We’re going all about the music again on Episode 533 of Folk Roots Radio as we check out more of the latest new releases with more wonderful Covid lockdown tunes thrown into the mix. Join us for new music from Lynn Miles, Marin Patenaude, William Prince, Rachael Sage, Emilyn Stam & John David Williams, Alex Cuba, Countermeasure, Ian Foster & Nancy Hynes, Jayme Stone, Fred Lessman & the Backroad Warriors (feat. Brett Levick), Tommy Byrd and Greg Tressel alongside tributes to Canada’s Queen of the Blues Salome Bey, renowned Chicago based singer-songwriter Michael Peter Smith, and Fleetwood Mac founding member and fine blues guitarist Peter Green, who all sadly left us recently. Check out the full playlist below.
Lynn Miles has released a wonderful new album,“We’ll Look For Stars”, which was produced with Dave Draves. Her fifteenth album, and first release since The LYNNeS 2018 album “Heartbreak Song For The Radio” (with Lynne Hanson), on this episode we play the beautiful piano driven title track that’s all about connection and the strength of relationships in the face of whatever life brings you. That makes it a perfect song for Covid times!
We followed that with Marin Patenaude (who is Pharis Romero’s younger sister) with “Cold Front” from her new confessional folk album “Sight Unseen”.
“I bought a horse named Sight Unseen. Unknowingly, she was wild and painfully aware. Both new to one another, I tried everything I could to connect but we never really did. Much of my life has been about trying to connect and aspiring for deep intimacy. I found that with this music, and the incredible relationships that were built around it by muses and musicians. This is an album of release, healing, and celebration. It’s tracked by the big feelings of an impassioned woman, stories from long ago, and fervor for current beliefs, all with nature as the backdrop. Call it ‘Journey Folk’, influenced by Laurel Canyon days, old time revelry, and playing free.”
Winnipeg based William Prince has picked up the 2020 SOCAN songwriting prize – Canada’s most prestigiuous music award for creation based on a public vote, for his beautiful song “The Spark” from second album “Reliever”, which arrived earlier this year.
“Songwriting has been a part of my life for so long. The Spark goes back to my earliest days of learning how to communicate love and hope through music. Winning the SOCAN prize is terrific affirmation of the beginning of my life’s work and motivation to keep working on the next chapter. Thank you to SOCAN and everyone that took time to vote.”
We dipped back into “Character”, the beautifully packaged latest release from Rachael Sage again on this episode. Character is a song cycle reflecting on Rachael’s recovery from endometrial cancer, and how she felt changed by the experience.
“The songs on the album reflect on just how resilient the human spirit can be, while reminding us that sometimes ‘it’s ok to not be ok’.”
On this episode we play “Blue Sky Days”, a free association song about the benefits she gained using meditation to allay fears and doubts during her recovery.
Ontario based instrumental duo Emilyn Stam & John David Williams bring together the sound of the clarinet, violin, and diatonic and chromatic accordions to create a modern sound that is steeped in tradition. They’ve just released their second recording together, “Honeywood”, an album of original music that is intended for both social dance and concert settings, and a project that has been near and dear to their hearts for the past three years,
“The album is intended to be an ode to the beauty of gathering in community through music and dance, and a thank-you to our families and communities for enriching our lives by giving their energy and spirit into these fulfilling moments. Like so many things these days, our current circumstances cast a new light on its message. Our project has now become our wish for these gatherings being possible again soon, and for resilience while we are all kept waiting for the sorts of events that connect us and provide us with such joy in normal times. We hope listening at home or playing the tunes from the accompanying tune book can evoke some good memories and excitement for when we can all play and dance together again.”
Canadian Juno and Latin Grammy winning artist Alex Cuba has been keeping himself busy during the pandemic by recording songs in his home studio in Smithers, BC. On this episode we play the beautiful “Diablo De Un Segundo”, one of three new singles he’s released so far, and a melancholy song about time and hopelessness. So that definitely qualifies to be a Covid tune!
Countermeasure, the Toronto based 13-member vocal group, are getting ready to release their latest album “Guest Sessions” which as the title suggests features some special guests. On this episode we play the single “Carry Away” which features lead vocals from artistic director Aaron Jensen with guest Kevin Fox on cello.
Ian Foster & Nancy Hynes have released a beautiful Covid lockdown song “Siena”, written during the early days of the pandemic lockdown. And that feels like such a long time ago now…
“This song is about the people of Siena, Italy, leaning out of their windows to sing ‘Canto della Verbena’ during lockdown. ‘Verbena’ is a 700 year old patriotic folk song about Siena’s strength and ingenuity, when they first brought water from 25km away to their fountains through underground tunnels. The ‘verbena’ (flowers) grew in the fields outside their walls as a result. The weight of that history got my songwriting senses tingling. My lyrics in ‘Siena’ heavily reference the imagery of the lyrics in ‘Canto della Verbena’ as a tribute.”
One of our favourite artists, banjoist and composer Jayme Stone is about to release a fantastic new album “AWake”, which is a bit of departure from his recent critically acclaimed roots music flavoured albums, “The Lomax Project” and “Folklife”. AWake dabbles in ambient electropop in a rather beautiful way, and is, in some ways, reminiscent of the solo work of David Byrne from Talking Heads, Owen Pallett and Sufjan Stevens. On this episode we play the first single “Future Promise”. We’re working on an interview. Stay tuned for more information on that.
One of the best things about doing a radio show like this, is being surprised by songs from artists that are new to your radar. Last week we received an e-mail from UK label, Camelot Records, about a couple of songs from artists that might be a good fit for this show; Fred Lessman & the Backroad Warriors from Northern California wine country with their timely and thoughtful new single “Children Of Our Children” (which features guitarist Bret Levick) and Greg Tressel from Southern Oregon with the upbeat song “Keep Facing The Sunshine” to help us move forward during these uncertain times. With such great messages, we couldn’t resist adding both to this episode.
Tommy Byrd (from Austin TX duo Byrd & Street) has released a great new lockdown song “Down In The Street”, which is about the Black Lives Matter protests. The song also features Dave Scher on guitar, bass and drums, and comes with a great video.
We wrapped up this episode with musical tributes to three artists that left us recently.
Toronto based jazz, blues and gospel singer Salome Bey, who moved to Canada from the US in 1964, passed away recently after a long fight with dementia. On this episode we play the self written “Untitled Love Song” from her 1997 album “I Like Your Company”.
We also lost Chicago based singer-songwriter Michael Peter Smith, whose songwriting was very favourably compared to that of John Prine. On this episode we play a live version of Michael’s original song “The Dutchman” which became a hit for Steve Goodman. The version we played was recorded at a special Tribute to Steve Goodman in 1985, after his death from leukaemia.
Peter Green was the voice and guiding light of the original bluesy version of Fleetwood Mac. On this episode we play the Peter Green Splinter Group’s instrumental version of the classic “Man Of The World” – one of the last songs Peter wrote before leaving the band in 1969, to take time to deal with the mental health challenges that would shape the rest of his life. A fabulous blues guitarist, he truly was one with the instrument.
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 lots 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 will get through this!
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)
We’ll Look For Stars
We’ll Look For Stars (2020, Must Have Music) CDN
Sight Unseen (2020, Still Records) CDN
Reliever (2020, Six Shooter Records) CDN
Blue Sky Days
Character (2020, Mpress Records)
Emilyn Stam & John David Williams
Red Bay / The Stone Whale / Stukjes (Jig Chapelloise)
Honeywood (2020, Self) CDN
Diablo De Un Segundo
(single) (2020, Caracol Records) CDN
Carry Away (feat. Kevin Fox)
(single) (2020, Self) CDN
Ian Foster & Nancy Hynes
(single) (2020, Self) CDN
AWake (2020, Self) CDN
Fred Lessman & the Backroad Warriors
Children Of Our Children (feat. Bret Levick)
(single) (2020, Camelot Records)
Tommy Byrd (with Dave Scher)
Down In The Street
(Single) (2020, Self)
Untitled Love Song
I Like Your Company (1997, Duke Street Records)
Michael Peter Smith
The Dutchman (Live)
Tribute To Steve Goodman (Live at the Arie Crown Theatre, 1985) (2010, Red Pyjama Records)
Man Of The World
The Best of Peter Green Splinter Group (1996, Snapper Music)
Keep Facing The Sunshine
(single) (2020, Camelot Records)