We’re holding back the interviews again on Episode 548 of Folk Roots Radio as we bring you an hour of the latest new releases including more Covid tunes, and some great new protest songs. Join us for new music from Paul Snider, Cathy Fink & Marcy Marxer, Philip Scott Poli, The Roxton Rambles with Ken Whiteley & Ceilidh Wood, Valeri Dimchev with Anton Apostolov & Valeri Pastarmadzhiev, Justin Farren, Brian Blain, Adam Wendler, Moira Smiley & Seamus Egan (with Sam Amidon), HuDost and Gabriel Campagne. We also include special tributes to outlaw country pioneers Jerry Jeff Walker and Billy Joe Shaver who both sadly passed away recently. Remember, if you like what you hear on this show… don’t just stream the music – BUY the music and then you’ll really make a difference to artists income during this difficult time when it’s much more challenging to find live shows. Check out the full playlist below.
Vancouver based singer/songwriter and actor Paul Snider has released a lovely piano-driven ballad “Remember The Time”, a heartfelt reflection on the strange times we are currently living through.
“Through my song, I want people to remember how much they miss the things they’ve taken for granted for so long. There has to be some good to come out of all of this, even if it is simply that people begin to appreciate what they have, and not just when it is taken away. I wanted to release this song during Covid when it would be most relevant, but with social distancing my recording options were limited. So I created the entire project in my home studio. Covid may have stopped a lot of things – but it can’t stop creativity.”
Cathy Fink & Marcy Marxer, who like all musicians have seen their live shows and income drop away to almost nothing during the pandemic, have been keeping themselves busy performing shows online and writing new songs and tunes.
“Early on in the pandemic lockdown, we (like everyone else) were faced with the cancellation of all our live shows and touring. After 47 years of on the road, 48 albums and over 50 instructional video and audio projects, we felt lucky to be able to build community and raise spirits through weekly Facebook shows for both families and adult audiences. We also raised money (and continue to raise funds) for food banks, which we know will continue to struggle as the pandemic goes on.”
Cathy & Marcy’s new single, “Hold Each Other Up”, pretty much wrote itself. A perfect Covid tune, since it was released other groups have created their own versions of the song to share online.
Ken Whiteley and Ceilidh Wood have been going out to sing on their street, Roxton Road (in Toronto), every night at 7:30 p.m. since the start of the pandemic. They sing two songs and have been encouraging their neighbours to come and join them, in a socially distanced sort of way. It has become an important vehicle for connection between neighbours – a celebration of singing that includes shout outs to frontline workers who have been going the extra mile to ensure we are all safe and well-cared for during these strange times. “Ode To The Road” was written by Ken Whiteley and Ceilidh Wood in honour of the 150th continuous night of their neighbourhood singalongs. They’ve now passed their 200th night, and are still going strong!
Windsor singer-songwriter Philip Scott Poli has released his debut solo album “One Sky” which features songs that he has been working on for the last ten years or so. One Sky was recorded in Covid isolation and it is truly an international effort with support from musicians based in several different countries. On this episode we play the beautiful “The Story”, which is definitely a sort of Covid tune.
“Two years ago, my brother came down with flesh-eating disease. He was saved by emergency surgery – but for one long night, his life hung in the balance. It was such a surreal experience, sitting in the ICU watching all these machines keep him alive and not knowing if there was a tomorrow for him. He hadn’t taken the best care of himself over the years and that was a contributing factor to the precariousness of his situation. It’s a pretty helpless feeling when you watch someone you love struggle with their demons. You want to change the story, but it’s not yours to tell.”
Toronto based guitarist Anton Apostolov (Green Sky Project) went out to Bulgaria last year to record an album for Bulgarian National Radio with renowned tambura player Valeri Dimchev. The recently released instrumental album “String Fairytales”, which also features Valeri Pastarmadzhiev on contrabass, has a bit of a folklore fusion feel to it. On this episode we play Anton Apostolov’s original composition “Pirin Fairytale”.
“We recorded the album in a very simple way, live in the radio studio with no editing and little in the way of post-production which gives the album a very live and organic feel. The music breathes.”
Sacramento CA based singer-songwriter Justin Farren has a great way with lyrics. It’s hard to listen to any of his songs without developing a smile on your face. On this episode we play the playful “There’s No Such Thing As A Bad Day” from his excellent fourth album “Pretty Free”, a recording that is chock full of clever lyrics.
Toronto bluesman Brian Blain, who writes a wonderful blues newsletter, the ‘Blainsletter’ has released a new album “I’m Not Fifty Anymore” which features many of Canada’s best roots and blues players including Julian Fauth, Gary Kendall, Ken Whiteley, Harry Manx, David Vest and Michael Jerome Browne. On this episode we play the tongue in cheek title track which also features some fine harp from Steve Marriner.
“For this album, I wanted to bring attention to the water crisis that is affecting three billion people on the planet. “Water Song” is a pretty dark “ear movie” with a global vibe provided by Sadio Sissokho (kora) and Harry Manx (mohan veena) with haunting vocals by Ruth Mathiang. Some of the songs on the album end with extended jams (because I love to jam) and the last track is a ten-minute acoustic soundscape with Michael Jerome Browne from the last day of recording my “Overqualified For The Blues” album years ago in Montreal. I call it “Tai Chi Ten” because it’s just the right pace and length for my Tai Chi set, but it makes for a fine meditation, even if you aren’t moving.”
Canadian folk/pop singer-songwriter Adam Wendler, from Goderich ON, who is currently based in Berlin has released a new single “For Today”, a feel-good folk/pop road trip song that’s all about seizing the day and living in the moment.
Americana folk singer Moira Smiley and Irish music legend Seamus Egan have released a new protest song “Days Of War” which also features Sam Amidon. The song was written in response to a rising tide of white supremacy in the US, and in these tumultuous times it represents a plea for racial justice and equality.
HuDost, led by Kentucky-based musicians and activists Moksha Sommer and Jemal Wade Hines have released a powerful call for change “Our Words Will Be Louder” which was co-written with Dan Haseltine (from GRAMMY Award-winning band Jars of Clay) and Guitar World magazine’s Acoustic Guitarist of the Year Christie Lenée.
Our Words Will Be Louder addresses how people can feel inadequate until they give their voices to a larger purpose. The accompanying video includes cameo performances from many artists and activists: Jars of Clay, Kevin Hearn (The Barenaked Ladies), Kevin Clash (creator of Elmo), Cy Curnin (The FIXX), Gangstagrass, Jai Uttal, Hymn for Her, The Accidentals, JP Durand, Liza Carbe (Incendio) and more.
Proceeds from “Our Words Will Be Louder” go to support the Poor People’s Campaign, a non-profit organization that has committed to lifting up and supporting those most affected by systemic racism, poverty, the war economy, and ecological devastation – as well as reaching out across lines of division.
The end of the video shows footage of some peaceful protests and the voice of one of the leaders of the Poor People’s Campaign, Rev. William J. Barber II:
“We will stand up again. We will march again. We will preach again. We will organize again. We are black. We are white. We are Latino. We are native American. We are Democrat. We are Republican. We are Independent. We are people of faith. We are people not of faith. We are natives and immigrants. We are business leaders and workers and unemployed. We are doctors and the uninsured. We are gay. We are straight. We are students. We are parents. We are retirees We are America. And we are here and we ain’t going nowhere!”
Gabriel Campagne, from Montreal, son of Connie Kaldor and Paul Campagne has been making music with his own band Les Barricades. He’s just released a solo single – a call for social justice, “I Will Resist” which was recorded in a 100 year old grainery in Saskatchewan on a shoestring budget, 3000km from home.
“If we’re going to be dealing with the same problems, we should look to those who’ve fought before us for inspiration. This is a song of our time in an old school style, to help us march through today’s injustice and incompetence.”
“Viva Terlingua!” which was recorded live in Luckenbach TX in August 1973 is regarded as being one of the best live singer-songwriter albums ever released. It features Jerry Jeff Walker and his Lost Gonzo Band at the start of their time together, and playing if there was no tomorrow. On this episode we play the lead-off track, Jerry Jeff Walker’s own “Gettin’ By”.
Viva Terlingua! is a fantastic album. Thom Jurek captured it perfectly in his review for AllMusic:
“The material is terrific. Half of it is from Jerry Jeff’s catalog: “Sangria Wine,” “Gettin’ By,” “Little Bird,” “Get It Out,” and “Wheel.” The rest? Can’t possibly do better: Guy Clark’s “Desperados Waiting for the Train,” Ray Wylie Hubbard’s “Up Against the Wall, Redneck Mother,” Michael Murphy’s “Backslider’s Wine,” and Gary P. Nunn’s Austin City Limits anthem, “London Homesick Blues.” It doesn’t sound anything like it was recorded in front of an audience, but it does sound live as hell. These folks were partyin’ it up and layin’ down the tracks at white heat. This record was made in a night and it feels like it was made in your living room. It’s guaranteed to lift any dark mood within 15 minutes. This record asks no questions and there are no hidden meanings in Walker’s or anybody else’s lyrics; it’s all there for the taking. And that’s what makes it the enduring classic it is.”
We followed that with a live version of Jerry Jeff Walker’s signature song and one of the greatest story songs ever, “Mr. Bojangles” which was inspired by a street performer Jerry Jeff met in a New Orleans jail.
We wrapped up the episode with two songs from Bily Joe Shaver starting off with 1973 outlaw country classic “I Been To Georgia On A Fast Train” which was his first big hit, and actually told the story of his early life.
We followed that with the wonderful “Live Forever”, a Billy Joe Shaver song he wrote with son Eddy, his longtime guitarist, in 1993.
Eddy died in 2000. Billy Joe Shaver was quoted as saying: “His spirit’s still with me. I do believe that when people pass away, the goodness, the good things they did, it seems like they melt into your likeness… and you become a better person for it. Just like the songs I leave behind me, I’m gonna live forever now,”
The perfect way to finish this episode. Stay safe and well everyone. We will get through this!
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)
Remember The Time
(single) (2020, Self) CDN
Cathy Fink & Marcy Marxer
Hold Each Other Up
(Single) (2020, Community Music)
Philip Scott Poli
One Sky (2020, Self) CDN
The Roxton Rambles with Ken Whiteley and Ceilidh Wood
Ode To The Road
(single) (2020, Self) CDN
There’s No Such Thing As A Bad Day
Pretty Free (2020, Self)
I’m Not Fifty Anymore (feat. Steve Marriner)
I’m Not Fifty Anymore (2020, Self) CDN
Living For Today
(single) (2020, Self) CDN
Our Words Will Be Louder (feat. Dan Haseltine & Christie Lenée)
(single) (2020, Self)
I Will Resist
(single) (2020, Self) CDN
Jerry Jeff Walker
Gettin’ By (Live)
Viva Terlingua (Live) (1973, UMG Recordings)
Jerry Jeff Walker
Mr. Bojangles [Live In New Orleans] 20th Century Masters: The Best Of Jerry Jeff Walker (The Millennium Collection) (2002, MCA Nashville / Universal)
Billy Joe Shaver
I Been To Georgia On A Fast Train
Billy Joe Shaver (1982, Columbia)
Billy Joe Shaver (with Big & Rich)
Greatest Hits (2007, Compadre Records)