Folk Roots Radio Episode 595: feat. Alec Fraser Jr – On The Wings Of The Wind & More New Releases

Folk Roots Radio Episode 595: feat. Alec Fraser Jr - On The Wings Of The Wind & More New Releases

Alec Fraser Jr is a renowned bass player and producer/engineer, and half of dynamic roots duo Fraser/Daley. He’s now added singer-songwriter to his resume. Alec Fraser Jr joins us on Episode 595 of Folk Roots Radio to chat about his extensive career in music and excellent new solo album “On The Wings Of The Wind”. It’s a wonderful conversation – we hope you’ll stay with us to check it out. As always, we wrap up the rest of the episode with more new releases, and this time around we hear from Serious Child & Andy Ruddy, OXLIP, Aasiva and Graham Rorie. We also include a special musical tribute to Nanci Griffith who sadly passed away recently. Check out the full playlist below.

Best 2020

Interview

As a bassist, Alec Fraser Jr has toured internationally and worked with many world-class artists. He’s played with everyone from Bo Diddley, Ben E. King and The Drifters to Jeff Healey, Jack de Keyser, Ron Hynes and Ron Sexsmith. His work has garnered 23 awards to date, including three Junos, two WC Handy awards, and multiple Maple Blues awards for both bass playing and production. As a producer, he’s worked with some of our favourite artists… people like Rick Fines, John Brooks, Clela Errington. He’s also produced several albums that have made it on to our annual ‘best of the year’ list.

Alec Fraser Jr’s first solo album “On The Wings Of The Wind” was produced while in lockdown – with most artistic contributions being recorded at a distance. Although Alec Fraser Jr plays most of the instruments on the album he also received some great musical support – including Chris Bartos (violin/fiddle), Jimmy Bowskill (mandolin), James McKie (mandolin & bodhran), Rich Roxborough (piano),  Gratia Leitch (trumpet), Ed White (drums) alongside backing vocals from his partner, Maggie Fraser.

“This first solo release is a result of the global pandemic and having the time to write my own songs with the influences I’ve had from both sides of the Atlantic Ocean. It’s also exciting for me to have musicians I’ve recorded play on my record”.

Alec is also the inventor of ‘the circus bass’, seven drums attached to an upright bass that allows him to play both bass and drums at the same time – using a brush held between his fingers. The invention was used on several tracks on On The Wings Of The Wind, including one of the tracks we play on this episode “Don’t Cry For Me” (which also features some great violin from Chris Bartos).

Alec Fraser Jr currently plays in a duo with guitarist Mike Daley as Fraser/Daley. Alec Fraser Jr and Mike Daley met while they were both playing in the late Jeff Healey’s band – Jeff dubbed Alec his ‘big brother’ and Mike, his ‘little brother’.

Fraser/Daly have released three albums, their latest being 2016’s “Fifty Miles of Elbow Room” with a sound that combines Appalachian folk music, classic country, bluegrass and blues. Fraser/Daley have become very popular on the private party/house concert circuit in Ontario. Alec Fraser Jr plays both his circus bass and cigar box bass, while Mike Daley contributes on both guitar and banjo. One of the highlights of the evening is watching Alec put the circus bass through its paces.

For more information about the music of Alec Fraser Jr, visit alecfraserjr.com.

We’ll be releasing the full video interview of our conversation with Alec Fraser Jr shortly. Stay tuned!

SUBSCRIBE to our YouTube channel to be notified of all our upcoming livestream interviews HERE.

Best 2020

Show Notes

We started off the episode with Serious Child & Andy Ruddy, two singer-songwriters from the UK… from different generations and different musical backgrounds.

Indie folk musician Serious Child (AKA Alan Young) worked in IT before quitting his day job to focus on his music. Pop-folk singer-songwriter Andy Ruddy (24 years Alan’s junior) studied law, and now works for the UK charity Give A Song, that plays music to vulnerable people in lockdown. Alan and Andy met through music and set out to explore what brings people together in popular music. Collaborating over Zoom during the summer of 2020, they’ve now released a wonderful new album together, “Talk About The Weather”, from which we played the lovely “How to Dream”.

“The Beatles meets Simon & Garfunkel meets Scissor Sisters meets Bon Iver meets Mumford & Sons meets Serious Child meets Andy Ruddy.”

OXLIP is multi-instrumentalist Jayne Trimble who is originally from N. Ireland but now lives in Vancouver. We played the title track from her latest collection, a four song EP called “A Kind of Premonition” which was deliberately designed to have a haunting other-worldly quality.

“I woke up one morning with a distinct feeling that someone close to me was passing over. I could feel their energy was moving into the next realm. It was like a kind of premonition – and so the song “The Kind Of Premonition” came to life. All of the songs on the EP are quite stripped back and designed to have that ‘other-world’ quality. I wanted the vocals to feel like I was whispering in your ear, like your inner voice or a faint prayer. They are all about death, addiction and the metaphysical, except the song I’ve Cried All The Tears (I’m Cryin’ For You) which feels like it could have been the sort of ballad Patsy Cline would sing.”

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. The song we play on this episode “Ungalirakki” was the first track she wrote for the album, and a song to honour her late mother.

“Grief is something that we will all experience in our lives, unfortunately. Writing “Ungalirakki” was very healing for me. It took me a long time, but I know that my mom, who passed away suddenly in 2019, is with me all the time. This song is to honour her, and also all of the people in my life that have passed away.”

The instrumental on this episode was another track from Glasgow based fiddler Graham Rorie‘s great new album “The Orcadians of Hudson Bay”, a suite of music dedicated to the Orcadians (that’s people from Orkney in Scotland), who travelled to Canada in the 18th and 19th centuries looking to improve their prospects and make a living in the fur trade.

The beautiful “The Last Calling Port” was written for the port of Stromness in Orkney, the last port the ships stopped at on their way to Hudson Bay. Joining Graham (Orcadian fiddle, electric tenor guitar) were James Lindsay (bass), Kristan Harvey (fiddle), Párduig Morrison (accordion), Rory Matheson (piano) and Signy Jakobsdottir (drums and percussion).

We concluded the episode with a musical tribute to Nanci Griffith (July 6, 1953 – August 13, 2021) who sadly left us recently and included three tracks from her wonderful “One Fair Summer Evening” live album which was recorded at Houston TX club, Anderson Fair in 1988. It’s an album that really captures her wonderful vocal style, musicianship and absolutely fabulous stage presence.

We started off with a live version of “Once In A Very Blue Moon” (the title track of her third studio album from 1986) and followed that with Nanci’s version of “From A Distance”. Nanci Griffith was the first artist to record that wonderful Julie Gold song, which was eventually made famous by Bette Midler.

We wrapped up the live set portion with “Love At The Five And Dime” which was originally on the 1986 “The Last of the True Believers” album. The way Nanci Griffith delivers the song live is a great example of stagecraft at its best.

Our final track from our musical tribute, and the show, was the beautiful “The Wing And The Wheel” which you can find on Nanci Griffith’s 1986 album “The Last Of The True Believers”.

The Guardian UK once asked Nanci Griffith “How Would you like to be remembered?” She replied, “For my music.”

A magical artist, the passing of Nanci Griffith is a huge loss, but she leaves behind a wonderful legacy.

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!

Listen

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.)

Playlist

Nicolas & The Iceni (Theme)
Lucy She Rises
Roll Right (2019, self)

Serious Child & Andy Ruddy
How To Dream
Talk About The Weather (2021, Four Left Feet)

OXLIP
A Kind of Premonition
A Kind Of Premonition EP (2021, Champagne Breakfast) CDN

Aasiva
Ungalirakki
Niriunniq (2021, Aakuluk Music) CDN

Graham Rorie
The Last Calling Port
The Orcadians of Hudson Bay (2021, Rumley Sounds)

Alec Fraser Jr
Don’t Cry For Me
On The Wings Of The Wind (2021, Self) CDN

Interview: Alec Fraser Jr discussing his career in music and latest album “On The Wings Of The Wind”.

Alec Fraser Jr
Terlingua Night
On The Wings Of The Wind (2021, Self) CDN

Alec Fraser Jr
Let Me Be Your Break In The Clouds
On The Wings Of The Wind (2021, Self) CDN

Nanci Griffith
Once In A Very Blue Moon
One Fair Summer Evening (Live) (1988, UMG Recordings)

Nanci Griffith
From A Distance
One Fair Summer Evening (Live) (1988, UMG Recordings)

Nanci Griffith
Love At The Five And Dime (Live)
One Fair Summer Evening (Live) (1988, UMG Recordings)

Nanci Griffith
The Wing And The Wheel
The Last Of The True Believers (1986, Rounder Records)

About the author

JAN HALL

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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