We’re bringing you another hour of great new music on Episode 511 of Folk Roots Radio. This time around we’re including more new Covid-19 tunes, some songs recorded during the coronavirus lockdown, alongside some fine new releases. Join us for new music from Martyn Joseph, Chip Taylor, Crys Matthews & Heather Mae, Gillian Nicola, Shawn Clarke, Bill Bourne, Katie Dahl, Doris Folkens, Pharis & Jason Romero, Claudia Nygaard, Leeroy Stagger, Maggie Duffy, Nelson Sobral, Donovan Woods, Carolyn Anele and Shelley Posen. Stay safe and well everyone! We will get through this… together and apart. Check out the full playlist below.
Martyn Joseph has released a great new double A side single “When We Get Through This” coupled with “Nye (Song for the NHS)”. Written to support the British health service, the NHS, during the Covid-19 emergency, funds raised from the sale of the singles will go to support the Cavell Nurses Trust.
“What Now” is a home recording of a new song written by Chip Taylor while in quarantine, 45 minutes north of New York City. The accompanying lyric video is worth a watch, simply to get you to think about the unprecedented times we are living in, and why it’s important that we all pull together. “Love across borders .. any borders, a few magical words… like kindness and caring… caring…. and sharing… and helping… until forever. We will get through this…. we will stand together”
“Six Feet Under”, the first co-write from singer-songwriters Crys Matthews & Heather Mae is a song about unconditional love in the time of Covid-19. For Heather Mae, a mental-health advocate, that love-centred perspective hits close to home. “It is the look in my love’s eyes as they see me walk in the room, their warm arms around me at night; their low, whispered voice saying ‘we’re in this together’ that gets me through. So we wrote a love song about that kind of deep, warm, comforting love in the time of COVID-19.”
Wisconsin singer-songwriter Katie Dahl landed in Europe to start a tour, just as the Covid-19 emergency hit. All of her shows were almost immediately cancelled, and she quickly found herself on her way home again. Her new song “I Already Knew”, written during isolation, is a song of quiet reflection from quarantine after returning from that ill-fated tour. “Empires shake and bodies break… and I love you.” A beautiful line from a beautiful song.
Guelph singer-songwriter Doris Folkens has just released a new single “Northern Lights”. It’s the story of an elderly man in long term care, dreaming that he would one day be able to sail away under the northern lights, into the afterlife… with his wife. The new song was produced by Andrew Collins, and also features Shane Cook on fiddle. “I think of this song often these days, because I am deeply saddened about the loss of life in our long-term care homes across the country. I hope there is some hope in the words.”
Two-time Juno Award winners Pharis & Jason Romero‘s fifth album “Bet On Love” was recorded in their banjo shop outside the small northern town of Horsefly, British Columbia, with the help of their producer Marc Jenkins. This album is quite literally home grown and inspired by the land they live on and the lifestyle they have chosen to lead, focused on balance, simplicity and intention. I think that’s a great message for all for us when we finally step away from this pandemic.
This year’s Mother’s day set featured songs from Claudia Nygaard, Maggie Duffy and Leroy Stagger.
Claudia Nygaard‘s song “I Wonder” comes from her new album “Lucky Girl”. “‘I Wonder’ is a song told from the perspective of a woman who gave her child up for adoption, and has no idea whether that child is still alive, let alone whether he/she has had a good life. I have had so many women come up to me after my show thanking me for it, and also, many people who came up to tell me they were adopted. Children now grown who have wondered why their mothers gave them up, and if their birth mothers ever wondered about them.”
Maggie Duffy is a singer, songwriter and poet from the West Country in England. Maggie sent us a few tunes to play including “Dance For Your Mother” from her latest album “Urban Fox”. Maggie’s mum Barbara was crazy for anything Irish and loved to dance. “Dance For Your Mother” was written to celebrate her passing in 2017.
Toronto based Nelson Sobral‘s new single “Yours & Mine” was not strictly part of this year’s Mother’s Day set, but maybe it should have been as it is Nelson’s mother’s favourite song. It’s a song about true love, and loving someone despite their faults and quirkiness… and maybe even because of them. So maybe it is a song about the relationship between a mother and her son?
Carolyn Anele from Vernon BC released her second album “Wishes Dreams & Centuries” in 2018. “Watch Me Fly” is a song that was written for a friend who succumbed to Parkinson’s Disease. This song was a finalist in the 2018 UK International Songwriting Contest
Donovan Woods‘ “While All The While” is not a song about living in Covid-19 isolation but it easily could have been. Co-written with GRAMMY Award-winning songwriter Lori McKenna (Little Big Town; Tim McGraw), the track is a journey through the everyday, seemingly mundane moments that make up the fabric of our lives. According to Donovan Woods, it’s a portrait of daily life that swells into a poignant meditation on how we sit with and reconcile our conflicted feelings.
“Therapy helped guide me into the idea that it’s OK to be sad. I can be sad and still make jokes and laugh. I can be sad and sing. I can be sad while still being grateful and happy that people come see my shows and care about the songs I make. I brought this idea to Lori, and we tried to write a song about just that. Getting up and getting on with life. A little celebration of the things we do while all the while a little sadness is still there with us.”
Shelley Posen’s great new Covid-19 related song was inspired by an email comment from pianist John Sheard, after the coronavirus forced the cancellation of the songwriter’s recording sessions. “We’ll meet again to make music” John wrote, “When that brilliant light at the end of the tunnel starts to shine.”
Within minutes, Shelley had written the first lines of a song which, a few days later, became “Long, Long Tunnel”.
“The song describes what I’d been feeling during the lockdown—loneliness, despair, fear for the safety of loved ones—but ‘Long, Long Tunnel’ is, had to be, more about the fervent hope that we’d all get through it.”
“Long, Long Tunnel” is a song for our time—and any dark time when a ray of musical light might help dispel the gloom.
That’s all we have time for. 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 episodes.
If you enjoy the music we play on this show and want to support the artists – many of whom aren’t able to play live at the moment because of the Covid-19 pandemic, don’t just stream their music – that earns them much less than a penny per play. Instead, buy their music – and really make a difference to their income. They’ll love you for it!
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)
When We Get Through This
(single) (2020, Pipe Records)
(single) (2020, Self)
Since I’ve Been Lonely
In Basements: In Isolation Vol 2 (2020, Self) CDN
Shawn William Clarke
A Park, A Pandemic
In Basements: In Isolation Vol 2 (2020, Self) CDN
Love & Art (2020, Linus Records) CDN
I Already Knew
(single) (2020, Leaky Boat Records)
(single) (2020, Self) CDN
Pharis & Jason Romero
We All Fall
Bet On Love (2020, Lula Records) CDN
Lucky Girl (2020, Bet The Ranch Records)
Strange Path (2019, True North Records) CDN
Dance For Your Mother
Urban Fox (2020, Purple Folk)
Yours & Mine
(single) (2020, Self) CDN
While All The While
(single) (2019, Meant Well) CDN
Watch Me Fly
Wishes Dreams & Centuries (2018, Self) CDN
Long Long Tunnel
(single) (2020, Borealis Records) CDN