Episode 451 of Folk Roots Radio features an interview with Toronto’s Lydia Persaud who joins us to chat about her first full-length solo album “Let Me Show You”. A member of both the wonderful Toronto female vocal trio The O’Pears and renowned cover band, Dwayne Gretzky, you’ll be able to catch Lydia Persaud live this summer at both the Hillside Festival (July 12-14) at Guelph Lake ON and the Home County Music & Arts Festival (July 19-21) in London ON. It’s a great interview – well worth sticking around for. We also check out new music from Bob Sumner, Leaf Rapids, Kevin Breit, David Grier, Dwayne Gretzky, Midnight Shine and Del Barber. Check out the full playlist below.
New Brunswick’s Cathy Hutch joins us in the studio on Episode 450 of Folk Roots Radio for a wonderful in-depth conversation about her music and some live songs. A wonderful bluesy singer-songwriter, she’s also comfortable in folk, country and rock. So settle down and enjoy Cathy Hutch live in the studio on Folk Roots Radio. Check out the full playlist below.
Halifax based singer-songwriter Leanne Hoffman has just released a fabulous new folk/pop album “What Remains”. Her debut as a solo performer, the new album was produced by Erin Costelo, who also co-wrote a couple of the songs on the new recording. Leanne joins us on Episode 449 of Folk Roots Radio to chat about her music, alongside four tracks from the new album. We also check out new releases from Steve Murphy, Tim Moxam, Mattie Leon, Lucas Choi Zimbel, April Verch and Pretty Archie. Check out the full playlist below.
Khalid Yassein from Toronto’s folk-pop band Wild Rivers is our special guest on Episode 448 of Folk Roots Radio. After two album releases and a couple of singles, the Toronto-based band are really gaining traction, and have already developed a loyal fan base. They’ve just been touring Western Canada with Matt Andersen and his band, and this summer, they’ll be playing the wonderful Hillside Festival (July 12-14), at beautiful Guelph Lake, just outside Guelph ON. We check out their latest single “Moving Target”, plus two tracks from their 2018 E.P. “Eighty Eight”. We also take a look at more of the new releases we’ve received and this time around we include new music from Merival, Geneviève Racette, Our Native Daughters (Rhiannon Giddens, Amythyst Kiah, Leyla McCalla, Allison Russell), Irish Mythen, RUNA, Michelle Rumball, Manx Marriner Mainline (feat. Harry Manx and Steve Marriner), Bryan McPherson and Onion Honey. Check out the full playlist below.
Halifax-born, San Diego raised and now Nashville based singer/songwriter and humourist Steve Poltz returns to Canada on tour again this May. A fantastic live performer – you’ll be entranced, even if you’re not completely familiar with his music. Steve Poltz will also be stopping by the Ottawa Bluesfest (July 4), Mariposa Folk Festival (July 5), Calgary Folk Festival (July 26) and Trout Forest Music Festival (August 9) this summer. Steve Poltz released his latest album “Shine On” earlier this year. The new album was recorded in Nashville with Will Kimbrough and features 10 new songs, including co-writes with Scot Sax, Molly Tuttle and Anthony Da Costa. As usual for a Steve Poltz recording, the album is replete with whimsy and quirky humour but also some beautiful songwriting, with songs about hope, love, contemplation, a celebration of Wednesdays, pharmacists and what windows would say to each other if they could actually talk. To learn more about the new album, we’re pleased to welcome Steve Poltz back to Folk Roots Radio. For more information on all Steve Poltz upcoming tour dates, visit poltz.com. Music: Steve Poltz “Pharmacist”, “4th July”, “Windows of Halifax”, “Shine On” from “Shine On” (2019, Red House Records / Compass Records).
Pete Eastmure joins us on Episode 447 of Folk Roots Radio to chat about his latest album “Keep Your Love Steady”, a pedal steel drenched vintage Americana recording with a wonderful Texas swing that is sure to bring a smile to your face and get your toes tapping. Also check out our new music from Geneviève Racette, Abigail Lapell, Còig, RUNA, Richard Garvey, The Co-Conspirators, Ken Dunn and Kete Bowers. Check out the full playlist below.
We’re giving the whole of Episode 446 of Folk Roots Radio to an in-depth conversation with singer-songwriter, severe weather scientist and social activist Dave Sills, who has just released a wonderful debut album, “Fifty”. Dave Sills was a musical guest on my Guelph focused show Royal City Rag several times over the years. Dave joined us in the Folk Roots Radio studio to chat about the weather, storm-chasing, climate change and making his first album at the age of fifty – alongside a selection of tracks from the new album. Check out the full playlist below.
Hannah Sanders and Ben Savage came together as a duo after a chance meeting at their local folk club, the Black Fen Folk Club, in Cambridge, England. Their music is deceptively simple, just two beautiful voices with accompaniment from mountain dulcimer, dobro and guitar – intimate duets around a single microphone, that draw you in and open you up. Since arriving as a duo on the folk scene in 2016, they have released two critically acclaimed studio albums, “Before the Sun” (2016) and “Awake” (2018), both recorded in Toronto with highly regarded producer David Travers-Smith. They’ve just released a new single “Hidden Things”, the first of three written on the road and inspired by their relationship to the spirit of place. In fact “Hidden Things” was inspired by time spent in northern Sweden. According to Hannah… “I was sitting on the coast of Stockholm’s Archipelago reading my friend Francesco Dimitri’s novel ‘Book of Hidden Things’ which is set in Southern Italy. I was moved by the idea that landscapes hold dreams – love, mystery, loss… Dimitri’s book is about how stories become part of our connection to landscape. Like stories, songs can be a way of bringing the land’s dreams to life.” Hidden Things is accompanied by a lovely and moving video that reflects on the differences between the urban and rural landscapes and the stories that they may lie concealed. You can check out that video HERE. For more information about the music of Hannah Sanders & Ben Savage, visit hannahbenmusic.com. Music: Hannah Sanders & Ben Savage “Way Over Yonder In A Minor Key”, “A Thousand New Moons” and “7” from “Awake” (2018, Sungrazing Records / Proper) and “Hidden Things” (single) (2019, Sungrazing Records / Proper).
Whiskey Jack have been making music together for over 40 years. In the 1980’s, they were featured weekly on The Ol’ Back Porch of the CBC’s Tommy Hunter Show. In 1993, Whiskey Jack joined Stompin’ Tom in the studio to make the album “Dr. Stompin’ Tom… Eh?” – the title referring to the fact that Tom had been awarded an honorary doctorate by St. Thomas University in Fredericton. They then became his tour band and continued to perform with Tom until his death in 2013. Since then, they have developed and toured “Stories & Songs of Stompin’ Tom” – a show dedicated to Stompin’ Tom’s songs and legacy. Touring across Canada, they often include special guests such as Russell de Carle (Prairie Oyster), Cindy Church (Quartette), Canadian country singer Marie Bottrell and The Good Brothers. Whiskey Jack have just released their second tribute album “Rhymes and Good Times with Stompin’ Tom” which was recorded at Canterbury Sound in Toronto with four time Juno Award winning producer, Danny Greenspoon (Sylvia Tyson). The performers on the album include members of Whiskey Jack: Duncan Fremlin (banjo, banjola, vocals), Douglas John Cameron (guitar, mandolin, vocals), Randy Morrison (fiddle), Eric Jackson (bass) and Al Cross (drums), with guests John Sheard (piano), Sean O’Connor (clarinet), Howard Willett (harmonica), Burke Carroll (steel guitar), Denis Keldie (accordion), Danny Greenspoon (guitar), Cindy Church (vocals) and Tom Mifflin (vocals). Whiskey Jack leader and banjo player Duncan Fremlin has also just released a great new book “My Good Times with Stompin’ Tom”. Duncan Fremlin joined us on Folk Roots Radio to chat about the new album, book and live show. For more information about Whiskey Jack and upcoming tour dates, visit whiskeyjackmusic.com. Music: Whiskey Jack “Better Things To Do Than Miss You”, “My Last Farewell”, “Around The Bay And Back Again” and “Stories and Songs” from “Rhymes & Good Times with Stompin’ Tom” (2019, Self).
Americana singer-songwriter Gillian Nicola joins us on Episode 445 of Folk Roots Radio to chat about her first full-length album “Dried Flowers”. It’s an excellent album, and, though we’re a bit biased, a great interview. We hope you’ll check it out. We also a look at more of the latest new releases, including new music from Pretty Archie, Gordie MacKeeman & His Rhythm Boys, Whiskey Jack, Tomato Tomato, Allison Lupton and Sofia Talvik. Check out the full playlist below.
Hamilton based multi-instrumentalist Dave McEathron, the former frontman and principal songwriter of Toronto roots rockers – the much loved and sadly departed The Warped 45s, joins us on Episode 444 of Folk Roots Radio to chat about his wonderful full-length solo album “Abandoned Companions” which is accompanied by an equally wonderful band E.P., appropriately entitled “The Abandoned Companions Companion Piece”. It was a wonderful and insightful conversation – definitely worth sticking around for. We also take a look at more of the new releases we’ve received, and this time around we’re including music from Pete Seeger, Al Lerman, Lee Palmer and Michael Jerome Browne. Check out the full playlist below.
Jabbour are a bilingual contemporary roots band from Quebec with a love of musical collaboration, Cajun music and travel. Whether playing live or on record, they love to mix things up as they move from dramatic waltzes to Quebec chansonnier style tales, swinging rhythms and toe-tapping two-steps. From Guillaume Jabbour’s roots in chansonnier music from Québec and France, PEI native Bill Collier’s east coast songwriting excursions, to Bill Gossage’s Irish fiddle and the upright bass of blues and jazz player Carl Rufh – they are sure fire crowd pleasers who love making music together. They’re getting ready to release “Saint Bernard”, the follow up to their 2016 debut album “Round The Clock”. The new recording, produced by John McColgan features 12 original songs in both French & English, alongside covers from two revered chansonniers Gilles Vigneault (“J’ai pour toi un lac”) and Jean-Pierre Ferland (“Les journalistes”). We caught up with band leader Guillaume Jabbour at home in Montreal to chat about the new album. Jabbour will be releasing “Saint Bernard” at Petit Campus (Café Campus) in Montréal on Sunday, May 12 at 8 p.m. They will also be playing Montreal’s Festival Folk sur le canal on Saturday June 15 at 7 p.m. For more information, visit jabbourband.com. Photo: Tanis Saucier. Music: Jabbour “La job”, “Everywhere Wild”, “Les fruits” and “Ses pas sont lents” from “Saint Bernard” (2019, Self)
Vancouver based singer-songwriter Reid Jamieson has just released what may be the album of his career, “Me Daza”. Recorded in Ireland, with Kieran Kennedy, me daza is actually Cork Ireland slang for ‘most excellent’ or ‘awesome’, which this album most definitely is. Reid Jamieson and the other half of this music and life partnership, Carolyn Victoria Mill, join us on Episode 443 of Folk Roots Radio to chat about the making of the new album and upcoming tour dates. It’s a great interview – you won’t want to miss it. We also check out new music from Lydia Persaud, Michelle Rumball, Gillian Nicola, Sumaia Jackson and Richard Garvey. Check out the full playlist below.
UK Americana/folk duo Hannah Sanders & Ben Savage released a beautiful album “Awake” in 2018. Their music is deceptively simple, intimate duets around a single microphone, that draw you in and open you up while accompanied by mountain dulcimer, dobro and guitar. They’ve just released a wonderful new single “Hidden Things” and they’re on tour in North America, with some Ontario dates this May. Hannah & Ben join us on Episode 442 of Folk Roots Radio to chat about their music, new single and upcoming tour. And as usual, we also take a look at more of the new releases we’ve received – and this time around we check out new music from Mary Ann Kennedy, Allison de Groot & Tatiana Hargreaves, Frank Solivan & Dirty Kitchen, April Verch and Benjamin Dakota Rogers. It’s a great episode. we hope you’ll check it out. Check out the full playlist below.
Canadian adventurer, writer and miner of song David Newland is getting ready to release his fifth album, “NORTHBOUND: The Northwest Passage in Story and Song”, a live collection of original songs based on his travels in the Northwest Passage with Adventure Canada. Recorded live at Trinity United Church in Cobourg, the album features Uncharted Waters, a group of musicians David Newland specifically assembled for this project, featuring Sam Allison (backing vocals, acoustic bass, jaw harp), Saskia Tomkins (nyckelharpa, fiddle, viola, cello), Steafan Hannigan (whistles, flutes, Uilleann pipes, percussion), and Oisin Hannigan (percussion), joined by Inuit throat singers Siqiniup Qilauta (Sunsdrum – Lynda Brown and Heidi Langille), fiddler Alex Cheung and jawharpist Lois Suluk and more. This album is sure to please and educate – a heartfelt, engaging, and authentic tribute to the people, places and culture of Nunavut and Greenland – what European Canadians have traditionally called the Northwest Passage. David Newland will be releasing Northbound on Friday, April 26 at Hugh’s Room Live in Toronto at 8:30 p.m. with his band Uncharted Waters, close collaborators Siqiniup Qilauta (Sunsdrum) and some very special guests including Alex Cheung and Drew Gonsalves. We caught up with David Newland at home in Cobourg to learn more about the project. For more information about upcoming shows, visit davidnewland.com. Photo: David Newland with Heidi Langille Lynda Brown (Siqiniup Qilauta / Sunsdrum). Music: David Newland & Uncharted Waters “No Way To Stay Warm”, “This Moment On The Sea”, “Musk Ox Stew” and “Under Forever Skies” from “NORTHBOUND” (2019, Self).
Vancouver based singer-songwriter Reid Jamieson has just released his latest album “Me Daza”. The phrase me daza is actually Cork Ireland slang for ‘most excellent’ or ‘awesome’, though strictly speaking it actually means ‘I’m dying’. Dying because of brilliance, perhaps – because this recording really does feel like a special piece of work, and may be the best thing Reid Jamieson has done in his career so far. Recorded in Ireland with producer Kieran Kennedy (Maria Doyle Kennedy), the new album features seven fabulous new songs and a gorgeous instrumental, all written with music and life partner Carolyn Victoria Mill alongside a great cover “Don’t Go Down”, written by the late lamented Fergus O’Farrell (formerly of cult Irish band Interference) and Glen Hansard (Swell Season, The Frames). Reid Jamieson and Carolyn Victoria Mill will be on tour in Ontario in early May with shows in Dundas (Shawn & Ed Brewing Co, May 2), Guelph (eBar, May 3) and Toronto (Rivoli, May 5). For more information and full tour dates, visit reidjamieson.com. We caught up with Reid Jamieson and Carolyn Victoria Mill at home in Vancouver to learn more about the new album. Music: Reid Jamieson “Evergreen (Love Song For The Crone)”, “Perfect Storm”, “Don’t Go Down”, “She (#repealthe8th)” and “Lullaby For The Lost” from “Me Daza” (2019, Self).
We’re giving over the whole of Episode 441 of Folk Roots Radio to interviews with the participants and facilitators of the 2019 Hillside Festival Girls & Guitars Songwriting Course that took place in Guelph during the winter. The songwriting workshop is specifically designed to help aspiring female songwriters develop effective songwriting skills and strategies while gaining confidence in their own ability, and all within a supportive learning environment. As you will hear during these interviews, the music industry is currently skewed 70:30 in favour of men – not just in terms of performers, but also behind the scenes – in management, booking agents, tech crews, artistic directors, and critics. During the four-week course, participants worked on an original song that was eventually recorded by Nick Zubeck at Arthur North Studios in Guelph. The students also played their song live at a special event during the Hillside Inside winter festival this past February. It’s our privilege to share those songs with you again today. Check out the full playlist below.
Ariana Gillis is a captivating live performer. She sings with such passion, with such a distinctive voice and vocal delivery, you really can’t take your eyes off her. And the songs? Well, they are always engrossing. Ariana will be appearing at the 2019 Roots North Music Festival which takes place in Downtown Orillia on Friday April 26 and Saturday April 27. She’ll be sharing the Friday night main stage with two other fabulous songwriters Ron Sexsmith and Rose Cousins. Ariana Gillis has produced two fabulous albums – 2009’s “To Make It Make Sense” and 2012’s “Forget Me Not”, and a 2017 E.P. “Headful Of Stars”. She’s recently been down in Nashville, recording a brilliant new album “The Maze” – live off the floor with the legendary Buddy Miller. The new album, that Buddy describes as pop-Americana, will be released this June. We caught up with Ariana Gillis at home in Niagara to chat about her Roots North 2019 appearance and the forthcoming album. For more information and upcoming tour dates visit arianagillis.com. Music: “Freedom” from “Headful Of Stars” E.P. (2017) and “The Maze” and “Dirt Gets Dirty” from “The Maze” (2019, Self).
Hamilton ON based singer-songwriter Gillian Nicola will be releasing her first full length album “Dried Flowers” in the spring of 2019. A classically trained vocalist, Gillian Nicola describes herself as a folk singer-songwriter with a textured and layered Americana sound that comes across as a bit of a mix of Kathleen Edwards and Neko Case. Dried Flowers is the follow up to her two E.P.s 2016’s “No Place to Call” and “Chasing the Wind” (2013). Her 2016 single “Oh Marie” was nominated for the 2017 Ontario Arts Council’s Colleen Peterson Songwriting Award, and the E.P. Chasing The Wind was nominated for two Hamilton Music Awards and a Toronto Independent Music Award. While working on the new project, Gillian spent the early 2018 at the Alberta’s Banff Centre for Arts & Creativity writing songs for the new album. The new album was recorded at Lincoln County Social Club in Toronto with John Dinsmore and features Gillian Nicola on vocals and guitar with support from Aaron Goldstein (pedal Steel), Gord Tough (electric guitars), Emily Rockarts (keyboards), Rosalyn Dennett (fiddle), Alison McNamara (backing vocals), Bruce Scavuzzo (bass/backing vocals), Justin Han (drums/percussion) and Drew Jureka (string arrangements). Gillian Nicola is also a community organizer, hosting Open Mic Nights and Songwriters Circles (including the Songwriters in the Round, which takes place on the last Wednesday of each month at The Painted Lady in Toronto), and lends her talents to various non-profit organizations, such as Girls Rock Camp Toronto. We caught up with Gillian Nicola at home in Hamilton to chat about the new album. For more information, visit Gillian Nicola online at gilliannicola.com. Music: Gillian Nicola “Night Comes To Call”, “She Stays Silent”, “Dried Flowers” and “Half Way” from “Dried Flowers” (2019, Self).
Orillia ON based husband and wife Steve and Marni Van Kessel make music together as VK. Steve is the songwriter behind a project that they describe as a bit of a cross between Blue Rodeo and the Tragically Hip – Canadian style Americana based around strong tunes and inspirational lyrics. Their first album (from 2014) “Doin’ Just Fine” was more of a band project and credited to VK and The Narrows. Their latest, “Terms & Conditions” is a wonderful slab of Canadian tinged roots Americana and very much a duo album, with support from an excellent group of session musicians. They are already hard at work on their next project, which will be another band album, this time credited to VK and the Legends of the Deep. VK will be playing the 2019 Roots North Music Festival on Saturday April 27. We caught up with Steve & Marni at home in Orillia to chat about their music. VK have just released a NEW Video for their song “Radiate & Glow”. You can find it online HERE. Steve and Marni also run their own record label, 112 Records. You can visit VK online at 112records.com/vk. Music: VK “Terms & Conditions”, “Edge Of The World” and “Radiate & Glow” from “Terms & Conditions” (2017, 112 Records).
The 2019 Roots North Music Festival takes place across Downtown Orillia on Friday April 26 and Saturday April 27. Ron Sexsmith will be sharing the Friday night main stage with two other fabulous songwriters, Rose Cousins and Ariana Gillis, while rising star The Weather Station will be joined on Saturday evening by inspirational world music performer Alysha Brilla and Orillia based Americana duo VK. There will also be a full day of free performances throughout the day on the Saturday, at a variety of downtown venues. Check out the full schedule for the Roots North Music Festival, on their website at rootsnorthmusic.ca. Weekend passes can be picked up at Alleycats Music in Orillia or online via the website for $55.