Kevin Roy Kratsch spent five years on the road as country folk singer-songwriter Kevin Roy before re-inventing himself as cosmic balladeer Mister K, and starting work on “In Event Of Moon Disaster”, a musical journey through the highs and lows of a mental health struggle – what Kevin describes as those Darker Days. In Event Of Moon Disaster was created with producer and collaborator Rusty Matyas (The Sheepdogs, The Weakerthans, Imaginary Cities) who opened up about his own struggles with alcoholism prior starting work on the project. The two found support, inspiration, and empowerment while breathing life into these songs; a testament to the strength of healing through music and art. Musically this is very much a folk-pop album. “I basically told producer Rusty Matyas I wanted to make an album that sounds like Neil Young produced by George Martin – kind of like Neil Young meets Abbey Road, but done in a modern way. I almost feel kind of like I’ve come full circle. When I started writing music and playing music, it was the music of Neil Young and Tom Petty – and some of those songs I grew up on, and then I went off into this whole country thing, for a while.” There have been three singles released from the album, so far: “Hundreds Of Dollars”, “Lonely One” and the latest, “Darker Days” – Kevin’s personal story and a song he hopes will be a conversation starter with respect to the importance of discussing mental health. The new single is being released on January 29 to coincide with Bell Let’s Talk Day. The full album will arrive later in 2020. Mister K sat down with Folk Roots Radio at the 2019 Folk Music Ontario conference to chat about the new project. For more information about the music of Mister K, visit heyheymisterk.com. Music: Mister K “Hundreds of Dollars” and “Lonely One” from “In Event of Moon Disaster” (2020, Self) and “Darker Days” (Live).
Noah Derksen is a Canadian singer-songwriter with a wonderfully soulful folk-roots Americana sound and some very strong songs. Also an American citizen, Noah Derksen’s new album “America, Dreaming” – which was produced by Murray Pulver (The Bros. Landreth, Joey Landreth, Doc Walker, etc.) in Winnipeg, is a search for identity, reflecting on time spent living and travelling across the United States. “As an American-citizen growing up in Canada, I held an unrealistic depiction of the United States as a land of opportunity and freedom. In years spent living, touring, and working south of the border, I’ve discovered the practical limitations to that opportunity and freedom. America, Dreaming represents an observation of my home and native land south of the 49th parallel; an observation both externally, of how things change with time, and internally, on how I have had to shift my own perspective.” Noah Derksen joined us in the studio to chat about the new album, and while he was with us played three songs from the new album live. For more information, visit noahderksen.com. Music: Noah Derksen “Hoping You Would Stay” (Live), “Lonely in America” (Live) and “What Kind of Love is That” (Live).
Ken Dunn is a modern day traveling troubadour giving social and environmental issues a voice in song, while reminding us to keep our loved ones and peace at the forefront of this precious life. Ken’s eighth album, “Live in L.A.” was recorded at an impromptu gig at Kulak’s Woodshed in North Hollywood with proceeds going towards L.A. Family Housing support for those struggling with homelessness in the greater Los Angeles area. The songs on the album reflect on homelessness, peace, and social challenges as well as love – all things desperately needed in today’s world. The song “Tahlequah” tells the story of a mother orca who carried the lifeless body of her young for two weeks before finally releasing the baby to the deep. According to Ken, the song reminds us that not only human beings have precious lives – our planet and all its inhabitants need to be protected and loved. Sadly, there are now only 75 resident orcas in the Salish Sea near Ken in British Columbia. Ken Dunn joined us in the Folk Roots Radio studio to chat about “Live in LA”, and played three songs live for us. For more information about the music of Ken Dunn visit kendunnmusic.com. Music: Ken Dunn “Tahlequah” (Live), “Precious Life” (Live) and “King High Tide” (Live).
The Pairs are a fantastic female fronted folk/pop group from London ON featuring classically trained vocalists Hillary Watson, Renée Coughlin and Noelle Coughlin with a wonderful sound driven by sweet harmonies, and joyful rhythms. With support from their other band member, former punk rock drummer, Steve Plimmer, they really put on a great show – they’ll have you up on your feet dancing before you realize what’s happening! The Pairs have just released their second album “Noise” which features twelve self-written songs that tell stories about this beautiful, and, at times, crazy and chaotic journey we call life, and all its conflicting emotions… the joy, the sadness – the comedy and the tragedy. The Pairs sat down with Folk Roots Radio at Folk Music Ontario for a fun conversation about their music and three live songs from the new album. For more information about The Pairs, visit thepairsmusic.com. Music: The Pairs “Wrong Side Of Life” (Live), “Everything I Call Home” (Live) and “Put The Gun Down” (Live).
Our interview with Keri Latimer from Leaf Rapids went so much further than what we were able to include in Episode 489 of Folk Roots Radio. Check out our full in-depth conversation here.
Keri Latimer and her partner Devin Latimer, formerly of Juno Award-winning alt-country quartet Nathan, released “Citizen Alien”, their second album as Leaf Rapids in May 2019. Citizen Alien is a wonderful recording, that uses Keri and Devin’s own family history to tell stories about the nature of identity and reflect on what it means to belong, in a world where more and more politicians are using populist nationalistic rhetoric to separate the ‘us’ from the ‘them’. According to Keri Latimer, “Every family has stories of people who crossed oceans, who survived, who struggled and tried. People who knew injustice. And though some of those stories now fade into the haze of time, the truth of them remains vivid. On Citizen Alien, the album’s title track, love declared by ancestors leads to separation through the travesty of Canada’s Second World War-era Japanese internment camps; if the same thing happened today, Devin and I would be split up, our children taken away.” The 10 songs on the new album were co-produced with acclaimed multi-instrumentalist and composer Rusty Matyas (Imaginary Cities, The Sheepdogs) at Paintbox Recording and feature Keri Latimer (vocals, guitar and theremin), Devin Latimer (bass), Rusty Matyas (piano/keyboards/trumpet), Joanna Miller (drums) and Bill Western (pedal steel) with special guests: Alexa Dirks (Begonia), Madeleine Roger, Grant Davidson (Slow Leaves), Myron Schultz, Chris Dunn and JP Hoe. Keri Latimer sat down with Folk Roots Radio at the 2019 Folk Music Ontario conference for an in-depth conversation about her music and the new album. Citizen Alien was included on our long list of Our Favourite Albums of 2019. Check them all out HERE. For more information about the music of Leaf Rapids, visit leafrapids.org. Music: Leaf Rapids “Dear Sister”, “Citizen Alien”, Barbershop Shears” and “There They Go” from “Citizen Alien” (2019, Coax Records) CDN.
We included an excerpt from our in-depth interview with Annie Capps in Episode 488 of Folk Roots Radio. You can now check out the full interview here.
Annie & Rod Capps released their eighth, self-produced album “When They Fall” in 2019, a wonderful collection of songs that really fits every mood – from the light and cheery, to the serious and dramatic. What all these songs have in common is they are all very well-written, and beautifully sung and played by a fine group of musicians. Joining Annie Capps (vocals, guitar, banjo) and Rod Capps (guitar, viola and harmony vocals) on the album are regular band members Jason Dennie from Thunderwüde (mandolin, mandola and harmony vocals) and Dan Ozzie Andrews (bass) with Michael Shimmin (Joshua Davis, the olllam, May Erlewine) on drums and percussion. Drew Howard also guests on pedal steel and Jenny Bienemann provides some delicate vocal harmonies on the song “Brevity”. When They Fall was deservedly included on our long list of Our Favourite Albums of 2019. Check them all out HERE. Annie Capps joined us on Folk Roots Radio for an in-depth conversation about the new album. Annie & Rod Capps have also joined forces with two of their favourite songwriters, Jan Krist & Jim Bizer in a new project, and with the addition of Jan’s partner Alan Finkbeiner on percussion, they are now Diamonds In the Rust. A full length album from the new combo is expected in 2020. For more information about the music of Annie & Rod Capps, visit maynardmusic.com. Photo: Jennifer Prouty. Music: Annie & Rod Capps “When They Fall”, “(That Would Do) Some Good” and “This Little Apple” from “When They Fall” (2019, Yellow Room Records)
We’re bringing something a little different to you on Folk Roots Radio this week. We’re celebrating the music of Kevin K Gagnon, a bass player from Windsor ON who has been active on the local scene since 1978. When I received the press release about “It Is What It Is”, Kevin’s first solo album – released after 40 years in the music business, I knew I had to bring him into the studio for an in-depth conversation. During his career, Kevin K Gagnon has pretty much played every bar, club and concert venue throughout the Windsor/Essex area, and recorded in just about every local studio. “It Is What It Is” is a collection of mostly instrumental works, written for electric guitar as well as bass – Kevin plays both on the album. Back in the 80s, Kevin toured with his band “Destiny”, and he has played with Joe Konas (The Gods), the late Windsor blues great Michael Bruce and many others. He has also offered his talents for countless local charity events over the years and currently performs live with local Windsor band, The Formula. It Is What It Is includes the recently recorded “A Blues Memory”, in memory of Michael Bruce, and a brand new song entitled “One Or The Other” featuring guitarist/vocalist Jeff Oppen. Kevin Gagnon is a recipient of The Windsor/Essex County Music Appreciation Award and a Hall of Fame inductee. Kevin K Gagnon joined us in the Folk Roots Radio studio today for an in-depth conversation about his music and the new album. Music: Kevin K Gagnon “A Blues Memory”, “Minstrel Cramp”, “Today and Forever”, “One Or The Other” and “A Walk In The Park” from “It Is What It Is” (2019, Self).
New Jersey based Sharon Goldman has built a fine reputation as a songwriter with a wonderful string of albums culminating in KOL ISHA (A Woman’s Voice) from 2016 which focused on her own experience growing up in an orthodox Jewish family on Long Island. Her latest 12-song album “Every Trip Around The Sun”, produced with Allison Tartalia, was released in July 2019 to more critical acclaim. The new recording features a fabulous selection of songs – some topical, some romantic, some nostalgic and some inspirational – all of them well-crafted and engaging. Every Trip Around The Sun was included on our long list of Our Favourite Albums of 2019. Check them all out HERE. For more information about the music of Sharon Goldman visit sharongoldmanmusic.com. Music: Sharon Goldman “A Garden”, “Am I There Yet”, “Sunset At The Border” and “Penny With The Waves” from “Every Trip Around The Sun” (2019, Self).
Emily Mure is a classically-trained oboist who performed at world-class venues like Carnegie Hall as a teenager, before picking up a guitar and developing a career as a singer-songwriter. After three albums of original music, Emily’s six-track EP of reimagined cover songs, “Sad Songs & Waltzes” features folky and acoustic versions of songs that were originally performed by Radiohead, The Cranberries, Coldplay, Willie Nelson, Wilco, and The Shins. Working on these songs – favourites while she was growing up, gave Emily the opportunity to use her classical music background to take some of these songs, like Radiohead’s “No Surprises” (with the addition of piano, English horn and cello) to another place altogether. The new E.P. was co-produced with Dan Cardinal at Boston’s Dimension Sound Studios with a small group of collaborators including Elizabeth Ziman (from Elizabeth and the Catapult) who played piano and added background vocals, Audrey Q. Snyder (cello), Emily DiAngelo (English horn) and singer/songwriter Caroline Cotter (backing vocals). Sad Songs and Waltzes was included on our long list of Our Favourite Albums of 2019. Check them all out HERE. For more information about the music of Emily Mure, visit emilymure.com. Music: Emily Mure, “Yellow”, “Sad Songs & Waltzes” and “No Surprises” from “Sad Songs & Waltzes” (2019, Nine Athens Music).
Douglas Richard Sinclair is a Métis musician with roots in the Red River Settlement. He’s also a member of The Red River Ramblers, an Ontario trio dedicated to reviving Manitoba Métis Fiddle music – which brings together the rhythmic spirit of the First Nations peoples with a blend of both the Scottish and French fiddle traditions. Douglas Richard Sinclair has developed his own rhythmic and melodic style of Métis banjo and guitar, and is joined in the band by Stephen Dayfoot on hand drum, spoons and assorted percussion, and new band member Nathan Smith on fiddle. The band have just released their eight track debut album “Métis Fiddle Music”, which also featured fiddler Pierre Arsenault. The new album was recorded in Toronto with John Dinsmore at Lincoln County Social Club. To learn more about the band and music, we caught up with Douglas Richard Sinclair at home in Halton Hills. For more information about The Red River Ramblers, and their upcoming live dates, visit theredriverramblers.com. Music: The Red River Ramblers “Wigwam Polka”, “Red River Jig” and “Louis Riel Reel” / “Chanson De La Grenouilliere” from “Métis Fiddle Music” (2020, Self) CDN.
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).
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).
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.
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
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, Rock Candy Records).
Abe Drennan is a Canadian folk singer, educator and social / environmental activist based in the beautiful town of Inuvik, in the Northwest Territories, and over 100 miles into the Arctic circle. Abe released the single “Spirits Soared” earlier this summer – a song written to commemorate the lives of Daniel, 9, Harrison, 5 and Milly, 2, as well as their grandfather, Gary Neville, who were all killed in a car crash, caused by a drunk driver, on September 27 2015, in Vaughan ON. Proceeds from the release of the single go to support the work of the not-for-profit Many Hands, Doing Good, a charity born out of the tragedy, which supports arts programmes for children who have experienced trauma and also provides a radio broadcasting scholarship in honour of grandfather Gary. Spirits Soared is included on Abe Drennan’s second album “Iglu Sessions”, which was recorded and produced with Jason Manns in the iconic Igloo Church in Inuvik. Folk Roots Radio caught up with Abe Drennan in Inuvik to learn more about his music. For more information about the music of Abe Drennan, visit abedrennan.com. Music: Abe Drennan “Spirits Soared”, “Way Up North”, “There For You” and “Moments In Time” from “Iglu Sessions” (2019, Self) CDN.
Tomorrow Bird are an acoustic folk duo from the UK featuring Jen Bird and Simon Driscoll, who specialize in heartfelt songs that reflect on the human experience. They sing of hope, love, loss, courage and empowerment – creating stories and melodies that are complimented by the duo’s rich vocals and seamless harmonies. Jen and Simon met while Jen was pursuing a solo career, and Simon leading the folk-rock band Burnt Tomorrow. Tomorrow Bird released their self-titled debut album in 2018. Jen and Simon have also co-written and produced four full-length musicals together; “The Island of Lost Children”, “The Best Murder Mystery Party Ever”, “The Box” and “Imagine That”. Tomorrow Bird recently released a new single “Love Is Love”, which was written to coincide with Pride celebrations in the UK. Proceeds from the sale of the single will go to support the Stonewall UK charity. Folk Roots Radio caught up with Jen and Simon at home in Reading to chat about their music. For more information about the music of Tomorrow Bird visit tomorrowbird.com. Music: Tomorrow Bird “Love Is Love” (single) (2019, Self) and “Beyond The Storm”, “Heaven Forbid” and “Get Gone” from “Tomorrow Bird” (2018, Self).
Coco Love Alcorn is getting ready to release “Rebirth”, the follow-up to her very well-received 2016 album “Wonderland”. With a spiritual, but distinctly non-denominational message, Rebirth – like Wonderland, makes great use of Coco’s pop, jazz and gospel stylings, but with more of an R&B feel this time around. It’s a collection of songs that exhibit bravery and vulnerability with, in some cases, almost a spine-tingling fragility, as they document Coco’s own journey to spiritual growth. It’s a great recording, and one that really speaks to the importance of discovering and nurturing your own true self; and it’s an album that is sure to appeal to a growing fanbase. Coco Love Alcorn joined us on Folk Roots Radio for an in-depth conversation about the new project. Coco Love Alcorn will be on tour this fall with Ontario stops in Toronto, London, Perth, Kingston, Newmarket, and Owen Sound; Chelsea (Quebec), three concerts in Nova Scotia (Mahone Bay, Wolfville, Halifax), and then on to Vancouver, Edmonton, Saskatoon, and Winnipeg. To learn more about the music of Coco Love Alcorn and to check out all upcoming tour dates, visit cocolovealcorn.com. Music: Coco Love Alcorn “Rebirth”, “What I Need”, “The Keeper” and “A Song To Sing” from “Rebirth” (2019, Self).
Former lead vocalist with Prairie Oyster Russell deCarle is heading back out on tour this fall in support of his third solo album – the wonderful “Alone In Crowd”. Warm and smokey, it’s a wonderful slice of southern soul with some jazz, blues, old school country and western swing thrown into the mix – and some great players including regular compardres – the ever wonderful Steve Briggs on guitar, Russ Boswell on bass, John Sheard (piano), Denis Keldie (accordion), Chris Whiteley (harmonica) with drums by Al Cross and Jorn Anderson and vocal support from Cindy Church, Erin Costelo, Karla Crawford and Michelle Willis. Russell deCarle is one of those performers you always want to catch live, and he’ll be playing dates across Southern Ontario this fall with stops in Grimsby (Station One Coffee House – October 19), Collingwood (CROW Bar and Variety, incl. dinner option – October 22), Oakville (Moonshine Cafe, with Steve Briggs and Paul Pigat – October 25), Toronto (Hugh’s Room Live, with Steve Briggs and Paul Pigat – October 27). He will also be in Alberta in November with shows in Edmonton (New Moon Folk Club – November 15) and Calgary (Bow Valley Music Club – November 17). Russell de Carle joined us on Folk Roots Radio to chat about his music and upcoming tour dates. For more information about Russell deCarle, and all upcoming tour dates, visit russelldecarle.com. Music: Russell deCarle “Tanqueray”, “Lock Stock and Sorrows”, “Alone In This Crowd” from “Alone In This Crowd” (2017, Red Car Music).
Toronto roots rockers Skydiggers have just released “Let’s Get Friendship Right” – the follow up to the very well-received “Warmth Of The Sun” from 2017. Josh Finlayson and Andy Maize have been making music together as Skydiggers, with a variety of musical compadres, for nearly 30 years. The new project came out of a desire to use music as therapy to cope with the passing of several friends and family members – the majority of the songs on the new recording, which was originally intended to reflect on the five stages of grief, coming out of a songwriting retreat at the Banff Centre for Arts & Creativity. Let’s Get Friendship Right, which features nine new songs, was recorded at The Tragically Hip’s The Bathouse Studio with engineer/producer Nyles Spencer, with support from Peter von Althen (percussion) and Aaron Comeau (guitar/bass/keyboards). Josh Finlayson joined us on Folk Roots Radio to chat about the new album. For more information about Skydiggers and their upcoming tour dates, visit skydiggers.com. Photo: Heather Pollock. Music: “If I’m Spared”, “Ineligible” and “Questions of Love” from “Let’s Get Friendship Right” (2019, Latent Recordings) CDN.