Folk Roots Radio Episode 499: feat. Durham County Poets, More New Releases & Laura Smith Tribute

Folk Roots Radio Episode 499: feat. Durham County Poets, More New Releases & Laura Smith Tribute

Kevin Harvey, front man and lead vocalist of the Durham County Poets joins us on Episode 499 of Folk Roots Radio to chat about their latest album, a full on blues recording, “Hand Me Down Blues” which has earned nominations for both the 2020 JUNO Blues Album of the Year & the 2019 Maple Blues Awards New Artist/Group of the Year. It’s a wonderful tribute to some of their influences, and Kevin Harvey is always a great interview. We also check out more of the new music we’ve received, and this time around we hear from Little Misty, The Lonesome Ace Stringband, Frank & Allie Lee and Frank Birtwistle. We wrap up the episode with a special three song tribute to Nova Scotia based folk singer Laura Smith who sadly left us this week. Laura Smith had an absolutely fabulous singing voice, and though, because of some health challenges she did not leave a large body of recorded music, the excellent albums she created deserve to be shared and savoured. Her spirit will live on. Safe Home, Sweet Light! Check out the full playlist below.


The Durham County Poets are having an absolutely fabulous year. They released the wonderful “Hand Me Down Blues” in 2019 – a celebration of all things blues and the artists that have inspired their music.

According to band front man and lead vocalist Kevin Harvey, the decision to make a full-on blues album brought back memories of catching the great Muddy Waters live in Montreal in 1981, when – front row and centre, a young Kevin Harvey was able to touch the great man’s shoe.

“Muddy looked at me and winked, as if to say ‘welcome to the blues, son’. I didn’t know then, that I would have a life-altering spinal cord injury three months later that would place me in a wheelchair for the rest of my life. That experience made the blues come alive to me. The band and I – we have our own experiences and inspirations that lead to the creation of a dedicated ‘blues album’, paying homage to our favourite blues artists. Muddy Waters was just one of many who handed the genre down to us, and now we want to continue in that tradition by putting our own stamp on it and “Hand” the blues to the next generation.”

Hand Me Down Blues which was produced by Bill Garrett, and features compositions written by all four long-time members of the band: David Whyte, Neil Elsmore, Carl Rufh and Kevin Harvey alongside some well chosen covers. New boy Rob Couture joins them in the drum chair.

The Durham County Poets continue to tour on a regular basis, and upcoming dates include Sharbot Lake ON (March 21, Sharbot Lake Inn), Oakville (March 26, The Moonshine Cafe), Kingsville ON (March 27, Road to Kingsville Folk Fest), Wallaceburg ON (March 28, Jeanne Gordon Theatre) and Wakefield QC (May 16, The Blacksheep Inn).

UPDATE March 16 2020: All of the Durham County Poets March dates have been cancelled because of the ongoing coronavirus emergency. Please visit for up to date information about Durham County Poets tour plans.


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 Apple Podcasts, Stitcher and Tune-in Radio. (Click on the highlighted link to reach your chosen platform.)


Nicolas & The Iceni (Theme)
Lucy She Rises
Roll Right (2019, self)

Little Misty
Little Misty (2020, Self) CDN

The Lonesome Ace Stringband
Stone Walls And Steel Bars
Modern Old-Time Sounds For The Bluegrass & Folksong Jamboree (2019, Self) CDN

Frank & Allie Lee
When I Was A Cowboy
Treat A Stranger Right (2019, Bake Tone)

Frank Birtwistle
Volume Four (2019, Self)

Durham County Poets
Hand Me Down Blues
Hand Me Down Blues (2019, Self) CDN

Interview: Kevin Harvey, front man of the Durham County Poets discussing their latest album “Hand Me Down Blues”.

Durham County Poets
Can’t Be Satisfied
Hand Me Down Blues (2019, Self) CDN

Durham County Poets
If The Lid Don’t Fit
Hand Me Down Blues (2019, Self) CDN

Durham County Poets
Evil In The Heart Of Man
Hand Me Down Blues (2019, Self) CDN

Laura Smith
The Blues and I
Everything Is Moving (2013, Borealis Records) CDN

Laura Smith
My Bonny
B’Tween The Earth And My Soul (1994, Cornermuse Recordings) CDN

Laura Smith
Safe Home, Sweet Light
Everything Is Moving (2013, Borealis 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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