We’re holding back the interviews on Episode 553 of Folk Roots Radio to bring you another hour of great new music to help you get through these strange Covid times. This time around we hear from The Bengsons, Gillian Tuite, Moira & Claire, Beppe Gambetta, Big Little Lions, Michael Lane, River North, Reid Jamieson, The Avenoir Project, Flo Perlin & Pilgrims’ Dream, Samantha Martin & Delta Sugar, iskwē & Tom Wilson (Lee Harvey Osmond), Tomato Tomato, Langhorne Slim and Ricky Green & Danny Traves. Remember, if you like the artists you hear on this show, don’t just stream their music – BUY their music and then you’ll really make a difference to their income during this difficult time when it’s much more challenging to find live shows. Check out the full playlist below.
Abigail and Shaun Bengson make music as The Bengsons. They are normally based in Louisville KY, however, they’ve been riding out the coronavirus pandemic at Shaun’s parents place in Dayton OH. They popped up on our radar because one of our long time listeners suggested that their “Keep On Going Song” would be perfect for these strange Covid times.
The Keep Going Song is taken from their ‘storytelling in song’ visual album “Live from Our Home at the End of the World” which is now available to stream on Broadway on Demand.
Keeping going is all we can do at the moment. We will get through this!
Talking of ‘at the moment’, German-American singer-songwriter Michael Lane‘s new single “Moment” is all about living in the moment. Hard to do, but it definitely helps keep your anxiety under control.
“‘Moment’ is a song about letting go, embracing the present moment, and living life to the fullest. It’s an emotional atmospheric soundscape inspired by the beauty of life itself. Life’s too short to focus on things you can’t change. Everyone says time goes by so fast – that’s true if you’re not living in the moment. So let’s try to live in the present – because in reality, the present moment is all we really have.”
Life and musical partners Heather Christine and Matt Zaddy from Mississauga ON have released a Covid tune, “This Too Shall Pass”. It’s actually their debut single as River North. The song actually began life as a poem, written at the start of lockdown – by Heather’s parents, who are both writers.
“They wrote it to express their emotions at the start of the lockdown, when an entire generation was essentially isolated for fear of what the virus could do to older adults.Their words inspired us to express what we’ve been thinking and feeling during these strange times. We wrote ‘This Too Shall Pass’ as a beacon of hope, and to remind us that many things have come before us — and passed. We will make it through this together”.
Irish singer-songwriter Gillian Tuite has released a new single “Who I Am Today” which she wrote in lockdown with American songwriter Gary Ferguson.
“We’ve experienced several lockdowns this year in Ireland, but Gary and I wrote the song from a distance and I was very lucky to get to record with the wonderful people at Sessions in the House in Northern Ireland. I have made several trips to the United States and previously recorded with Thomm Jutz in Nashville; I’m still holding on to a ticket from earlier in the year and look forward to visiting again.”
Antigonish NS sister duo Moira & Claire are continuing to put out some great singles. Their latest, “Better Than This”, was written at the start of the lockdown and reflects on the impact of a close friend moving away.
“We wrote Better Than This at the start of quarantine, when everything was starting to shut down. Usually it takes us a while to write a full song, but this one came together in under an hour which is very different for us. Better Than This is written from the perspective of someone who is processing the moving away of a new friend, and wondering if this friend misses them like they do.”
Genovese acoustic guitarist and singer-songwriter Beppe Gambetta‘s latest album “Where The Wind Blows / Dove Tia O Vento” features songs sung in both English and Italian, alongside some fine instrumentals. It’s his first album featuring all original material.
The ever-productive Big Little Lions who feature long distance songwriting partners Helen Austin and Paul Otten are continuing with their plan to write and release new singles with accompanying videos once a month. “Anymore” is not the uplifting song we usually associate with the band during these times – they describe it as a dark tune about heartbreak and deceit. It’s still pretty good though – and when you watch the great video they’ve put out with it, it doesn’t feel that dark at all.
Vancouver based Reid Jamieson (ably assisted by his life and musical partner Carolyn Mill) is one of the hardest working singer-songwriters out there. There’s not a month goes by that we don’t receive something new for airplay. Reid particularly enjoys creating cover versions of some of his favourite songs. His latest album is a full length album of John Lennon covers, “JOHN 20:20”. On this episode we play “Nobody Told Me” which is probably ‘my favourite’ John Lennon song – I say probably because on a different day you could get a different answer. I have been accused of having too many favourites.
Ben Violante and Barry Locke from London in the UK have been making music together during lockdown as The Avenoir Project. They’ve released a lockdown EP “The Ones We Leave Behind”. On this episode we play the thoughtful and reflective “Where Did I Go”.
“Times passing is inevitable and before too long its history begins to etch itself into your skin, like the carvings in a tree. We will age, we will grow, and we will eventually die. This is a song about accepting the physical and mental effects of time and its place in the life you have lived. You reach a point of no return and say, ‘Where did I go?'”
“Life Lives Inside”, the new single from Flo Perlin & Pilgrims’ Dream from the UK was written and recorded in Flo’s living room during lockdown. It shares the story of the evolving connection between a human and a bird, while out at sea. It is a metaphor for the importance of connection with others whilst we’re all adrift in the unknown, and reflects the uncertainty of the current times.
Samantha Martin & Delta Sugar from Toronto have released a great funky and soulful new album “The Reckless One” which blends together roots, blues, rock and soulful R & B to produce a sound that’s all their own. They’re a really great live band. Something to look forward to when we finally get through this.
iskwē & Tom Wilson (Lee Harvey Osmond) have released a great new single “Blue Moon Drive”, with some fabulous trumpet from jazz musician Chuck Copenace. The new single is actually the result of a collaboration that started out when iskwē and Tom Wilson shared the stage, and a mic, at the 2020 Indspire Awards in Ottawa. It’s not only a collaboration of three great artists, but it’s also a celebration of four indigenous nations – iskwē (cree, Métis), Tom (Mohawk), and Chuck (Ojibway).
Lisa and John McLaggan make music together as Tomato Tomato. The song we play on this episode “Chasing Rainbows” comes from their latest album “It’ll Come Around” which was recorded between their home in St John NB and Nashville with support from producer and multi-instrumentalist Jon Estes. Chasing Rainbows also features a beautiful string arrangement by Matt Combs.
“Mighty Soul” is the first single from Langhorne Slim‘s forthcoming album “Strawberry Mansion”. It’s an upbeat song that’s all about encouraging people to rise above political rancour, hate, and selfishness to rediscover our collected consciousness and, above all, embrace love. After an incredibly divisive US Presidential Election, that is something we should all get behind.
Ricky Green from Connecticut has written a new single with his cousin Danny Graves who lives in London in the UK. Their latest single “Call Me Home” was written after the passing of Ricky’s grandfather. Days before he passed, Ricky and his family visited his grandfather one last time before he was taken life support. Ricky’s mother said that she could hear Ricky’s grandmother ‘call him home’ – which became the inspiration for the song. The lyrics, vocals, and guitar parts were written by Ricky Green while Danny Traves added the string arrangement.
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!
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)
The Keep Going Song
Live from Our Home at the End of the World (2020, Self)
Who I Am Today
(single) (2020, Self)
Moira & Claire
Better Than This
(single) (2020, Ticklegrass Records) CDN
Where The Wind Blows – Dove Tia O Vento (2020, Borealis Records)
Big Little Lions
(single) (2020, Self) CDN
(single) (2020, Greywood Records)
This Too Shall Pass
(single) (2020, Self) CDN
Nobody Told Me
JOHN 20:20 (John Lennon Covers Album) (2020, Self) CDN
The Avenoir Project
Where Did I Go
The Ones We Leave Behind EP (2020, Self)
Flo Perlin & Pilgrims’ Dream
Life Lives Inside
(single) (2020, Self)
Samantha Martin & Delta Sugar
All That I Am
The Reckless One (2020, Gypsy Soul Records) CDN
It’ll Come Around (2020, Denim On Denim Records) CDN
Strawberry Mansion (2020, Dualtone Records)
Ricky Green & Danny Traves
Call Me Home
(single) (2020, Self)