Windsor ON based singer-songwriter Karen Morand joins us on Episode 573 of Folk Roots Radio to chat about a musician’s life during during Covid Times. The pandemic has hit artists very hard as pretty much all live work has dried up. Fortunately it hasn’t stopped them being creative. Karen Morand has been spending her time in lockdown working on new music with a new album slated for release early next year. She joins us on this episode to talk about the project and the wonderful lead-off single “Never Enough”. As always we wrap up the hour with more new music, and this time around we hear from Bonnie Light Horseman, Peach & Quiet, Sarah McQuaid, Stella Prince, Katie McNally Trio, Sunflower Thieves, Jerry Leger and Spencer Burton. Check out the full playlist below.
Karen Morand‘s latest single “Never Enough’ was actually written for a songwriting challenge, yet as the coronavirus pandemic has unfolded, it has taken on a much greater significance.
“One more scroll, one more mouthful, one more guilty pleasure – there are things we do to deal with the hard parts of life. It becomes a problem when “just one more” isn’t enough. Never Enough is a love song. It reaches into the heart of addictions and calls out the true soul of a person.”
Never Enough will appear on Karen’s next album, “Ghost Hotel”, which is due in early 2022. The single was recorded at Sound Foundry Studios, Kingsville ON, with production by Karen and studio owner, Brett Humber.
Joining Karen (vocals, B3 organ) in the studio were her regular side players, the Bosco Boys – that’s Aaron Verhulst on guitar and Benny Santoro on drums. Brett Humber also added some electric guitar (and harmony vocals) alongside a moonlighting Max Marshall on bass.
Karen Morand has released four studio albums: “Carry On” (2012), “I Think I’ll Lose My Mind Today” (2014), “Junkyard Heart” (2016) and “Every Flash Of Light” (2018). She was also the winner of the 2016 Canada South Songwriting Contest with “Big Muddy” from Junkyard Heart.
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For more information about the music of Karen Morand, visit karenmorand.com.
We started off the episode with Anais Mitchell, Eric Johnson and Josh Kaufman as folk supergroup Bonnie Light Horseman with “Magpie’s Nest” from their critically acclaimed self-titled album that re-imagines traditional folk songs.
We followed that with Sunshine Coast BC partners in music and life Heather Read and Jonny Miller, who make music together as Peach & Quiet. We listen to “Shoreline” from their very well-received debut “Just Beyond The Shine”.
English singer-songwriter Sarah McQuaid delved deep into her own back catalogue for the third release from her live pandemic video series “The St. Buryan Sessions”, which were recorded live at the historic St Buryan’s church in Cornwall in England.
“Originally recorded for my 1997 debut album When Two Lovers Meet, “Charlie’s Gone Home” wasn’t a brand new song even then. I’d actually written it back when I was still living in Philadelphia, so it would have been the late 1980s or early 90s. I can remember very clearly the day I wrote it – back in those days I was still thinking of myself not as a songwriter but as a folksinger who happened to write an occasional song when inspiration struck.”
“I remember reading an interview with some poet whose name I can’t remember, where she said that when she felt a new poem starting to arrive it was like an oncoming train, and she had to rush to her desk to be there ready with pen and paper when the train pulled in to the station. Well, this song hit me exactly like an oncoming train, only one that was barrelling along at full steam with whistles blaring. It really knocked me for six, and I remember just sitting on the sofa crying and trying to wipe the tears off my guitar so they didn’t mark the finish – not because it was a sad song but just from the overwhelming emotional impact of writing it.”
“It’s been kind of a special song for me ever since, and a lot of people have told me it’s a special song for them, too – at least two different people said ‘Well, I hope “Charlie’s Gone Home” is going to be on it’ as soon as I told them about the project.”
Stella Prince is a 16 year old singer-songwriter from New York’s Hudson River valley who is committed to bringing folk music to a new generation. Already an established live performer, Stella’s latest single is the excellent “Before You Leave”.
This episode’s instrumental “Dr. John O’Grady’s 75th” is an original jig from Katie McNally who with her trio, featuring Katie McNally on fiddle, Shauncey Ali on viola and Neil Pearlman on piano, continue to examine Traditional Scottish and Cape Breton music through an American lens. You can find it on their sophomore release “Now More Than Ever”.
Sunflower Thieves are a dream-folk for Leeds in England featuring Amy Illingworth and Lily Sturt-Bolshaw. They’re latest single is “Never Mind The Weather”.
“Don’t Mind The Weather translates as “don’t worry, this is where you’re grounded and safe” – wanting to make the most of that feeling and stay inside. The picture painted is that no matter how the seasons/weather change, the gravitational pull of the moon / the person you feel safe with, will keep you grounded and safe. We based it on the moon’s relationship with tides, and the idea that it’s easy to get swept away in everything that’s going on, but there’s beauty in that, and the relationship with this person overcomes it all anyway”
Toronto singer-songwriter Jerry Leger continues to put out some great singles. His latest is the beautiful “Sweep It Under The Rug”, which was recorded at home at the same time as his excellent “Songs from the Apartment” Covid lockdown album. Recorded with just a vocal mic and piano, it’s now available as a digital bonus track with the deluxe release of Jerry’s critical acclaimed 2019 album “Time Out For Tomorrow”.
We wrapped the episode with another track from country-folk singer-songwriter Spencer Burton, who swapped city life in Toronto for the country in Niagara and “Hard Times” – a song about love’s ability to heal, from his wonderful fifth album “Coyote”.
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!
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Nicolas & The Iceni (Theme)
Lucy She Rises
Roll Right (2019, self)
Bonnie Light Horseman
Bonnie Light Horseman (2020, 37d03d)
Peach & Quiet
Just Beyond The Shine (2020, Self) CDN
Charlie’s Gone Home
The St. Buryan Sessions (2021, A Shovel & A Spade Records)
Before You Leave
(single) (2020, Self)
Katie McNally Trio
Dr. John O’Grady’s 75th/Quinie Fae Rhynie
Now More Than Ever (2020, Self)
When The Smoke Clears
Every Flash Of Light (2018, Self) CDN
Interview: Karen Morand discussing her latest project, and new single “Never Enough”.
Karen Morand & the Bosco Boys
(single) (2021, Self) CDN
Karen Morand & Bosco
Junkyard Heart (2017, Self) CDN
Sweep It Under The Rug
(single) (2021, Self) CDN
Don’t Mind The Weather
(single) (2021, Self)
Coyote (2021, Still Records) CDN