Folk Roots Radio Episode 287: Fraser Anderson Interview & More New Releases

Scottish singer-songwriter Fraser Anderson joins us on this episode to chat about his latest album “Under The Cover Of Lightness”. He also plays a couple of songs live, and recites an original poem – a pleasant surprise for this show. It’s a great interview, lots of fun and definitely well worth checking out. We also take a look at at a new compilation of English folk music, The Ultimate Guide to English Folk.

“The Ultimate Guide to English Folk” features 35 tracks on a double CD, as compiled by Bellowhead’s Jon Boden and comes complete with a 28-page book of liner notes. All the songs on the album are traditional, and at least one hundred years old, though many are given a thoroughly modern arrangement by the artists involved – names familiar from the golden age of English folk; others, some of the most talented performers on the folk scene today.

On this episode we played four tracks from the album starting off with The Full English, a band put together by folklorist and singer Fay Hield, whose line-up reads like a who’s who of modern English folk. The song features Seth Lakeman on fiddle and vocals with support from Sam Sweeney and Nancy Kerr, alongside the great Martin Simpson on guitar, Rob Harbron on concertina and Ben Nicholls on double bass.

There isn’t an English folk compilation out there that wouldn’t include something from Steeleye Span. They built their career on their ability to mix traditional folk with rock instrumentation. On this episode, we listen to their version of “The Weaver & The Factory Maid”, a song that focuses on the change from weaving as a cottage industry to part of a factory based economy. Originally on the 1973 Parcel of Rogues album, this is classic Steeleye Span from the classic line-up, featuring Peter Knight’s traditional fiddle and Maddy Prior’s trad vocal running against electric guitar from Bob Johnson and a great bass work out from Rick Kemp. Steeleye Span were amongst the best known acts of the British folk revival – you may remember them from their hit singles “Gaudete” (1972) and “All Around My Hat” (1975) and although they’re undergone many changes throughout the years, they’re still a great band to catch when they’re on tour.

We also took a listen to 2011 BBC Radio 2 folk duo of the year Nancy Kerr & James Fagan with their wonderful modern folk take on the North East of England trad. Song “Dance to Your Daddy” that morphs into a Nancy Kerr original “The Flaming Drones”. You can also find their version of that song on their 2002 album “Between Dark and Light”. We also heard from Andy Cutting, Sam Sweeney and Rob Harbron as Leveret with their arrangement of the trad. instrumental “Northern Lass” which you can also find on their 2015 album “New Anything”.

“The Ultimate Guide to English Folk” is a great compilation, the perfect introduction to modern English folk music and an excellent gift for anyone who wants to learn more about the English folk tradition. It’s out now on Arc Music.

Scottish singer-songwriter Fraser Anderson delivers the vocal of a song is such a delicate and dexterous way it’s clear that he thinks deeply about the lyrics he composes. Fraser, who now makes his home in the wonderful musical city of Bristol in the UK, joined us in our mobile studio at the Folk Music Ontario conference to chat about his music and latest album “Under The Cover Of Lightness” (released in April 2016). During our chat, Fraser played a couple of live songs and gave us a wonderful poem recitation. Our fun conversation included one of his first musical experiences singing in his father’s butcher’s shop with an animal bone for a microphone, and one of his most meaningful, playing with with Dougie MacLean for four years. The gorgeous Bex Baxter also joined us in the studio on harmony vocals. Fraser’s new digital EP recorded in Toronto, “Beautiful Eyes Ontario Skies” was released on November 4. For more information visit

We wrapped the hour with Ange Hardy & Lukas Drinkwater with “By The Tides” from their new duo album “Findings” (2016, story Records). An album of mostly original songs with a few traditional songs given a modern makeover, “Findings” is well worth checking out, featuring beautiful harmonies and top class musicianship on songs that are not afraid to raise important and challenging issues. “By the Tides” itself, is a very interesting and thought-provoking song, written from a perusal perspective about the dangerous journey migrant boats are attempting to make across the Mediterranean. As Ange Hardy puts it herself: “We wrote the words to this song in response to the tragedy surrounding the massive loss of life in the Mediterranean Sea throughout 2015 and 2016. Many of those hoping to find the world another way are small children, separated from their families and drowned at sea. We hope desperately that the tide changes and this terrible season of our history can come to an end.” We’ll dip back into this album on future shows.

That’s all we have time for this time around. You can check out the full playlist with artist links below. Please 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 episode again on Mixcloud by following the link below. You can also listen to episodes of Folk Roots Radio, on demand, via iTunes, Soundcloud, Stitcher and Tune-in Radio. (Click on the highlighted link to reach your chosen platform.)

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

The Full English
Stand by Your Guns
The Ultimate Guide to English Folk (2016, Arc Music)

Steeleye Span
The Weaver & The Factory Maid
The Ultimate Guide to English Folk (2016, Arc Music)

Nancy Kerr & James Fagan
Dance to Your Daddy/The Flaming Drones
The Ultimate Guide to English Folk (2016, Arc Music)

Northern Lass
The Ultimate Guide to English Folk (2016, Arc Music)

Fraser Anderson
Rising Sons
Under The Cover Of Lightness (2016, Membran)

Interview: Fraser Anderson recorded at the 2016 Folk Music Ontario conference in Ottawa.

Fraser Anderson
What Kind Of Man

Fraser Anderson
Beautiful Eyes

Fraser Anderson
With You All

Fraser Anderson
Crying From My Heart
Under The Cover Of Lightness (2016, Membran)

Ange Hardy & Lukas Drinkwater
By The Tides
Findings (2016, Story Records)

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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