We’re all about this music on Folk Roots Radio Episode 322 as we check out a great selection of new releases on the folk and roots scene, including new music from Alice Howe, Joe Jencks and Rachel Baiman and the Tunes from David Holt’s State of Music Volume 2 compilation. Listen to the episode and check out the playlist below.
Notes about some of the new music on our radar that made it into Episode 322 of Folk Roots Radio.
Singer-songwriter Larissa Tandy has just released her debut album “The Grip”. Relocating from Australia to Canada, the album was produced by Jim Bryson who is no stranger to working with female singer-songwriters having produced critically acclaimed albums for both Sarah Harmer and Kathleen Edwards.
The album was written during a very challenging period for Tandy. “To say these songs came out of a difficult time is an understatement. When I wasn’t in and out of hospital, I was in and out of a lawyers office. I was fighting for my health, and fighting to keep my home, and everyone I loved was dying in horrible ways. I was shaken, and I was suffering. But so what? We all are.. I didn’t believe in anything anymore, not even death, so I spent every day just trying to grow enough food to live on, and writing to make sense of it all.”
After a return to Australia while on tour, Tandy headed to Nashville to take up The Australia Council’s prestigious Nashville Songwriter Residency. For more information, visit larissatandy.com.
Harpeth Rising have just released their sophomore album, “Against All Tides” (2017, Midwest Records). Written after a very contentious US presidential election, it explores the human experience in a very uncertain world. The songs feature lyrics from Jordan Greenberg, alongside arrangements from all three members Maria Di Meglio, Michelle Younger and Greenberg. It also includes covers of two songs written by Jordan’s father, David Greenberg and a cover of Joan Baez’s Prison Trilogy, an indictment of the prison system and immigration laws. Check them out online at harpethrising.com.
Merlin Snider steps back into nature to reconnect with life on “Cold Rain” from his latest album “One Light Many Windows” (2016, Barking Dog Music). Quoting Walden by Henry David Thoreau, ‘I went to the woods because I wished to live deliberately, to confront only the essential facts of life, and see if I could learn what it had to teach, and not when I came to die, discover that I had not lived. . . . I wanted to live deep and suck all the marrow of life.‘ Snider adds, “I cherish those moments of direct experience with the Universe when I feel fully alive, fully human.” Merlin Snider is online at merlinsnider.com.
Boston singer-songwriter Alice Howe has a fabulous voice she uses to great effect on her new E.P. “You’ve Been Away So Long” featuring five songs written and recorded during a sojourn on the west coast. Find Alice Howe online at alicehowe.com.
Singer-songwriter and member, of American folk super group Brother Sun, Joe Jencks has just released a fabulous new album “Poets, Philosophers Workers & Wanderers”. As usual, the album features some beautifully crafted songs about life, love, and the human experience and it is beautifully played and sung in a gorgeous tenor voice. On this episode, we play “Let It Rain” which also features guest vocals from Edie Carey and an accompaniment from members of Harpeth Rising, who guest on several tracks on the album. For more information, visit joejencks.com.
In With The Old are a trio from Northern Saskatchewan. Featuring multi-instrumentalists Ellen Froese-Kooijenga, Kasia Thorlakson, and Jaxon Lalonde, they have a delightful take on old-time music – bringing together folk, classic country, and bluegrass with a distinctive 60’s vibe. Having received lots of plaudits for their appearances on the folk and bluegrass festival scene, they’ve just released their second album “My Mother’s Couch”. Visit them online at inwiththeoldband.com.
A second CD collection has been released to accompany David Holt’s State of Music, the PBS TV series of conversation and music from some of the best players on the roots and traditional scene. Featuring eighteen different tracks, including several recorded live at the Bardo Arts Centre at Western Carolina University in Cullowhee NC, the album is the perfect introduction to some fabulous players and some great tunes. For more information visit DavidHoltTV.org.
Breakout Americana artist Rachel Baiman‘s new album “Shame” is an exploration of growing up female in North America. From the title track about abortion and politics, to love, sex, and abuse in relationships, to classism and inequality in her re-write of Andy Irvine’s working class anthem “Never Tire Of The Road,” the album is ambitious in its scope, yet remains cohesive through Baiman’s personal perspective.
“I wasn’t necessarily trying to write songs that would be easy to listen to, I wanted to write about reality, in all of its terror and beauty. I find it hard to escape from the values that I grew up with, and I feel compelled to write politically, to speak out about things that I’ve experienced or seen. Songwriting is a unique opportunity to do that because it avails a more emotional vehicle for discussion. I love the political tradition of folk music, from Woody Guthrie to Tupac, and my hope is that this record adds another voice to it.”
A departure from her stripped-down work with progressive folk duo 10 String Symphony, Shame is lush and varied in instrumentation and musical texture. Inspired in equal parts by John Hartford and Courtney Barnett, Baiman’s influences span a wide range, but years spent playing traditional music shine through in the album’s firmly rooted sound.
For recording and production, Baiman turned to the talents of Mandolin Orange’s Andrew Marlin.
“At the time that I was writing the music for this record, I was listening to all North Carolina-made albums, including Mandolin Orange and the album Andrew produced for Josh Oliver (Oliver is also featured heavily on Shame). The energy in the studio was amazing. It became clear that we were making something really special that needed to be finished.”
For more information, visit rachelbaiman.com.
And that’s all we have time for, this time around. Thanks to all the artists who share their music with us, and thank you for listening. We have a lot of great music and interviews to bring you on future shows. I hope you’ll join us!
You can listen to this episode again on Soundcloud by following the link below. You can also listen to episodes of Folk Roots Radio, on demand, via iTunes, Mixcloud, Stitcher and Tune-in Radio. (Click on the highlighted link to reach your chosen platform.)
Nicolas & The Iceni (Theme)
Lucy She Rises (Demo)
Roll Right (Pre-release, self)
The Grip (2017, Thalossophile/MGM)
I Did Not Make The World
Against All Tides (2017, Midwest Records)
Nothing But You
You’ve Been Away So Long (2017, Self)
Energized (2016, Eh Records)
One Light Many Windows (2016, Barking Dog Music)
The Two Tracks
Postcard Town (2017, Self)
Let It Rain
Poets, Philosophers Workers & Wanderers (2017, Turtle Bear Music)
In With The Old
My Mother’s Couch
My Mother’s Couch (2016, Self) CDN
Doyle Lawson & Quicksilver
Brother Have You Heard
Tunes from David Holt’s State of Music Volume 2 (2017, High Winds Audio)
A Stranger In This Time (2017, Vault Records)
Lee Watson (2016, Dead Radio Love Records) CDN
Let Them Go To Heaven
Shame (2017, Free Dirt Records)