Folk Roots Radio Episode 318: Mike McKenna Jr. Interview & More New Releases

Folk Roots Radio Episode 318: Mike McKenna Jr. Interview & More New Releases

Montreal Singer-songwriter Mike McKenna Jr. is our special guest on Episode 318 of Folk Roots Radio. Mike joined us in the mobile studio at the Folk Music Ontario conference for an in depth conversation about his music and also plays three songs live. We also take a look at more of the latest new releases on the folk and roots scene. Check out the full playlist below.

The Interview

Growing up in Cape Breton, you’d expect Mike McKenna Jr. to have celtic music coursing through his veins. Indeed he has – his first instrument was a fiddle, but he also fell in love with the storytelling aspect of being a troubadour singer-songwriter with east coast grit in his voice. After leaving Cape Breton for a new home base in Montreal, Mike released his first E.P., “Travelin Man” in 2016. Mike McKenna Jr. will release his first full length long player “Pacific Northwest Bound” on May 26 2017. We were only able to play a portion of the interview on this episode. You can check out the full interview HERE. For more information, visit

Show Notes

Notes about some of the new music on our radar that made it into Episode 318 of Folk Roots Radio.

Brendan Scott Friel is a very talented young singer-songwriter from Windsor Ontario who has just released a great debut album of Americana-folk-pop, “Quiet Cars”. Brendan recently joined us in the Quantum Sound Productions studio in Kingsville ON for an edition of the Sun Parlour Coffee House Sessions. We’ll be bringing the interview and some of the music from the session to a future episode. You can visit the Sun Parlour Coffee House Sessions at You can find Brendan Scott Friel online at

Saskatoon singer-songwriter Steph Cameron has just released her second album “Daybreak Over Jackson Street”, the follow-up to her critically acclaimed debut, 2014’s “Sad-Eyed Lonesome Lady”. The new album is a very intimate stripped down affair, featuring just Steph on her guitar on a bunch of new thought-provoking songs about life, loss and finding joy in nitre face of adversity. The album was produced in Toronto by Joe Dunphy at Revolution Recording.

According to Steph Cameron, the songs on the new record were selected for their depth and maturity: “As I develop my craft, storytelling increasingly becomes an opportunity for me to empathize with and express love for struggling people. I continue to work at the tradition of folk, but old country sounds, particularly guitar, are prominent in this record. I feel like my musical influences, artists like John Prine, have really come through here, both in the story-telling and the way my guitar is played.”

Check out Steph Cameron online at:

Irish accordian player, Sharon Shannon has a new album out on the Irish label Celtic Collections, her first new studio album in three years and her tenth studio album to date. Sharon Shannon is a musician who likes to surprise. While she is best known for her arrangements of traditional Irish tunes and Irish-influenced compositions, she has always been eager to explore new styles, and to meet and work with other musicians. There are Irish influences here, of course, but these are cheerfully mixed in with often unexpected styles from around the world, including – for the first time – Africa. Sacred Earth hops many borders musically, featuring world rhythm and classical elements alongside Shetland Fiddle Tradition, Hip Hop, country, blues and even some reggae. For more information, visit

With more than a dozen albums and over a thousand shows between them, Ty Greenstein and Ingrid Elizabeth of Mouths of Babes are no strangers to the contemporary folk music scene. For years, their respective bands Girlyman and Coyote Grace criss-crossed the U.S. and Europe, played festival main stages, and toured with the likes of the Indigo Girls and Dar Williams. Mouths of Babes released their first full-length album, “Brighter In the Dark” – recorded at Prairie Sun Studios in northern California last summer and featuring guest appearances from Birds of Chicago, Tania Elizabeth (The Avett Brothers), Mai Bloomfield (Jason Mraz), and others. For more information, visit:

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 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)

Ian Foster
You Left A Song (for Ron Hynes)
Sleeper Years (2017, Self) CDN

Brendan Scott Friel
My Light Is On
Quiet Cars (2017, Self) CDN

Scott Cook
Careful With My Heart
Further Down the Line (2017, Self) CDN

Steph Cameron
Young And Living Free
Daybreak Over Jackson Street (2017, Pheromone) CDN

Sharon Shannon
Frenchie’s Reel
Sacred Earth (2017, Celtic Collections)

Mike McKenna Jr.
The Highway (Live)

Interview: Mike McKenna Jr. recorded at the Folk Music Ontario conference.

Mike McKenna Jr.
Little Things (Live)

Mike McKenna Jr.
Die In The West (Live)

Mouths Of Babes
Brighter In The Dark (2017, Self)

Martin Harley & Daniel Kimbro
Mean Old City – Part 2
Static In The Wires (2017, Del Mundo Records)

Jerry Leger
Things Are Changing Round Here
Nonsense And Heartache (Heartache) (2017, Latent Recordings) 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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