Southern Ontario based folk group Same Latitude As Rome released “1812”, their most ambitious project to date, a suite of original songs to commemorate the Bicentennial of the War of 1812, in 2012. They are now getting set to release its follow-up “Early Days” – which is expected this Fall. And, they will also be performing at the inaugural Kingsville Folk Festival, August 8-10 2014. The current line-up features Peter Boyer on acoustic guitar and vocals, Anneke McCabe on percussion and vocals) with JK Gulley (guitar/mandolin) and Besnik Yzeiri (violin). For more information, visit samelatitudeasrome.com. We caught up with Peter Boyer at home in Fergus. Music: Same Latitude As Rome, “Better Days Will Come” and “Song For Louis Riel” from forthcoming album “Early Days”.
Veteran of the North American folk circuit and renowned children’s entertainer Fred Penner will be playing the inaugural Kingsville Folk Festival from August 8-10 2014. With more than forty years of experience, and twelve albums and counting, to his name, Fred is a giant of the children’s music scene who, like all great entertainers, is able to engage adults just as effectively. Whatever he is working on – whether its recording, performing or television, Fred’s touchstone philosophy remains: “Never underestimate your ability to make a difference in the life of a child”. We caught up with him on the road in Toronto. For more information visit fredpenner.com. Music: Fred Penner “Sandwiches” and “The Cat Came Back” from “Collections” (1989, CDL Records).
The 22 Annual Mill Race Festival of Traditional Folk Music takes place this weekend, August 1-3 2014, in downtown Cambridge (Galt). This free festival is patterned after European festivals whereby the day’s events are held on numerous outdoor stages in the town core. Traditional forms of folk music and dance are the festival’s theme, with emphasis placed upon the various cultures present in Cambridge and surrounding area. Arts, crafts, and an excellent choice of food and refreshments are also available at the festival site and from the many fine eating establishments in downtown Cambridge. The festival funs Friday 7 – 11 p.m., Saturday 1 – 11 p.m. & Sunday 1 – 10 p.m. For more information, visit millracefolksociety.com.
Lauren Mann has been delighting audiences with her folk-pop since 2008. After making the decision that gigging as much as possible was the thing to do, she formed a band with some fellow travellers and hit the open road. Lauren Mann And The Fairly Odd Folk released their second album “Over Land and Sea” in 2013. They gained national attention this year as winners of the very popular CBC Searchlight competition. They will be in the Guelph area on August 2 2014 for a show at the Eden Mills Community Hall. Tickets are $30 for adults, and $10 for students and available at the Bookshelf in Guelph or by contacting Kathie Lamie at 519-501-3550. The show starts at 8:00 p.m. (doors at 7:30 p.m.). We caught up with Lauren Mann on the road between Thunder Bay and Sault Set Marie. For more information visit laurenmannmusic.com. Music: Lauren Mann And The Fairly Odd Folk, “I Lost Myself” and “Over Land And Sea” from “Over Land and Sea” (2012, Wanderer)
The inaugural Kingsville Folk Music Festival takes place from August 8-10 2014 in Lakeside Park, Kingsville. The festival will feature four day-time stages, a dedicated children’s area and an evening main stage. With a broad mandate to feature acoustic roots music of all types and 50% Canadian content, it promises to be a great weekend for anyone who loves folk music. And, with a line-up that features Bruce Cockburn, Valdy, Jane Siberry and David Francey among others, it’s clear that they intend to hit the ground running. To learn more about this wonderful new festival, we reached artistic director Michele Law earlier this week. For more information visit kingsvillefolkfest.org. Music: Bruce Cockburn, “Call Me Rose” from “Small Source Of Comfort” (True North, 2011); David Francey, “Pandora’s Box” from “So Say We All” (Red House, 2013)
There’s a new kid on the folk festival circuit – Kingsville. The first Kingsville Folk Music Festival takes place from August 8-10 2014 in Lakeside Park, Kingsville. The festival will feature four day-time stages, a dedicated children’s area “The Family Stomping Ground” and an evening main stage. With a broad mandate to feature acoustic roots music of all types and 50% Canadian content, it promises to be a great weekend for anyone who loves folk music. Check out the accompanying video to see the stellar line-up they’ve pulled together for their inaugural year. For more information visit kingsvillefolkfest.org.
Slide guitarist Dennis Johnson is creating quite the stir with his second album “Slide Avenue”, the follow up to “Slide Show”. Slide Avenue moves effortlessly between genres, from Blues to New Orleans Jazz to Rock to Swing, as it takes you on a ride that stays with you long after the album has finished. Featuring three Robert Johnson reinterpretations alongside a slew of Dennis Johnson originals it’s an album with so many standout tracks its hard to pick one though “She Looks Good”, featuring some outstanding fiddle from Joe Craven, deserves special mention. California based Johnson has a mission to take the slide guitar to points unknown; we’ve no doubt he’ll get there – Slide Avenue definitely delivers. We reached Dennis Johnson at home in California. Music: Dennis Johnson, “She’s So Good” and “Phonograph Blues” from “Slide Avenue” (2014, Self).
Cambridge Live Music is a new group that’s come together to promote live music, of any genre, publicly available in Cambridge Ontario. They’re run by volunteers and funded by donations. They’re looking for enthusiastic volunteers who are passionate about live music and interested in helping out with their website, social media, photography, videography or festival set up. If you can help them out, get in touch at [email protected]. Sounds like a great way to indulge your own interest while helping the group strengthen its promotional efforts to support local and predominantly independent musicians. I think that’s what they call a win-win-win.
Singer-songwriters Stephen Fearing and Andy White will both be playing the Hillside Festival this year. This year’s visit will be a bit different from previous appearances because they will be playing together as Fearing & White, the project they started with a self-titled album in 2011. They’ve just released its follow-up, “Tea & Confidences” and we talked with Andy White from Edmonton. For more information on Fearing & White visit fearingandwhite.com. Music: Fearing & White, “We Came Together” and “Think Of Me Like Summer” from “Tea & Confidences” (2014, Lowdenproud Records)
Canadian powerhouse blues performer Matt Andersen returns to the Hillside Festival this year. Matt released his latest album “Weightless” this past February. Matt is currently on the summer festival circuit in North America, and before heading to Europe for a tour of the UK, Ireland and the Netherlands this fall, we caught up with him at his home in New Brunswick. For more information, visit www.stubbyfingers.ca. Music: Matt Andersen, “Weightless” and “Let You Down” from “Weightless” (2014, True North Records).
Rowdy folksters Union Duke made a big splash at the Mariposa Folk Festival in 2013, this despite having to go through the audition showcase process. That they were invited back in 2014 speaks volumes to the quality of the music and their outstanding live performances. Anyone who saw them lift the roof off the Mariposa Pub Tent in 2014 would know that this band is heading for bigger things – Catch them while you can. Thoughtful lyrics, soaring harmonies, and a foot stomping beat; you might just be checking out Canada’s version of Mumford and Sons! They’ve just released their second album, “Cash and Carry”, the follow-up to 2013’s “Bandits and Bridges”. We caught up with Ethan Smith and Matt Warry-Smith after the pub tent performance. For more information, visit unionduke.com. Music: Union Duke, “That Old Feeling” and “A Little More” from Cash & Carry (2014, Self)
Colorado’s Elephant Revival were one of the highlights of this year’s Mariposa Folk Festival. Their music has been described as transcendental folk because of the way they take elements of celtic folk, traditional folk, bluegrass / country, and occasionally reggae, hip-hop and jazz to create something entirely unique. Good words to describe their performances would be hypnotic and mesmerizing. Accomplished performers all, they should be a must see at the upcoming Hillside Festival. You do not want to miss this band! Their latest album is “These Changing Skies”. We caught up with Daniel Rodriguez and Bridget Law after a workshop at Mariposa. For more information, visit elephantrevival.com. Music: Elephant Revival, “Remembering A Beginning” and “Birds And Stars” from “These Changing Skies” (2013, Itz Evolving Records)
Toronto based band Graydon James and the Young Novelists will be bringing their folk-rock stylings to Guelph on July 18 2014 for a noon hour concert in St George’s Square. Formed in 2011 their first E.P., “A Small Town Eulogy” was released to critical acclaim. They followed that with a live album recorded at Dublin St United Church in Guelph and their first full length long player “In The Year You Were Born”. They are about to head into the studio to start work on their latest release. We caught up with Graydon James in Toronto. For more information, visit www.theyoungnovelists.com. Music: Graydon James and the Young Novelists, “Small Town Hymns” from “In The Year You Were Born” (2012, Self); Graydon James and the Young Novelists, “Hear Your Voice” (Single) (2013, Self)
Jane Carmichael and Kevin Kennedy are The Marrieds. They’ll be bringing their beautiful melodies and sweet harmonies to Guelph in July for a Thursday night residency at Magnolia Café. Sharing the stage with them will be Shannon Kingsbury (July 10), Vanessa Tignanelli (July 17), Ian Reid (July 24) and Peter Light (July 31). All the shows are Pay What You Can events and they start at 8:00 p.m. We caught up with Jane Carmichael and Kevin Kennedy at home in London ON. For more information visit www.themarrieds.ca. Music: “Come To Bed” and “The Rest Of My Days” from The Marrieds’ 2013 album “Saving Hope”.
I was away at the Mariposa Folk Festival on the weekend of July 5 2014 (Episode 157). Fortunately DJ MacDee kindly agreed to bring his own wealth of radio experience and musical knowledge to Folk Roots Radio. I hope you enjoyed the show. Now enjoy his playlist.
Bry Webb has just released the latest video from his new album, Free Will. The song, “Prove Me Wrong”, is coupled with a very nice video by Colin Medley filmed at The Donkey Sanctuary near Guelph, Ontario. The sanctuary is a refuge for donkeys who have been neglected or abused, or who can no longer be cared for by their owners. The animals are provided a welcome and often life-saving peaceful haven after years of suffering and neglect. Webb describes it as “one of the most serene places I’ve ever been.”
“My friend Gavin was working there, organizing their yearly Donkey Day Festival. I hadn’t been playing much, but Gavin asked if I’d do some songs as part of the day. I had recently started making music with Mike Brooks (pedal steel) and Rich Burnett (lap steel), so we decided to work out arrangements of some old and new songs for the event. It was one of the first shows I had played since the Constantines stopped. When Colin had the idea to make a music video there, it seemed perfect. Music video making can often be an undignified process for musicians – I’m not really inclined to lip sync my own songs – but putting one of the songs to Maya Bankovic and Colin’s wonderful slow motion shots of these incredibly dignified animals has made me very happy.”
Philadelphia based acoustic instrumentalist Trevor Gordon Hall is heading to this year’s Mariposa Folk Festival. With two successful acoustic albums under his belt, Trevor’s musical creative aspirations were upsized by the birth of the Kalimbatar, an innovative acoustic guitar that features the Kalimba, a sub-Saharan thumb piano. Trevor’s most recent album is Entelechy (2011). We caught up with him this week at home. For more information on Trevor Gordon Hall, visit trevorgordonhall.com. Music: Trevor Gordon Hall, Missing You and Kalimbatar from Entelechy (2011, Candy Rat Records).