Folk Roots Radio Episode 515: We’re All About The Music! (Covid Times Edition)

Folk Roots Radio Episode 515: We're All About The Music! (Covid Times Edition)

We’re all about the music on Episode 515 of Folk Roots Radio as we bring you more Covid-19 lockdown inspired tunes and more great new releases. We’ve actually included a lot more singles on this episode than usual – many written during lockdown, which is why we’ve decided to subtitle this one ‘The Covid Times Edition’ of Folk Roots Radio. Join us for new music from Andy Comley, Melanie Peterson, Fresh Breath, Don Johnston, Hamish Napier, Martyn Joseph, Tomorrow Bird, The Worldwide Shanty Project, Castanea & Rising Appalachia, Becky Buller, Jason Wilber, Chicks With Dip, Jeff Orson and Francine Honey (with Robert Gray). Check out the full playlist below.

Show Notes

Andy Comley is a singer-songwriter from Winchester in Southern England who describes himself as passionate, and, a poet, and specializes in writing songs that touch people. “My music is written as an emotional response to the moment, and the words are an emotional response to the music.”

“We Got This” is the wonderful new single from Toronto singer-songwriter and actress Melanie Peterson, and the first track to be released from an E.P. of the same name due later in the year.

“I wrote this song in a hotel room in Edmonton on a cold winter day. I was touring to Vancouver, thanks to Via Rail’s Artists on Board program, and had stopped over to play a show at the charming Blackbird Cafe. After the show, I had two days before the train came through again, so I decided to use my time wisely and write a song and debut it in Vancouver. These three words ‘We Got This’ came to me, and the words and music began to flow. It’s a song about hope and knowing that in the midst of emotional struggle, which I feel is appropriate, as we all patiently hope for the best during the COVID-19 pandemic, we look forward to the day we can say – we got this!”

Josh and Katie Pascoe are from Cottam ON, and make music together as Fresh Breath. They describe their music as folk-rock, blues, pop and country with a lot of heart and soul. It’s a pretty good description, as they bring a positive and uplifting attitude to everything they do.

“‘Tomorrow Today’ was written during the start of the COVID-19 pandemic. Josh was playing the piano riff one day during our isolation, and I (Katie) thought of the lyrics on the spot. The song is inspired directly by the health care heroes and front line workers out there that are choosing daily courage over fear, and fighting for our ‘Tomorrow Today.’”

“The accompanying video features a mindful cameo from Ann Pascoe, Josh’s mom, who is also a sign language interpreter, and marks a way to share the inspiring message with as many people as possible.”

We’re big fans of the music of Fresh Breath. You can find an interview we recorded with Josh and Katie at the release of their last album “The Big Picture” HERE.

Don Johnston is a singer-songwriter from Charlottetown we met through this radio show – as a listener. Don has written about 600 songs. He doesn’t play shows, he just writes songs for the love of it. On this episode we play his humorous song “Covid Belly”. I don’t think it needs any more explanation – the less said about lockdown weight gain the better!

Hamish Napier is a folk musician and composer from Scotland. He’s just released a fantastic third album “The Woods” – a wonderful folk tune cycle, which celebrates the ancient forests of his native Strathspey in the Scottish Highlands. It’s a beautifully packaged album with 21 different tracks, and 28 different tunes. There is a track on the album for every letter of the Scottish Gaelic tree alphabet which, apparently, is traditionally taught with reference to native trees and shrubs. A very interesting project – it’s highly recommended if you, like me,  enjoy losing yourself in a beautifully recorded instrumental album.

Martyn Joseph‘s song “Nye” was written in 2015 for his “Sweet Liberties” project, in which he pays tribute to the UK’s health service, the NHS, and its founder Aneurin Bevan, or Nye as he was known to everyone from his native Wales and beyond. Martyn has released the song as a double A-side with “When We Get Through This” to support the NHS, during the Covid-19 emergency. Funds raised from the sale of the singles will go to support the Cavell Nurses Trust.

The Worldwide Shanty Project is a collection of singers and musicians from across the world who came together to celebrate the worldwide shanty and sea song community with their own Covid-19 song, “All Stand Together”. All Stand Together was written by UK singer-songwriter Chris Ricketts to raise awareness of the mental health challenges that many people have faced during this extended lockdown. All proceeds from the release of the single, available on Bandcamp, go to support the charity TONIC – Music For Mental Health.

Check out the video with the introduction from the fabulous John Tams, who gave his blessing to the project.

If you want to join The Worldwide Shanty Project, they have a Facebook group:

Continuing the healthcare theme, our good friends Jen Bird and Simon Driscoll, who make music as acoustic folk duo Tomorrow Bird, have released their own single in support of the NHS, “Not All Heroes Wear Capes”. Jen and Simon have also been releasing a mix of their own songs and some well-chosen covers on Youtube. You can check out our interview with Jen and Simon HERE.

Multi-instrumentalist David Brown is the bassist and baritone guitar player, with the wonderful Rising Appalachia led by sisters Leah and Chloe smith. David also has his own side project Castanea. Castanea has just released a special Covid-19 remix of the Rising Appalachia song “Resilient”, a song that David says has taken on a new meaning during these strange times of disruption, isolation and uncertainty.

Fiddler Becky Buller‘s new single “More Heart, Less Attack” is the latest release from her upcoming album “Distance And Time”. According to Becky, the message ‘we need more heart and less attack’ is always important, but even more so during these strange times.

Jason Wilber is probably best known as the late great John Prine’s long time guitar player, one of many sad losses during this pandemic. As you can hear on Jason’s song “Living In Space”, he’s also a very fine songwriter. We’ll have more from Jason’s latest album “Time Traveler” on a future episode.

Chicks With Dip are a female songwriter collective from the New York City area. They have recorded a fabulous lockdown version of the classic “What a Wonderful World” (G. Douglas, G.D. Weiss), recorded by each artist in isolation and mixed for audio and video by Katherine Etzel. The featured performers (in alphabetical order) are Meg Braun, Karen Dahlstrom (acoustic guitar), Katherine Etzel (ukulele), Jen McDearman, Catherine Miles, Karyn Oliver, Elisa Peimer (piano), Cheryl Prashker (drums), Allison Scola (clarinet), Carolann Solebello (bass, electric guitar), Allison Tartalia (bells, keyboards), and Aimee VanDyne (acoustic guitar).

The accompanying video is great. Get your hankies ready!

Canadian country artist Jeff Orson has released a wonderful new Covid-19 single “Pray” which will raise money for UNICEF’s COVID-19 Solidarity Response Fund. You can also download the song from Bandcamp.

Leamington ON’s Francine Honey has released a new single “I Carry On”, which was written with fellow Leamington songwriter Rob Gray, who also sings on the version we’ve included in this episode. According to Francine, “I Carry On” is a testament to the human spirit and its ability to overcome the challenges that life throws our way.

Rob Gray was facing the challenge of a cancer diagnosis while writing this song. As Francine and Rob say – as with Covid-19, you just do what you have to do to get through it.

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!

Stay safe and well everyone! We’ll get through this… together and apart.

Image: Image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay.


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)

Andy Comley
(single) (2020, Self)

Melanie Peterson
We Got This
(single) (2020, Self) CDN

Fresh Breath
Tomorrow Today
(single) (2020, Self) CDN

Don Johnston
Covid Belly
(demo) (2020, Self) CDN

Hamish Napier
Forest Folk
The Woods (2020, Strathspey Records)

Martyn Joseph
Nye (Song for the NHS)
(single) (2020, Pipe Records)

Tomorrow Bird
Not All Heroes Wear Capes
(single) (2020, Self)

The Worldwide Shanty Project
All Stand Together
(single) (2020, Self)

Castanea & Rising Appalachia
Resilient (Remix)
(single) (2020, Self)

Becky Buller
More Heart, Less Attack
Distance And Time (2020, Dark Shadow Recording)

Jason Wilber
Living In Space
Time Traveler (2019, Wilbertone Records)

Chicks With Dip
What A Wonderful World
(single) (2020, Self)

Jeff Orson
(single) (2020, Self) CDN

Francine Honey
I Carry On (feat. Robert Gray)
(single) (2020, 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.


Leave a comment
  • Thank you Jan for listening to the song and for adding it to the show today. So much appreciated. Thank you for continuing to do the show during these crazy times. It helps us so much.

    • Thanks for sharing such a great song with us – the prefect way to finish ‘The Covid Times Edition’ of Folk Roots Radio! Stay safe and well!

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