We’re pleased to bring you another all-music hour on Episode 592 of Folk Roots Radio. We still can’t get over how much great new music is out there at the moment. Who knew that if artists couldn’t tour, they’d spend all their time in the studio working on great new material? Well, creators gotta create. If you can’t play live then why not stay home and crank out some great new tunes! Join us for new releases from Chris Cleverley, Joy Zimmerman, Glenn Chatten, Laney Lou And The Bird Dogs, Graham Rorie, Serious Child & Andy Ruddy, Dana Sipos, Jackson Grimm, Adrienne Nye, Caroline Marie Brooks (Good Lovelies), Good Lovelies, Alicia Toner, Aasiva, Sarah Burton and Kate Taylor. As always, if you like what you hear on Folk Roots Radio… and want to support the artists… don’t just stream their music, BUY their music and you’ll really make a difference to their income during this difficult time, when it’s really hard to find live show opportunities. Check out the full playlist below.
We started off the episode with UK based singer-songwriter Chris Cleverley with “The Low Light Low” from his latest, “Live From The Glass Isle”, a new album of stripped back recordings featuring solo and guitar versions of songs from his previous two studio albums – and a great introduction to his music. “The Low Light Low” is a very pretty song that reflects on the ebb and flow that occurs throughout our lives… and the beauty and darkness that exists in everything.
“The project was recorded a stone’s throw from the foot of Glastonbury Tor, Somerset, England on August 1 2020; the pagan festival of Lughnasadh. This old pagan rite of passage, commencing the harvest season, is so symbolic of facing a period of doubt and inconstancy with hope and conviction. It carried immense meaning for me as we waded, knee-deep, through the mind-spinning uncertainty of the pandemic. It offered the perfect clarity & headspace to make these recordings.”
Singer-songwriter Joy Zimmerman‘s “Let Us Not Close Our Hearts” is a song about remaining connected to others despite the distance between us. You can find it on her latest album, “The Canvas Before Us”, which features songs of hope, heartache and resilience, and asks the question… What story will the canvas of your life tell?
Singer-songwriter Glenn Chatten, formerly of Vancouver, and now making music in Whitehorse has just released his seventh album “Baked Café”, which is named after a well-known Whitehorse coffee house. On this episode we play “Build A Longer Table (Not A Higher Wall)” – a plea for a kinder, gentler, more welcoming immigration policy (in the US certainly, and probably also the UK, Australia… and others).
Montana’s Laney Lou And The Bird Dogs have just released their fourth album “Through The Smoke” an album that takes change, rebirth and resilience as its main themes while blurring the boundaries of bluegrass as it steps into pop and rock. “Alive” is a song about being caught in a powerful thunderstorm on a wilderness backpacking trip.
“Alive was written during a backpacking trip deep in the Beartooth Wilderness near Paradise Valley, Montana. After crossing rivers, climbing up a 3000 ft mountain and setting up camp by a hidden mountain lake, we found ourselves stranded in a violent lightning and hail storm which almost shredded our tent. After the storm passed and twilight settled over the valley, we emerged to witness the most breathtaking sight we’ve ever laid eyes on. Just another day in paradise.”
This episode’s instrumental “Aglooka” comes from “The Orcadians Of Hudson Bay”, the debut album from Glasgow based fiddler and guitarist Graham Rorie which was inspired by his fellow Orcadians – that’s people from the Orkney Isles in Scotland, who travelled to The Hudson’s Bay Company in Northern Canada to make a living in the fur industry during the 18th and 19th centuries.
“The subject of this project is one that has amazed me since I was a little boy growing up in Orkney. The historic links that the people from my hometown had with the area in which they went to work and how much this is reflected in the culture of both Orkney and Hudson Bay today is extraordinary. At a time when culture wasn’t shared as widely as it is now, the huge movement of people from Orkney to the frozen north has created a legacy of shared cultural influences that can still be felt today and so I couldn’t think of a better way to tell this fascinating story than through music.”
“Talk About The Weather” is the first single from the album of the same name, a new collaboration from the UK’s Serious Child and Andy Ruddy which was written over Zoom during the summer of 2020. It explores what brings different age groups together in the time of Covid-19. The beautiful title track follows different characters in an apartment block in lockdown.
From the man who spends his time reading conspiracy theories, to the couple claustrophobically trapped with their small kids, to the old lady waiting for her carer to come, they all talk about the weather, rather than how they’re really feeling.
Dana Sipos has released “The Astral Plane”, another excellent new recording, which should really appeal to people who love literate singer-songwriters who specialize in creating atmosphere around the stories they tell. On this episode we play the gorgeous “Light Around The Body” which reflects on three months on the road in Australia and NZ in 2019.
“‘Light Around The Body’ is a cacophony of reflections after a long solo tour to Australia and New Zealand in the winter of 2019. It’s infused with the vibrancy and sensory overload of being in such a far out place where some things were literally upside down. But it also touches on some painful elements – I was in Christchurch when the bombings occurred in the mosque, which of course was greatly mourned by all of New Zealand and the world. The aftermath of the 2010 earthquake was still very palpable and evident there. The song is primarily about infusing oneself with the strange and beautiful and sometimes painful and strives to make sense of the senseless.”
Jackson Grimm first came to our attention for his work in the family band with his father Tim. “At My Feet” is a beautiful song of heartache from “Sober Again” (the follow up to the very well-received Bull Moose Party from 2019) that reflects on politics, toxic masculinity, and capitalism with humour, a light touch and lovely bluegrass pop feel.
Vancouver based Adrienne Nye‘s latest single “Lonely Days” is a song about being separated from a loved one during challenging times… like being stuck on the wrong side of a border during a pandemic!
“This song was written as an anthem to all binational couples separated by border closures. Being separated for a long time from someone you love can be gut wrenching and heartbreaking. It impacts everything from our mental health to our support network to our general sense of wellbeing. It leaves us longing for connection and feeling the deep sting of isolation and separation. My heart goes out to everyone trying to get to someone they love and just can’t. It is my hope that this song brings us together to relate to each other’s struggles and find strength in our collective pandemic stories of love, loss and uncertainty. Together or apart, love is essential.”
“Vitamin seeks to find beauty in the mundane day-to-day messiness of life in general, but particularly when you have young children. There’s nothing more than this, truly. I’m trying to hold on for dear life as the years are rushing by. It’s perfect.”
And talking of that wonderful vocal trio who feature Caroline Brooks with Kerri Ough and Sue Passmore, we squeezed in “Blue Canoe” from their latest release “B-Sides”, which features three unreleased songs from the “Burn the Plan” and “Shapeshifters” sessions given a fresh coat of paint for a new lease on life. The lazy summery “Blue Canoe” is a song about Caroline’s brother-in-law who worked in Haiti in disaster relief after the 2010 earthquake.
Atlantic Canadian singer-songwriter Alicia Toner reflects on a difficult time in her life on “Time Travel” from her deeply personal journey of love and loss, “Joan”.
“Joan is the beautiful result of an incredibly difficult period for me. This whole project was about a specific moment in time. It feels far in the past. The person that exists today is really strong and happy and confident – and has a wonderful life and family. I feel very lucky to be where I am now.”
Colleen Aasiva Nakashuk (better known by her stage name Aasiva) is a Canadian Inuk singer and songwriter from Pangnitung in Nunavut. Her style of indie folk music features the ukulele, Inuktitut lyrics, and Inuit throat singing. Her latest album “Niriunniq” translates as ‘hope’ in English.
“I have been going through a really difficult time in the last couple of years. My mother suddenly passed away in 2019, so it’s been interesting trying to navigate grief. But no matter what I’m feeling, at least I still have hope. At the end of every day, I’m beaten up emotionally or mentally, and I just say, ‘Okay, well at least tomorrow might be a better day.’ Holding onto that hope really kept me going.”
Recording for the album actually started out in Jerry Cans’ vocalist Andrew Morrison’s garage in Iqaluit as there are no recording studios in Nunavut, before being given an indie to electropop sheen in Montreal by producer Jace Lasek (Besnard lakes, Wolf Parade).
The track we played “Tulugaq” also features fellow Nunavut singer-songwriter Terry Uyarak and tells the story of a mischevious raven who convinces a woman that her husband has caught many caribou while out hunting. So the woman eats their remaining food, only to learn her husband has only caught a lemming. She curses the raven to never speak lies again.
One bad breakup, two robberies, a few trips to the ER, and hiding out in the West Texas desert are just a few of the turns that led to the creation of Toronto singer-songwriter Sarah Burton‘s folk/Americana fifth album, “Give Me What I Want”. That’s how Sarah tells it, anyway.
Give Me What I Want was recorded in Austin TX in 2019 while Sarah was away on her travels. We loved her last album, 2015’s “Make Your Own Bed”. This recording actually slipped by without a play from us, which is why we needed to go back and remedy that by playing “Time To Go”, which features harmonies from Winnipeg vocal trio Sweet Alibi.
From the wonderful publicity quote we received (below)… if you missed it, you might like to check it out too!
“It’s a vignette of a new age wild west with songs about internet dating, crazy exes, getting older, and that feeling you get when everyone around you is in love and you’re not. A raw and real album that skirts Americana, folk, rock and country and tells classic stories in a modern age from love and lust, to enchantment and disenchantment, and that constant search for fulfillment.”
We wrapped this episode with Kate Taylor – of the renowned Taylor clan… and sister to James, Livingston, Alex and Hugh. Kate has returned after a long break with a new album “Why Wait!”, which reunites her with many of the key players from her “Sister Kate” album which was released 50 years ago. That’s renowned session players Russ Kunkel, Danny Kortchmar, and Leland Sklar under the watchful eye of producer Peter Asher – alongside appearances from guitar legends Albert Lee and Waddy Wachtel plus Dan Dugmore on pedal steel and Scarlet Rivera on fiddle.
The track we played was Kate’s fun version of Lennon & McCartney’s “Good Day Sunshine”. Letting the sunshine in as we said goodbye to another Covid times edition of Folk Roots Radio!
Stay safe and well everyone. We’ll looking forward to the next time!
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 Low Light Low
Live From The Glass Isle (2021, Self)
Let Us Not Close Our Hearts
The Canvas Before Us (2021, Cultivate Joy Records)
Build A Longer Table (Not A Higher Wall)
Baked Cafe (2021, Soaring Eagle Music) CDN
Laney Lou And The Bird Dogs
Through The Smoke (2021, Self)
The Orcadians Of Hudson Bay (2021, Rumley Sounds)
Light Around The Body
The Astral Plane (2021, Roaring Girl Records) CDN
At My Feet
Sober Again (2021, Vault Records)
(single) (2020, JumpAttack Records) CDN
Caroline Marie Brooks (Good Lovelies)
(single) (2021, Self / Outside Music) CDN
B-Sides (2021, Self / Fontana North) CDN
Joan (2021, Self) CDN
Tulugaq feat. Terry Uyarak
Niriunniq (2021, Aakuluk Music) CDN
Time To Go
Give Me What I Want (2019, Self) CDN
Good Day Sunshine
Why Wait! (2021, Red House Records)