Many of Canada’s summer music festivals have been severely impacted by the coronavirus pandemic. Join us on Episode 588 of Folk Roots Radio as we relive one of our favourite festival experiences, the 2018 Hillside Festival. Set on the island at beautiful Guelph Lake, just outside Guelph, in Southern Ontario, Hillside has an incredible vibe. Authentic, inclusive, respectful and environmentally sustainable… Hillside is a festival that should be on everyone’s bucket list. Stay tuned as we chat with Frank Evans from The Slocan Ramblers, Martin Harley, the Fortunate Ones and Cécile Doo-Kingué. We also squeeze in music from Hillside 2018 favourites, Rev. Sekou and female Latino vocal group LADAMA. Although there is no in-person Hillside Festival this year, you can still visit Hillside virtually, from the comfort of your own home, as Hillside Homeside 2021. It’s not like being there, but actually, it’s not bad. Live music, spoken word and dance performances, workshops, children’s programming, Hillside archive presentations and more – it’s all there – just like the real thing. And like the real summer festival, the presentations are only available from July 23 – 25. You can check them out from wherever you are on the planet by following the links from hillsidefestival.ca. And guess what, it’s all free, though if you want to make a donation, we’re sure they would love you for it! Check our the full playlist for this episode below.
Toronto’s The Slocan Ramblers are one of Canada’s finest bluegrass bands. Rooted in the tradition, they’re as comfortable with their own songs as they are with the bluegrass canon. The current line-up of the band is Frank Evans on banjo, Adrian Gross on mandolin and Darryl Poulsen on acoustic guitar (bass player Alastair Whitehead left in late 2020 to focus on his farm and family). Their latest album is 2018’s “Queen City Jubilee”. Check out The Slocan Ramblers online at slocanramblers.com.
British acoustic roots and blues guitarist Martin Harley, who plays a 100-year-old Weissenborn Hawaiian acoustic lap guitar, released one of our favourite albums of 2017, “Static In The Wires”. Static in the Wires was his second album recorded with Nashville-based stand-up bassist Daniel Kimbro who also joined Martin on the fabulous “Live From Southern Ground” (from 2015). Martin’s latest album is 2019’s “Roll With The Punches”, an intimate and gritty country blues album, recorded with co-producer and drummer Harry Harding (Yola Carter/William the Conqueror). Check out Martin Harley online at martinharley.com.
Newfoundland’s Fortunate Ones feature the fine musicianship and close harmonies of Catherine Allan and Andrew James O’Brien. Known for their fabulous live performances, their critically acclaimed 2015 album “The Bliss” earned them a Juno nomination, and took home the 2015 Canadian Folk Music Award for Vocal Group of the Year. They describe their most recent full-length album “Hold Fast” (2018) as a study in resilience and partnership in the face of adversity – which sounds rather appropriate for life in Covid times. Featuring songwriting collaborations with Alan Doyle (Great Big Sea), Tim Baker (Hey Rosetta!), and Meg Warren (Repartee), the album was recorded with Jim Bryson, Good Lovelies, Alexa Dirks (Begonia) and Kinley Dowling (Hey Rosetta!). The Fortunate Ones are also featured on the Newfoundland lockdown E.P, “Songs From Home”, which also includes songs by Alan Doyle, The Once, The Ennis Sisters & Rachel Cousins. Check out the Fortunate Ones online at fortunateones.ca.
A fabulous live performer, Cameroonian Canadian guitarist and singer-songwriter Cécile Doo-Kingué blends together blues, afro-roots and soul with some jazzy overtones, to create a sound that is very much her own. Cécile Doo-Kingué is two-thirds of the way through a trilogy “Anybody Listening”. “Part 1: Monologues” (2015), was a solo acoustic recording exploring the blues and roots of everyday life while “Part 2: Dialogues” (2016) featured a full band and special guests on a similar set of songs. Cécile will complete the project with “Part 3: Communion”, a live recording showcasing her exceptional guitar playing, soulful vocals, and powerful songwriting. Cécile Doo-Kingué has released a pandemic single, “Here With You” with Australian singer-songwriter Beckah Amani, which was recorded as part of Folk Music Canada‘s International Recording Collaboration Export Program that paired up Canadian artists with artists from Scandinavia and Australia. Check out Cécile Doo-Kingué online at cdkmusik.com.
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!
Image Credit: Chris Monteiro.
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)
When The Spirit Says Move
In Times Like These (2017, Zent Records)
Interview: Frank Evans from The Slocan Ramblers.
The Slocan Ramblers
Mississippi Heavy Water Blues
Queen City Jubilee (2018, SloMusic)
Interview: Martin Harley.
Static In The Wires (2017, Del Mundo Records)
Interview: Fortunate Ones.
Hold Fast (2018, Old Farm Pony Records)
Interview: Cécile Doo-Kingué.
Anybody Listening: The Dialogues (2016, Self)
LADAMA (2017, Six Degrees Records)