy 17”. Digging Roots are a fabulous live band, with a wonderful bluesy sound that connects with the audience on many levels. And this year, they’re appearing at the Roots North Music Festival in Downtown Orillia on April 22. We caught up with Raven from the band for a wide ranging conversation about their music. Visit Digging Roots online at diggingrootsmusic.com. To learn more about the Roots North Music Festival and to get tickets visit rootsnorthmusic.ca. Music: Digging Roots, “Hwy 17” from “For The Light” (2014, Sugar Bush Music), “Ak-47” (single) (2016, Sugar Bush Music), “The Time Has Come For Going” from “For The Light” (2014, Sugar Bush Music).
Award-winning songwriter and full-time road dog, Winona Wilde has been slinging her boisterous brand of country-folk Canadiana all over Canada, the U.S & Europe for several years without rest. Wielding lyrical wit and fearless emotion, this born-again-Ontarian promises to be two parts funny and one part sad. A 2016 Folk Music Ontario Official Showcase Artist and 2015 BC Musician Magazine Songwriter of the Year, Winona Wilde joined us in the mobile studio at the Folk Music Ontario conference to chat about her music, and play a couple of new songs live. For more information, visit winonawilde.com. Music: Winona Wilde, “Dating Song” from “You Lose Some, You Lose Some” (2015, Self), Chick Singer (live), Wasted Time (live) and “Paper Clips For The Apocalypse” from “You Lose Some, You Lose Some” (2015, Self).
The Red Dirt Skinners joined us in the studio last fall for the Sun Parlour Coffee House Sessions. The duo, featuring Sarah Skinner on soprano sax, and multi-instrumentalist Rob Skinner on guitar and vocals, have been taking the UK roots scene by storm. An intoxicating mix of high energy and divine harmonies, the music they produce is original, unique and genre-defying as they effortlessly cross boundaries from blues, to country, to folk and all places in between. They’re back in Canada this spring for a tour of Alberta and Ontario including a stop in Leamington ON for a show at The Bank Theatre on May 5. Alongside a five song set, Sarah and Rob sat down with us to chat about their music and latest album “Behind the Wheel” (2016, Sidegoat Records). Definitely, check out the fabulous live version of their 7 minute soprano sax workout “Daybreak” after the interview. For more information about the Red Dirt Skinners, visit reddirtskinners.com. You can check out the full Red Dirt Skinners session and more videos from the Sun Parlour Coffee House Sessions at sunparloursessions.com.
Multi-instrumentalist, singer/songwriter and composer, the prolific, Benjamin Dakota Rogers is pushing the boundaries of traditional folk with each album release. Combining fiddle, guitar and mandolin with his unique voice and strong lyrics, he creates music that demands your attention. Benjamin has picked up Canadian Folk Music Awards nominations for each of his three releases; the “Wayfarer” E.P. from 2014, 2015’s “The Strong Man’s Address to the Circus Crowd” and his latest, “Whiskey & Pine”. Whiskey & Pine features 11 songs that showcase Benjamin’s strong vocals, powerful guitar and fiddle, with support from Chris Rait on stand-up bass, guitar and djembe. Benjamin joined us in the mobile studio at the recent Folk Music Ontario conference to chat about his music, and play three songs live. For more information about Benjamin’s music visit benjaminrogersmusic.com. Music: Benjamin Dakota Rogers “Soldier Song” from “Whiskey & Pine” (2016, Self), “Whiskey For Blood” (Live), “Mr. Robot” (Live), “Come Home” (Live) and “Whiskey & Pine” from “Whiskey & Pine” (2016, Self).
Danny Michel, fresh from a very successful launch of his new album “Khlebnikov”, recorded while traversing the arctic ocean on a Russian icebreaker and phenomenal live act Digging Roots, featuring the wonderful husband and wife duo Raven Kanetakta and Shoshona Kish, are the headliners at this year’s Roots North Music Festival taking place in Downtown Orillia from April 21-22. Also on the main stage bill this year are Jim Bryson, Birds of Bellwoods, Kaia Kater & Cassie Dasilva. The main stage shows take place in the beautifully restored St Paul’s Centre in Downtown Orillia. A late night programme will also take place at the Geneva Event Centre. Further shows are planned for other performance spaces within Orillia. We caught up with Amy Mangan, one of the organizers of the festival to chat about the 2017 line-up. Stay tuned for more artist announcements. For more information about the Roots North Music Festival and to pick up tickets, visit rootsnorthmusic.ca.
Self-described “pilgrims of funk, soul ‘n’ roll”, the fabulous Julian Taylor Band are heading out on an eleven date tour of Southern Ontario in support of their double vinyl release “Desert Star” (2016, Aporia Records) during February and March. Desert Star – one of our favourite albums of 2016, was originally released on four E.P.s before the vinyl version made its appearance last fall. If you love the sound of a funk, soul and rock n’roll band, with some folk, blues, jazz, reggae and calypso thrown into the mix, you definitely need to check them out – they’re wonderful live. The tour starts in Windsor at The Rondo on March 16, they’re at Aeolian Hall in London ON on March 25, with a Hamilton date at The Casbah on April 2. You can check out all the tour dates online at juliantaylorband.com. Julian Taylor sat down with us at the Folk Music Ontario conference this past October to chat about his music, and the new album. Music: Julian Taylor Band “Just A Little Bit”, “One Time”, Get Loud” and “Set Me Free” from “Desert Star” (2016, Aporia Records).