Another hour of Folk Roots Radio that’s all about the music as we take a look at more of the latest new releases. Among the new releases on this episode, we check out “Khlebnikov”, the latest from Danny Michel – which was recorded far above the arctic circle, while aboard the Russian icebreaker Capitan Khlebnikov, in the middle of the arctic ocean. We also take a first listen to “Folklife”, Jayme Stone‘s follow up to the fabulous Lomax Project, a new Battlefield Band compilation, and the latest from folk great Tom Paxton.
Jayme Stone releases Folklife, his follow-up to the feted Lomax Project album in April. Folklife again mines that rich seam of traditional American folk music first introduced to a wider musical world by Alan Lomax, and like the first album brings together a stellar group of musicians to breath new life into these songs. Joining Jayme this time around are American folk singer extraordinaire Moira Smiley, singer Felicity Williams (from Bahamas), Dom Flemons (from Carolina Chocolate Drops) and cornetist Ron Miles from Bill Frisell’s band. Folklife is another great Jayme Stone album – I’ve already gone on record to say that I’m sure it will feature somewhere in my best of the year at the end of 2017. It’s that good! We’re working on an interview. Stay tuned.
Danny Michel went further than he’d ever been before to record his latest album, Khlebnikov – was recorded in the summer of 2016, while aboard the Russian ice-breaker Capitan Khlebnikov. Danny was part of Generator Arctic, an expedition put together by Canadian musical astronaut Col. Chris Hadfield and featuring scientists, photographers, writers and videographers whose role was to capture the arctic wilderness using their chosen medium, sharing those results in real time, and, later, as lasting record of their 16 day journey. Danny for his part, record a whole album inspired by his life onboard in a makeshift studio in his cabin. The album features some Danny Michel songs alongside incidental music composed by Rob Carli, and “Fall”, a song about autumn, written by and featuring Chris Hadfield (with words by Russian romantic poet Alexander Pushkin). Khlebnikov is an album that is best enjoyed whole, though for the benefit of this radio show, we played Danny’s song “24,000 Horses”. For more information visit dannymichel.com.
Ben Rogers released “Highway of Tears” on Valentine’s Day, to raise awareness about Canada’s murdered and missing indigenous women, sales of the song supporting the Battered Women’s Support Services in Vancouver and specifically it’s Indigenous Women’s Programs which use traditional healing practices while working with women survivors of trauma and colonization. “Indigenous Women’s Program offers direct services through drum groups, counselling, Elder’s and support groups and different ceremonies such as full moon and sweat lodge ceremonies. We are healing from the trauma of colonization, the effects and inter-generational effects of residential school, the loss of our children, and living life in a patriarchal society. By using holistic practices through traditional medicines and ceremonies, we are reclaiming our rightful roles as strong Indigenous women in our community, finding our voices and standing strong in our power.”
Ben has an intimate relationship with the beauty and strength of native culture through his wife’s Swampy Cree family. “They are survivors, all of them. They are the bravest people I know and I admire their courage greatly. The lives of the women affected by these acts of violence must not be forgotten. Their families and friends must have answers. We must stand with them. I plan to do just that with my life and my music so long as I have breath in me and a song to sing. Or as some have said: As long as the sun shines, the river flows and the grass grows.” For more information, visit benrogersmusic.com.
English folk singer Thom Ashworth has just released his debut E.P. “Everybody’s Gone To The Rapture” which features a stripped down approach to British traditional music, played on his ‘home’ instrument – the bass, and Thom’s powerful tenor voice. Thom actually was playing hardcore, ego and post-rock before returning to a sound that echoes the music of his childhood – Fairport Convention, Show of Hands, and Waterson Carthy. on this episode we play his recording of trad. song “Tyne of Harrow”. You can find Thom online at thomashworth.com.
The Battlefield Band were inducted into the Scottish Traditional Music Hall of Fame in 2016. There’s been a Battlefield Band for nearly fifty years, featuring nineteen different musicians as core members at one time or other. Over the years they’ve released more than thirty albums and playing thousands of shows, all across the world. To celebrate their longevity, a new collection has been released, “The Producer’s Choice” – an album of songs personally chosen by their long-term producer, player, manager and ‘fifth member’ Robin Morton – a founding member of Boys of the Lough. The new album is out now on Robin’s own Temple Records label.
The Pitmen Poets, that’s Jez Lowe, Bob Fox, Billy Mitchell and Benny Graham, come together to celebrate the triumphs, tragedy, humour and hard times of the North-East of England’s coal mining tradition through their music, and live performances. They’re just released a lovely new collection “More Black Diamonds”. As someone who grew up in the North-East, with two grandfathers who went down the pit, and one who died from a mining related illness, their music makes a deep connection, and really hits home.
Veteran of the Canadian Roots scene, the Juno Award winning Bill Bourne has just released a new ‘guitar as storyteller’ instrumental album, “Hummingbird” – featuring tunes that were all played on his 69 Gibson Hummingbird guitar. And that album is available for PWYC from his website at billbourne.com.
The legendary songwriter Tom Paxton has had his songs covered by Johnny Cash, Dilly Parton and Bob Dylan among many, many others. Now in his 79th year, he’s just released his 63rd album “Boat In The Water”, which let’s face it – speaks to an amazingly productive music career. As singer-songwriter Holly Near put it… “Every folk singer has either sung a Tom Paxton song, is singing a Tom Paxton song and will sing a Tom Paxton song. Now either all the folk singers are wrong, or Tom Paxton is one hell of a songwriter”. Quite.
Chelsea Quebec’s Doug McArthur really loves the songwriting craft. We dipped into his latest album “Tears Like Rain” to play with the humorous song “The Next Big Thing”. We also found time to play another track from the the ‘Lioness of Lanark’, that’s singer-songwriter Ali McCormick with “Iron City” from her excellent Brock Zeman produced new album “Clean Water”. Any addition of Folk Roots Radio would not be complete without some banjo, duly supplied by banjo gal Donna Lynn Caskey from Ventura California with “The Time Is Here” from her sophomore original release of songs composed on the clawhammer banjo, “The Love Still Shows”. It’s a pretty good album too.
And that’s all we have time for this time around. Thanks to all the artists who share their music with us, and thank you for listening. We have a lot of great music and interviews to bring you on future shows. I hope you’ll join us!
You can listen to this episode again on Soundcloud by following the link below. You can also listen to episodes of Folk Roots Radio, on demand, via iTunes, 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 (Pre-release, self)
Wait On The Rising Sun
Jayme Stone’s Folklife (2017, Borealis Records) CDN
Donna Lynn Caskey
The Time Is Here
The Love Still Shows (2017, Cordulia)
Clean Water (2016, Self) CDN
Khlebnikov (2017, Self) CDN
Hummingbird (2017, Self) CDN
Tyne Of Harrow
Everyone’s Gone To The Rapture (2017, Self)
The Pitmen Poets
More Black Diamonds (2016, Self)
The Last Trip Home
The Producer’s Choice (2016, Temple Records)
The Last Hobo
Boat In The Water (2017, Pax Records)
The Next Big Thing
Tears Like Rain (2016, Self) CDN
Kory Quinn & The Quinntessentials
In The Shadow of The Tower of Babel
Black Gold Blues (2017, Self)
The Highway Of Tears
(single) (2017, Self) CDN
Someone to Tell My Story When I’m Gone
Taking the Long Way Home (2017, You’ve Changed Records) CDN