Folk Roots Radio Episode 561: We’re All About The Music! (Never Give Up Edition)

Folk Roots Radio Episode 561: We're All About The Music! (Never Give Up Edition)

We’re all about the music again on Episode 561 of Folk Roots Radio as we hold back the interviews for another hour of a great new releases. Actually, we should say we’re mostly about the music on this episode, as we’re also including a short audio piece from Quebec folk musician Guillaume Jabbour, artist in residence for the ELAN ACE Sound Experience Programme at Sainte Agathe Academy in Sainte Agathe QC, focusing on how his students are coping with the coronavirus pandemic. It’s really well done, so we’re very pleased to be able to include it in this episode. We have some wonderful new music to bring you, including some excellent Covid tunes, and a very special song to wrap up the hour. Join us for music from VISSIA, Courtney Marie Andrews, The Rough & Tumble, Floyds Row, Rylan Brooks, Merry Hell, Beano & Steve Pledger, Colleen Brown, Mister K, The Strange Valentines, Lisa Redfern and Sing Me A River. Check out the full playlist below.

Best 2020

Show Notes

We started off the episode with Edmonton’s VISSIA and the dreamy “About Moving On”, the second single from her forthcoming album “With Pleasure”. We followed that with Courtney Marie Andrews and “How You Get Hurt”, a song that chronicles her own experiences of loneliness and heartbreak. You can find that on Courtney Marie Andrews’ latest album “Old Flowers”, a beautifully sparse and reflective recording that’s all about the end of a nine-year relationship and the process of recovery.

One of our favourite duos The Rough & Tumble, who feature multi-instrumentalists Mallory Graham and Scott Tyler, have just released “You Took Your Turn” – the first single from their forthcoming album “Family If You Say So”, which is expected in February. The new album features 12 songs reflecting on the highs and lows of family life, and what it is like to set boundaries. It sounds like another interesting project – we are definitely looking forward to chatting to Mallory and Scott about it. And, if you want to know why we love The Rough & Tumble so much, you should definitely check out their visit to the Sun Parlour Coffee House Sessions.

Floyds Row are an instrumental music collective formed in Oxford in the UK, who explore the connections found between the classical, folk and bluegrass traditions. On this episode we play their version of “Drive The Cold Winter Away” from their 2017 album of traditional and original works “The Oxford Sessions”. Check out their great ValleyCAST Virtual Summer Concert from August 2020 HERE.

Pennsylvania Country and Western duo Rylan Brooks latest single “Keeping My Distance”, which was produced by Dean Miller, captures the essence of living a distanced existence while emphasizing the resignation and desperation felt in current times. It will be included on their second full-length album “If Wishes Were Horses” which is due in early 2021.

“We wrote Keeping My Distance as a way to express the feeling of going through a difficult time and to make something good out of it. It’s not just about the pandemic, but recording the song during the pandemic influenced the song, for sure. We’re really proud of it and all the effort that went into making it happen at this extraordinary moment.”

Quebec folk musician Jabbour joined us on Episode 528 of Folk Roots Radio to chat about the wonderful ELAN ACE Sound Experience Programme at Sainte Agathe Academy in Sainte Agathe QC. Guillaume reached out to us just before the holidays with a new audio piece he’d made with the students.

“This fall, I decided to facilitate a bucket drumming workshop with my students to minimize talking, and teach music basics (rhythm, time signature, dynamics). On the last day of the workshop, I opened up to the students about how I was feeling with regard to the pandemic and invited students to express themselves. The piece draws a parallel between the statements made and the idea of being ‘stuck in a hailstorm’. Like a hailstorm, the real effects of the pandemic kind of dropped on us suddenly – we don’t really know when or how things will clear up, and there have been many highs and lows. Intertwined between frank and thoughtful reflections of the students, are sounds captured by the students around the school as well as the sound of a hailstorm I experienced at home.”

Folk-Rock band Merry Hell from the UK have released a wonderfully rousing new Covid Tune “When We Meet Again”, which they describe as a song of hope for 2021 and beyond. The song also features the 300 strong Social Isolation Choir.

The romantic and wry “It’s The End Of The World (Again)” comes from “Isolation Songs”, prairie raised Toronto based Colleen Brown‘s new album of songs written in quarantine.

We chose to subtitle this episode the ‘Never Give Up’ edition after we received an e-mail about “What If? (Never Give Up)”, a song by Beano & Steve Pledger that is being used by the art and mental health charity RTprojects (who are based in Durham City in the North East of England) to support their ‘Never Give Up’ Suicide Prevention campaign. The lyrics for What If? capture Beano’s own experience of suicidal thoughts, with a musical accompaniment written by Steve Pledger. It’s a great song.

Because of the pandemic, more people than ever are struggling with their mental health. Beano and Steve hope that What If? (Never Give Up) will help those who may be going through a tough time realize that they are definitely not alone. Hang in there. We will get through this!

Manitoban singer-songwriter Kevin Roy who now makes music as cosmic balladeer Mister K released “In Event Of Moon Disaster”, a musical journey through the highs and lows of a mental health struggle, earlier this year. Kevin has just released the latest single from the album, “Harmony”, which comes with a magical wildlife video.

“When the pandemic hit and touring was no longer possible, I spent months filming a fox den on my property to help cope with anxiety brought on by the uncertainties of our new reality. I’ve used the resulting footage to create a video to accompany my latest single “Harmony” as a way to bring a little hope and harmony to people in these challenging times.”

Check out our great interview with Mister K discussing the “In Event Of Moon Disaster” project.

Nova Scotia’s The Strange Valentines, who feature Janet Mills and reformed Australian rocker David Farrell, have released a great new single “Burning House Waltz”. It’s the first single from their forthcoming album, the wonderfully titled “Does Anyone Know How to Fix Old Radios?” – which is expected in Spring 2021.

“Burning House Waltz is about how we are destroying the planet and how those in power seem to be “dancing” while it burns. We decided to release it on New Year’s Eve because the analogy of the final moments of the year – to how much time we have left to fix climate change – seems rather appropriate.”

Lisa Redfern from Maine wrote her new single “Something Beautiful” during the early days of the Covid pandemic.

“Something Beautiful is inspired by the creativity of an old friend (and all the creativity we’ve been witnessing during lockdown), as well as a letter from my late mom with the advice to “learn to make something beautiful with your hands.”

Wise words indeed. Keeping busy is one of the best ways to get through these challenging times.

We wrapped the episode with “Need A Little Peace”, the beautiful new single from folk roots harmony trio Sing Me A River. The song was released just before the holidays and comes with a lovely video. We just knew we needed to play this now, even though we’d already put our holiday episodes to bed for the year.

Stay safe and well everyone… and a Happy New Year to you all! 

We have a lot more great music and interviews to bring you in 2021.

Image: Gerd Altmann from Pixabay.

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)

About Moving On
(single) (2020, Hurry Hard Records) CDN

Courtney Marie Andrews
How You Get Hurt
Old Flowers (2020, Fat Possum Records)

The Rough & Tumble
You Took Your Turn
(single) (2020, Rock Candy Recordings)

Floyds Row
Drive The Cold Winter Away
The Oxford Sessions (2017, Centaur Records)

Rylan Brooks
Keeping My Distance
(single) (2020, Lot Lizard Records)

Guillaume Jabbour & Students from Sainte Agathe Academy QC
Stuck In A Hailstorm: Teen Reflections on the Pandemic

Merry Hell
When We Meet Again
(single) (2020, Self)

Beano & Steve Pledger
What If? (Never Give Up)
(single) (2020, Self)

Colleen Brown
It’s The End Of The World (Again)
Isolation Songs (2020, Flatcar Records/Fontana North) CDN

Mister K
In Event Of Moon Disaster (2020, Self) CDN

The Strange Valentines
Burning House Waltz
Does Anyone Know How to Fix Old Radios? (2020, Self) CDN

Lisa Redfern
Something Beautiful
(single) (2020, Self)

Sing Me A River
Need A Little Peace
(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.

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