Global troubadour singer-songwriter Irish Mythen has had a great twelve months on the road with extensive touring across Canada, Europe, Australia and for the first time into Thailand and Cambodia. Once you’ve seen Irish in concert, you’ll be working out how to catch her again. A festival favourite, among many other performances this coming year, Irish will be appearing at this summer’s Cambridge Folk Festival in the UK, and heading back into continental Europe alongside some extensive Canadian dates that include the Vancouver Folk Festival and April’s Roots North Music Festival in Orillia. We caught up with Irish to chat about her live show, and a new album that hopefully should arrive before her summer dates. Music: Irish Mythen “Gypsy Dancer” from “Irish Mythen” (2014, Self), “The Auld Triangle” (Live at the Philadelphia Folk Festival 2015) and “Did You Ever” (2018, Live for Southern Souls at The Painted Lady in Toronto).
John & Joe Kelly are The Kelly Song Collective. They write songs. Canadian songs. Acoustic songs. And sing and play the way only siblings can. The Kelly Song Collective released a wonderful debut album “Unless & Until” in 2017. Featuring strong songwriting, a lovely warm vocal delivery and support from some of the best musicians on the Toronto folk scene, it’s a recording you must check out. Sit down with this album, and you’ll need to listen right through to the end! John & Joe Kelly joined us in the Folk Roots Radio studio in Leamington ON to chat about their music and play three songs live. Check out The Kelly Song Collective online at thekellysongcollective.com. Music: The Kelly Song Collective “Scatter My Ashes” (Live), “Circus” (Live) and “Louis Riel” (Live).
Named after the World War 2 feminist labour icon, Rosie the Riveter, Saskatoon SK’s Rosie and the Riveters are a study in contrasts – the bright red lipstick, the curls, post war dress dress, vintage harmonies and sassy choreographed stage show coupled with songs that whether playful or serious are deliberately intended to provoke, empower and inspire. A four piece at the time of their very well-received debut “Good Clean Fun”, they’re now a three piece featuring Farideh Olsen, Alexis Normand and Allyson Reigh. Their sophomore release “Ms Behave” produced by Joshua Van Tassel (Sarah Slean, Rose Cousins, Great Lake Swimmers) is released April 6 2018 and sees the band taking more of a political bent this time around, reflecting the tumultuous times we’re living in, as the voices raised for true gender equality get louder every day. Their song “I Believe You” was written as a response to the great many stories about sexual assault and harassment they heard from friends and family as well as through the media. Check out the song’s wonderful video HERE. Proceeds from “I Believe You” will be donated to organizations that provide support for survivors of sexual abuse. We caught up with Alexis Normand from Rosie & the Riveters at home in Saskatoon to chat about the new album. Learn more about the band and check out their upcoming tour dates online at rosieandtheriveters.com. Music: Rosie & the Riveters “I Believe You”, “Ask A Man”, “I Wanna Be King” and “Ms. Behave” from “Ms. Behave” (2018, Self).
St John’s NF singer-songwriter Peter Willie Youngtree specializes in gritty thought-provoking country songs that he delivers with a wonderful world weary old time country voice that feels like it comes from another place and time. His upcoming album “Ten Million Ways to Decay”, the follow up to his critically acclaimed 2015 album “Country Hymns”, is a collection of songs that are all somehow associated with death, whether directly or indirectly. The album was produced by award-winning producer and songwriter Chris Kirby. Peter Willie Youngtree joined us in the mobile studio at the 2017 Folk Music Ontario conference to chat about his music, and play three new songs live. Check him out online at pwyoungtree.com. Music: Peter Willie Youngtree “Musical Chairs” (Live) , “Ten Million Ways to Decay” (Live) and “Dirt Party” (Live).
Leela Gilday is a singer-songwriter based in Yellowknife renowned for her passionate songwriting and soulful performance. A member of the Dene Nation, Leela actually trained as an opera singer, before creating her own stories in song as a way to share her heritage and northern Canadian life experience. Her latest album is 2014’s “Heart Of The People”. A new album is expected in the fall of 2018. Leela Gilday sat down with Jan Hall from Folk Roots Radio at Folk Music Canada’s boutique export event Folk North to chat about her music. Check out Leela Gilday online at leelagilday.com. Photo: Shawna McLeod. Music: Leela Gilday “Cold Wind” & “Bella” from “Heart Of The People” (2014, Self) and “One Drum” from “Sedze” (2007, Self).
Kristine Schmitt grew up singing musical harmony, and explored many different styles from country to rock to even punk before settling on a love of old time country, and country blues and jazz from the early part of the 20th Century. Her first solo recording “Good Dirt” from 2016 features a collection of Kristine’s playful original songs and a wonderful rootsy sound. The album was produced by Chris Coole, with support from members of the Lonesome Ace Stringband, and Simone Schmidt (Fiver) on harmony vocals. Kristine Schmitt is currently performing as part of a duo with Jesse Corrigan, although she is also much in demand as a supporting vocalist with a big voice and great stage presence. Kristine Schmitt sat down with Folk Roots Radio at the 2017 Folk Music Ontario conference to chat about her music. Check out Kristine Schmitt online at kristineschmitt.com. Music: Kristine Schmitt “Hop On Awhile With Me”, “He Held Up His Hat (And He Kissed Her Behind It)” and “Deep In The Darkest Evening” from “Good Dirt” (2016, Self).
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’s the real deal – when he plays live, it’s like he’s channeling 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).