Folk Roots Radio Episode 343: Shawna Caspi Interview and More New Releases

Folk Roots Radio Episode 342: Shawna Caspi Interview & More New Releases

Classically trained Toronto singer-songwriter and fingerstyle guitarist Shawna Caspi has just released her fourth album “Forest Fire” – which is more of a band project than her previous releases. Shawna joined us in the studio recently to chat about the album and record a solo set for the video series, the Sun Parlour Coffee House Sessions. We’re pleased to bring the interview from the session to Episode 343 of Folk Roots Radio alongside a look at more of the great new music we’ve been receiving. It’s a great hour of music and conversation. I hope you’ll check it out. Check out the full playlist below.


Shawna Caspi’s new album “Forest Fire” features seven Shawna Caspi songs alongside cover versions of Lynne Miles “Brave Parade” and the “Tennessee Waltz” (Redd Stewart and Pee Wee King). The album was engineered and produced by Don Kerr (Rheostatics, Ron Sexsmith) with musical support from Rosalyn Dennett (fiddle, backing vocals), Joel Schwartz (electric guitar, baritone guitar, rhythm acoustic guitar, mandolin, resonator, tenor banjo), Dave Matheson (piano, organ), Alyssa Wright (cello), Ben Whiteley (standup bass) and Don Kerr (drums, backing vocals, cello).

The Sun Parlour Coffee House Sessions are recorded in the Quantum Sound Productions studio in Kingsville Ontario. Musicians join us in the studio to record six songs live and sit down with Folk Roots Radio to chat about their music. Visit the Sun Parlour Coffee House Sessions online at Learn more about Shawna Caspi at Photo: Jan Hall

Show Notes

Notes about some of the new music on our radar that made it into Episode 343 of Folk Roots Radio.

One of our favourite songwriters, Toronto’s Shawn William Clarke has just released a new album… “Topaz”, the follow to the critically acclaimed “William”, one of our favourite albums of 2015.

According to Shawn, the new album was inspired by 80’s Gordon Lightfoot, Kenny Buttrey’s drumming on Neil Young’s “Harvest”; and the existential bleakness that represented his 2016.

“I was floundering, in between jobs, in an existential funk, so I consciously started 2017 with a new mindset. I quit drinking, and began focusing on TOPAZ”.

Topaz has more of an electric vibe than Shawn’s previous efforts but the same lovely feel and light touch, and engaging and quirky lyrics we associate with his music.

The album is again produced by James Bunton (Ohbijou, Donovan Woods, Evening Hymns), and the talented David Gluck is once again featured on bass. Newcomers Kristian Noel Pedersen on Synths/Wurlitzer, and Andrew Dal Cin on drums help fill out the new electric band sound.

Special guests include vocalists Olenka Krakus (from Olenka and the Autumn Lovers), Merival, and Colleen Peterson Award winner Abigail Lapell. Christine Bougie (Bahamas, The Good Lovelies, Jason Collett) plays guitar on “You’re Lonely, Too”, and film composer Alexis Marsh (whose work can be heard on the show “Animal Kingdom”) arranged and performed on woodwind.

Shawn sat down with us at the 2016 Folk Music Ontario conference to chat about his music and play a couple of the new songs live. You can check out that interview HERE.

Now that the new album is released, we’re working on follow up interview. Stay tuned for more details.

For more information about the music of Shawn William Clark, visit

Winnipeg’s The New Customs feature the captivating chemistry of guitarist/ bassist Emma Cloney and multi-instrumentalist/ percussionist Dale Brown. With gorgeous harmonies, thoughtful storytelling and engaging stage banter, The New Customs always leave their audiences wanting more. Capable of going from foot-stompers to tear-jerkers, ballads to barnburners, The New Customs are doing their home city of Winnipeg proud tour after tour, album after album. They’re online at

Toronto world music Beyond The Pale have just released their latest instrumental album “Ruckus” (2017, Borealis Records). Ruckus features some exuberant virtuoso musicianship on twelve tracks that mine a Balkan klezmer seam while managing to incorporate some classical, jazz, bluegrass and even reggae themes. On this episode we play the traditional tune “Oltenilor”. Find Beyond the Pale online at

Sam Kelly is a BBC Radio 2 Folk Awards ‘Horizon’ winning singer, songwriter, producer, and multi-instrumentalist. Sam has just released his sophomore album “Pretty Peggy”. On this episode we play one of the standout tracks, the rousing “Chasing Shadows” featuring some soaring instrumentation and a message of hope to anyone going through tough times. Check out Sam Kelly online at

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, Mixcloud, 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)

Shawn William Clarke
You’re Lonely, Too
TOPAZ (2017, Self) CDN

The New Customs
Stretched Upon Your Grave
All Walls Fall (2017, Self) CDN

Ian Sherwood
We’re Only Human
Bring The Light (2017, Self) CDN

David Myles
Real Love
Real Love (2017, Little Tiny Records) CDN

Beyond The Pale
Ruckus (2017, Borealis Records) CDN

Shawna Caspi
Love In A Moving Van
Forest Fire (2017, Self) CDN

Interview: Shawna Caspi in the Sun Parlour Coffee House Sessions studio.

Shawna Caspi
Brave Parade
Forest Fire (2017, Self) CDN

Sam Kelly & The Lost Boys
Chasing Shadows
Pretty Peggy (2017, Navigator) CDN

Chesterfield and the Sofa Kings
I Can’t Put It Down
The Rise Of The Recliner (2017, Self) CDN

Tia McGraff
Nothin’ To Lose
Nothin’ To Lose E.P. (2017, Bandana Records) 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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