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.
This episode features an interview with Chris Coole from bluegrass – old time band, The Foggy Hogtown Boys who will be bringing their show based on the music of The Carter Family and Johnny Cash to Toronto, Peterborough and Guelph. And as the holiday season is just about upon us, we’re including songs to welcome in the Winter Solstice, and some seasonal music that’s a little bit different from the usual fare.
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).
Barnstorming bluegrass and old time band, the legendary Foggy Hogtown Boys are heading out on tour in January as they celebrate the music of The Carter Family and Johnny Cash. They’ll be making stops in Toronto and Peterborough before arriving in Guelph for a show at the ANAF Club 344, 32 Gordon St on January 9 at 8 p.m. Advance tickets for the Guelph show are $20 and available online HERE. The Foggy Hogtown Boys are a Canadian bluegrass and roots music institution that’s been together for over 17 years – since the start of their famed “Lonesome Wednesdays” residency at the Silver Dollar Room in Toronto, with a membership that reads like a who’s who of Canadian roots music. Chris Coole (banjo/acoustic guitar), John Showman (fiddle), Andrew Collins (mandolin/fiddle), Chris Quinn (banjo, rhythm guitar) have all been with the band from the start while Max Heineman (bass) joined the band eight years ago. Discovered in 1927 at the legendary “Bristol Sessions” in Bristol TN, the music of The Carter Family has been a huge influence on the development of American music, in particular, in the bluegrass, country, folk and Gospel genres. Johnny Cash, of course, needs no introduction – and when he tied the knot with June Carter in 1968, he married into this “First Family of Country Music”. The rest, as they say is history. To learn more about the Foggys mini-tour we caught up with Chris Coole at home in Toronto. Photo: Mark Somerfeld. Music: The Foggy Hogtown Boys “Kitten & The Cat” and “John Henry” from “Animals Insects & People” (2014, Self).
Well, It’s that time of year… Time to pick our favourite albums of 2015. And you know what, it doesn’t get any easier. There’s just so much great music out there, and it’s been our great privilege to bring lots of it to you each week on Folk Roots Radio. Like last year, most of the albums on this list aren’t a surprise as I raved about them during the year. This time around though I selected a twenty-five album long list, then narrowed it down to the Top 10 you can read about below.
On Sunday January 9 2016, the Mill Race Folk Society celebrates the end of the Christmas season with Twelfth Night, an evening of traditional music and dance. Refreshments will be provided and there will be a cash bar. Advance tickets are $15.00 online HERE, $20.00 at the door. As this event regularly sells out so it is better to purchase your tickets early.
This week’s Live & Local reflects the fact that the Christmas season, or the holidays or whatever you like to call this time of year, is rapidly approaching. This week, Brad McEwen, Artistic Director at the Mill Race Folk Society joins us to chat about a couple of fun seasonal events in their calendar. We also include some other musical ways to celebrate this time of year.
Vocal group The Ondine Chorus are gearing up for the winter solstice with concerts at the Wellington County Museum in Elora on December 13, the newly-renovated Art Gallery of Guelph (formerly MacDonald Stewart Art Centre) (December 17) and at the beautifully-situated Paul Morin Gallery in Alton on December 18. If you’ve not yet seen Ondine Chorus in concert, you’re in for a treat – their performances are fantastic, with a repertoire that features some stunning original work alongside gorgeous reinterpretations of traditional songs. Check out the event and ticket information below. Check out all the details below.
The Mill Race Folk Society has a couple of great events that take place each year during the holiday season. Pub Carolling with the Orange Peel Carollers and Village Band takes place on Sunday, December 13 from 3-6 pm at the Brownestone Gastropub, 39 Queen St. E. in Cambridge ON. It’s a free event, though donations for the musicians are gratefully accepted – and lots of fun! And Twelfth Night: An Ancient Midwinter Celebration takes place on Saturday, January 9 at The United Kingdom Club of Cambridge, 35 International Village Dr., Cambridge ON. Advance tickets $15 ($20 at the door). Artistic Director Brad McEwen joined us to chat about the upcoming festivities. For more information visit millracefolksociety.com. Music: Coope, Boyes & Simpson & Fraser, Freya, Boyes “Bodmin Wassail” and “While Shepherds Were Watching” from “Voices At The Door – Midwinter Songs & Carols” (2006, No Masters).
The Mill Race folk Society presents Pub Carolling with the Orange Peel Carollers and Village Band on Sunday, December 13 from 3-6 pm at the Brownestone Gastropub, 39 Queen St. E. in Cambridge ON. These carols are not the standard Christmas stock you hear piped into every shopping mall; they are often more boisterous and secular in nature, and have been preserved in the pub environment in several Yorkshire villages for at least the past 200 years. Most of the carols will be unfamiliar to modern ears, but with their folky sound and rousing choruses, many are very easy to learn, and lots of fun to sing. Admission if free, but donations for the carollers are very welcome.
Don’t miss Twelfth Night: An Ancient Midwinter Celebration on Saturday, Jan 9, 2016. The United Kingdom Club of Cambridge, 35 International Village Dr. Advance tickets $15 ($20 at the door). For more information visit millracefolksociety.com.