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).
Toronto-based singer-songwriter Noah Zacharin has just released his seventh recording, the genre-defying “Strange Rider”, an album that moves effortlessly between blues, jazz, folk, pop and r n’ b, and even throws some doo-wop into the mix. The album features ten older Noah Zacharin songs given the widescreen treatment, with support from co-producer Douglas September, and an elite group of Toronto musicians and backing vocalists, aided by legendary side players Ralph Carney (Tom Waits) on horns and Ken Pearson (Janis Joplin) on piano. The album has a wonderful expansive and lush feel, without ever feeling over-bearing or forced – and really rewards multiple listening. We caught up with Noah Zacharin at home in Toronto. For more information, visit noahsong.com. Music: Noah Zacharin “The Way Love Calls”, “A Woman’s Tears” and “Miss Me When I’m Gone” from “Strange Rider” (2016, Self).
The grande dame of Canadian Folk Festivals, the Mariposa Folk Festival is getting set for it’s 56th edition which takes place the weekend of July 8-10 2016, in beautiful Tudhope Park in Orillia, on the shores of Lake Couchiching. Performers announced so far include Ahmed Knowmadic Ali, Benjamin Dakota Rogers, Beth McKean, Big Little Lions, Brother Sun, Campfire Crew, Cat Clyde, Catherine MacLellan, Colin Linden, Dave Gunning, David Amram, Dirty Dishes, Fortunate Ones, Gathering Sparks, Georgian Bay, Hunter’s Corners, Ivan Coyote, James Hill, Jeffrey Foucault, Jen Schaffer and the Shiners, Jon Brooks, Josh White Jr., Keith Kendrick and Sylvia Needham, Ken Whiteley and the Beulah Band, Leonard Sumner, Lori Yates, Lorraine Sutton, Meredith Moon and the Oldest Man I Know, Melanie Brûlée and Anique Grianger, Moulettes, Murder Murder, Next Generation Leahy, Notre Dame de Grass, Quique Escamilla, Rita Coolidge, Samantha Martin and Delta Sugar, Sheesham and Lotus & ‘Son, Shred Kelly, Slow Leaves, Sussex featuring Rob Lutes, Ten Strings & a Goat Skin , Terry Savage and the Wonky Honkees, The Fitzgerald Family Band, The Good Family, The Imbayakunas, The Laws, The Milk Carton Kids, Rita Cox, Three Women and the Truth (Eliza Gilkyson, Gretchen Peters and Mary Gauthier) and Vance Gilbert. To learn more about this year’s festival, we caught up with artistic director, Mike Hill at work in Orillia. Mariposa Folk Festival 2016 Passes are now on sale. Children 12 & under are admitted FREE if accompanied by a ticket-bearing adult. You can buy your tickets online HERE. Music: Brother Sun “So Far To Come” from “Weights & Wings” (2016, Self) and Milk Carton Kids “Wish You Were Here” (2016, Anti).
Ukulele bluesman Manitoba Hal Brolund has dedicated his musical career to proving that the ukulele is a mighty instrument despite only having four strings. Ukelele advocate, teacher and performer, Hal joined us at Folk Music Ontario to chat about all matters ukulele, including his new album “Dancing in the Moonlight”, a fine selection of songs reflecting on matters of love, loss and redemption. For more information, visit manitobahal.com. Photo credit: Ed Sprake Photography. Music: Manitoba Hal “Come To Me”, “Sweet Honey Bee” and “Daylight” from “Dancing In The Moonlight” (2015, Hal’s Kitchen).
The performers for the 3rd Annual Kingsville Folk Music Festival, which takes place from August 12-14, have just been announced. This year, the festival, which takes place in the beautiful confines of Lakeside Park in Kingsville on the shore of Lake Erie, features Buffy Sainte-Marie, fresh from success at the Juno Awards with her Polaris Music Prize winning album “Power in the Blood”. Joining Buffy at this year’s festival are Alex Cuba, Quique Escamilla, Irish Mythen, Garnet Rogers, Alysha Brilla, Qristina & Quinn Bachand, Bill Bourne, The Boxcar Boys, Jason Dennie & Rochelle Clark, Tony Gouveia, Maneli Jamal, Connie Kaldor, Kaia Kater, The Laws, Rob Lutes, Danielle Miraglia, The O’Pears, Amanda Rheaume, Gordie Tentrees & Jaxon Haldane, Union Duke, Luther Wright, Dale Butler, Francine Leclair, Whoa Nellie! Vera & Johnny, Tribute to Willie P. Bennett and children’s performers: Jangles The Magical Clown, Butterfingers and Magoo alongside Todd Crowley’s Musical Petting Zoo. Artistic Directors John & Michele Law joined us to chat about this year’s festival. Weekend passes at Kingsville are still under $100 which sounds like a great deal and Children 16 and under are admitted FREE! Regular priced weekend – senior – student and single day passes are now available online HERE. For more information visit kingsvillefolkfest.org. Music: Buffy Sainte-Marie “Power In The Blood” from “Power In The Blood” (2015, True North Records).
Singer-songwriter Glen MacNeil produced one of our favourite albums of 2015, “The Island Where The Heart Remains”. A veteran of the South West Ontario music scene, it was hard to believe that this was Glen’s debut album. Featuring a fine selection of beautifully-crafted songs focusing on relationships, family and life in general with some fabulous musicianship and beautifully understated production from John Law from The Laws, the album is truly a joy for the ears. Glen came into the Folk Roots Radio mobile studio at the Folk Music Ontario conference this past October for a chat and a few live songs. Music: Glen MacNeil, “If I Could I Would” (Live), “The Island Is Where The Heart Remains” (Live), “Up On High” (Live) “I’m In Love” (Live).