It’s that time of year… we’re holding back the interviews on Episode 486 of Folk Roots Radio as we check out our ten favourite albums of 2019. One of the best things about doing a radio show is getting loads of great music to listen to each week. One of the hardest things to do is to take all that fabulous music and narrow it down to your ten favourite recordings of the year. You can check out The Top 10 on this episode. We’ll be playing more of our favourite albums on upcoming episodes of Folk Roots Radio. If you don’t see an album you really loved, maybe it didn’t make it up on to our radar, or perhaps we never received a copy. Please consider sharing your favourite albums in the comments – we might even spin them on a future episode of the show. Listen to The Top 10 and check out the full playlist below. Enjoy!
Well, it’s that time of year. Time for another very special seasonal edition of Folk Roots Radio. So here it is – another attempt at some thoughtful and insightful holiday music programming, that steps off the beaten track and features mostly new and original songs. This time around we hear from Good Lovelies, Silent Winters, Karen Morand, The Roys, Còig, Matt Andersen, Kristine St-Pierre & Justin Lacroix, Matt Andersen, Sofia Talvik, Howlin’ Bill and Skinner & T’witch. We also squeeze in a fun interview with South Western Ontario singer-songwriter Francine Honey who released her own holiday album “Take Me To The North Pole” earlier this year. Check out the full playlist below.
The holidays are here! Join us on Episode 484 of Folk Roots Radio as we celebrate the season with a selection of music that’s mostly new, independent and definitely not your typical holiday fare. We’re including some solstice music, and some wintery music, alongside some fine songs to celebrate both Hanukkah and Christmas. So, throw another log on the fire, settle down in your favourite chair and enjoy… another special blend of Folk Roots Radio for the Holidays. This time around, we’re featuring music by Gathering Sparks, Katie Dahl, Eli Lev & Megan Leigh, Dale Boyle, Frank Birtwistle, David Roche & Oona Roche, Emily Kurn, Tom Prasada-Rao, B Knox, The O’Pears, Kristine St-Pierre & Justin Lacroix, Dear Reader, Silent Winters, Good Lovelies, Mare Wakefield & Nomad, Còig and Skinner & T’witch. Check out the full playlist below.
Ottawa based singer-songwriter Kae Shelby joins us on Episode 483 of Folk Roots Radio to chat about her music and debut album “Music & Motorcycles”. Kae Shelby is another one of those musicians who had to wait to record her own music; and after a very successful career in law enforcement – that day, and her debut album have finally arrived. Like all of the musicians we talk to who are following their dream, this is quite an inspirational interview. It’s a real pleasure to share it with you today. Kae Shelby’s story really fits with the ethos behind this radio show; We truly are all about the music and the people that make it! We hope you’ll stay with us to check it out. We also take a look at more of the new music we’ve received and, this time around, we include tracks from Windborne, Anna Ludlow, Si Kahn, Frank Solivan & Dirty Kitchen, Rod Abernethy, Red Moon Road and The Levins. Check out the full playlist below.
Welcome to another very special hour of Folk Roots Radio, as we give over the whole of Episode 482 to an in-depth conversation with our favourite songwriters, LaSalle ON’s Martha Renaud. Martha Renaud is a fine storytelling songwriter and hugely underrated. She’s also pretty prolific – she’s just released her fourth album since 2015, “Wonderland”. So, settle down and enjoy Martha Renaud In Conversation… on Folk Roots Radio. Check out the full playlist below.
Manitoba singer-songwriter Del Barber released a wonderful new album this year – the Americana flavoured “Easy Keeper”. Four years in the making, this album really packs a punch. 11 great songs, that are at times deeply personal, and yet at others, quite celebratory. A renowned storyteller in song, Del Barber has produced five critically acclaimed albums and been nominated for JUNO Awards, Western Canadian Music Awards, and Canadian Folk Music Awards. Easy Keeper was predominantly recorded in Manitoba, and produced by Del Barber with Grant Siemens (Corb Lund, Tom Russell), with Bill Western on pedal steel, Bernie Thiessen on bass and Ivan Burke on drums with Geoff Hilhorst (Leeroy Stagger, The Deep Dark Woods) on keys, and Jeremy Rusu (Rosie & The Riveters, Red Moon Road) on accordion. For more information about the music of Del Barber, visit delbarber.com. Music: Del Barber, “Dancing In The Living Room”, “Louise” and “Easy Keeper” from “Easy Keeper” (2019, Acronym Records).
On Episode 481 of Folk Roots Radio, we head up to Inuvik NWT, and over 100 miles into the Arctic circle, to talk to Bancroft ON raised singer-songwriter, educator and activist Abe Drennan about his latest album “Iglu Sessions” which was recorded in the iconic Igloo Church in Inuvik. It’s a great interview, and very inspirational. As usual, we also check out more of the latest new releases, and this time around we from hear from The Whispering Tree, Burnstick, Laura Cortese & The Dance Cards, Frank Birtwistle, Jennis and Tim Grimm. Check out the full playlist below.
Yellowknife based indigenous singer-songwriter Leela Gilday joins us on Episode 480 of Folk Roots Radio to chat about her great fifth album “North Star Calling” which was inspired by a need for self-empowerment, facing your fears, and living with courage, boldness and joy. North Star Calling is a fabulous recording, and Leela Gilday is always a great interview. We also include new music from Doug McArthur, Stephen Fearing, Miranda Mulholland, Sam Weber, The Red River Ramblers, Bobtown, Frank Solivan & Dirty Kitchen and Jessica Rhaye and the Ramshackle Parade. Check out the full playlist below.
Dayna Manning has just released a fabulous chamber folk album “Morning Light”, recorded with Stratford Festival alumnus Ben Bolt-Martin – who arranged all of the songs for a chamber quartet featuring violin, cello, flute and French horn. Morning Light is a fabulous album, with a sumptuous feel – Dayna’s beautiful voice gliding over a lovely instrumental accompaniment, on a great selection of original and traditional songs. Dayna has also released a fine memoir about songwriting entitled “Many Moons: A Songwriter’s Memoir” which tells the story of her three decade career in music using twelve of her own songs to guide the way. As well as being a founding member of Trent Severn (who are currently on hiatus), Dayna Manning also runs Folk Army, a private music instruction academy in Stratford Ontario focused on nurturing human potential through the love of music. For more information about the music of Dayna Manning, visit daynamanningmusic.com. Photo: Dave Brosha. Music: Dayna Manning “Charlie Lake”, “You You You”, “Peter Amberley” and “I Get Closer” from “Morning Light” (2019, Self) CDN.
Big Little Lions, the wonderfully prolific folk pop duo featuring Helen Austin from Vancouver Island, and Paul Otten from Cincinnati, have just released their sixth album “Inside Voice” – fourteen new songs that take their theme from issues in relation to our mental health, that while thoughtful and reflective, still leave the listener feeling optimistic and hopeful for the future. Helen and Paul consistently crank out amazingly addictive folk pop songs – jam-packed with emotion and tight harmonies, that really sound like they are produced by two people working closely side-by-side, rather than thousands of miles apart. Big Little Lions picked up a JUNO for their music in 2014, and the Canadian Folk Music Award for Ensemble of the Year in 2015. They also have a fabulous live show, that always sounds much bigger than the two multi-instrumentalists on stage – Paul on drums, bass, keyboard and vocals; Helen on guitar, foot percussion and vocals. For more information about the Big Little Lions and upcoming tour dates, visit biglittlelions.com. Music: Big Little Lions “Here We Go Again”, “Lonely Blue” and “I Can Have It All” from “Inside Voice” (2019, AntiFragile).
Every artist needs a holiday album – South West Ontario singer-songwriter Francine Honey has just released hers. Eight songs, including some well chosen Christmas classics, and two originals, the title track “Take Me To The North Pole” and “Christmas Round My Tree”. As a child, the idea of being taken to the North Pole to visit Santa, seemed to young Francine, like the best thing ever; which makes the playful title track the perfect way to share that sentiment. “Christmas Round My Tree”, was written for those who will be alone at Christmas. “When I was in my teens, I would go to nursing homes and sing Christmas carols for the elderly. My heart always sank when I would see some of them had no family. As I got older and saw my own family members deal with a first Christmas after a loved one passed away. I witnessed their determination to still find a sense of Christmas tradition and the knowledge of what truly matters is being together and not the gifts you buy”. The album wraps with Francine’s version of Verlon Thompson’s “My Heart Is There With You”, a song she wanted to record from the first time she heard Verlon sing it at a workshop. “When he played it, I immediately felt tears running down my cheeks, because of its honesty, and how I feel about my family and friends who I don’t get to see over the holidays and at other times.” The new album was recorded in Nashville with Neilson Hubbard who also produced Francine’s 2018 album “To Be Continued”. Joining them in the studio were a great group of support players, including guitarist Will Kimbrough, pianist Dan Mitchell, and bassist Dean Marold – and Verlon Thompson himself. Francine Honey and her band The Stingers will be releasing the new album at a special release party at The Bank Theatre in Leamington ON on Saturday, December 7 (Doors 6:30 pm, Show 7:30 pm). Tickets are $25 per person and are available online HERE. For more information about the music of Francine Honey, visit francinehoney.com. Music: Francine Honey “Christmas Round My Tree”, “Take Me To The North Pole” and “My Heart Is There With You” from “Take Me To The North Pole” (2019, Self).
London ON based female fronted folk/pop vocal group The Pairs join us on Episode 479 of Folk Roots Radio for a wonderful conversation about their music and new album “Noise”. They also sing three songs live for us. It’s a fun interview, and definitely worth sticking around for. We also check out more of the new music we’ve received, and this time around we hear from Sam Weber, Jane Eamon, Martha Renaud, Katie Dahl, Searson, Deni Gauthier and The Marrieds. Check out the full playlist below.
Multi-instrumentalists Mallory Graham & Scott Tyler make music together as The Rough & Tumble. If you’re a regular listener to this show you’ll know that we’re big fans of this folky rootsy Americana duo who gave up their permanent home in 2015 for a life on the road with their dogs; traveling from gig to gig in their small RV. They join us on Episode 478 of Folk Roots Radio to chat about their latest album “Howling Back At The Wounded Dog” which feels like a bit of a game changer as far as their career is concerned. Alongside some great songs from the new album, it’s a really fun interview. We also include new music from Jason Wilson, Jane Eamon, Coco Love Alcorn, Miranda Mulholland and a special musical tribute to the late great John Mann, leader of iconic Canadian folk rock band Spirit Of The West. An amazing singer, songwriter, performer, actor and activist, John touched many lives, especially so after being diagnosed with colon cancer, and fighting back and then being diagnosed with Early Onset Alzheimer’s Disease several years ago, and still trying to fight back. He will be missed. Check out the full playlist below.
Mattie Leon, the fantastic Toronto based singer-songwriter with a wonderful catchy and soulful folk/pop style joins us in the studio on Episode 477 of Folk Roots Radio for a chat about his music and three live songs. Later in the hour, we also squeeze in his fabulous new single “Silver Line”. As usual, we wrap up the episode with more of the great new music we’ve received, and this time we hear from Bobtown, Dori Freeman, Ellen Froese, The Dreadnoughts, Cathy Fink & Marcy Marxer, Jerry Leger, The Hearts and Miranda Mulholland. Check out the full playlist below.
Graham Lindsey is an Ottawa-based multi-instrumentalist who currently plays mandolin and banjo, percussion (bodhran, cajon, shakers and more), as well as flutes and whistles. Already developing a great reputation as a composer, his inventive tunes have been praised for their feel and flare, while also acknowledging their traditional Irish, Scottish or other Celtic heritage. Graham plays in folk combos From Away (with fiddler, guitarist and singer Kristan Couture and guitarist Kyle Jordan), The Trads (with Kristan Couture and Peter Taylor), McGregor & Lindsey (with Arthur McGregor) and the Sarah Burnell Band. In June 2019, Graham Lindsey released the first album of his own compositions, “Tradhead”. The new album features thirteen tracks (25 original tunes) set as twelve instrumentals alongside a version of the traditional song “Wild Mountain Thyme” that also includes Graham’s tune “From Away”. Graham’s tunes have been played on the Carillon in the Peace Tower on Parliament Hill in Ottawa, as well as in Sweden, cruising in international waters and at festivals and venues across Canada. His creativity and hard work has resulted in his recent nomination for a 2020 Canadian Folk Music Award for Instrumental Solo Artist of the Year for debut album Tradhead. Folk Roots Radio had the pleasure of sitting down with Graham at the 2019 Folk Music Ontario conference to chat about his music. He also played his tune “From Away” live for us, on his ten string Laskin tenor mandolin. For more information about the music of Graham Lindsey, visit grahamlindsey.com. Graham Lindsey is also a video director, videographer and web designer with Wavelength Media. Music: Graham Lindsey “Leaving Goderich Set” (with From Away), “From Away” (Live) and “Folk At Heart Set” (with Ten Strings & a Goat Skin) (2019, Wavelength Media).
Toronto based singer-songwriter Jeremy Voltz has been writing music, recording, and performing for 18 years. As well as his solo career, Jeremy is also a member of fantastic thirteen voice a cappella group Countermeasure, under the direction of musical director Aaron Jensen. Known for his contemporary soul sound and huge voice, Jeremy’s songs bridge the gap between folk, rock, and soul. He sat down with Folk Roots Radio at the 2019 Folk Music Ontario conference for three live songs and an in-depth conversation about his music. For more information about the music of Jeremy Voltz visit jeremyvoltzmusic.com. Music: Jeremy Voltz “One Day At A Time” (Live), “Running Away” (Live) and “I’ll Follow” (Live)
After a hectic year supporting The LYNNeS – her collaboration with Lynn Miles, and their very well-received release “Heartbreak Song For The Radio” (2018), Canada’s own queen of Americana, Lynne Hanson, is getting ready to release her next solo album “Just Words” – the follow up to “Uneven Ground” from 2017. The new album, produced by Jim Bryson at Fixed Hinge Recording in Ottawa, is slated for release in February 2020. Two singles have been released so far; the first, “True Blue Moon”, is a tongue-in-cheek response to the Jacques Brel classic “Ne Me Quitte Pas”, and the perils of falling for a poet. The second single, and title track “Just Words”, focuses on verbal bullying and why we should choose our words more carefully – especially on social media. The new project has some great support players. Canadian guitar virtuoso Kevin Breit lends his skills on electric guitar, and Jim Bryson plays guitar, keyboards and piano. Prince Edward Island singer-songwriter Catherine MacLellan also guests on four tracks. Lynne Hanson is also releasing a book of poetry featuring poems, haikus and lyrics, to tie in with the album. Lynne Hanson joined us in the Folk Roots Radio studio to chat about the new project. For more information and upcoming tour dates, visit lynnehanson.com. Music: Lynne Hanson “True Blue Moon” (single) and “Just Words” (single) (2019, Self) CDN.
Leader of the world rhythms folk combo Sultans of String, Chris McKhool joins us on Episode 476 of Folk Roots Radio to chat about the band’s forthcoming album “Refuge”, a project that is all about highlighting the extraordinary contributions that indigenous people, immigrants and refugees make to our culture and life, and showcases some of the amazing people who are sharing their musical gifts with us in Canada and the United States. It’s a very inspiring interview, and well worth checking out. We also include new music from Bobtown, Kristen Martell, Durham County Poets, Dayna Manning, Jason Wilson and Kyp Harness. Check out the full playlist below.
We’re giving over the whole of Episode 475 of Folk Roots Radio to a very inspiring audio documentary created with the participants in the 2019 Folk Music Ontario (FMO) Developing Artist Program. Each year at the conference, young performers are paired with mentors from the Ontario folk community to work on a showcase performance and participate in professional development activities in a nurturing and supportive environment. This episode features commentary and musical contributions from program coordinator Treasa Levasseur; peer mentors: Braden Phelan & Liv Cazzola (Tragedy Ann); mentors: Leela Gilday, Janice Jo Lee, Irish Mythen, Alexis Normand and Nick Sherman; developing artists: Emily Gilbart, Amy Brady & Liam Roesch (Hill & Landing), Mia Kelly, Yasmine Shelton & Sam Clark (Basset) and Voimaa. Photo credit: Mike Bourgeault. Check out the full playlist below.
We don’t often dip into pop/rock on Folk Roots Radio but when it comes to a new album from Sarah Smith we know that is something we just have to do. Sarah Smith is a fabulous live performer, and, quite the road warrior – she performs well over 200 shows a year. Her latest album, the deep and personal “Unveiling” is the perfect complement to a live show that feels like Sarah Smith in communion with her adoring fans, with an amazingly tight band along for the ride. Pretty much recorded live off the floor in London ON, the new album features 15 songs that focus on love, and loss and the courage to trust your own instincts. To learn more about the new album, we’re pleased to welcome Sarah Smith back to Folk Roots Radio. Sarah Smith has release shows planned for Leamington (Nov 20, The Bank Theatre), Collingwood (Nov 21, Harbour Street Fish Bar), London (Nov 22, Eastside Bar & Grill) and Kitchener (Nov 23, Rhapsody Barrel Bar). For more information about the music of Sarah Smith, and all upcoming tour dates visit sarahsmithmusic.com. Photo: Frank Oppitz. Music: Sarah Smith “You Don’t Get My Love”, “Sink” and “The Great Reveal” from “Unveiling” (2019, Self) CDN
Dayna Manning joins us on Episode 474 of Folk Roots Radio to chat about her latest album, “Morning Light”. Morning Light is a fabulous chamber folk recording with a wonderful and sumptuous feel – and a great selection of original and traditional songs. Dayna Manning has also released a fine book about songwriting entitled “Many Moons: A Songwriter’s Memoir” which tells the story of her three decade career in music using twelve of her own songs to guide the way. It’s a great interview – we hope you’ll stay with us to check it out. We also include new music from Casati, Matt Zaddy, Unfaithful Servants, The Sweet Lowdown and Matt Patershuk. Check out the full playlist below.
Canadian songwriter, composer and producer Jojo Worthington joins us on Episode 473 of Folk Roots Radio to chat about her latest project “TCYK (The Company You Keep)” which finds Jojo moving further into the world of electronic sounds and looping on a beautiful recording that really tests the boundaries of what we think of as folk. It’s a great album – we hope you’ll stick around to check out our interview. We also take a look at more of the new releases we’ve received, and this time around we hear from Miriam Backhouse-Erasmus, Dirty Dishes, The Whispering Tree, Kolonien, Poor Man’s Gambit, Samson Wrote, The Dustbowl Daddies and The Luckies. Check out the full playlist below.
Sultans of String have just released the second single from their forthcoming album, “Refuge” which is due in the spring of 2020. “The Power of the Land” is a poem by Duke Redbird, now set to music by Sultans of String, with harmonies from indigenous husband and wife duo, Twin Flames. Refuge will feature some incredible musicians from the USA and Canada, many of whom arrived here as recent immigrants and refugees. According to Chris McKhool “The goal of the project is to highlight the extraordinary contributions of those that have arrived here from around the globe, as well as global talents that have been ambassadors for peace. Each one of us has a remarkable story to tell, and we are excited to share the beauty of these collaborations with you, featuring special guests from First Nations, Turkey, Somalia, Iraq, Iran, Pakistan, Greece, Syria, Mexico, Portugal, Cuba, and Sudan.” The first single from Refuge, “I Am a Refugee” featured the powerful lyrics and spoken word vocal of Somali refugee poet and multimedia artist Ifrah Mansour. Chris McKhool, leader of Sultans of String joined us on Folk Roots Radio to chat about the new project and upcoming tour dates. Sultans of String will be playing a rare performance in their original trio formation, featuring Chris McKhool on fiddle, Kevin Laliberté on guitar and Drew Birston on bass, at the Fergus Grand Theatre (Fergus ON) on November 23. GET TICKETS. On November 28, Sultans of String head out on their 3rd annual Christmas Caravan tour, which this year will be visiting Alberta and Ontario. For more information and all tour dates, visit sultansofstring.com. Music: Sultans of String “I Am a Refugee” (feat. Ifrah Mansour) (single), “The Power of the Land” (feat. Duke Redbird & Twin Flames) (single) and “Himalayan Sleigh Ride” from “Christmas Caravan” (2017, Self).
Multi-instrumentalists Mallory Graham & Scott Tyler make music together as The Rough & Tumble. They released “Howling Back At The Wounded Dog” this past September – the follow up to the very well-received “We Made Ourselves A Home When We Didn’t Know” from 2018. The new recording is already picking up some critical buzz, and feels like a bit of a game changer as far as their career is concerned. It has a wonderful, immediate, and almost live, feel to it, and was recorded in just five days in East Nashville with Dave Coalman, who also produced We Made Ourselves A Home When We Didn’t Know. Ten new songs that see them proudly moving forward after what they describe as a year of honesty; time to reflect on some of the challenges they have faced in their lives. If you’re a regular listener to this show you’ll know that we’re big fans of this folky rootsy Americana duo who gave up their permanent home in 2015 for a life on the road with their dogs; traveling from gig to gig in their small RV. We caught up with Mallory & Scott in Grand Rapids MI to talk about the new album. For more information about The Rough & Tumble, visit theroughandtumble.com. Music: The Rough & Tumble “Howl At The Moon”, “The Hardest Part”, “Call Mercy” and “High Fly (Didn’t I Wait?)” from “Howling Back At The Wounded Dog” (2019, Self).
Multi-instrumentalist singer-songwriter Linda McRae joins us on Episode 472 of Folk Roots Radio to chat about her latest solo album “Going To The Well”, a stripped down affair that features new versions of some Linda McRae songs alongside some really great covers. As usual, we also check out more of the latest new releases, and this time around we hear from Tim Grimm, Dirty Dishes, Nigel Wearne, Kolonien, Anna Ludlow and Matt Patershuk. Check out the full playlist below.