New Jersey based singer-songwriter Loretta Hagen has built a great reputation for the quality of her songwriting, and the warm rich alto voice she brings to her delivery. Loretta released a fine fourth album in 2017, “Lucky Stars”, a recording that takes you on a personal journey through loss and healing while leaving you with the promise of hope for better times ahead. It might be the perfect album to be listening to during Covid times. Loretta has just followed up the album with a wonderful new single that reflects on the impact that the coronavirus pandemic has been having on individuals, families and communities – and like much of her songwriting, includes a strong message of hope. “Each day I would hear news stations report the heartbreaking stories of people alone in hospitals around the world fighting for their lives without a loved one at their side. I can only imagine the terror for them. So many stories of loss: loss of life, loss of jobs, homes, loneliness. Normal life simply gone. But in all of that overwhelming despair and loss, there were also stories of survival.” Loretta Hagen joined us on Folk Roots Radio chat about her music and the new single. For more information about her music, visit lorettahagen.com. Photo: Jake Jacobson. Music: Loretta Hagen “Lucky Stars” from “Lucky Stars” (2017, Bearfort), “Not Now” (single) (2021, Bearfort), “Hello Mountain (Ode to Bearfort Mountain)” from “Sundown Till Dawn” (2008, Bearfort) and “Welcome Spring” from “Lucky Stars” (2017, Bearfort).
Windsor ON based singer-songwriter Karen Morand joins us on Episode 573 of Folk Roots Radio to chat about a musician’s life during during Covid Times. The pandemic has hit artists very hard as pretty much all live work has dried up. Fortunately it hasn’t stopped them being creative. Karen Morand has been spending her time in lockdown working on new music with a new album slated for release early next year. She joins us on this episode to talk about the project and the wonderful lead-off single “Never Enough”. As always we wrap up the hour with more new music, and this time around we hear from Bonnie Light Horseman, Peach & Quiet, Sarah McQuaid, Stella Prince, Katie McNally Trio, Sunflower Thieves, Jerry Leger and Spencer Burton. Check out the full playlist below.
We’re all about the music on Episode 572 of Folk Roots Radio, as we hold back the interviews to bring you another Covid times edition of the show with some excellent Covid Tunes and social justice songs thrown into the mix. Join us for new releases from Moira Smiley and VOCO, Crys Matthews, Ellen Bukstel, Tim Grimm, Lizzy Plotkin & Natalie Spears, Dan Hill, Eliot Bronson, Tara MacLean (with Tim Chaisson, Hubert Francis, Gilbert Sark and Dennis Ellsworth), Paul Weber, Big Little Lions, Cootes Paradise, Forest Sun, Calico and Dan Cimaglio. Check out the full playlist below.
Juno Award winning singer-songwriter Justin Rutledge joins us on Episode 571 of Folk Roots Radio to chat about his new compilation “Islands”. A retrospective with a difference, all of the songs chosen for the project were re-recorded in the way they were originally conceived – that’s pretty much solo voice and guitar with minimal accompaniment, which leaves the listener feeling like they’re listening to the songs for the first time. It’s a beautiful album, and if you’re not familiar with the music of Justin Rutledge, it’s a wonderful way to get acquainted with a great songwriter. We hope you’ll stay with us to check it out. As always, we check out more of the latest releases, and this time around we hear from Lizzy Plotkin & Natalie Spears, Anya Hinkle, Tim Grimm, Chairmen Of The Boards, Spencer Burton and Glass Cabin. Check out the full playlist below.
Guelph singer-songwriter Sue Smith has just released a wonderful new album with the Potion Kings, “Tonight We Sail”, a gorgeous blend of rock, jazz, blues and roots. The new recording features nine Sue Smith original songs plus a song each by Tom Petty (“Swingin'”) and Robbie Robertson (“Ophelia”). Recorded live off the floor at Scott Merritt’s studio, The Cottage in Guelph ON, it features Sue Smith (vocals, organ on several tracks) with the Potion Kings – Jeff Bird on bass, Kevin Breit on guitar, Randall Coryell on drums and Howie Southwood on percussion. Vocalists Nick Craine and Gwen Swick also guest on the recording, which was produced by Sue Smith with partner Jeff Bird. To say we love this album is a bit of an understatement… great songs, amazing musicians and a fantastic groove. It’s sure to figure in our favourite albums of 2021! Sue Smith & the Potion Kings will be playing a FREE live-streamed performance direct from the River Run Centre in Guelph ON on Friday March 26 at 8 p.m…. with special guest Gwen Swick. If you’d like to register for the livestream (all you need to do is sign up for the River Run Centre Spotlight newsletter) you can do that HERE. They’ll send you you the link on the day of the show. For more information about the music of Sue Smith, visit suesmith.ca. Photo credit: Dean Palmer. Music: Sue Smith and the Potion Kings “Night Skies”, “1 Step, 2 Step”, “If I am Sleeping” and “Met Him On A Train” from “Tonight We Sail” (2021, Self) CDN.
In 2007, Ontario singer-songwriter Angie Nussey experienced an emotional breakdown, which lead to a re-evaluation of her life in music, and a shift in approach to one that focused on maintaining a strong spiritual balance. Her beautiful new album “I Have No Idea What I’m Doing” grew out of that intense focus. Mostly piano driven, the new album took two and a half years to complete – recording at home with musical friends. In 2014, Angie gave a wonderful Tedx talk on music and spirituality in Sudbury which is an excellent introduction to both her music and spirituality. As well as her solo career, Angie is also a member of songwriting trio Boreal, with fellow singer-songwriters Tannis Slimmon and Katherine Wheatley. The trio tours ‘Songs For The Snowy Season’ annually each December. Angie is currently releasing a song and story from I Have No Idea What I’m Doing on a monthly basis. For more information about her music, visit angienussey.com. Music: Angie Nussey “All Your Courage”, “Forgotten Names”, “Former Me” and “Count Me Out” from “I Have No Idea What I’m Doing” (2020, Self) CDN.
Juno award winning singer-songwriter Justin Rutledge‘s ninth album “Islands” was not only a chance to look back at twenty years as a working musician, but an opportunity to revisit some of the songs in his catalogue, strip them back to their essence and deliver them in the way they were originally created – just voice and guitar, with lots of space and minimal accompaniment. For the listener that means that you get an aural experience that feels very much like it would if you were sitting in the room with the songwriter during a late night writing session. Very much a solo project, the album was recorded with regular collaborator Chris Stringer at Union Sound with the only additions being a little electric guitar from Tom Juhas and piano from Aaron Comeau. For more information about the music of Justin Rutledge, visit justinrutledge.com. Music: Justin Rutledge “Good Man”, “Out Of the Woods”, “Federal Mail” and “Jellybean” (2021, Outside Music).
Guelph ON based singer-songwriter Sue Smith joins us on Episode 570 of Folk Roots Radio to chat about “Tonight We Sail”, her wonderful new album with the Potion Kings. A fabulous recording, it features a gorgeous blend of rock, jazz, blues and roots. It’s sure to figure in our favourite albums of 2021. We wrap up the rest of the episode with more music from female artists as we continue to celebrate International Women’s Day, and this time around we feature Tekla Waterfield & Jeff Fielder, Cinder Well, Loryn Taggart, Laura Mulcahy, Sarah McQuaid and Sloan Wainwright. Check out the full playlist below.
We’re celebrating International Women’s Day on Episode 569 of Folk Roots Radio with an hour of great new music by female artists. Join us for new releases from The Weather Station, Rosier, Brigid O’Neill, Becky Buller, Katie McNally Trio, Lyn Koonce, Sara Thomsen, Colleen Kattau, Allison Russell, La Légende de Calamity Jane, Bobby Dove, Lisa Jeanette, Jaspar Lepak, Susan Ellenton and Liz Simmons. Check out the full playlist below.
It’s been a while since Tecumseh ON Glen MacNeil has put out an album, which is why the arrival of his wonderful self-titled EP in 2020 was such a pleasant surprise. Glen is a fabulous songwriter. Indeed, his last album, 2015’s “Where The Heart Remains” was included in our favourite albums of that year. Work on the new EP started during the early days of 2020 when Glen hooked up with Belfast Northern Ireland based producer Peter McVeigh – and then continued into the coronavirus lockdown. Alongside Glen MacNeil on voice and guitar, the EP also features John McCullough on keys and Dale Rivard on pedal steel and dobro. Glen MacNeil joined us on Folk Roots Radio to chat about the new recording. Visit Glen MacNeil online at glenmacneil.bandcamp.com. Music: Glen MacNeil “Car Window”, “The Quiet” and “Just A Memory” from the “Glen MacNeil E.P.” (2020, Self).
Vancouver based singer-songwriter Leah Barley‘s first full-length recording “Bring Out Your Dead” is an album of light and dark that feels right at home within the folk genre. The eight original songs on the album, which were written for both guitar and banjo, range from rousing boot stompers like “I Wish” and “Drinkin’” to the chill-inducing “Rise” and “The Doctor” (which recounts a recent period of severe illness, from which she has thankfully recovered). An accomplished self-taught banjo player, as well as guitarist, Leah Barley is joined on the album by a full band featuring her longtime collaborators violist John Kastelic and multi-instrumentalist Ross Christopher Fairbairn. Because of the on-going coronavirus pandemic, Leah has not been able to tour the new album, or even play a real release show. She hopes that she will be able to remedy that in 2021. Leah Barley joined us on Folk Roots Radio for an in-depth conversation about the project. For more information about the music of Leah Barley, visit leahbarleymusic.com. Music: Leah Barley, “Mountains”, “Bring Out Your Dead”, “The Doctor” and “Hush” from “Bring Out Your Dead” (2020, self).