Windsor-based singer-songwriter Karen Morand writes beautiful songs with a wonderful warm earthy quality that beg you to want to spend time in her company. Equally comfortable as a solo artist with a guitar or playing with her wonderful band “Bosco”, named after the infamous chocolate syrup of Seinfeld fame, and featuring Aaron Verhulst on mandolin and guitars and Benny Santoro on cajon – her performances are not to be missed. Karen Morand was recently announced as the winner of the 1st Canada South Songwriting Competition at the Kingsville Folk Music Festival. For more information about her music, visit karenmorand.com. Music: Karen Morand “Carry On” from “Carry On” (2012, Self), “Big Muddy” (Live), “Junkyard Heart” (Live), “Arms of Love” (Live) and “Brighter Days” from “I Think I’ll Lose My Mind Today” (2014, Self)
Clawhammer banjo player, guitarist and singer Chris Coole has just released his second solo album, “The Tumbling River, and other stories”, the follow-up to the critically acclaimed “Old Dog” (2010). The album features twelve songs (eight originals, 4 covers) that tell some great stories with a wonderfully rich but subtle musical accompaniment from Chris alongside some of the best roots players on the Toronto scene – Burke Carrol (Pedal Steel), Andrew Collins (Mandolin, Mandola, Mandocello), Brian Kobayakawa (Bowed Bass), Ivan Rosenberg (Dobro), Simone Schmidt (Vocals, Guitar), Kristine Schmitt (Vocals) and John Showman (Fiddle). We caught up with Chris Coole at home in Toronto. Music: Chris Coole “Baby Blue”, “You Led Me To The Wrong” (Ola Belle Reed), “The Tumbling River” and “Beautiful Life” (W.M. Golden) from “The Tumbling River” (2016, Northern)
Roger Roger are a great Winnipeg folk-pop duo featuring twins, Madeleine and Lucas Roger. They’re on tour in Ontario this August, including a show in Guelph at the Red Brick Cafe on August 10, and they’ll also be at this year’s Summerfolk, which takes place the weekend of August 19-21, in Kelso Park, on the shores of Georgian Bay, in Owen Sound. Their debut album “Fairweather” has been receiving lots of airplay, including on Folk Roots Radio. To learn more about the band, we caught up with Roger Roger’s Madeleine Roger at home in Winnipeg. For more information, visit rogerrogermusic.com. Music: Roger Roger “13 Crows”, “Scott Free”, “Think of Me” and “Fairweather” from “Fairweather” (2016, Self).
Canadian singer-songwriter Francine Leclair will be appearing at this summer’s Kingsville Folk Music Festival, taking place in beautiful Lakeside Park, in Kingsville, on the shore of Lake Erie from August 12-14. After releasing her debut album “An Ordinary Woman” in 2008, Francine left a very successful career in the computer technology industry to focus full-time on her music, a transition she documented on her 2014 album “Re-Drawn”. She is currently working on her follow-up to “Re-Drawn”, tentatively entitled “To Be Continued”. Francine Leclair joined us in the Folk Roots Radio studio to chat about her music and play a couple of songs live. For more information, visit francineleclair.com. Music: Francine Leclair “I’m Outta Here” from the album “Re-Drawn” (2014, Self), “To Be Continued” (Live), “I Soldier On” (Live) and “Lake Erie” (single) (2016, self)
The 41st annual Summerfolk Music and Crafts Festival takes place August 19-21, in Kelso Park, on the shores of Georgian Bay, in Owen Sound. The festival features more than 40 musical acts from across Canada and across the world representing genres from folk, country and bluegrass, to blues, to hip-hop and funk. Like any great folk festival they also have lots of children’s activities, community workshops, artisan booths, dozens of food vendors… and two licensed areas. This year’s line-up features Anne Beverly Foster * Ben Spencer * Ben Turcotte and Carter Rolland * Beppe Gambetta/Tony McManus * Big Little Lions * Blackburn * Bobby Dean Blackburn * Bruce Cockburn * Cassie and Maggie MacDonald * Coco Love Alcorn * David Newland * Durham County Poets * Frank Francalanza * Good for Grapes * Gypsy Kumbia Orchestra * Ian Tamblyn * Irish Mythen * Ken Whiteley & The Beulah Band * Leonard Sumner * Les Poules a Colin * Lindi Ortega * The Lifers * LookUp Theatre * Magoo * Maneli Jamal * Matt Gordon and Leonard Podolak * Mel Parsons * Michael Jerome Browne * My Son the Hurricane * Natalie MacMaster * Notre Dame de Grass * Old Man Luedecke * Olivia and The Creepy Crawlies * Richard Garvey and Celidh Barker * Roger Roger * Sarah Beatty * Scarlett Jane * Scatter The Cats * The Small Glories * The East Pointers * The Krueger Band * The Mae Trio * The O’Pears * Todd Crowley’s Musical Petting Zoo * Treasa Levasseur …alongside Youth Discoveries Jimmy Pearson * Cassie DaSilva * Jake Feeney * Brontae Hunter * Marshall Veroni. We caught up with James Keelaghan, Artistic Director at Summerfolk to chat about this year’s line-up. For more information and to buy tickets visit summerfolk.org. Music: The Small Glories with “Had I Paid” from “Wondrous Traveller” (2016, Self) and Big Little Lions “Fill Me Up” from “Just Keep Moving” (2016, Riptide Music Group).
Ottawa-based Métis singer-songwriter Amanda Rheaume won a 2014 Canadian Folk Music Award for Aboriginal Songwriter of the Year and was nominated for a Juno, for her 2014 album “Keep A Fire” which explored her Métis heritage. Her latest release “Holding Patterns” is a more personal record altogether, featuring folk-country-pop songs that reflect on aspects of her own life experience, alongside “Red Dress” (feat. vocals from Chantal Kreviazuk), a song to raise awareness about Canada’s Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women. All proceeds from “Red Dress” will be donated to the Native Women’s Association of Canada. Amanda is heading to the UK on tour before returning to Canada for a show at the Bruce Wine Bar in Thornbury ON on August 5, and an appearance at this summer’s Kingsville Folk Music Festival, taking place in beautiful Lakeside Park, in Kingsville, on the shore of Lake Erie from August 12-14. We caught up with Amanda at home to chat about the new album. Photo Credit: Jen Squires. For more information visit www.amandarheaume.com. Music: Amanda Rheaume “Get To The Part”, “Red Dress” and “Wolf of Time” from “Holding Patterns” (2016, Self).
The 33rd Hillside Festival takes place on the island in beautiful Guelph Lake Conservation Area, just north of Guelph, on the weekend of July 22 to 24. Consistently voted one of the best summer festivals in Canada, Hillside has developed a strong reputation for not just serving up a wonderful variety of music, but also producing festival highlights that are often not the artists you came to the festival to see. To learn more about this year’s festival we caught up with Artistic Director Sam Baijal. For more information about Hillside and to pick up tickets visit hillsidefestival.ca. Music: Buffy Sainte-Marie “It’s My Way” from “Power In The Blood” (2015, True North Records), Rose Cousins “Let The Light Come In” (single) (2015, Old Farm Pony Records/Makeout Music).
The Mill Race Festival of Traditional Folk Music takes place from July 29-31 in the historic downtown core of Galt in Cambridge, Ontario. Traditional forms of folk music and dance are the festival’s theme, with an emphasis on the various cultures present in Cambridge and the surrounding area. The festival itself is patterned after European festivals that feature events on outdoor stages in the town core. The festival runs Friday 7 – 11 p.m., Saturday 1 – 11 p.m., and Sunday 1 – 10 p.m. Admission is free. Brad McEwen, Artistic Director at the Mill Race Festival joined us to chat about this year’s programme. This year’s festival features Alex Cumming and Nicola Beazley, Alfie Smith and Nicole Christian, Bob MacLean, The Bilge Rats, The Boxcar Boys, Cihat Ozturk, Cupola:Ward, Discovery (Jeff & Elaine), Frog and Henry, Juneyt, Lederman/Bell, Martin and Shan Graebe, NUA, Relative Harmony, The Schotts, Shane Cook and The Woodchippers, Sweet Felons All, Tamar Ilana and Ventanas, Tellier, Somers and Nunn, Tethera Quintet, Tony Gouveia and Elizabete. For more information visit millracefolksociety.com. Music: The Boxcar Boys “Baby Don’t You Tear My Clothes” from “Cicada Ball” (2015, Self), Cupola Ward “Damped In His Groove” (Live).
Sheesham and Lotus & ‘Son are the fabulous old-time vehicle for the musical talents of Teilhard Frost (Sheesham Crow), Sam Allison (Lotus Wight) and Son Sanderson. Featuring fiddle, banjo and sousaphone alongside some musical contraptions of their own creation – the Sepia-phonic Monophone, and the Contrabass HarmoniPhoneum, their live show is a mix of old-time fiddle, depression era trad blues and some originals that takes you back to the 1920s heyday of the music they love, and it’s an experience that is not to be missed. Sheesham, Lotus and Son joined us at the Folk Music Ontario conference to chat about their roots, history, live show and upcoming album “78 rpm” which is based on material recorded using vintage 1938 record cutting equipment, courtesy of Lathe Revival. For more information visit sheeshamandlotus.com. Music: Sheesham and Lotus & ‘Son “Chinquapin”, “The Blackberry Blossom Into Wink The Other Eye” and “Swimming Blues” from “The High Stepping Music of Sheesham and Lotus & ‘Son” (2014, Sepiaphone Records).
There’s always magic in the room when singer-songwriter and storyteller Joanna Chapman-Smith joins us on Folk Roots Radio. Joanna stopped by the mobile studio at the Folk Music Ontario conference to chat about her latest project – an album of musical folk tales under the working title of “Elon and the City of Stone”. Joanna also played three songs live for us. As always, it was a great pleasure having Joanna in the studio. To learn about her music and storytelling, visit joannacs.com. Music: Joanna Chapman-Smith “Paris” (Live), “June” (Live), “Crystal Heart” (Live) and “Arbitrary Lines” from “Contraries” (Self, 2009).
Boston based singer/songwriter Danielle Miraglia is bringing her smoky bluesy folk sound to this summer’s Kingsville Folk Music Festival, taking place from August 12-14 in beautiful Lakeside Park, in Kingsville, on the shore of Lake Erie in South Western Ontario. Danielle’s latest album, her third long player “Glory Junkies” is an album of lyrically rich songs that finds time to poke fun at both reality TV and selfie culture alongside more personal subject material. We caught up with Danielle on the road to her next show. For more information visit daniellem.com. Photo: Caroline Alden. Music: Danielle Miraglia, “Carmella” and “Glory Junky” from “Glory Junkies” (2015, Self).
We’re giving Episode 260 of Folk Roots Radio over to the Youth Program at the 2015 Folk Music Ontario (FMO) Conference. The program is open to residents of Ontario and the National Capital Region, between ages 15 and 21, who are chosen for their interest, ability and experience. The selected youth members are paired with experienced mentors from the Ontario folk music community for the duration of the weekend conference, while developing a showcase performance and participating in professional development activities. This documentary features commentary and musical contributions from programme coordinator Treasa Levasseur; Mentors: Quique Escamilla, Rosina Kazi, Amélie Lefebvre, James Keelaghan and Julian Taylor and Youth: Sydney Delong, Jillian Kerr, Mira Meikle, Braden Phelan and Joelle Villeneuve. For more information about the Folk Music Ontario Youth Program visit folkmusicontario.ca. Photo credit: Mike Bourgeault. Music: Treasa Levasseur “Feel Good Time” from “Broad” (2011, Self), Amélie & Les Singes Bleus “La Rua Madureira” from “À l’étage des funambules” (Self, 2012), Joelle Villeneuve “En vert” (Demo), Quique Escamilla “Nuevo Dia, Hombre Libre” from “500 Years of Night” (2014, Lulaworld Records), Braden Phelan “With You” (with Vale Abbott) from “379 Evert Street” (2015, Self), Lal “Stand In My Way” from “Find Safety” (2016, Coax Records), Mira Meikle “Coming Home” from “Mira” (2015, Self), Julian Taylor Band “Just A Little Bit” from “Desert Star EP” (2015, Aporia Records), Sydney Delong “Cruel, Adore” from “My Vow To You EP” (2014, Self), James Keelaghan “Glory Bound” from “History: The First 25 Years” (2013, Borealis Records) and Jillian Kerr “Cold Winter” from “Dreams” (2015, Self).
St Catherine’s born Darren Eedens plays both flat-picking banjo and guitar at such a frenetic pace that you can’t help but sit up and pay attention whenever he starts to play. His nasal percussive vocal delivery makes you think that you’ve stepped into some honky tonk saloon from a bygone era. Known as the Canadian Dirty Little Picker in Europe, Darren now calls Cardiff Wales, home. He joined us in the studio straight after a rousing and rambunctious performance at the 2015 Hillside Festival to chat about his latest album “Of My Word” (2014, Self) and play a few tunes live. For more information, visit darreneedens.bandcamp.com. Music: Darren Eedens “Oh Darlin” from “Of My Word” (2014, Self), “Mountain Dew” (Live), “On The Line (The Laundry Song)” (Live), “Rye Whiskey” (Live) and Darren Eedens “Movin’ On” from “Of My Word” (2014, Self).
Bob MacLean is a celtic guitarist and folk singer with roots in Cape Breton and Quebec. He’s been playing guitar for as long as he can remember, and his passion for the instrument has only grown over the years. Bob plays solo guitar and also performs as part of a duo McCairley and MacLean with fiddler Fiona McCairley. Bob joined us in the studio at the farm in Hillsburgh last fall for a fabulous conversation about his music and a few live tunes. For more information about Bob’s music visit bobmaclean.ca. Music: Bob MacLean “Songbird” (Live), “Sweetness of Mary” (Live), “Permission to Dream” (Live), “Red-haired Boy” (Live), “Pipe on the Hob/Out on the Ocean” (Live), “Jack the Sailor” (Live), “Rose of Allendale” from “Permission to Dream” (2002, Self).
Guitar-picking, classically-trained folkie Shawna Caspi released a great album of coffee house folk in 2014, “Apartments For Lovers” – an album that not only contains Shawna’s songs, but is also adorned by her own art work. Shawna joined us at the Folk Music Ontario conference to chat about her music, and play a couple of songs live. For more information visit shawnacaspi.com. Photo: Roni Hoffman. Music: Shawna Caspi “Devil’s Rolling Pin” from “Apartments For Lovers” (2014, Self), “Take This Mountain” (Live), “Never Enough” (Live) and “Not So Silent” from “Apartments For Lovers” (2014, Self).
James Gordon is just about to release “Sunny Jim”, his forty-something album over all, and seventh on Borealis Records. The title (and title track) alluding to the fact that we all have our down days, even someone as relentlessly upbeat and optimistic as James Gordon – singer-songwriter, community activist, and now city councillor in Guelph, Ontario. The album features James Gordon, accompanied by his musical sons Geordie and Evan, on 12 songs that, as expected, ooze social commentary on everything from politics and protest, to war and conflict and the environment, but, more personally, also reflect on love and loss. There’s also a very special a cappella version of what maybe his best known song “Frobisher Bay” – originally written for his former band Tamarack, it has been covered more than 100 times. Album release shows take place in Hamilton at The Pearl Company (June 11), Toronto, at Hugh’s Room (June 16), Guelph at Heritage Hall (June 17) and Collingwood (June 18) at Simcoe Street Theatre. We caught up with James at home in Guelph to chat about the new album. For more information and to BUY Tickets visit jamesgordon.ca.
Kaia Kater has just released her sophomore recording “Nine Pin”. Recorded in just one day in Toronto, with Chris Bartos, the producer of Kaia’s debut album “Sorrow Bound”, Nine Pin is a concept album that takes as its inspiration the Black Lives Matter movement and Kaia’s own experience growing up as a person of colour in North America – but also touches on more personal source material such as love and loss. And it’s an album that gives Kaia free reign to push her own boundaries using her old-time Appalachian banjo as the leaping off point for powerful lyrical songs that show maturity way beyond her years. We caught up with Kaia at home in Toronto to chat about the new album. Kaia has a CD release concert in Toronto at the Burdock on June 12. She’ll also be appearing at the Kingsville Folk Music Festival, August 12-14. For more information, visit kaiakater.com. Music: Kaia Kater “Rising Down”, “Harlem’s Little Blackbird”, “Paradise Fell” and “Nine Pin” from “Nine Pin” (2016, Self).
Gordie Tentrees is no stranger to Folk Roots Radio. We’ve interviewed him a couple of times before, and I think the last time was around the release of his great 2015 album “Less Is More”. Well, Gordie will be bringing what he describes as his ‘storytelling-based folk, country, blues thing‘ to this year’s Kingsville Folk Music Festival with support from Jaxon Haldane (who will be performing in his own right at the festival). This year’s festival takes place from August 12-14 2016 in the beautiful confines of Lakeside Park in Kingsville. Get your tickets HERE. We reached Gordie at home in the Yukon to chat about what’s new with his music and this year’s festival. Music: Gordie Tentrees “Somebody’s Child” from “Less Is more” (2015, Buckaroo Records).
Banjo and fiddle playing singer-songwriter Hannah Shira Naiman is just about to head into the studio to record the follow-up to “Tether My Heart”, her very well received 2013 album on Merriweather Records. Hannah joined us at Folk Music Ontario to chat about her music and Shadow Puppet Theatre, her collaboration with shadow puppeteer Christopher Godziuk of Panadream Theatre. Using Hannah’s lyrics for inspiration, Christopher creates a shadow puppet world to complement the musical performance. Check out their video for Hannah’s song “Tether My Heart” HERE. Hannah also played a couple of new songs live for us. For more information visit hannahshiranaiman.com. Music: Hannah Shira Naiman “Little Fox” from “Tether My Heart” (2013, Merriweather Records), “Ruby Kee” (Live), “The Blue House (Live) and “Tekakwitha” from “Tether My Heart” (2013, Merriweather Records).
Dale Butler has been making music in Essex County in South-Western Ontario for over forty years. A full time musician, singer-songwriter and storyteller Dale performs solo, as a duo with wife Judy and also with his band “Dale Butler & Friends”. He also hosts Dale’s Friday Coffee House, formerly known as the Last Friday Coffee House, a Leamington musical institution that takes place monthly at The Bank Theatre and helps nurture the careers of young and new performers. Dale is also known for a great folk festival workshop where he shows participants how to play a guitar in two minutes even if they’ve never ever held a guitar before – a hold over from his days as a music store proprietor in Leamington. Dale joined us in the Folk Roots Radio studio to chat about his music and play a few songs live. Music: Dale Butler “Love That Grows” from “Aiming For Left Field” (2014, Self), “My Life” (Live), “Let’s Write Our Song” (Live), “Question Marks on My Windshield” from “Now I See” (2013, Self), “Lonely Child” (Live), “Thirty Years On” (Live) and “Summertime” from “Butler Tunes 1” (2012, Self).