Singer-songwriter Jean-Paul De Roover is renowned for his innovative and original approach to music, using live looping with guitars and voice as part of his performance. Although Jean-Paul was born in Thunder Bay, ON, he was raised overseas in Africa, Asia and South America before returning to Canada in 2001 – an upbringing that led him to create a post-pop style that is decidedly his own, blending ideas from rock, pop, a cappella and electronica together in his music. Jean-Paul De Roover released a great new acoustic album “Love” earlier this year. It’s actually part of a two album set, Love & Loss, with “Loss” to be released in 2020. As well as being a singer-songwriter, Jean-Paul De Roover is also a composer for film and TV, and currently artistic director at the Live from the Rock Folk Festival. Jean-Paul De Roover sat down with Folk Roots Radio at the 2019 Folk Music Ontario conference to chat about his music. For more information about the music of Jean-Paul De Roover, and upcoming tour dates, visit jeanpaulderoover.com. Music: Jean-Paul De Roover “My Heart and My Head”, “I’ll Do Anything”, “I Can’t Sleep” and “Ragged Angel” from “Love” (2019, Self) CDN.
Linda McRae is getting ready to release a great new solo recording “Going to the Well” (October 1 release). The new album actually came out of house concert put on by fellow singer-songwriter Deni Gauthier in St Thomas ON, who suggested that Linda might like to record a few tracks in his studio. What followed is a new stripped down recording that’s really just Linda McRae singing with her guitar or banjo, alongside some great cameos from Gurf Morlix and Bill Kirchen on guitar and backing vocals, Deni Gauthier on guitar and duet vocal, and Shara Gustafson on backing vocals. The new album features solo versions of three Linda McRae songs from her 2015 “Shadow Trails” album, a new lovely Linda McRae and Kelly Kessler co-write, with a poignant political message, “Empty”, and some wonderful covers including solo banjo versions of David Bowie’s “Heroes” and “Ashes to Ashes”, Richard Thompson’s “Dimming of the Day”, Bill Kirchen’s “Man in the Bottom of the Well” and Willie P Bennett’s “Caney Fork River”. We caught up with Linda McRae at home in Nashville to chat about the new album. For more information about the music of Linda McRae and upcoming tour dates, visit lindamcrae.com. Music: Linda McRae “Ashes to Ashes”, “Empty”, “Man in the Bottom of the Well” and “Dimming of the Day” from “Going to the Well” (2019, 42 RPM).
Ottawa based singer-songwriter Kae Shelby‘s inspirational debut album “Music and Motorcycles” is the recording that she always wanted to make, and a life long dream. Kae describes the music on the album as a blend of Southern Rock Infused Canadiana Country that will reach inside and touch your soul. Produced by Anders Drerup and Steve Foley, the new album features eight tracks – six original songs and a couple of great covers; Brad Paisley’s “When I get Where I’m Goin'” recorded in memorium for her brother and a long time favourite, Melissa Etheridge’s “Late September Dogs”. Getting the album out there represents a sense of passage for Kae Shelby, who waited until she mostly wound down a career in policing before allowing her music to take flight. Folk Roots Radio caught up with Kae Shelby at home in Ottawa to learn more about the new album. For more information visit kaeshelby.ca. Music: Kae Shelby “Here I Am”, “Through the Reckless”, “Waiting For When” and “My High My Way” from “Music and Motorcycles” (2019, Willow Sounds Records) CDN.
Fresh Breath are a wonderful Cottam ON based duo, featuring Josh and Katie Pascoe, with a very positive attitude and a sound that they describe as folk-rock, blues, pop and country with a lot of heart and soul. Fresh Breath released their well-received full-length album “Us Against The World” in June 2017, and they’ve just released the follow-up, “The Big Picture”. Fresh Breath joined us in the Folk Roots Radio studio to chat about their music and the new album. For more information about the music of Fresh Breath, visit freshbreathband.com. Music: Fresh Breath “Jump In”, “One Liners”, “I Still Cry” and “I’m On A Roll” from “The Big Picture” (2019, Self) CDN.
Marni and Steve Van Kessel, who make music together as VK, are back with a new album – album number three, and this time it’s a wonderful bluesy Americana folk-rock recording with their new band Legends of THE DEEP. After a very successful appearance at this spring’s Roots North Music Festival in support of their last album, “Terms and Conditions, VK released the new album “Charm” at this summer’s Mariposa Folk Festival. Joining Steve and Marni Van Kessel as Legends of THE DEEP on this recording are John Lebarr (guitar/vocals), Sean Murray (keyboards/vocals), Jamey Heidman (bass/vocals) and Roger Stanley (percussion). Folk Roots Radio caught up the Marni and Steve Van Kessel at home in Orillia to chat about the new album. For more information about the music of VK, visit 112records.com/vk. Photo credit: GH Thomson. Music: VK & Legends of THE DEEP “Letting Go”, “Love Me Baby” and “Someday, Someway” from “Charm” (2019, 112 Records) CDN.
Toronto full-time musician and carpenter Tim Moxam is putting all his skills to good use as he heads out on a tour with a difference, delivering StopGap wooden accessibility ramps to inaccessible music venues he visits along the way. Tim is coordinating the StopGap On Tour initiative, a program that partners musicians who possess a skilled trade (like Tim, and Broken Social Scene’s Jason Collett) with Toronto’s StopGap Foundation, a Canadian charity that is raising awareness about the importance of accessibility, inclusion, and a barrier-free society. Through StopGap’s Community Ramp Project, businesses with single step entryways are able to receive a custom built access ramp, drawing attention to the issue of accessibility, while at the same time creating an entrance that is accessible to everyone. Tim Moxam released the excellent “Marlborough Hall” earlier this year, the follow-up to his very well-received debut “Soft Summer” from 2016. Tim regards Marlborough Hall as a substantial development in his career as a musician. “Soft Summer was about loss and heartbreak, about being traumatized by love and relationships. Marlborough Hall is about maturity and confidence. It’s about coming to terms with who I am and owning that. It’s about honesty.” Marlborough Hall features nine new songs and was produced by Chris Stringer (Megan Bonnell, Timber Timbre, The Wooden Sky) at Toronto’s Union Sound Company with support from multi-instrumentalist Adrian Cook (guitars, keys, synths, woodwinds), Joshua Van Tassell (drums, percussion), Charles James (bass) and Ivy Mairi (vocals). We caught up with Tim Moxam on tour in Eastern Canada to chat about his music and the Stop Gap on Tour initiative. For more information about the music of Tim Moxam and upcoming tour dates, visit timmoxam.com. Check out the video about the Stop Gap on Tour initiative HERE. Music: Tim Moxam “Honesty”, “All I Feel”, “Marlborough Hall” and “Goodbye Already” from “Marlborough Hall” (2019, Roaring Girl Records) CDN.
Toronto singer-songwriter Jon Brooks is getting ready to release his seventh album, “Moth Nor Rust II”- a re-imagining of his 2009 solo album “Moth Nor Rust”, and this time around, he brings his band ‘The Outskirts Of Approval’ along for the ride. The Outskirts of Approval feature Neil Cruickshank (guitars, bass, organ), John Showman (fiddle) and Vivienne Wilder (bass, vocals). Moth Nor Rust II was produced by the original engineer, Jason LaPrade with Neil Cruickshank. A Kerrville New Folk winner (2010), Jon Brooks has been nominated for English Songwriter of the Year at the Canadian Folk Music Awards more times than any other artist. He says that he writes songs to calm those who’ve looked into and seen what is in their hearts; he also writes songs to terrify those who’ve not. That’s pretty accurate as far as we’re concerned – his lyrics deserve to be poured over, as no word is EVER wasted. He’s an artist who pushes you to reflect on what you’re listening to, and in the case of Moth Nor Rust to ask what it means to be human. When Jon Brooks decides it’s time to revisit an album to reflect on his own artistic maturity and with a new band in tow, then it’s definitely time for another conversation. Jon Brooks joined us on Folk Roots Radio for an in-depth interview about his music and the new album. A must-see performer, Jon Brooks will be releasing the new album at The Moonshine Cafe, Oakville (September 12) and The Dakota Tavern, Toronto (September 13). For more information about Jon brooks and upcoming tour dates, visit jonbrooks.ca. Photo: Kevin Kelly. Music: “When We Go, “What’s Within Us”, “The Crying of the Times #3” and “There Is Only Love” from “Moth Nor Rust II” (2019, Fallen Tree Records) CDN.
Three-time Juno award winning singer-songwriter David Francey released “The Broken Heart Of Everything” in 2018, another beautiful and timeless collection, that was again nominated for a Juno. Unfortunately, around the time he was due to head out on some extensive touring, to promote the new album, David found had to take time off from performing to rest his voice. Although the enforced break seriously impacted his musical plans, it did allow him to focus more on his other creative pursuit – visual art, leading to the development of an art tour of Canada that visited many of the places he had planned to tour with his music. David Francey is back on the road this fall with Ontario dates in Newmarket (September 21), Waterloo (October 5), Toronto (Hugh’s Room Live) (October 6), Uxbridge (November 16) and an appearance at the Deep Roots Festival in Wolfville NS (September 27-28). Later in the fall, he will be heading to Ireland on his Irish Bus Tour and then off to Alberta and Saskatchewan for dates in Edmonton (November 2), Hinton (November 3), Saskatoon (November 5), Regina (November 6) and Calgary (November 9). David Francey joined us on Folk Roots Radio to chat about this music, his visual art and getting back on the road again. For more information and upcoming shows, visit davidfrancey.com. Music: David Francey “Walking In Jerusalem”, “The Flower of Colonsay” and “Lonely Road” from “The Broken Heart of Everything” (2019, Laker Music) CDN.
Yellowknife based indigenous singer-songwriter Leela Gilday has just released her fifth album “North Star Calling”. Inspired by self empowerment, and as Leela puts it facing your fears, standing your ground, and living with courage, boldness and joy, the album, which was produced by Hill Kourkoutis, also explores two themes that are often found in Leela Gilday’s songwriting – a deep connection to the land, and the beauty and draw of the north. It’s also an album about healing. According to Leela, true healing is not about just the absence of pain or addictions, although those are significant- it is about celebration, it is complicated, it is about weaving the fabric of the years of your own life into a beautiful blanket to hold you and ground you. It is about letting go of expectation and opening new eyes on the world around you. Lela Gilday joined us on Folk Roots Radio to chat about the new album. For more information and upcoming tour dates, visit leelagilday.com. Music: Leela Gilday “Keintah Naste Ju”, “Space”, “Hard Ground” and “Falling Stars” from “North Star Calling” (2019, Self) CDN.
Canadian producer, songwriter and composer Jojo Worthington released her latest project “TCYK (The Company You Keep)” earlier this summer. Co-produced with William Crann, the new album sees Jojo Worthington moving further into the world of electronic sounds and looping, on a wonderfully textured exploration of her experience as a woman navigating interpersonal relationships – whether that relationship is with another person or the divine. Despite being small in stature, with only five tracks, this is a fabulous album that gives up secrets every time you listen to it. TCYK is ultimately a celebration of our attempts at connection, or as Worthington asserts: “we need to stabilize”— a rallying cry for mutual support between sexes. To learn more about the project we caught up with Jojo Worthington at home in Waterloo, ON. For more information visit jojoworthington.com. Music: Jojo Worthington “Argument”, “Small Encounters” and “Stabilize” from “TCYK (The Company You Keep)” (2019, Self).
Winter Wilson are a folk duo from the UK featuring Kip Winter on vocals, accordion, guitar and flute with Dave Wilson on vocals, guitar and banjo. They describe their music as folk with a splash of blues, and judging by their latest album “Live & Unconventional”, which was recorded on tour with folk rock legends Fairport Convention, that’s a pretty accurate description – except that they’re also pretty funny in concert too. Live & Unconventional, their ninth album – and the follow-up to the excellent studio album “Far Off On The Horizon”, is a perfect introduction to a band who seamlessly deliver beautiful and thoughtful original songs married to strong lead vocals, fabulous harmonies, and fine musicianship with a live show that’s all tied together by a great sense of humour. Winter Wilson will be on tour across Canada this September with dates in British Columbia, Alberta, Saskatchewan, Ontario and Quebec. We caught up with Kit and Dave at home in the UK to chat about their music and the upcoming tour. For more information and tour dates, visit winterwilson.com. Music: Winter Wilson “Orange Trees & Dusty Roads”, “It’ll Take A Long Time”, “Grateful For The Rain (Billy Boy)” and “I’d Rather Be Ashes Than Dust” from “Live & Unconventional” (2019, Self).
Liv Cazzola and Braden Phelan make sweet music together as duo Tragedy Ann. If you recognize the name Cazzola, that’s because Liv and sister Anita, are leaders of Guelph art.folk collective The Lifers – and Braden Phelan is a guitarist in that band. As Tragedy Ann, Liv and Braden have great chemistry and a wonderful gentle humour. They’re now charming listening rooms across Canada with their folky mix of beautiful harmonies, ukulele, accordion and guitar. Tragedy Ann picked up two Songs from the Heart awards at the 2018 Folk Music Ontario conference – Blues: “Neon & Velour” (Liv Cazzola & Braden Phelan) and Humorous: “Snooze” (Braden Phelan) from their first full length album “Matches”, produced by James Paul, in 2018. Liv Cazzola and Braden Phelan joined us on Folk Roots Radio prior to leaving on a tour of Northern Ontario, Manitoba and Saskatchewan. For more information, and details about all their upcoming tour dates, visit tragedyannmusic.com. Photo: Alex Lam. Music: Tragedy Ann “One In Two”, “Odysseus” and “The Light We Have” from “Matches” (2018, Self).
Mattie Leon is a Toronto based singer/songwriter with a catchy and soulful folk/pop style. Mattie released his well-received debut “Terrace” in 2015, followed by a couple of small releases in 2016, and the release of the album that really elevated his profile “Signal Hill” in 2017 – a seven song collection that earned him a nomination for Emerging Artist of the Year at the 2018 Canadian Folk Music Awards. Mattie has recently released two new singles “When Love Is Strong” and “Caught Up”. Mattie Leon joined us in the Folk Roots Radio studio to chat about his music and played a few songs live with support from Mike Leon and Nelson Sobral on backing vocals. For more information visit mattieleon.com. Photo: Left to Right – Mike Leon, Jan Hall, Mattie Leon and Nelson Sobral (Jan Hall). Music: Mattie Leon “When Love Is Strong” (Live), “Caught Up” (Live) and “Annalyne” (Live).
Mary Newland and Richard Baker have been involved in the music business for over thirty years. After living and working in LA, and recording and performing with the likes of the Beach Boys, Gino Vannelli, Gary Wright and Santana. In 2000, they opened a Music/Post Production Studio, Filmcue in Los Angeles providing Post Production services for TV and independent film. After returning to Canada in 2006, Richard Baker continues to compose for film and television, and together they now make music as Mary & Richard – interpreting songs from the Great American Songbook and more. In their latest endeavour, they share their passion for the music of the 70s as performed by Linda Ronstadt, as the leaders of tribute band Mary Newland & The Blue Bayou Band. Mary Newland and Richard Baker joined us in the Folk Roots Radio studio to chat about their new project. Mary Newland & the Blue Bayou Band play the Best Western Plus in Leamington ON on Thursday August 8 at 7:30 p.m. (Doors at 7 p.m.) For their latest show, Mary (vocals) and Richard (keyboards) will be joined by John Knapp (drums), Bob Souliere (guitar), Steve Knox (guitar), Robert (Bob) Feldman (bass) and Ken Cullen (backing vocals, keyboards). For more information and to get tickets visit bluebayouband.com. Music: Mary Newland & the Blue Bayou Band “Silver Threads and Golden Needles” (Live) and “Blue Bayou” (Live), Santana “Black Magic Woman” (excerpt) from “Abraxas” (1970, Columbia) and Mary Newland & the Blue Bayou Band “Desperado” (Live).
Laura Keating is a Hamilton ON based singer-songwriter, whose songs come straight from the heart and loves to tell stories about her hometown, life and relationships and the underlying mysteries that tie everything together – and all delivered in a passionate, and honest, yet also matter of fact, way. Starting out on guitar at the age of seven and writing her first song at fifteen, music was very much at the heart of Laura Keating’s family life, providing an outlet when she badly wanted to share her feelings. These days, Laura lives to write and play, bringing her passion for performance to concert series, festivals, patios and house concerts across Southern Ontario. We caught up with Laura Keating in Hamilton to chat about her music and debut album “Let Me Tell You”. For more information visit laurakeatingmusic.com. Music: Laura Keating “Blue Water”, “Soldier On” and “Mercy Me” from “Let Me Tell You” (2017, Self) CDN.
A much sought after collaborator and guest vocalist, Toronto’s Lydia Persaud released her first full-length solo album “Let Me Show You” earlier this year. Recorded at The Hive in Toronto with producer Robbie Grunwald (Donovan Woods, Jill Barber) with support from Dean Droulliard (Guitar), James Robertson (Guitar), Mike Ardagh (Drums), Josh Van Tassel (Drums), Joanna Mohammed (Bg vox), Claire Doyle (Bg vox), Anh Phung (Flute) and Drew Jureka (Strings), the new album features a group of songs that move from love and heartbreak, to social activism and Lydia’s own encounters with race and gender issues. 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 fronting her own band 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. We caught up with Lydia Persaud at home in Toronto to chat about the new album. For more information about the music of Lydia Persaud visit lydiapersaud.com. Music: Lydia Persaud “Honey Child”, “Let Me Show You” and “More Of Me” from “Let Me Show You” (2019, Next Door Records) CDN.
Halifax based singer-songwriter Leanne Hoffman has just released a great new 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 for the new recording. Leanne Hoffman is originally from Exeter ON, but moved to Halifax to study marine biology. That plan changed when Leanne realized that the pull to make music her career was just too much, leading to a switch to a music arts program with a focus on voice at Nova Scotia Community College. It was there she met up with Erin Costelo, who turned out to be her voice instructor. Prior to setting out on a solo career, Leanne was part of the duo Magnolia, with Scott MacLean on guitar, who released a self-titled E.P. in 2013, that was also produced by Erin Costelo. What Remains is a fabulous album, crammed full of poppy songs that cover a whole range of different subjects from romance to family to gender equality and baring your soul. Saying I LIKE this album really doesn’t cover how good it is. I LOVE it! Everybody needs to hear it. We caught up with Leanne Hoffman at home in Halifax to chat about the new album. For more information visit leannehoffman.com. Music: Leanne Hoffman “What Remains”, “Blind & Broken”, “If My Parents Die” and “Redirect Your Sails” from “What Remains” (2019, Venue Records).
Montreal’s Geneviève Racette has just released a wonderful sophomore album “No Water, No Flowers”. A thoughtful and introspective folk-pop release, it’s her first bilingual effort, and effortlessly moves back and forward between songs in English and French. “This new album means so much to me. It truly represents who I am, coming from such a long line of bilingual families,” says Geneviève. “My vision with this record is to bring positivity to bilingualism. My whole life I was careful not to offend anyone with my bilingualism, in concerts and in day to day life. I am done hiding that part of myself. I will embrace it instead.” There’s almost a concept feel to No Water, No Flowers as Geneviève takes us through songs about life, death, grief, love and travel almost as if its exploring the ‘circle of life’. It’s a truly beautiful recording, and definitely worth checking out. Work on the new album was started at the Banff Centre for the Arts and Creativity in October 2018 with François-Pierre Lue and Luc Herrmann, with the final production occurring at Hotel 2 Tango Montreal with musicians Luc Herrmann (guitar and mandolin), Philippe Fleury (drums), Jeanne Corpataux-Blache (upright bass), Francis Veillette (pedal steel and banjo), Ariane Vaillancourt (piano), producer François-Pierre Lue and engineer Shae Brossard. Geneviève Racette joined us on Folk Roots Radio to chat about the new album. For more information and upcoming tour dates, visit genevieveracette.com. Music: Geneviève Racette “Les Lignes De Ma Main”, “Margo’s Song” and “Magnetic Love” from “No Water, No Flowers” (2019, Self) CDN.
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).
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).