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).
Andrew Queen started out playing jug and washtub bass in celebrated Toronto bluegrass Canadiana jugband Jughead before forging a career as a children’s entertainer renowned for comic tales and a lively stage performance. Christened “Too Tall” because he’s a little taller than everyone else, Andrew was voted Children’s Artist of the Year at the 2011 Indies, and picked up Parent’s Choice Recommended Awards and Canadian Folk Music Award nominations for “Too Tall” (2010, Self) and “GROW” (2012, Self). Andrew joined us at the Folk Music Ontario conference to chat about his career and new shows with the Campfire Crew, featuring life partner and co-songwriter, Karen Stille. Music: Campfire Crew “Gingerbread Man” (2016, Self), Andrew “Too Tall” Queen: “Hansel & Gretel” (Live), “Goin’ On A Gator Hunt” (Live) and Andrew “Too Tall” Queen “Big Trouble For Little Red” from “Too Tall” (2010, Self).
Ken Tizzard was the bassist in top Canadian rock bands The Watchmen and Thornley (he is featured on six gold and platinum records) before developing a career as a roots-based singer-songwriter. His latest album “No Dark No Light” is Tizzard’s fifth solo recording since his 2006 debut, “Quiet Storey House… An Introduction” (2006, Audio Playground). Ken sat down with us at the Folk Music Ontario conference this past October to chat about the new album, reinventing yourself in a changing music industry and touring with the late great Ron Hynes. For more information, visit kentizzard.com. Music: Ken Tizzard “Home” from “No Dark No Light” (2015, Storey House Records), Ken Tizzard “Fare The Well” (Live), “Waste Your Time” (Live), “1962” (Live), Ken Tizzard “Mud On My Boots” from “No Dark No Light” (2015, Storey House Records).
Singer-songwriter Leah Morise released a lovely live album, “Live At The House Of Harmony” in 2015. The album, which crosses over from folk to contemporary to light jazz, features Leah’s warm voice on twelve songs that showcase her playful and charming lyrics. The album was recorded in the living room of her converted church home in Fingal, Ontario, The House of Harmony, which doubles as the perfect rehearsal space, recording studio and house concert venue. Leah joined us at the Folk Music Ontario conference this past October to chat about the new album and play three songs live, two featuring trumpet from her side-man partner Mike Bourgeault. For more information, visit leahmorise.com. Music: Leah Morise “If Only He Had Known The Language” from “Live At The House Of Harmony”, “She’s A Hurricane” (Live), “Tiny Trailer” (Live), “Flowers In The Carpet” (Live) and “Two Dollar Bill” from “Live At The House Of Harmony”.
The Red Dirt Skinners have been taking the British roots scene by storm. The duo, featuring Sarah Skinner on soprano sax, and multi-instrumentalist Rob Skinner on guitar and vocals, became the first band to succeed at both the British Blues Awards and the British Country Music Awards, and they’ve also recently been nominated for an Americana award. Live, they are an intoxicating mix of high energy and divine harmonies, producing music that is original, unique and genre-defying as they effortlessly cross boundaries from blues, to country, to folk and all places in between. They’ve just released their fifth album “Behind the Wheel”. While on tour in Canada, Sarah and Rob joined us in the Folk Roots Radio studio to chat about the new record. For more information visit reddirtskinners.com. Music: Red Dirt Skinners “Behind The Wheel”, “Thoughts Of The Past”, “Eleanor Joan”, “Daybreak” and “Home Sweet Home” from “Behind The Wheel” (2016, Self)
Saturday April 16 is Record Store Day – that day each year when we celebrate the independent record store! Each year we showcase a local independent record store, and this year… it’s Forch’s Record Store in Cambridge, ON. Forch’s maintains a great section of new and previously enjoyed vinyl, CDs, videos and even cassettes alongside music mags and memorabilia. They also have a music preview lounge and occasionally host in-store live events. For more information, visit forchsrecordstore.ca. Paul Fortune from Forch’s joined us on Folk Roots Radio to chat about his store and Record Store Day. Check out all the participating stores in Canada at recordstoredaycanada.com. Music: J.D. Crowe and The New South “Some Old Day” from “J.D. Crowe and The New South” (1975, Rounder Records). Johnny Cash & Lynn Anderson “I’ve Been Everywhere” from “The Best Of The Johnny Cash TV Show” (2008, Sony BMG).
Corin Raymond is a singer-songwriter who loves a good lyric as much as a good melody. He’s just released a great new album “Hobo Jungle Fever Dreams”, which features ten songs, eight co-written with top drawer songwriters Jonathan Byrd, Sean Cotton and Rob Vaarmeyer, Rakhu Lokanathan and Jaxon Haldane alongside one Corin Raymond original, “Morning Glories” and the other, a cover of Doug Norquay‘s “Best Demented Cowgirl Face” (one of the best and most intriguing song titles out there). Hobo Jungle Fever Dreams is quintessential Corin Raymond, featuring some fabulous word craft, especially on the glorious “Morning Glories”, a standout track on an album full of standout tracks. Corin’s on tour this April in Western Canada with Jonathan Byrd, for an evening of music that should not be missed. Corin joined us from Toronto to chat about the new album. Check out all his upcoming tour dates at corinraymond.com. Photo: Justin Rutledge. Music: Corin Raymond “Morning Glories”, “The Law and the Lonesome”, “I Drink A Little” and “Two Miles Of Train” from “Hobo Jungle Fever Dreams” (2016, Local Rascal Records).
Dave Gunning is back in Ontario on tour for eight shows in April including a Road to Kingsville Folk Fest show at The Bank Theatre in Leamington on April 15, The Registry Theatre, Kitchener (April 16), Hugh’s Room, Toronto (April 21) and The Moonshine Cafe, Oakville (April 28). He’ll also be appearing at this summer’s Mariposa Folk Festival (July 7-10). Dave joined us to chat about the tour and his latest album (number eleven) “Lift”. For more information on Dave’s tour dates, visit davegunning.com. Music: Dave Gunning “I Robbed the Co. Store”, “They Don’t Do That No More” and “Sing It Louder” from “Lift” (2015, Wee House of Music).
Isabel Fryszberg is an occupational therapist, visual artist and musician from Toronto who produced a wonderful album of jazz tinged country-folk-pop, “Hearts & Arrows”, with her band Isabel & The Uncommons, in 2014. Her latest project, The Social Mystics, features music created by individuals living with severe and persistent mental illness and/or addictions at the Creative Works Studio at St Michael’s Hospital in Toronto. The Social Mystics release their CD, “Coming Out Of Darkness” at the Tranzac Club in Toronto on March 8 at 7:30 p.m., Cover: PWYC, $10 suggested or $20 with a copy of the CD. Isabel and the Uncommons will be playing The Local, 396 Roncesvalles Ave, Toronto on Tuesday on March 22 from 9 p.m. Isabel Fryszberg joined us to chat about her music at the Folk Music Ontario conference, this past October. For more information about the music of Isabel Fryszberg, visit isabel-music.com. Music: Isabel & The Uncommons, “New Love” from “Hearts & Arrows” (Self, 2014), Social Mystics “Coming Out Of Darkness” and “Chill In The Air” from “Coming Out Of Darkness” (2016, Self), and Isabel & The Uncommons, “Something Sacred” from “Hearts & Arrows” (Self, 2014).
Toronto-based singer-songwriter Mark Martyre is heading out on his Bluebird tour of Southern Ontario and Montreal this March, which includes shows at Silence (Guelph) on March 4, The Artbar (Hamilton) on March 5 and The Piston (Toronto) on March 13 among others. Check out all the tour dates HERE. Mark joined us at the Folk Music Ontario conference to chat about his music and play a couple of songs live. For more information, visit markmartyre.com. Music: Mark Martyre “I Know What It’s Like” from “Red Letters” (2014, Self), “Long Goodbye” (Live), “The Devil On Your Back” (Live) and “Oh Luna” from “Red Letters” (2014, Self).