Expat Brit Peter Stone and his partner Albertan Denise MacKay have just released their fourth album as 100 Mile House, “Hiraeth’, which is a Welsh word with no direct English translation but is defined as a sort of homesickness, but with a sense of nostalgia and longing for a place or person that may never have actually existed. Recorded in Edmonton AB, with Peter Stone in the producer’s chair, “Hiraeth” is a fabulous album of deeply personal and introspective songs that focus on subjects like love, loss and grief, accompanied by fine musical arrangements – including some gorgeous use of both violin and cello alongside some beautiful harmonies. We caught up with Peter Stone at home in Edmonton to chat about the new album. Photo: Jessica Fern Facette. For more information about 100 mile House, visit 100milehouse.co.uk. Music: 100 Mile House “Hidden Springs”, “All We Have”, “Last Branch” and “You Feel Like Home” from “Hiraeth” (2016, Self).
Graydon James and Laura Spink are the heart of Toronto’s The Young Novelists, a six piece folk-roots band when playing close to home, but pretty much everywhere else they’re stripped down to their essence, a finely tuned harmonizing duo. They’ve had a fabulous couple of years musically – their sophomore release, 2015’s “made us strangers” was very well received, taking home the prize for New/Emerging Artist of the Year at the 2015 Canadian Folk Music Awards and they’re now touring in the United States regularly. Graydon and Laura sat down with us at the Folk Music Ontario conference to chat about their music, travels, and future plans. Photo: Ana Muira Music: The Young Novelists, Always Make The Mistake and Hear Your Voice from Made Us Strangers (2015, Self)
The amazing Scottish singer-songwriter with the delicate and dexterous vocal delivery, Fraser Anderson, who now makes his home in the wonderful musical city of Bristol in the UK, joined us in our mobile studio at the Folk Music Ontario conference to chat about his music and latest album “Under The Cover Of Lightness” (released in April 2016). During our chat, Fraser played a couple of live songs and gave us a wonderful poem recitation. Our fun conversation included one of his first musical experiences – singing in his father’s butcher’s shop with an animal bone for a microphone, and one of his most meaningful, playing with Dougie MacLean for four years. The gorgeous Bex Baxter also joined us in the studio on harmony vocals. Fraser’s new digital EP recorded in Toronto, “Beautiful Eyes Ontario Skies” was released on November 4. For more information visit fraseranderson.com. Photo credit: Charles Gravely. Music: Fraser Anderson “Rising Sons” from “Under The Cover Of Lightness” (2016, Membran), “What Kind Of Man” (Live), “Beautiful Eyes” (Live), “With You All” (Live), “Crying From My Heart” from “Under The Cover Of Lightness” (2016, Membran).
Brian Blain, self-proclaimed semi-retired blues guy, “Blainsletter” blogger and managing editor of the Toronto Blues Society‘s Maple Blues newsletter, stopped by our mobile studio at the 2016 Folk Music Ontario conference for an immensely enjoyable conversation about his 40 plus years in the music business, the upcoming official release of his remix album “New Folk Blues 2.0” and to play a couple of tunes live. As always it was great fun. Brian will be celebrating “New Folk Blues 2.0” with a show at Toronto’s legendary Old Mill on Saturday, October 29 where he will be joined by George Koller, Michelle Josef and Alison Young, who all contributed to the remixed recording. For more information visit brianblain.com. Photo credit: Russ Kelley. Music: Brian Blain “Forgotten”, “The Ghost of Clinton’s Tavern” from “New Folk Blues 2.0” (2013, Self), “Cape Cod Blues” (Live) and “Last Time I Saw Lenny” (Live).
The Bombadils produced some big news in 2016, announcing that they’re now a two piece featuring Sarah Frank (fiddle, banjo, vocals) and Luke Fraser (guitar, mandolin, vocals) after bassist Alan Mackie and flautist Anh Phung moved on to new projects. The newly slimmed down Bombadils released their first album as a duo, “New Shoes” on Borealis Records earlier this year. The Bombadils now perform live as a duo, or in larger settings, with cello or bass. Sarah and Luke sat down with us at FMO to chat about the changes in the band and the release of the new album. Photo: Ana Muira Music: The Bombadils, Train In The Night from New Shoes (2016, Borealis Records).
Mandolin master and multi-instrumentalist Andrew Collins had already achieved greatness as an in-demand session player and part of Toronto’s famed Foggy Hogtown Boys and Creaking Tree String Quartet before setting out with his own Andrew Collins Trio, to create something very special indeed for their second effort “And It Was Good”… a concept album that uses as its theme, the biblical seven days of creation story, referenced by the eight individual tracks, that merrily criss-cross musical borders. The Andrew Collins Trio – Andrew Collins on mandolin, mandocello, mandolin and little fiddle, accompanied by Mike Mezzatesta (mandolin, guitar, fiddle) and James McEleney (bass, mandocello) with support from the Phantasmagoria String Quartet (John Showman and Trent Freeman on violins, Ben Plotnick on viola and Eric Wright on cello) serve up music that takes in classical baroque, jazz, bluegrass, folk and celtic influences with a nod to the crossover work of the late great Oliver Schroer, in a format that, because of the prominent strings, has been described as chambergrass. And It Was Good is a fantastic album – sublime, even – and an album that deserves to be listened through from beginning to end. The Andrew Collins Trio have received a well-deserved nomination for Instrumental Group of the Year at the 2016 Canadian Folk Music Awards and Andrew Collins along with David Travers-Smith is also in the running for Producer of the Year. The Andrew Collins Trio will be bringing the new album to Hugh’s Room in Toronto on Friday October 21 at 8:30 p.m. For more information and to get tickets, visit hughsroom.com or call (416) 531-6604. Music: Andrew Collins Trio “Light From The Darkness”, “Firmaments” and “And It Was Good” from “And It Was Good” (2016, Self)
Martha Renaud has just released her second album, the J.P. Cormier produced, “Tide & Tide”. A strong songwriter with a warm and welcoming folk singer-songwriter style, we recently enjoyed a fabulous performance from Martha to close out the Sunday summer concert season at the Two Creeks Conservation Area in Wheatley Ontario. Featuring support from David Light on guitar and John Takle on stand-up bass, it was a great show, and, one that will live long in the memory. Martha Renaud joined us in the studio to chat about her music. Among the songs we played were a couple recorded live for a new initiative we’re involved in, the Sun Parlour Coffee Sessions. Stay tuned for more details about that. For more information about Martha Renaud, visit martharenaud.com. Music: Martha Renaud “Sea of Oblivion” from “Tide & Tide” (2016, Self), “Withered Hands & Weathered Wood” (Live), “Last Child” (Live) and “Fly” from “Time & Tide” (2016, Self).
Zachary Lucky is just about to release “Everywhere A Man Can Be”, the follow-up to 2013’s “The Ballad Of Losing You”. And where The Ballad of Losing you was introspective and reflective – focusing on some very personal themes, the new album is outward looking, expansive and optimistic featuring nine new songs written on the road, that name check people and places he visited while touring his last effort. The album features stellar support from pedal steel virtuoso Aaron Goldstein, who also produced, and a band that includes Taylor Knox on drums, Dan Edmonds (Harlan Pepper) on piano, Darcy Yates (Flash Lightnin’, Bahamas) on bass, Rosalyn Dennett on fiddle, and Slocan Ramblers‘ Frank Evans on banjo. Nichol Robertson also guests on guitar, alongside vocalist Julie Fader, and pianist Jay Swinnerton. With a laid-back style that’s all his own, “Everywhere A Man Can Be” is clearly a step towards solidifying Zachary’s place in the vanguard of Canadian country music. We caught up with Zachary at home in Orillia to chat about the new album. The album release takes place at the Dakota Tavern in Toronto on October 7. For more information visit zacharylucky.com. Music: Zachary Lucky “Can’t Say Why”, “Everywhere A Man Can Be” and “Lost My Way (Now & Then)” from “Everywhere A Man Can Be” (2016, Self).
New Jersey based Sharon Goldman started out playing open mics in New York City before finding her inner voice, and developing a strong reputation as a songwriter on a series of fine albums that married catchy melodies to thoughtful lyrics on songs about love, life and the little things that make the world go round. Her latest album, “Kol Isha (A Woman’s Voice)” is somewhat of a departure in that it takes as its theme, her own life experience – growing up in an orthodox Jewish family on Long Island. For more information visit sharongoldmanmusic.com. Music: Sharon Goldman “The Tribe”, “Song of Songs”, “Kol Isha (A Woman’s Voice)” and “Land of Milk & Honey ” from “Kol Isha (A Woman’s Voice)” (2016, Self).
Roots Songstress Allison Brown has a couple of special band shows coming up in October in South Western Ontario. Allison will be bringing her band The Assembly Line to The Bank Theatre in Leamington Ontario on Friday October 14, and the following night, Saturday October 15, she’s at the Kordazone Theatre in Windsor. Tickets for both shows are $12 in Advance, and $15 at the door. Joining Allison as part of The Assembly Line will be Jedd House on Upright Bass, ‘Uncle’ Dan Henshall on Mandolin, and Vera Colley from Whoa Nellie! Vera & Johnny on accordion & harmony vocals. You can get tickets for The Bank Theatre show online at allisonbrown.bandcamp.com or reserve by calling the box office at 519-326-8805. Tickets for the Kordazone Theatre show are available at Levigator Press, Dr. Disc Records, and Nancy John’s Gallery. We caught up with Allison Brown at home in Paquette Corners to chat about her upcoming shows. Music: Allison Brown “Your Enemy” and “Scavengers” from “Stitches & Incisions” (2015, self).
Tia McGraff has just released “Wing Walker”, the latest single from her very well-received 2015 album “Crazy Beautiful” (2015, Bandana Records) with an accompanying video filmed at the No. 6 RCAF Dunnville Museum in Dunnville Ontario. You can check out the video HERE. Tia is heading down to Tampa FL shortly to sing the The Star-Spangled Banner before a Devil Rays game, before heading on to Nashville and Austin with partner Tommy Parham for some songwriting and folk conference opportunities. Tia returns to Canada in October for two South Western Ontario; she’ll be in Port Stanley at the Port Stanley Festival Theatre on October 15, and at MacKenzie Hall in Windsor on October 22. For more information, and to get tickets, visit tiamcgraff.com. Photo: Jonathan Edwards. Music: Tia McGraff, “Mesa Gold” and “Wing Walker” from “Crazy Beautiful” (2015, Bandana Records).
Long-standing member of the Philadelphia music scene and partner in Grammy Award winning MorningStar Studios, Lizanne Knott released a great new album earlier this year – the bluesy and jazzy “Excellent Day”. A smoky and sultry delight, it features eight original songs and four well-chosen covers… The Gershwins’ “Ain’t Necessarily So”, Springsteen’s “Stolen Car”, Janis Ian’s “Sometimes” and Jef Lee Johnson’s “Excellent Day”. Lizanne Knott joined us on Folk Roots Radio to chat about her music, the new album and, the fact that, despite critical acclaim, she’s still generally better known in the UK than North America. It’s time we change that! For more information, visit lizanneknott.com. Photo: Lisa Schaffer. Music: Lizanne Knott “Come For The Kill”, “Not This Time”, “Lay My Burden Down” and “Excellent Day” from “Excellent Day” (2016, Proper).
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. 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).