So here they are… my ten favourite albums of 2014. As you can imagine, it wasn’t easy to narrow this list down to the Top 10 which is why I’ve included the next five as honourable mentions. And to be honest, any of the albums in that group could easily have made it into my Best of 2014 on a different day. Indeed, I could easily have included another five after that… and another five after that, but I needed to draw a line somewhere which I duly did.
Trevor Gordon Hall has just released “Mind Heart Fingers”, the follow up to 2011’s “Entelechy”. We had a chance to chat with Trevor shortly before his appearance at this past summer’s Mariposa Folk Festival. If you love rich, creative guitar music with a twist, you’ll love Mind Heart Fingers. Check out the video of Trevor playing acoustic guitar on the beautiful “The Blue Hour”. I’ll admit that my knowledge of acoustic guitar tunings is rudimentary – however, for guitar aficionados, this song is apparently played in Nashville or high strung tuning (using only octave strings from a 12 string pack). This beautiful instrumental album was recorded during the summer of 2014 by Grammy Winning Producer Will Ackerman. You can find it in all of the usual places, including, for a physical copy, on CDBaby. For more information: visit trevorgordonhall.com.
Cambridge ON based three piece folk/rock alternative band Factory City have a CD release on Saturday September 27 at The Burns Howff Scottish Pub, 95 Saginaw pkwy, Cambridge. The cover is $5 or free with CD purchase! Factory City have been together since 2013, although all of members are stalwarts of the local scene. They feature guitarist/vocalist Mike Meacher, Fyl Bennett on stand-up bass and drummer Mat Bowman. Stylistically they describe their music as blurring the lines between folk music and rock alternative with songs that tell stories of love, tragedy, grief and hope. For more information visit factorymusic.com. Music: Factory City, For You from Factory City (2014, Self)
When Jesse Winchester passed away early in 2014 I think many people thought that the music had died with him. Well, the good news is that is not the case. A new album, “A Reasonable Amount Of Trouble”, has just been released on Appleseed Recordings. The album was recorded while Jesse’s cancer was in remission and features nine Jesse compositions alongside three cover versions.
The self-written songs on the album are all quintessentially Jesse Winchester – songs that cover the whole gamut of life experiences from transient pleasures (“All That We Have Is Now”), to tongue-in-cheek rockers (“Never Forget to Boogie”), and an uneasy peace (the heartwrenching “Just So Much”). Never maudlin, A Reasonable Amount of Trouble is inevitably tinged with an awareness of mortality but not a drop of self-pity. The covers are all sweet oldies, “Rhythm of the Rain”, “Devil or Angel” and “Whispering Bells”. Jesse plays acoustic guitar and keyboard and sings in his uniquely weightless tenor, there’s an attuned rhythm section, and guest appearances by “newgrass” country Grammy winner Jerry Douglas on lap steel and legendary saxophonist Jim Horn, among others. The new album was produced by Mac McAnally (Jimmy Buffet’s producer), who also plays lead guitar. Buffet, a huge Jesse fan wrote the liner notes.
Its an excellent album, one that really grows with you. We’ll be playing songs from the album on Folk Roots Radio. In the meantime, here is Jesse Winchester with the easy on the ear and relentlessly upbeat “All That We Have Is Now” (2014, Appleseed Recordings). For more information visit jessewinchester.com.
Cambridge Live Music is a new group that’s come together to promote live music, of any genre, publicly available in Cambridge Ontario. They’re run by volunteers and funded by donations. They’re looking for enthusiastic volunteers who are passionate about live music and interested in helping out with their website, social media, photography, videography or festival set up. If you can help them out, get in touch at firstname.lastname@example.org. Sounds like a great way to indulge your own interest while helping the group strengthen its promotional efforts to support local and predominantly independent musicians. I think that’s what they call a win-win-win.
We have a copy of “The Current”, the new CD by Jennis to give away. Jennis is the new musical project by last week’s in-studio guest Dennis Gaumond. The Current is a great album and it could be yours if you can answer this very simple question: Please tell us the name of Dennis Gaumond’s musical collaborator in Jennis. Send your answer to us by Wednesday June 4 2014. We’ll pick a winner that day. If you include your street address, we’ll even mail the CD to you!
Don’t forget that can still catch Jennis’ Guelph area CD launch on June 6. You’ll find all the details here.
We’ve just completed 100 posts on our new website. We hope you are enjoying it. As always we’d love some feedback – whether it is a suggestion for music to play, artists to invite into the studio or a Guilty Pleasure – that song you still love although you think others will find it unfashionable. Take it from me, there are a lot of people out there who will enjoy hearing your Guilty Pleasure, and learning why you still like it. We’ll catch up with you on Saturday morning, bright and early with a new mystery theme, a couple of interesting interviews and lots of great music. You won’t want to miss it!
Rockwood’s own, singer-songwriter Ian Reid will be releasing his latest album, “Delivered on Delhi Street” in May. We’ve been given a sneak listen to the album, and are pleased to bring you the title track which documents the birth of a certain baby at Guelph General Hospital. We’re sure you can guess who. Ian will be joining us live in the studio in the run up to the album release. For more information on Ian check out his website at ianreid.ca.
Let’s all raise a “Little Glass of Wine” to Jesse Winchester. Rest In Peace, Jesse Winchester (1944 – 2014).
Fred Eaglesmith is setting off on his Small Town Ontario Spring Tour. He’ll be playing legions and other small venues across rural Ontario. We’re lucky to have some tickets to giveaway for the show in Kitchener at the Kitchener Polish Legion Branch, 601 Wellington St North on Thursday April 3 2014 at 8 p.m. and in Freelton at the Valens Community Centre, 1818 Valens Road for Friday April 4 2014 at 8 p.m. To get into the draw, all you need to do is let us know the name of Fred’s new album. What could be easier?
One of the pleasant things about programming a radio show is that every now and again an album crosses your desk, from someone you’ve never heard of, that really makes you sit up and take notice. That happened again a couple of weeks ago when “More Love and Happiness” the latest album by Toronto based singer-songwriter Clela Errington arrived in the mail. Very rootsy, a bit jazzy with some interesting world beat influences thrown in; its become an instant hit on this show. We were so pleased to finally hook up with Clela for an interview. The good news is that she will be in the area on Saturday March 29 2014 for a show at Music in the Wood Rockwood at 8:00 p.m.
For more on Clela, visit clelaerrington.ca.
Fred Eaglesmith is heading back on to the road with his travelling show this spring to celebrate the launch of his latest album (number twenty, for those counting), the AM (and FM) radio friendly “Tambourine”.
“Kev Morse – Smile”
Singer/Songwriter Kev Morse will be live in the studio with us on Folk Roots Radio on CFRU 93.3fm on March 15. Kev will be previewing songs from his second solo album “In The Blood”. You won’t want to miss it!
“Guelph Celtic Orchestra – Always Welcome”
The Guelph Celtic Orchestra will be celebrating the life of St. Patrick with a performance and ceilidh dance at the Royal Canadian Legion, 57 Watson Parkway South, Guelph on March 15 2014 at 7:00 pm.
Tickets: Adults $15 advance/$20 at the door; Children under 12 $10 advance /door
Advanced tickets available at Janus Books, 10 Paisley St., Guelph and through the Guelph Celtic Orchestra website, www.guelphceltic.ca.
Fiddler and guitar duo Fiona McCairley & Bob MacLean take over Van Gogh’s Ear, Guelph on Sunday March 16 from 2-4 p.m. This pay what you can show promises to be energetic and engaging, and lots of fun. Fiona McCairley is an award-winning fiddler and Director of the Guelph Celtic Orchestra. Bob MacLean is founder of the Waterloo-Wellington Guitar Summit. The afternoon will also feature step-dancing from the McCairley sisters.
One of the best things about doing a radio show, is hearing about some exciting new music from unexpected quarters.
Matt Anderson plays Massey Hall with David Myles on March 1 2014. Matt’s latest release, “Weightless”, was recorded in Halifax with Grammy-winning producer Steve Berlin. The album features co-writes with Joel Plaskett, David Myles, Dave Gunning, Tom Wilson and Keith Mullins.
For more on Matt Anderson visit www.stubbyfingers.ca.