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).
Emily Millard (formerly Miss Emily Brown) inhabits the space where poetry and song meet. Whether accompanied by auto harp or tenor guitar she sings with a beautiful ethereal quality that invites the listener into a world of wonder. Currently working on the follow up to her 2012 E.P., “Wire Wood Wind”, she stopped by our studio at the Folk Music Ontario conference this past October to chat about her music and Emily chats with us about her home and her music and sings a couple of new songs live, accompanying herself on tenor guitar.. Photo credit: Kendall Green. For more information about Emily’s music, visit emilymillard.ca. Music: Emily Millard (Miss Emily Brown), “Back to the Woods” from “Wire Wood Wind E.P.” (2012, Self), Hunter (Live), Paradise (Live), “Man On Wire” from “Wire Wood Wind E.P.” (2012, Self)
Dennis Ellsworth lives to write songs. The P.E.I based singer-songwriter released “Hazey Sunshine” in 2013, and (the limited release) “Love Knows Love” in 2014 and yet he’s already hard at work on a follow-up. Dennis joined us for a chat and a couple of live songs at the recent Folk Music Ontario conference. For more information visit dennisellsworth.com. Photo credit: Leigh Elliott. Music: Dennis Ellworth “Valentine” from “Love Knows Love” (2014, Busted Flat Records), “Beauty Is Sad” (Live), “Silver Tears” (Live) and “Perfect Storm” from “Dusk Dreams” (2012, Busted Flat Records).
Irish Mythen travelled the world as a singer-songwriter before settling in Canada and making Prince Edward Island her home. Irish, who is just about to release her new album – the self-titled “Irish Mythen”, joined us for an interview and impromptu session at the recent Folk Music Ontario conference. For more information visit irishmythen.com. Music: Irish Mythen “Gypsy Dancer” from “Irish Mythen” (2014, Self), “These Walls” (Live), “Their Waltz” (Live) and “Take Me To The River” from “Irish Mythen” (2014, Self).
Joanna Chapman-Smith may be based in Toronto, but with familial roots in Canada, the U.S., New Zealand, Italy and Brazil, and a touring schedule that has taken her across the world she has a diversity of life experience that not only comes through in her body of recorded work but also points towards an exciting and very creative future. Her most recent album “Love Me Deeply” only came out in 2013, however she is already preparing to head back into the studio to record a folk-tale album with Ken Whiteley in the producer’s chair. As well her own career as a singer-songwriter, Joanna is also the founder of Songbirds Travelling Music School, which delivers music, vocal and creative workshops into far-flung under-supported communities of Canada. We caught up with her at the recent Folk Music Ontario conference. Music: “Pick Me Up” (Live), “Cry For The Departed” (Live), “Goose Girl” (Live), “Melodies” (Live), “Paris” from “Love Me Deeply” (2013, Wound Up Records).
In this audio documentary we step inside the Youth Program at the 2014 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. The documentary features commentary and musical contributions from programme coordinator Treasa Levasseur, mentors David Newland, Melanie Brulée, Drew Gonsalves, Tannis Slimmon and Brian Kobayakawa; as well as youth members Jazmine Wykes, Campbell Woods, Martine Fortin, Annie Sumi and Benjamin Rogers. For more information on the Folk Music Ontario Youth Program visit folkmusicontario.ca. Photo credit: Mike Bourgeault. Music: Treasa Levasseur “Shine Your Light” from “The Memphis Sessions” (2013, Self), David Newland “I Saw the Light” from “Give It A Whirl” (2012, Self), Melanie Brulée “Wonder” from “Sucré/Salé” (2012, Self), Kobo Town (Drew Gonsalves) “Mr. Monday” from “Jumbie In The Jukebox” (2012, Cumbancha), Tannis Slimmon “Do What You Do” from “In & Out Of Harmony” (2013, Self), Brian Kobayakawa “Indeed Indeed” (Demo), Jazmine Wykes “Laura’s Song” (Demo), Campbell Woods “Mad Trapper” (Demo), Martine Fortin “Qui est c’est fille?” (Demo), Annie Sumi “Life Like That” (Demo), Benjamin Rogers “Wayfarer” & “Pendulum” from “Wayfarer” (2014, Self).
The MacKenzie Blues Band are one of the hottest bands out of Owen Sound. Featuring the powerhouse vocals of Tara MacKenzie alongside the guitar of Trevor MacKenzie with Joel Dawson on bass and Mike Weir on drums they were voted best new artist or group at the 2014 Maple Blues Awards. They released their sophomore album, “Slam! Bam!”, an album of dark and spiritual but ultimately uplifting blues earlier this year. We caught up with band members Tara MacKenzie, Trevor MacKenzie and Mike Weir at the Folk Music Ontario conference for a feature length conversation. Photo: Jason Ruznak. Music: MacKenzie Blues Band – “Down With Love (Slam! Bam!)”, “Move On”, “Bone Cage”, “Spiritual Power” and “Higher Road” from “Slam! Bam!” (2014, Self)
Ariana Gillis is in Guelph on March 1 2014 at 8:00 p.m. for a show at Silence, 46 Essex St in Guelph. If you’ve not seen her in concert you really need to check her out. She writes really strong songs and is an amazing live performer. Her latest album is Forget Me Not. We had a chance to talk to Ariana at Folk Music Ontario in October. We’re happy to share this interview again.
For more information on Ariana Gillis, visit www.arianagillis.com.
The Sweet Lowdown are Amanda Blie on guitar, Shanti Bremer on banjo and Miriam Sonstenes on fiddle. Equally comfortable in trad, celtic and bluegrass genres; live they exude such brightness and exuberance that you wish that you could sit and listen to them all day. Their second album, the Canadian Folk Music Award nominated May was released in 2012. We caught up with them at Folk Music Ontario in October 2013.
For more information visit www.thesweetlowdown.ca.
David Ross MacDonald is a guitarist and singer-songwriter with an interesting past. A trained geologist, he is also a jazz turned folk-roots drummer for acclaimed Australia band, The Waifs. He’s equally well-known for his gorgeous finger-picking instrumentals as for thought-provoking lyrics and a languid vocal style that can give you goose bumps. His most recent album is Thorns to Sleep (2010). He also has an mp3 album “Live at the Elora Acoustic Cafe” available via his website. He may hail from Australia but he’s no stranger to Canada. We caught up with him at Folk Music Ontario in October 2013. For more information, visit www.davidrossmacdonald.com. Music: David Ross MacDonald, “Rocks & Snow” and “Till I’m Gone” from Live at the Elora Acoustic Cafe (2013, self).