Folk Roots Radio Episode 312: Danny Michel Interview & More New Releases

Folk Roots Radio Episode 312 - Danny Michel Interview & More New Releases

Singer/songwriter Danny Michel recorded his latest album “Khlebnikov” on board a Russian icebreaker in the middle of the Arctic Ocean. Danny joins us on this episode to chat about the new album, his webcast Dan’s Space Van and his live performances. And, as usual we also take a look at some of the latest new releases. Check out the full playlist below.

The Interview

Singer-Songwriter Danny Michel went further than he’d ever done before when he recorded his latest album “Khlebnikov” far above the arctic circle, while aboard the Russian icebreaker Capitan Khlebnikov – in the middle of the arctic ocean. Danny was part of Generator Arctic, an expedition put together by Canada’s 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 a lasting record of their 18 day journey. Danny for his part, recorded 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). Danny Michel will be appearing at the Roots North Music Festival taking place in Downtown Orillia on April 21, GET TICKETS, and the Stan Rogers Festival, June 30 – July 2. We caught up with Danny at home to chat about the new album. For more information on Danny’s music visit

Danny Michel also created and hosts Dan’s Space Van, an internet series featuring his interviews with musical guests and other celebrities. The show Takes place in an original customized 1978 GMC Vadura van (airbrushed in a Star Trek theme) with the classic red diamond quilted, crushed velvet interior. You can find Dan’s Space Van online HERE.

Show Notes

Notes about some of the new music on our radar that made it into this episode.

We started this hour with the beautiful and thought-provoking title track from “The Tide”, the new Rachael Sage E.P. of songs of social conscience. Written in response to the tragic loss of life that was 9/11, The Tide speaks about the need for compassion and empathy for people struggling to maintain their lives and dignity in the face of extreme adversity. All proceeds from the sale of the E.P. go to the American Refugee Committee, one of the world’s leading international refugee assistance organizations.

Daniel Duke is a singer-songwriter who’s originally from Northern Ireland, but now based in Leith, Edinburgh, Scotland. Like many singer-songwriters he honed his skills playing on the street. On this episode we play “Tell Me Once” from his debut album “Brother”. It’s a pretty good album. To learn more about Daniel’s music, visit

Multi-instrumentalist Russ Rentler from Orefield, Pennsylvania started out playing bluegrass and folk with the likes of John Gorka and Rich Shindell before following a career path as a medical doctor. In 2016, he finally left the day job behind to follow his dream and focus on his music. We love that sentiment. His latest album features ballads and tunes played on a variety of traditional acoustic instruments, dulcimers, guitar, banjo, fiddle, uke ,cello, dobro, and mandolin – and all played by Russ Rentler. On this episode we play the contemplative instrumental “Clouds”. For more information about Russ Rentler’s music, visit

LA based singer-songwriter and composer Ernest Troost is continuing to release demos from a forthcoming recording (the follow up to “O Love”, one of our favourite albums of 2015). The week we received a copy of the bluesy “Make America Great Again” – I guess you know who that song is about.

Bluesman Eric Bibb has a new album out, “Migration Blues” – an album which Eric hopes will help people keep their hearts and minds open to the plight of refugees everywhere. As Eric reminds us… “…history shows, we all come from people who at sometime had to move”.

“The way I see it, prejudice towards our brothers and sisters who are currently called ‘refugees’ is the problem. Fear and ignorance are the problems. Refugees are not ‘problems’ – they are courageous fellow human beings escaping dire circumstances. Fleeing from war and unbearable hardship is something people have been doing all over the world for millennia. It’s nothing new. Every culture has its own migration stories and songs.”

“While pondering the current refugee crisis I found myself thinking about the Great Migration, which saw millions of African Americans leaving the brutal segregation and economic misery of the rural South for the industrial cities of the North. Making this connection is what inspired the new songs included here. Peace and love, Eric.”

The album features mostly original songs alongside covers of both Woody Guthrie‘s “This Land Is your Land”, Bob Dylan‘s “Masters of War” and traditional song “Morning Train”, with support from Michael Jerome Browne (guitars, mandolin and banjo) and JJ Milteau on harmonica. We’ll definitely dip back into this recording on a future episode.

Keeping with the need for us to remember how things outside our control can severely derail our hopes and dreams, we wrap the hour with Pat Wictor with his version of the Phil Ochs classic “There But For Fortune” from Pat’s new album of Phil Ochs songs, “This Is Absolutely Real”, out now on RiskyDisc Records.

Well, that’s all for now. I hope you enjoy listening to this hour of Folk Roots Radio.

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 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 (Pre-release, self)

Rachael Sage
The Tide
The Tide (2017, Mpress Records)

Daniel Duke
Tell Me Once
Brother (2016, Victories)

Emily Maguire
I’d Rather Be
A Bit Of Blue (2017, Shaktu Records)

Lynne HansonJust For Now
Uneven Ground (2017, Self) CDN

Russ Rentler
Escaped The Tide (2017, Self)

Danny Michel
Khlebnikov (2017, Self) CDN

Interview: Danny Michel discussing his latest album Khlebnikov (2017, Self)

Danny Michel
The Dishwasher’s Dream
Khlebnikov (2017, Self) CDN

Danny Michel
24,000 Horses
Khlebnikov (2017, Self) CDN

Ernest Troost
Make America Great Again
(Demo) 2017, Self

Eric Bibb
Masters Of War
Migration Blues (2017, Stony Plain Records)

Pat Wictor
There But For Fortune
This Is Absolutely Real (2017, RiskyDisc 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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