One of the best loved Folk Roots Radio episodes from the past year or so, we devote most of the hour to an interview with Kentucky musician, folklorist and social activist Sue Massek about “Precious Memories”, a companion cast album to a Si Kahn original play about the life and work of songwriter and coal camp activist Sarah Ogan Gunning, and one of our favourite albums of 2015. We also include music from some other albums we loved this year: “Sweet Memories… Never Leave” from Erynn Marshall & Carl Jones, “Joe Hill’s Last Will” by John McCutcheon, and the wonderful compilation Dear Jean: Artists Celebrate Jean Ritchie – a 37 track compilation featuring an impressive list of Jean Ritchie fans and admirers.
Sue Massek is a musician, folklorist and social activist from Kentucky who’s been making music for nearly forty years, both solo and as the banjo player in the Reel World String Band. Sue released one of our favourite albums of 2015 – “Precious Memories”, a companion cast album to a Si Kahn original play about the life and work of songwriter and Kentucky coal camp activist Sarah Ogan Gunning – and brought to life, in a one woman show, by Sue Massek. We caught up with Sue at home in Kentucky to chat about the project. Music: Sue Massek “Precious Memories”, “Come All You Coal Miners”, “I’m Going To Organize”, “The Lonesome Death of Harry Simms” (feat. Si Kahn), “Dreadful Memories”, “Down On The Picket Line” and “Girl Of Constant Sorrow” from “Precious Memories” (2015, Strictly Country Records).
This week’s Folk Roots Radio – our 200th edition featured an interview with Mike Hill, Artistic Director at the Mariposa Folk Festival which takes place from July 3-5 in beautiful Tudhope Park on the shores of Lake Couchiching in Orillia. We also talked to Sudbury ‘bloodgrass’ band Murder Murder – they’re an outlaw country bluegrass band that play murder ballads – about their new album “From The Stillhouse” and their upcoming show in Guelph on June 20. We also included a good selection of new music alongside our mystery theme and, as the folk world mourns the passing of Ronnie Gilbert, a special tribute to folk pioneers The Weavers.