Growing up in Cape Breton, you’d expect Mike McKenna Jr. to have celtic music coursing through his veins. Indeed he has – his first instrument was a fiddle, but he also fell in love with the storytelling aspect of being a troubadour singer-songwriter with east coast grit in his voice. After leaving Cape Breton for a new home base in Montreal, Mike released his first E.P., “Travelin Man” in 2016. He’s currently readying his first full length album, “Pacific Northwest Bound”, for release in May 2017. Mike joined us in the studio at the Folk Music Ontario conference to chat about his music, and play three songs live. For more information about Mike McKenna Jr., visit mikemckennajr.com. Music: Mike McKenna Jr. “Travelin Man” from “Travelin Man” (2016, Self), “The Highway” (Live), “Little Things” (Live), “Die In The West” (Live) and “Take Me Home” from “Travelin Man” (2016, Self).
Montreal based troubadour singer-songwriter Bobby Dove released her debut album “Thunderchild” in October 2016. Recorded in Peterborough, Ontario with producer James McKenty (Blue Rodeo, Gordon Lightfoot), the album harks back to the golden age of country music, and features a mix of broody ballads, honky-tonkin two steps and reflections on the what-ifs of life. Bobby joined us in the studio at the Folk Music Ontario conference to chat about her music and to play a couple of songs live for us. For more information about Bobby’s music, visit bobbydove.com. Music: Bobby Dove, “Thunderchild” from “Thunderchild” (2016, Self), “Gridlock” (Live), “Another Doggone Day” (Live), “Too Late To Go Home” from “Thunderchild” (2016, Self).
Award-winning songwriter and full-time road dog, Winona Wilde has been slinging her boisterous brand of country-folk Canadiana all over Canada, the U.S & Europe for several years without rest. Wielding lyrical wit and fearless emotion, this born-again-Ontarian promises to be two parts funny and one part sad. A 2016 Folk Music Ontario Official Showcase Artist and 2015 BC Musician Magazine Songwriter of the Year, Winona Wilde joined us in the mobile studio at the Folk Music Ontario conference to chat about her music, and play a couple of new songs live. For more information, visit winonawilde.com. Music: Winona Wilde, “Dating Song” from “You Lose Some, You Lose Some” (2015, Self), Chick Singer (live), Wasted Time (live) and “Paper Clips For The Apocalypse” from “You Lose Some, You Lose Some” (2015, Self).
Multi-instrumentalist, singer/songwriter and composer, the prolific, Benjamin Dakota Rogers is pushing the boundaries of traditional folk with each album release. Combining fiddle, guitar and mandolin with his unique voice and strong lyrics, he creates music that demands your attention. Benjamin has picked up Canadian Folk Music Awards nominations for each of his three releases; the “Wayfarer” E.P. from 2014, 2015’s “The Strong Man’s Address to the Circus Crowd” and his latest, “Whiskey & Pine”. Whiskey & Pine features 11 songs that showcase Benjamin’s strong vocals, powerful guitar and fiddle, with support from Chris Rait on stand-up bass, guitar and djembe. Benjamin joined us in the mobile studio at the recent Folk Music Ontario conference to chat about his music, and play three songs live. For more information about Benjamin’s music visit benjaminrogersmusic.com. Music: Benjamin Dakota Rogers “Soldier Song” from “Whiskey & Pine” (2016, Self), “Whiskey For Blood” (Live), “Mr. Robot” (Live), “Come Home” (Live) and “Whiskey & Pine” from “Whiskey & Pine” (2016, Self).
Self-described “pilgrims of funk, soul ‘n’ roll”, the fabulous Julian Taylor Band are heading out on an eleven date tour of Southern Ontario in support of their double vinyl release “Desert Star” (2016, Aporia Records) during February and March. Desert Star – one of our favourite albums of 2016, was originally released on four E.P.s before the vinyl version made its appearance last fall. If you love the sound of a funk, soul and rock n’roll band, with some folk, blues, jazz, reggae and calypso thrown into the mix, you definitely need to check them out – they’re wonderful live. The tour starts in Windsor at The Rondo on March 16, they’re at Aeolian Hall in London ON on March 25, with a Hamilton date at The Casbah on April 2. You can check out all the tour dates online at juliantaylorband.com. Julian Taylor sat down with us at the Folk Music Ontario conference this past October to chat about his music, and the new album. Music: Julian Taylor Band “Just A Little Bit”, “One Time”, Get Loud” and “Set Me Free” from “Desert Star” (2016, Aporia Records).
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).
Graydon James and Laura Spink are the heart of Toronto’s The Young Novelists, a six piece folk-roots band when playing close to home, but pretty much everywhere else they’re stripped down to their essence, a finely tuned harmonizing duo. They’ve had a fabulous couple of years musically – their sophomore release, 2015’s “made us strangers” was very well received, taking home the prize for New/Emerging Artist of the Year at the 2015 Canadian Folk Music Awards and they’re now touring in the United States regularly. Graydon and Laura sat down with us at the Folk Music Ontario conference to chat about their music, travels, and future plans. Photo: Ana Muira Music: The Young Novelists, Always Make The Mistake and Hear Your Voice from Made Us Strangers (2015, Self)
The amazing Scottish singer-songwriter with the delicate and dexterous vocal delivery, Fraser Anderson, who now makes his home in the wonderful musical city of Bristol in the UK, joined us in our mobile studio at the Folk Music Ontario conference to chat about his music and latest album “Under The Cover Of Lightness” (released in April 2016). During our chat, Fraser played a couple of live songs and gave us a wonderful poem recitation. Our fun conversation included one of his first musical experiences – singing in his father’s butcher’s shop with an animal bone for a microphone, and one of his most meaningful, playing with Dougie MacLean for four years. The gorgeous Bex Baxter also joined us in the studio on harmony vocals. Fraser’s new digital EP recorded in Toronto, “Beautiful Eyes Ontario Skies” was released on November 4. For more information visit fraseranderson.com. Photo credit: Charles Gravely. Music: Fraser Anderson “Rising Sons” from “Under The Cover Of Lightness” (2016, Membran), “What Kind Of Man” (Live), “Beautiful Eyes” (Live), “With You All” (Live), “Crying From My Heart” from “Under The Cover Of Lightness” (2016, Membran).
Brian Blain, self-proclaimed semi-retired blues guy, “Blainsletter” blogger and managing editor of the Toronto Blues Society‘s Maple Blues newsletter, stopped by our mobile studio at the 2016 Folk Music Ontario conference for an immensely enjoyable conversation about his 40 plus years in the music business, the upcoming official release of his remix album “New Folk Blues 2.0” and to play a couple of tunes live. As always it was great fun. Brian will be celebrating “New Folk Blues 2.0” with a show at Toronto’s legendary Old Mill on Saturday, October 29 where he will be joined by George Koller, Michelle Josef and Alison Young, who all contributed to the remixed recording. For more information visit brianblain.com. Photo credit: Russ Kelley. Music: Brian Blain “Forgotten”, “The Ghost of Clinton’s Tavern” from “New Folk Blues 2.0” (2013, Self), “Cape Cod Blues” (Live) and “Last Time I Saw Lenny” (Live).
The Bombadils produced some big news in 2016, announcing that they’re now a two piece featuring Sarah Frank (fiddle, banjo, vocals) and Luke Fraser (guitar, mandolin, vocals) after bassist Alan Mackie and flautist Anh Phung moved on to new projects. The newly slimmed down Bombadils released their first album as a duo, “New Shoes” on Borealis Records earlier this year. The Bombadils now perform live as a duo, or in larger settings, with cello or bass. Sarah and Luke sat down with us at FMO to chat about the changes in the band and the release of the new album. Photo: Ana Muira Music: The Bombadils, Train In The Night from New Shoes (2016, Borealis Records).
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).