This edition of Folk Roots Radio is all about the 2016 Folk Music Ontario conference that recently took place in Ottawa. We play music from some of the great artists we saw play official showcases at the conference and chat with two of our favourite bands, The Young Novelists and The Bombadils.
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).
Sheesham and Lotus & ‘Son are the fabulous old-time vehicle for the musical talents of Teilhard Frost (Sheesham Crow), Sam Allison (Lotus Wight) and Son Sanderson. Featuring fiddle, banjo and sousaphone alongside some musical contraptions of their own creation – the Sepia-phonic Monophone, and the Contrabass HarmoniPhoneum, their live show is a mix of old-time fiddle, depression era trad blues and some originals that takes you back to the 1920s heyday of the music they love, and it’s an experience that is not to be missed. Sheesham, Lotus and Son joined us at the Folk Music Ontario conference to chat about their roots, history, live show and upcoming album “78 rpm” which is based on material recorded using vintage 1938 record cutting equipment, courtesy of Lathe Revival. For more information visit sheeshamandlotus.com. Music: Sheesham and Lotus & ‘Son “Chinquapin”, “The Blackberry Blossom Into Wink The Other Eye” and “Swimming Blues” from “The High Stepping Music of Sheesham and Lotus & ‘Son” (2014, Sepiaphone Records).
There’s always magic in the room when singer-songwriter and storyteller Joanna Chapman-Smith joins us on Folk Roots Radio. Joanna stopped by the mobile studio at the Folk Music Ontario conference to chat about her latest project – an album of musical folk tales under the working title of “Elon and the City of Stone”. Joanna also played three songs live for us. As always, it was a great pleasure having Joanna in the studio. To learn about her music and storytelling, visit joannacs.com. Music: Joanna Chapman-Smith “Paris” (Live), “June” (Live), “Crystal Heart” (Live) and “Arbitrary Lines” from “Contraries” (Self, 2009).
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).
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).
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).
Singer-songwriter Leah Morise joined us at the Folk Music Ontario conference to chat about her music and latest album, “Live At The House Of Harmony”, which was released in 2015. I have to say that I really enjoyed this interview – quite lovely; it features some great conversation as well as three beautiful live songs. As usual, we also include some of the great new music we’ve received.
Episode 241 of Folk Roots Radio features an interview with Toronto singer-songwriter Mark Martyre recorded at the Folk Music Ontario conference this past October. Mark also played a couple of songs live for us. Mark has just released his fourth solo album, “Bluebird” and is out on tour in Ontario in March.
The East Pointers – banjoist Koady Chaisson, fiddler Tim Chaisson, and guitarist Jake Charron, all have strong musical careers in the own right yet they’ve come together as a trio to bring a contemporary spin to traditional maritime folk, with an exhilarating live sound that can’t help but get the audience clapping, stomping and bouncing along. They’ve just released their debut album “Secret Victory” (2015, Self) which features ten original tunes and songs, and are about to head out on their CD release tour. We caught up with Koady, Tim and Jake at the Folk Music Ontario conference. For more information visit eastpointers.ca. Music: East Pointers, “Secret Victory”, “Cold” and “Woodfordia” from “Secret Victory” (2015, Self).
This week’s new release hour features new music from Trent Severn, Gary & Whit and Anne Walker and more, alongside a 100% a cappella version of the Gordon Lightfoot classic “The Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald” from Cadence. We also talk to one of the most exciting talent’s on the contemporary folk and roots scene, Benjamin Dakota Rogers.
Singer-songwriter Carly Thomas was born in Thailand and raised in Argentina and France before returning to her family roots in London Ontario. She first came to our attention through “I Remember You” her beautiful and thought-provoking song written for the How We Survive teen suicide awareness campaign. Check out the very impactful video that accompanys the song here. Carly has released three solo albums of folk-pop – Distance (2003), Up This High (2009), and Explode (2014). She joined us in our studio at Folk Music Ontario to chat about her music. For more information, visit carlythomas.com. Music: Carly Thomas “Sink or Swim” and “Lightning Bolts” from “Explode E.P.” (2104, Self) Carly Thomas “Drive Me Home” from “Up This High” (2009, Self).
A multi-instrumentalist, singer songwriter and composer, Benjamin Dakota Rogers pushes the boundaries of traditional folk. Combining fiddle, guitar and mandolin with his unique voice and strong lyrics he is creating music that demands attention. Benjamin earned a Young Performer of the Year nomination at the Canadian Folk Music Awards for his E.P. “Wayfarer” (2014, Self) and his latest, the full-length album “The Strong Man’s Address to the Circus Crowd” (2015, Self). Benjamin joined us at the Folk Music Ontario conference to chat about his music and play a new song live. For more information visit benjaminrogersmusic.com. Music: Benjamin Dakota Rogers “The Strong Man’s Address to the Circus Crowd” from “The Strong Man’s Address to the Circus Crowd” (2015, Self), Benjamin Dakota Rogers “Whiskey & Pine” (Live) and Benjamin Dakota Rogers “Ashes to Ashes” from “The Strong Man’s Address to the Circus Crowd” (2015, Self).
Qristina & Quinn Bachand have been making music together for most of their lives and making waves on the celtic music scene for their creativity and musical virtuosity – Qristina building a reputation for her fiddle and vocal work while Quinn has been making a name for himself as a celtic acoustic guitarist and fiddler, and pushing boundaries through his work with the duo and Brishen, his gypsy-jazz combo. Their latest album and their third together, “Little Hinges” (2015) has been very well-received. Qristina & Quinn joined us at the Folk Music Ontario conference for an in-depth conversation and impromptu session. For more information visit qbachand.com. Music: Qristina & Quinn Bachand “Crooked Jack” from “Little Hinges” (2015, Beacon Ridge), “What You Do With What You Got” (Live), “The Welcome Farewell Set” (Live), “Truly Understand” (Live) and “Never Goodbye/Three Little Babes” from “Little Hinges” (2015, Beacon Ridge).
Toronto-based singer/songwriter James Bruce Moore has just released his second album, the mystical and soul-stirring “Soul’s Journey Home”. Whereas his well-received debut, 2012’s Lisbeth (named after his late wife) featured a folk, country, and jazz palette; the beautiful and inspiring new album is more folky but includes the prominent use of a nine-piece string section, with arrangements by Aaron Davis. The album was produced by renowned bassist George Koller (Loreena McKennitt, The Shuffle Demons) with musical support from, among others, Steve Briggs, Denis Keldie, Mark Mariash, Kirsten Rea, and David Piltch. James Bruce Moore stopped by our mobile studio at the Folk Music Ontario conference to chat about the new album. Music: James Bruce Moore “Soul’s Journey”, “Roy Benavidez” and “Sigh Unto The Universe” from “Soul’s Journey Home” (2015, Self).
Blues-roots songstress Suzie Vinnick is one of those performers who sounds as good live as on disc. In 2011, Suzie recorded her first solo acoustic blues album, “Me ‘n’ Mabel” accompanied by her parlour guitar “Mabel”. Sending a copy of that album to Bill Wax, lead Suzie to recording a session live off the floor in Nashville that became her most recent release, the stellar “Live at Bluesville” (2012). Over her career, Suzie has won 10 Maple Blues Awards and been nominated for three Junos. Suzie joined us in the studio at the Folk Music Ontario conference for a feature length conversation and a few live songs. For more information about Suzie Vinnick visit suzievinnick.com. Music: Suzie Vinnick “Calling Out Your Name” from “Live At Bluesville” (Self, 2012); Suzie Vinnick “Beautiful Little Fool” (Live); Suzie Vinnick “Drift Away” (Live) and Suzie Vinnick “Oreo Cookie Blues” from “Me ‘n’ Mabel” (2011, self).
Folk, pop and jazz singer Coco Love Alcorn is renowned for compelling vocal delivery, fantastic improvisation skills and extraordinary ability to engage the audience, and equally comfortable fronting her own music or providing backing vocals for others. She is about to head out on a spring and summer tour of Canada prior to returning to the studio to record her next project the intriguingly titled “Spirit Sessions”. Coco stopped by our mobile studio at this past October’s Folk Music Ontario conference to chat about her music, and play a couple of songs live on her instrument of choice, the ukulele. Like everything that Coco gets involved in, the interview was a lot of fun, and very in the moment. We hope you enjoy it. Music: Coco Love Alcorn, ‘Best Part Of My Day’ from ‘Play’ (2011, Self); Coco Love Alcorn, ‘The River’ (Live); Coco Love Alcorn, ‘Wonderland’ (Live); Coco Love Alcorn, ‘Joyful’ from ‘Joyful’ (2011, Self).
Emm Gryner and Dayna Manning had successful careers in their own right as singer-songwriters before joining fiddler Laura C Bates to form Trent Severn, the Southern Ontario based folk super-group known for a love of Canadiana, plaid, fine harmonies and outstanding musicianship. Their debut album, the self-titled ‘Trent Severn’ became a firm favourite with many from the first listen, their live shows a must-see based on a burgeoning reputation. They sat down with us as the Folk Music Ontario conference this past October to chat about their music past, present and future. Music: Trent Severn, ‘Bluenose on a Dime’, ‘Mulroney Times’ and ‘Road Less Travelled’ from Trent Severn (2012, Outside Music).