On this edition of Folk Roots Radio we head out to Corner Brook in Newfoundland to talk to folk-pop duo Gary & Whit, about “Matches”, an album of beautiful songs, with engaging lyrics and gorgeous harmonies that really connects with the listener – and another of our favourite albums of 2016. And as always, we take a look at some of the latest new releases. For more information about the music of Gary & Whit, visit garyandwhit.com. Photography: Candace Cunning and Dru Kennedy.
There are no interviews in this hour of Folk Roots Radio, as we play catch up on some of the best of the new music we’ve received over the past few months. There’s lots of great music out there, and as we’re all about the music, we’re pleased to do our bit to share it with you.
Guelph Celtic Orchestra are getting ready for their St. Patrick’s Day Extravaganza. This year’s event takes place at the Italian Canadian Club, 135 Ferguson Street, Guelph on Saturday March 18 2017 at 7:30 p.m. (Doors 7 p.m.). This year’s concert also features the Guelph Pipe Band and the orchestra’s award winning step dancers. The performance will be followed by a ceilidh dance. Tickets are $20 advance ($25 at the door), $10 (children aged 6-16) and are available through Janus Books, 10 Paisley St., Guelph and their website at guelphceltic.ca.
Corin Raymond is having a great start to 2017, with a Juno Award nomination for Contemporary Roots Album of the Year for “Hobo Jungle Fever Dreams”. The album was also named our favourite recording of 2016. Hobo Jungle Fever Dreams is quintessential Corin Raymond, featuring some fabulous word craft on ten songs, eight co-written with other top drawer songwriters Jonathan Byrd, Sean Cotton, Rob Vaarmeyer, Rakhu Lokanathan and Jaxon Haldane alongside one Corin Raymond original, the glorious “Morning Glories” and a cover of Doug Norquay‘s “Best Demented Cowgirl Face” (one of the best and most intriguing song titles out there). The album also earned two nominations at the 2016 Canadian Folk Music Awards, with David Gillis taking home the gong for Producer of the Year. Corin joined us in the mobile studio at the Folk Music Ontario conference this past October to chat about the making of “Hobo Jungle Fever Dreams”. For more information about Corin’s music, visit corinraymond.com. Music: Corin Raymond “Rain Bed”, “Two Miles Of Train”, “Best Demented Cowgirl Face” and “Under The Belly Of The Night” from “Hobo Jungle Fever Dreams” (2016, Local Rascal Records).
We love the banjo on Folk Roots Radio which is a very good thing, as this edition has more than the usual amount included. We talk to Ian Molesworth about Banjofest – a one day festival taking place in Guelph in March and listen to some of the artists who will be taking part. We also check in on some of the artists who will be performing at the 10th annual Hillside Inside which takes place in Downtown Guelph from February 9-12. Among the new releases, we get to hear some great musical commentary about the recent political upheaval south of the border.
Toronto bluegrass band The Slocan Ramblers have a reputation for producing some of the best live acoustic music out there – a refreshingly youthful and fiddle-free take on bluegrass featuring Adrian Gross on mandolin, Darryl Poulsen on guitar, Alastair Whitehead on bass and Frank Evans on three-finger and clawhammer banjo. They released their second album “Coffee Creek”, the follow up to their very well received 2012 debut “Shaking Down The Acorns”, in 2015. An album that explores the outer reaches of bluegrass while respecting its traditions, Coffee Creek was recorded live off the floor with Chris Coole (from the Foggy Hogtown Boys) at the controls and features a healthy dose of their own original material. The Slocan Ramblers will be appearing at the River Run Centre in Guelph on January 27, The Old Town Hall in Newmarket on March 25, The Registry Theatre in Kitchener on April 7, the Aurora Cultural Centre on May 12 and the Regent Theatre in Picton on May 20 alongside dates in Western Canada, Prince Edward Island and Nova Scotia. We caught up with banjo player Frank Evans in Toronto, to chat about their music. For more information visit slocanramblers.com. Music: The Slocan Ramblers “Pastures of Plenty / Honey Babe”, “Elk River”, “Coffee Creek” and “Call Me Long Gone” from “Coffee Creek” (2015, Self).
Banjofest Guelph sounds like the perfect day out for anyone who love’s banjo. Guelph’s first festival devoted to banjo music takes place at Silence, 46 Essex Street in Guelph on Saturday March 11 2017. The festival features a full day of banjo music, in all its glory. The afternoon Session (2-5:30 p.m.) features Buckwheat Honey, Lotus Wight, The BIG Schotts, and Chris Coole with Arnie Naiman, commemorating the recording of their album “5 Strings Attached With No Backing” (1997, Merriweather Records) 20 years ago. The evening session (8-11 p.m.) includes performances by The Banjo Mechanics featuring Ian Pattison and Lewis Melville, Tim Posgate with Andrew Downing and The Lonesome Ace Stringband. Tickets are $25 per session or $40 for both sessions (there are only 55 tickets available for each session) and can be purchased by emailing email@example.com. The event is co-sponsored by Woodall Music Acoustic Roots Music Instructional DVDs and Folkway Music. To learn more about Banjofest we caught up with organizer and banjo player Ian Molesworth. Music: Arnie Naiman and Chris Coole “Country Blues” from “5 Strings Attached With No Backing” (1997, Merriweather Records), The Banjo Mechanics “Still Jiggin’ For Trout” from “JlP” (2014, Self).
Erin Costelo from Halifax NS released “Down Below, The Status Quo”, a fabulous slice of genre-bending soulful pop that skips from R&B/Soul to bluesy jazz in March 2016, and one of our Favourite Albums of 2016. The follow up to 2012’s very well-received “We Can Get Over”, Down Below, The Status Quo features ten tracks written, arranged, and produced by Erin Costelo at Joel Plaskett’s Dartmouth NS studio, New Scotland Yard, with support from engineer Thomas Stajcer. Joining Erin on the album are longtime guitarist Clive MacNutt, bassist Ian Bennett, drummers Dave Marsh and Matt Gallant, alongside the Blue Engine String Quartet and horns from Matt Myer, Andrew Jackson and Andrew MacKelvie. Gifted with a fabulous expressive voice that harkens back to some of the great female vocalists of the golden age of soulful blues and jazz, Down Below, The Status Quo is a joy from beginning to end and another of those albums that reminds me that great music needs to be shared – and that show’s like Folk Roots Radio shouldn’t be constrained by a rigid focus on genre. We caught up with Erin Costelo at home in Halifax to chat about her music. To learn more about Erin Costelo, visit erincostelo.ca. Music: Erin Costelo, “Move”, “Quiet The Bombs”, “Titanic” and “Fighter” from “Down Below, The Status Quo” (2016, Venue Records).
This episode of Folk Roots Radio is all about the Folk Music Ontario (FMO) 2016 Youth Programme. Each year during the weekend conference, a group of youth performers are paired with mentors from the Ontario folk community to work on a showcase performance and participate in professional development activities. The programme is open to residents of Ontario and the National Capital Region, between the ages 15 and 21, who are chosen for their interest, ability and experience. This documentary features commentary and musical contributions from programme coordinator Treasa Levasseur; Mentors: Cécile Doo-Kingué, Christa Couture, Graydon James, Lynn Miles and Alysha Brilla; Youth: Brandon Girouard, Anita Cazzola, John Muirhead, Missy Bauman and Melina Hanke. Learn more about the Folk Music Ontario Youth Programme HERE. Photo credit: Mike Bourgeault.
Gary & Whit are husband and wife singer/songwriter Gary and Whitney French from Goose Bay, Newfoundland and now based on the west coast of the island in Corner Brook. Their album “Matches” was one of our favourite albums of 2016. With Gary on acoustic guitar/vocals and Whitney on vocals, the recording features some beautiful songs, with engaging lyrics and gorgeous harmonies that really connect with the listener. We reached Gary & Whit at home in Cornerbrook to chat about their music. For more information, visit garyandwhit.com. Photography: Candace Cunning and Dru Kennedy. Music: Gary & Whit “Matches”, “Water Under The Bridge”, “Heartbreak” and “Goodbye” from “Matches” (2015, Self).
On this episode we chat to Toronto based folk-noir singer-songwriter Abigail Lapell about her great sophomore release, “Hide Nor Hair”. Heavily influenced by her time in the art folk scene in Montreal in the 2000s, and recorded with mood maestro Chris Stringer (Ohbijou, Timber Timbre) in Toronto, the album features ten songs with a cinematic quality that take love and loss as their central theme. We also check out some of the best of the latest new releases.
Toronto based folk-noir singer-songwriter Abigail Lapell is about to release her sophomore album, “Hide Nor Hair” – quite possibly, one of the first great records of 2017. Heavily influenced by her time in the art folk scene in Montreal in the 2000s, and recorded in Toronto with Chris Stringer (Ohbijou, Timber Timbre), the album features ten songs with a cinematic quality that take love and loss as their central theme, and provide a platform for a voice that floats over a musical accompaniment that features harmonica, piano, finger style guitar from Abigail alongside drummer (and whistle soloist) Benjamin Hermann; Rachael Cardiello on viola; Joe Ernewein on bass; Mike Eckert on pedal steel and longtime collaborator Jessica Moore on backup vocals. Abigail Lapell was the recipient of the 2016 Colleen Peterson Songwriting Award for the song “Jordan,” which appears on the new record. Abigail Lapell is on tour in Eastern Canada in January with a CD release show in Toronto at The Burdock on Thursday January 19. Abigail is also in Guelph on Sunday January 29 for a show at The Cornerstone. For more information, visit abigaillapell.com. Photo: Jen Squires. We caught up with Abigail in Toronto to chat about the new album. Music: Abigail Lapell “Night Bird And Morning Bird”, “Jordan”, “Hostage Town” and “Home to Me” from “Hide Nor Hair” (2017, Coax Records).
On this episode we take a look at more of our favourite albums of 2016. One of the best things about doing a radio show is getting loads of fabulous music to audition each week. Narrowing all that great music down to our favourite twenty-five albums of the year was quite the challenge. It’s never an easy thing to do, but we managed it. You can check out our “Top Ten” albums of 2016 on Episode 291 HERE. This time around we tackle ‘The Next Fifteen’, bringing you some of our favourite tracks from those albums. It’s a great privilege to bring lots of great music and interviews to you each week on Folk Roots Radio, something we’re looking forward to continuing to do throughout 2017.
U.S. folk singer and activist Bryan McPherson released a great album of protest songs, “Wedgwood” in 2015. Originally from Boston, Bryan has chosen a life on the open road as the archetypal troubadour, singing songs about the oppressed for the oppressed – like a latter day Woody Guthrie, or more recently, the U.K.’s Billy Bragg. A passionate protest singer, he’s not afraid to use his gift to tackle issues like inequality, homelessness and police brutality. Demo recordings for “Wedgewood” were originally created in a rustic shack in California; the album has a lovely enveloping feel (referencing the Wedgewood stove Bryan used to keep him warm), even if it bristles with barely controlled anger as he sings songs of conscience about a country that he believes has lost its way. Brian McPherson joined us on Folk Roots Radio to talk about his music and some tour dates in Eastern Canada in early 2017. For more information about Bryan’s music, visit bryanmcpherson.com. Photo: EA Zimmermann. Music: Bryan McPherson “Born On A Highway”, “Days of Rage”, “Here We Go” and “Hearts In Boxcars” from Wedgewood (2015, OFD Records).
Well. It’s just about time to wish goodbye to 2016… a challenging year in so many respects. At least we had lots of great music to enjoy!
We’re taking a break for the holiday season, but we’ll be back with a lot more music and interviews in 2017.
You can check out our Best of the Year HERE. There are also loads of interviews and full episodes to enjoy via the website.
Thanks to all the artists who share their music with us during the year, and thank you for listening.
Have a safe, and enjoyable holiday season. We’ll see you next time!
Time to run down our favourite albums of 2016. One of the best things about doing a radio show is getting loads of great music to audition each week. Like every year, I’ve enjoyed some wonderful recordings – much of it by independent artists with little backing to support their music, and careers. One of the hardest things to do though, is to narrow down all the fabulous music that we received to our ten favourite recordings of the year. It’s never an easy thing to do, but do it I must, if I’m to bring you Folk Roots Radio’s The Best Albums of 2016.
Peter Stone from 100 Mile House joins us on this episode to chat about “Hiraeth”, their fabulous new album of deeply personal and introspective songs about life, love, loss and the meaning of home. Recorded in Edmonton AB, with partner Denise MacKay, and Peter in the producer’s chair, the album features some fine musical arrangements – including some gorgeous use of both violin and cello, alongside some fabulous harmonies. We also take a look at some of the best of the latest new releases.
The Bombadils, featuring Sarah Frank (fiddle, banjo, vocals) and Luke Fraser (guitar, mandolin, vocals), will be bringing their kitchen party folk to Wheatley ON for a Kingsville Folk Music Festival fundraising concert at the the Car Barn Restaurant on Thursday January 12 2017 at 7:30 p.m. (Doors at 7:00 p.m.). Tickets are $20, and can be reserved at 519-825-7436. The Bombadils released their first album as a duo, “New Shoes” on Borealis Records earlier this year. Check out our interview recorded with Sarah and Luke at the recent Folk Music Ontario conference in Ottawa. For more information on the Bombadils visit thebombadils.com. Music: The Bombadils, Train In The Night from New Shoes (2016, Borealis Records).