We’re all about the Folk Music Ontario (FMO) Developing Artist Program (formerly known as the FMO Youth Program) on Episode 295 of Folk Roots Radio. Each year during the annual 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. The 31st annual FMO conference takes place October 19-22, 2017, at the Hilton Toronto Airport Hotel & Suites, 5875 Airport Road, Mississauga, ON. The closing date for the 2017 Folk Music Ontario Developing Artist Program is August 18. Learn more about the program 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).
Folk-noir singer-songwriter Abigail Lapell joins us on Episode 294 of Folk Roots Radio to chat about her 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!
Expat Brit Peter Stone and his partner Albertan Denise MacKay have just released their fourth album as 100 Mile House, “Hiraeth’, which is a Welsh word with no direct English translation but is defined as a sort of homesickness, but with a sense of nostalgia and longing for a place or person that may never have actually existed. Recorded in Edmonton AB, with Peter Stone in the producer’s chair, “Hiraeth” is a fabulous album of deeply personal and introspective songs that focus on subjects like love, loss and grief, accompanied by fine musical arrangements – including some gorgeous use of both violin and cello alongside some beautiful harmonies. We caught up with Peter Stone at home in Edmonton to chat about the new album. Photo: Jessica Fern Facette. For more information about 100 mile House, visit 100milehouse.co.uk. Music: 100 Mile House “Hidden Springs”, “All We Have”, “Last Branch” and “You Feel Like Home” from “Hiraeth” (2016, Self).
It’s another all music hour on Folk Roots Radio as we play catch up on the best of the latest new releases.
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).
Singer/songwriter Sharon Goldman from New Jersey joins us on this episode to chat about her latest album, “Kol Isha (A Woman’s Voice)”, an album that it takes as its theme, Sharon’s own life experience – growing up in an orthodox Jewish family on Long Island, New York. We also take our first look at the nominees for the Canadian Folk Music Awards starting off with the category of Contemporary Album of the Year.
This episode of Folk Roots Radio features two interviews. Tia McGraff joins us to chat about what she’s been up to lately including the release of a new single and video, and a couple of upcoming shows in South Western Ontario. And Allison Brown checks in to chat about two specials shows with her band, “The Assembly Line”. We also take a look at the nominees in the New/Emerging Artist of the Year category at the 2016 Canadian Folk Music Awards.
Windsor singer-songwriter Karen Morand joins us in the studio on this episode to chat about her music and play a few new songs live. Since recording this interview and session, Karen has gone on to win the 1st Canada South Songwriting Competition at the Kingsville Folk Music Festival with the song “Big Muddy”, one of the new songs she played for us. We also check out some more new music from Windsor & Essex County in Ontario.
This episode is the first of two that features interviews recorded at the 2016 Kingsville Folk Music Festival. Festival producers John and Michelle Law have brought a lovely festival to South-Western Ontario and despite some rain on the Saturday – which didn’t dampen spirits at all, we were all treated to a wonderful weekend of live music and community. Folk Roots Radio was very fortunate to have some artists stop by to chat about their music, and their festival experiences. This week we feature interviews with Connie Kaldor, Erika Kulnys, Gordie Tentrees, Jaxon Haldane, Karen Morand and a festival visitor coming all the way from Germany, Oliver Tamagnini alongside some music from festival artists. I think we’ve captured a little bit of the flavor of the festival and I hope you enjoy it. Special thanks to Gary Glass from Quantum Sound Productions for his help in recording these interviews. Photo: windsorite.ca.
On this episode, we talk to Toronto based banjo player, guitarist and singer Chris Coole about his latest solo album “The Tumbling River, and other stories”, the follow up to the critically-acclaimed “Old Dog”. It’s an excellent interview and well worth checking out. As usual we include some of the latest new releases in the mix, alongside a tribute to Georgetown ON fiddler, Suzanne Marie Hnatiw. Photo: Jim K Nelson.
This episode of Folk Roots Radio features an interview with Madeleine Roger from Winnipeg folk-pop duo Roger Roger. They’re on tour in Ontario this August, including a trip to this year’s Summerfolk, which takes place the weekend of August 19-21, in Kelso Park, on the shores of Georgian Bay, in Owen Sound. As always, we also include a selection of the latest new releases.
Northern-Irish singer-songwriter Ciaran Lavery makes his Canadian debut at Silence in Guelph on Monday August 15. Ciaran’s been creating lots of buzz for the quality of songwriting and some achingly beautiful songs, especially on his 2013 debut “Not Nearly Dark” and the “Kosher” EP (2014). His new album, “Let Bad In”, is already gaining some great reviews. We also include a special musical tribute to Canadian folk stalwart Penny Lang who sadly passed this week, alongside some of the latest new releases.