Mandolin master and multi-instrumentalist Andrew Collins had already achieved greatness as an in-demand session player and part of Toronto’s famed Foggy Hogtown Boys and Creaking Tree String Quartet before setting out with his own Andrew Collins Trio, to create something very special indeed for their second effort “And It Was Good”… a concept album that uses as its theme, the biblical seven days of creation story, referenced by the eight individual tracks, that merrily criss-cross musical borders. The Andrew Collins Trio – Andrew Collins on mandolin, mandocello, mandolin and little fiddle, accompanied by Mike Mezzatesta (mandolin, guitar, fiddle) and James McEleney (bass, mandocello) with support from the Phantasmagoria String Quartet (John Showman and Trent Freeman on violins, Ben Plotnick on viola and Eric Wright on cello) serve up music that takes in classical baroque, jazz, bluegrass, folk and celtic influences with a nod to the crossover work of the late great Oliver Schroer, in a format that, because of the prominent strings, has been described as chambergrass. And It Was Good is a fantastic album – sublime, even – and an album that deserves to be listened through from beginning to end. The Andrew Collins Trio have received a well-deserved nomination for Instrumental Group of the Year at the 2016 Canadian Folk Music Awards and Andrew Collins along with David Travers-Smith is also in the running for Producer of the Year. The Andrew Collins Trio will be bringing the new album to Hugh’s Room in Toronto on Friday October 21 at 8:30 p.m. For more information and to get tickets, visit hughsroom.com or call (416) 531-6604. Music: Andrew Collins Trio “Light From The Darkness”, “Firmaments” and “And It Was Good” from “And It Was Good” (2016, Self)
The Red Dirt Skinners, the fantastic roots duo from Sussex in England with the big sound, who have been taking the British roots scene by storm, are back on tour in Ontario and Quebec this fall. Sarah and Rob Skinner joined us in the Folk Roots Radio studio earlier this year for an in-depth conversation about their music and latest album “Behind the Wheel”. We’re pleased to bring an excerpt from that interview to you on this episode. And, as usual, we also find time to take a look at some of the latest new releases.
James Gordon is just about to release “Sunny Jim”, his forty-something album over all, and seventh on Borealis Records. The title (and title track) alluding to the fact that we all have our down days, even someone as relentlessly upbeat and optimistic as James Gordon – singer-songwriter, community activist, and now city councillor in Guelph, Ontario. The album features James Gordon, accompanied by his musical sons Geordie and Evan, on 12 songs that, as expected, ooze social commentary on everything from politics and protest, to war and conflict and the environment, but, more personally, also reflect on love and loss. There’s also a very special a cappella version of what maybe his best known song “Frobisher Bay” – originally written for his former band Tamarack, it has been covered more than 100 times. Album release shows take place in Hamilton at The Pearl Company (June 11), Toronto, at Hugh’s Room (June 16), Guelph at Heritage Hall (June 17) and Collingwood (June 18) at Simcoe Street Theatre. We caught up with James at home in Guelph to chat about the new album. For more information and to BUY Tickets visit jamesgordon.ca.
Jay Aymar has just released his seventh album, a live album “The Chicken Came First”. This album is a little different though, it comes as part of a book “The Chicken Came First (And Other Half-Truths From My Life as a Touring Songwriter)”, a collection of short stories culled from his popular blog, the twelve songs on the live CD bookending the twelve chapters in the book. Jay wraps his summer tour with a show at Hugh’s Room on Thursday November 26 at 8:30 p.m. Tickets are $20 in advance online HERE and $22:50 at the door. Joining Jay for the Hugh’s Room show will be Sahra Featherstone (violin, harp), Joe Ernewein (guitar, piano), Vivienne Wilder (upright bass) and Justin Rappel (drums). Richard Flohill, a Toronto-based publicist well-known in the folk community, will read a chapter from Jay’s new book while Jenie Thai will be bringing along her piano-based folk and blues to open the show. We caught up with Jay Aymar at home in Toronto. For more information, visit jayaymar.com. Music: Jay Aymar “Crow,” “Always in Her Dreams” (feat. Jadea Kelly) and “Walls are Pages” from “The Chicken Came First” (Self, 2015).