Folk Roots Radio Episode 383: The Young Novelists & New Releases

Folk Roots Radio Episode 383: The Young Novelists & New Releases

Graydon James & Laura Spink from Toronto’s The Young Novelists join us on Episode 383 of Folk Roots Radio for a fun conversation about their third studio album “In City & Country”. On an all Canadian episode, we also feature music from new releases by Carly Thomas, El Coyote, David Francey, Steve Dawson, Sugar Brown, Conor Gains and Annie Lou. Check out the full playlist below.


The Young Novelists new album “In City & Country” was recorded in Montreal with producer Howard Bilerman who’s worked with Arcade Fire, Leonard Cohen and The Wooden Sky. According to Graydon and Laura, the album explores the idea of community through the lens of those stranger-than-fiction tales that get passed from neighbour to neighbour over a cup of coffee at the kitchen table. Each song was inspired by a different small town in Ontario – they actually travelled to and researched the history of the towns – and from those efforts distilled a group of songs that aim to tease apart what it means to belong and what it means to be an outsider, and how the communities we make share more similarities than differences. Which all sounds very intriguing. To learn more about the new album, we caught up with Graydon and Laura at home in Toronto. Visit The Young Novelists online at Photo: Jen Squires.

Show Notes

Notes about some of the new music on our radar that made it into Episode 383 of Folk Roots Radio.

Multiple juno-award winning sideman and producer Steve Dawson has just released his eighth album “Lucky Hand” – an all instrumental album, and his first since “Rattlesnake Cage” in 2014. The new album features ten tracks of solo, duo and full-bodied string quartet music, with a dynamic and almost cinematic scope. Joining Steve on the recording are his old partner Jesse Zubot who scored the string arrangements for a group of up and coming string players from the Vancouver scene including Jesse, and his brother Josh, on violin. Nashville’s Charlie McCoy is also along for the ride, on harmonica. Recorded live off the floor, Steve placed up to twelve different microphones around the studio to capture the guitar and orchestration, and the wonderful warm sound that really allows these compositions to take flight. It’s a fabulous album, and in a style that reminds me of some of Bruce Cockburn’s great instrumental excursions. It’s highly recommended for those who love really well played original guitar instrumental music.

Conor Gains has just released his first full length solo album “Compass” (2018, Vega Musique). With ten original songs, the album has a lovely rootsy R & B flavour to it. The new recording is the follow up to “Run With The Night”, his very well received sophomore bluesy band release. Conor’s song “Leave It On The Line” from that album took home the Cobalt Prize Contemporary Blues Composition Award at the Maple Blues Awards.

Old Time/bluegrass influenced singer-songwriter Annie Lou has just released her fourth album “End Zone”. It’s called End Zone, not because its a sports related album but because most of the songs were written during the last months of her mother’s life – the title track is an exploration of that time when the end is near, but not quite. The album was produced by Andrew Collins and features almost a who’s who from the Canadian roots scene including Andrew Collins on mandolin and guitar, Max Heineman on upright bass and vocals, Sarah Hamilton on fiddle and vocals, John Showman and Trent Freeman on fiddle, Frank Evans on banjo, Burke Carroll on pedal steel, and Ivan Rosenberg on dobro. On this episode we play “End Zone” and “End Zone (Reprise)” which bookend the album, and go rather well together. We’ll definitely have more from this album on a future episode.

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)

Carly Thomas
Lion’s Gate
Versions (2017, Self) CDN

El Coyote
Time Will Tell
El Coyote (2018, Self) CDN

David Francey
Lonely Road
The Broken Heart Of Everything (2018, Laker Music) CDN

Steve Dawson
Hollow Tree Gap
Lucky Hand (2018, Black Hen Music) CDN

The Young Novelists
Come Around Again
In City & Country (2018, Self) CDN

Interview: Graydon James and Laura Spink from The Young Novelists discussing their latest album “In City & Country” (2018, Self).

The Young Novelists
Two Of A Kind
In City & Country (2018, Self) CDN

The Young Novelists
City & Country
In City & Country (2018, Self) CDN

Sugar Brown
Love Me Twice
It’s A Blues World (2018, Self) CDN

Conor Gains
Walking Alone
Compass (2018, Vega Musique) CDN

Annie Lou
End Zone / End Zone (Reprise)
End Zone (2018, Self) 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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