Episode 251: Manitoba Hal

This episode of Folk Roots Radio features an interview with Manitoba Hal Brolund who has dedicated his musical career to proving that the ukulele is a mighty instrument despite only having four strings. It’s a really informative interview and well worth checking out. As always we also have a great selection of new music we’ve received to share with you. Photo credit: James Millar.

Ukelele bluesman Hal joined us at the Folk Music Ontario conference to chat about all matters ukulele, including his new album “Dancing in the Moonlight”, a fine selection of songs reflecting on matters of love, loss and redemption. We were only able to play the first half of our great interview with Hal. You can find the full interview online HERE. For more information, visit manitobahal.com.

We relocated the Folk Roots Radio studio this spring, and we’ve been playing catch up on new music ever since. Fortunately we were able to include some great new albums on this episode. Among the new albums we played was “The Granary Sessions”, from Bristol UK Americana band The Rosellys. The song we played this week, “Asheville 1784”, is all about Colonel Samuel Davidson, one of the first white settlers in North Carolina. Apparently Davidson built his home on land set aside for the Cherokee by King George after the revolutionary war. He was killed (in 1784) after being lured into the woods by Cherokee hunters who apparently stole the bell from his horse. By all accounts, Davidson was a good man, but somewhat misguided in getting involved in a risky venture. That was all I was able to glean from a quick internet search but after reading about the bell incident, I sense that there was a lot more to this story. If you have more to share, I’d love to hear it.

Singer-songwriter Jim Burke, from Calgary AB, has recently released “Diamonds”, an album he vowed to create once he recovered from leukemia. It’s not a bad record at all, and features support from Blackie and the Rodeo Kings rhythm section Gary Craig and John Dymond alongside Jason Fowler on guitar.

Toronto singer/songwriter matinee host Bill Heffernan has just released his debut album, the playful and quirky “The Horses Are Loose” which is full of story songs about some of the hi-jinx Bill got into in his younger days. You can find Bill at Gate 403 in Toronto every Saturday afternoon – they’re now in their 12th season! Its good to see that singer-songwriters getting together to share their musical gift is thriving.

Well, that’s all we have time for this week. Check out the full playlist with artist links below and share your love for all the great folk and roots music out there. Thanks to all the artists who share their music with us, and thank you for listening. We have a lot of great music to bring you on future shows. I hope you’ll join us! You can listen to this show again on Mixcloud by following the link below.

Nicolas & The Iceni (Theme)
Lucy She Rises (Demo)
Roll Right (expected 2016)

Jen Lane
Waitin’ for You
This Life of Mine (2016, Self) CDN

Ken Dunn & Gypsy Starfish
Forsaken By These Blues
The Great Unknown (2015, Self) CDN

David Owen
Long Gone
Livin’ Life (2015, Owensound Recordings) CDN

Mr Rick
One Kind Favour
Mr. Rick Sings About God And Booze (2015, Self) CDN

The Bills
West Bay Crossing
Trail of Tales (2016, Borealis Records) CDN

Manitoba Hal
Come To Me
Dancing In The Moonlight (2015, Hal’s Kitchen) CDN

Interview: Manitoba Hal recorded at Folk Music Ontario. Check out the full interview HERE

Manitoba Hal
Sweet Honey Bee
Dancing In The Moonlight (2015, Hal’s Kitchen) CDN

Mark Brown
Sleep Little Angel
Skin And Bone (2015, Self)

Honor Finnegan
Take Me
Roses And Victory (2016, Frock Records)

Bill Heffernan
Hey Mr Dylan
The Horses Are Loose (2016, Self)

Rebecca Folsom
Extraordinary Days (2016, Self)

The Rosellys
Asheville 1784
The Granary Sessions (2015, Clubhouse Records)

Jim Burke
Never Been Good At Goodbye
Diamonds (2015, Self) CDN

About the author


Host of Folk Roots Radio, Jan Hall started in Radio in 1993 at WEFT 90.1fm in Champaign-Urbana, Illinois. Folk Roots Radio (formerly Royal City Rag) debuted on CFRU 93.3fm in August 2005 before developing into a syndicated radio show. As the host of Folk Roots Radio, Jan focuses on bringing new folk, roots and blues music and the voices of upcoming and independent artists to the airwaves. Jan is also a much sought after stage host and festival emcee. In 2019, Jan Hall received Folk Music Ontario's prestigious Estelle Klein Award for her contribution to Ontario's folk music community.

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