We have another wonderful hour of music to share with you on Episode 531 of Folk Roots Radio. More great new releases with some excellent Covid-19 lockdown songs thrown into the mix. Join us for new music from Beth Anne Cole, Alastair Moock, Amanda Colleen Williams, Craig Cardiff, Steel Rail, The Songs and Stories of Francis Gardner, The Hello Darlins, The Burying Ground, Robert Guess, Grant Peeples, Andrew Bird, Buddy & Julie Miller, Michael Logen and Jennifer Hanson, Stacey McNeill & Jonathan Smith, Rachel Beck and Jake Ian. Check out the full playlist below.
We started off the episode with a bit of a walking meditation from Beth Anne Cole and “Walk Into The Morning”. Based on Beth’s 10-page poem “Song for a Wading Bird”, it’s the lead-off track from her third album “Perhaps The Gods Of Love”. This song went out to all the people who (like me) love to be get out and walk before the dawn. It truly is the best way to start the day – if you don’t mind the early start! And if getting up early is not your thing, well, getting out in nature for a walk, at any time, is always a great way to maintain your balance – especially during these strange times. The name Beth Anne Cole may not familiar to you, but Beth has an extensive resume as an actor, both on stage, and on Canadian TV and radio. She was also Mr. Dressup‘s sidekick for twenty-two years. A beautiful collection of poetry and songs, Perhaps The Gods Of Love is definitely worth checking out.
Grammy-nominated Boston songwriter Alastair Moock has released a great new album that’s all about youth empowerment, “Be A Pain: An Album For Young (and Old) Leaders”. Be A Pain is a rallying cry for young (and old) leaders in these turbulent times. It name checks both past heroes like Martin Luther King, Pete Seeger and Rosa Parks, while also acknowledging those from the present, such as Malala Yousafzai, Greta Thunberg and the Parkland student protestors, that are doing great work. The album features guest performances from a whole range of different performers including Sol y Canto, Alisa Amador, Reggie Harris, Mark Erelli, Crys Matthews, Kris Delmhorst as well as youth voices from the Boston City Singers, and Grammy-nominated producer Anand Nayak. Alastair Moock’s twins, Clio and Elm, also appear on the album. This recording has been supported by a successful crowd-funding campaign which has allowed Alastair to give the album away free to underserved schools in Boston and beyond.
Amanda Colleen Williams is an award winning songwriter from Nashville, who has spent most of her career writing songs with and for some of the biggest names in country music – including artists like Garth Brooks. She’s now starting to put out music under her own name, and her new single “I Am Saved” is a beautifully crafted and delivered song.
Craig Cardiff‘s Covid tune “To Be Safe, Loved & Home” nearly slipped by without mention on this radio show. A wonderfully uplifting song, early in the pandemic, Craig recorded a video for it with help from some of his fans who sent in their own short video clips of them signing for the words ‘safe’, ‘loved’ and ‘home’. You can find To Be Safe, Loved & Home on Craig’s great 2018 compilation “Collected Works”.
This episode’s instrumental comes from Montreal folk grass trio Steel Rail. “Paper Girl”, a gentle bluegrass tune, came from their latest album “Coming Home” and was written by band member Dave Clarke and performed on his 1938 Martin D-18.
Francis Gardner was a pilot, rancher, land preservation activist from Southern Alberta – he was also a bit of songwriter, and loved to write songs about life on the range. Francis sadly passed in 2016 from a heart attack, however he left behind a great group of songs that have been lovingly set to music by producer Steve Loree, and sung by Matt Robertson. Some range stories narrated by Francis Gardner himself, are also included.
Calgary based roots rock supergroup The Hello Darlins fronted by Calgary-based vocalist/producer Candace Lacina and keyboardist/producer Mike Little (known as MFL) have released “Catch That Train”, the second single from their forthcoming album “Go By Feel”. Catch That Train as all about how difficult it can be to make much needed change in your life… with the important message that “…you gotta catch that train to save your soul.”
Vancouver based vintage roots & blues band The Burying Ground have released a great new album “A Look Back”. On this episode we play their fine original song “How Long”.
Robert Guess is an American born singer-songwriter now based in British Columbia. His new E.P. entitled “British Columbia” is a beautiful love letter to the Canadian province.
Florida based singer-songwriter and poet Grant Peeples‘s latest single “I Wear The Mask” is the public service announcement we need during these strange Covid times. It’s just a pity that not everybody seems capable of understanding that we mask up in tight public spaces to protect others. Fortunately Grant does a great job of explaining why this is so important. It’s just the right thing to do. Please do it.
“The Last Bridge You Will Cross (For John Lewis)” is a new song from Buddy & Julie Miller to commemorate the life of congressman and civil rights icon John Lewis who sadly passed away recently. It was recorded in lockdown and is now part of an album they are calling “The Lockdown Sessions”.
“Capital Crimes” is a song that Andrew Bird wrote over a year ago to question the validity of capital punishment in the US – and what it means for a state to commit to put someone to death. Andrew now says that the song has renewed resonance during the pandemic.
“Lately we find ourselves having these moral arguments, these false choice fallacies that older citizens should sacrifice themselves for the sake of the economy. The government exists to protect and care for its citizens especially those who are most vulnerable, not decide who should be sacrificed. I hope the song handles the issue more eloquently than my prose here. ‘If I let go of your hand it would be murder’ — the things that hold our society together are not really institutions and laws but everyday humanity and compassion. An acceptance that we are all in this together.”
We’ve been playing a lot of Americana singer-songwriter Michael Logen on this show recently. On this episode we play the beautiful “Here’s to Hoping” the title track of the 5-song EP he recorded with country singer-songwriter Jennifer Hanson.
North Wales based duo Stacey McNeill & Jonathan Smith popped up on our radio a couple of months ago. We included “Brave Spirit” from their new E.P. “Leaving Autumn Town” on this episode. Brave Spirit tells the true story of an elderly American lady that used to come in to the café where Stacey worked while she was a student, and shared all sorts of tales about her childhood – including how her father died, fighting in the Second World War.
PEI’s Rachel Beck has a new chamber pop EP out “Stronger Than You Know” which is definitely a bit poppier than what she was producing with sister Amy. Produced by Daniel Ledwell, there is a layered ethereal quality to the vocals, while making use of electronic rhythms and synths to bring out a danceable groove. On this episode we play the beautiful piano and strings based ballad “Tonight”, which is more of a fit for this radio show.
We wrapped the episode with Edmonton based singer-songwriter Jake Ian with his nice version of traditional song “All of the Good Times Are Passed and Gone”, from his seventh album “Half A Day Away”.
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, Spotify, 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)
Beth Anne Cole
Walk Into The Morning
Perhaps The Gods Of Love (2020, Self) CDN
Kids Can Do Great Things (feat. Kris Delmhorst)
Be A Pain: An Album For Young (& Old) Leaders (2020, Moockshake Music)
Amanda Colleen Williams
I Am Saved (Radio edit)
(single) (2020, Hillbilly Culture)
To Be Safe, Loved & Home
Collected Works (2018, True North Records) CDN
Coming Home (2020, Crossties Music) CDN
The Hello Darlins
Catch That Train
(single) (2020, Self) CDN
The Burying Ground
A Look Back (2020, Self) CDN
British Columbia E.P. (2020, Self) CDN
I Wear The Mask
(single) (2020, Rootball Records)
Capital Crimes (Radio Edit)
(single) (2020, Loma Vista Recordings)
Buddy & Julie Miller
The Last Bridge You Will Cross (For John Lewis)
Lockdown Sessions (2020, New West)
Stacey McNeill & Jonathan Smith
Leaving Autumn Town (2020, Self)
Stronger Than You Know (2020, Self) CDN
All of the Good Times Are Passed and Gone
Half A Day Away (2020, Self) CDN