Folk Roots Radio Episode 598: We’re All About The Music! (Superpower Edition)

Folk Roots Radio Episode 598: We're All About The Music! (Superpower Edition)

We’re holding back the interviews again on Episode 598 of Folk Roots Radio to bring you another hour of the best new releases. There is just so much great new music out there and, sadly, so little time to play it – but we’ll do our bit again on this episode. This time around we hear from Jordana Talsky, Matt Patershuk, Caroline Wiles, Efrat, Eli West, John McCutcheon, John Gage and Aaron Bibelhauser, John Wort Hannam, Red Dirt Skinners, Chris Coole, Big Little Lions, Craig Robertson, Jabbour, T. Buckley and Finny McConnell. Remember, 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 then 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.

Best 2020

Show Notes

We started of this episode with singer-songwriter and vocal looping artist Jordana Talsky and the fabulous “Superpower” from her great new EP, “Zahava”, which features only vocal looping and body percussion. We don’t know about you, but we think we all need to be able to share a superpower right about now… and love definitely works for us.

“This is an all vocal looping record. All of the sounds were made by my voice or body. In becoming a loop artist and learning to do a new thing with myself, I have come up against my insecurities and criticisms, and have found that in many ways, this creative journey has mirrored the challenges I experience to be at home with myself. I believe most of us have different parts to our identities that are in conflict, but which can be harmonized as we grow into ourselves. I am a person of several voices, and now a choir of one. “Zahava”, my middle name, means ‘golden’ in Hebrew, and reminds me that the gold in all of us – our beauty, wisdom and power – will be best harnessed when we learn to feel at home. I hope something in this music may inspire you to find home in your self.”

Alberta Folk/Americana singer-songwriter Matt Patershuk‘s latest album “An Honest Effort” is an album of stories about people who are trying to make a go of it, despite their challenges.

On this episode, we play “Turn The Radio Up”, a song about life in middle age with a reminder that although life in middle age can be more challenging than when you were young, it can still be just as good. That’s something we definitely agree with. Life in middle age is pretty good, as by now most of us have probably finally worked out what life’s about… and if we’ve managed to (hopefully) quit making so many dumb choices, it might be even better!

“My Grandad used to say: “God loves a trier”. He didn’t mean it in the way televangelist preachers do; who often say in not so many words: “If you pray the right way (and tithe appropriately), God will open limitless financial, health, and career benefits before you.” He meant that there is worth, and value in trying. The act of making an effort is redemptive, despite the outcome. My latest is called An Honest Effort. You’ll find stories on this album about folks trying. In the face of unfavourable odds, with seemingly certain unfavourable outcomes, they give it a good go. Results vary, but all of them are better off for the attempt.”

“Grateful” is the new album from Toronto based singer-songwriter Caroline Wiles. The album has a lovely 70s AM Radio feel to it with vocals that recall Anne Murray and Karen Carpenter on songs with Beatlesque melodies, CSN harmonies and lyrics that call to mind Canadian great, Gordon Lightfoot. On this episode we play the title track, a song about being grateful for her relationship with her sister and some of the great times they spent together in their youth. It’s always good to reflect on moments of gratitude. What are you grateful for?

New Jersey, singer-songwriter and violinist Efrat has released a new EP “We Just Need Love” that manifests love for one another and a desire to make the world better for us all.

“My EP, We Just Need Love, was written from the most vulnerable place I’ve ever dared to venture. The depth of love for my son, who valiantly continues to fight with his rare heart condition, and my desire to create a better world for him and all of us. With topical themes ranging from the urgent need for love and understanding, to standing up for our rights to even a meditation song to remind us all to stop and breathe, I regard this as an album for the times.”

The instrumental on this episode is a lively fiddle tune “Ginny’s Little Longhorn” from Seattle based singer-songwriter and multi-instrumentalist Eli West, which you can find on his latest album “Tapered Point Of Stone”. The tune features Eli West on mandolin, with Andrew Marlin on guitar, Christian Sedelmeyer on fiddle, and Clint Mullican on bass.

This tune was apparently inspired by a rousing game of bingo at Ginny’s in Austin TX and an unfortunate interaction with the owner’s chicken.

“Dedicated to a few hours wisely spent playing Bingo at Ginny’s in Austin. Ginny herself brought in a chicken that then did its business on some lucky winner’s number. Seriously. Followed by hot dogs and cheap beer in the parking lot.”

We realize that may not be enough information to work out exactly what went on when the chicken came into the club. Did the chicken do its business when the number was called or was it actually on the bingo card itself? The other question we have is whether this is a regular occurrence at Ginny’s. So many questions. I guess we need more information. Perhaps one of our listeners could visit Ginny’s on their next visit to Austin and report back?

“Bucket List” is the new album from John McCutcheon. A prolific songwriter at the best of times, John has taken complete advantage of his time off the road during Covid Times to write, and he’s been writing up a storm. He’s written over a hundred new songs which means that he’ll be releasing a series of new albums over the next year or so. We already had the pandemic recording “Cabin Fever” (2020) and now Bucket List with more to come.

John Gage and Aaron Bibelhauser from Louisville KY have released a fun new single, “Analog Side”. This song is sure to appeal to those of us who appreciate when the phone would ring only a couple of times a day and TV only had a few channels, as well as those who can’t imagine life without a cell phone and social media.

John and Aaron are both clear to point out that Analog Side is not really an anti-technology rant, it’s more about the benefits of unplugging from time to time. We don’t know about you… but I’ve found myself moving much more in that direction… to maintain my sanity during these strange times.

“If there’s one saving grace that has emerged from the challenges of surviving a global pandemic, it’s the fact that humans are incredibly resilient. We’ve been able to connect, work together, and maintain our creativity by making use of technology. Be it the cell phone in our pockets, working and recording remotely from our laptops, or holding zoom meetings and hangouts in lieu of social gatherings – our ability to thrive has been dependent on the use of these devices. Rather than tout this new single “Analog Side” as an anti-technology anthem, we believe it offers a healthy dose of perspective. It’s worthwhile to unplug from our devices, on occasion, to soak up a bit of the naturally occurring world that has nurtured our existence.”

John Wort Hannam‘s eighth album, the pandemic release “Long Haul” is the follow-up to the very well-received “Acres of Elbow Room” from 2018. It’s an album that reaches beyond the sense of isolation we’ve all been feeling to share a sense of gratitude for what we have while reflecting on the sadness for what we have lost.

“I’ve become more comfortable writing about myself than I ever was in the past. When I first started writing, I thought there was nothing interesting in my own life, so I relied on my imagination to create songs. Recently, I’ve realized that the things that I go through are meaningful and that I don’t need a crazy, drunken, bound for the jailhouse kind of life to write good songs.”

“A Life On Pause” is a COVID lockdown song from the Red Dirt Skinners – originally from the UK, and now clearly very happy at home in Canada. You can find it on their new album “Bear With Us” which leans more into indie pop/rock than anything they’ve done so far. In fact, there is a bit of Supertramp flavour on some of the tracks. We’re working on setting up an interview.

Banjo player Chris Coole has released a new single, “My Name is Lie”, a meditation on the post-truth era we seem to be unfortunately stuck in. What is it they say – a lie can go half the way around the world before the truth has even got its pants on?

“My Name is Lie” is a dark and “banjo-y” meditation on the post-truth era we seem so hopelessly bogged down in. It’s sung from the perspective of the lie itself. I was inspired by the Dock Boggs song “A Conversation with Death” or “Oh Death” where death is given a voice. So, if a lie could talk, “My Name is Lie” is what I imagine it might be saying in today’s world. I’m not sure how obvious it is, but the last two verses deal with the pandora’s box that is social media and how it has allowed lies to access “light speed”, so to speak.

Big Little Lions (Helen Austin and Paul Otten) are continuing to put out some great new singles. They’re releasing a new single a month. We’re having trouble keeping up. You’ve gotta love productive artists, especially during these challenging times.

One of their latest, “You Know They Lie” reflects on how law enforcement may lie to manipulate a suspect.

We had the amazing opportunity via Podsongs and Jack Stafford to talk with Laura Nirider, the attorney for Making A Murder’s Brendan Dassey, with a view to writing a song. Laura is an inspiration in her drive to overturn wrongful convictions and one of the big take-aways from the conversation was the fact that police are allowed to lie about anything while questioning suspects. This often leads to wrongful convictions and this is what we based the song around.

As wrapped the lying-themed set with Cambridge singer-songwriter Craig Robertson with “Truth Is Everywhere” from his pandemic release “Simple Things” – fifteen songs that were primarily written and recorded at home during lockdown.

Quebec roots band Jabbour‘s latest single is the beautiful “Myriad”. It’s a Bill Collier song about the end of one era and the start of another, from their latest album “Carling Lake”. Carling Lake is an album centred around the idea of innocent camaraderie, that draws its inspiration from the history of the small Pine Hill ski centre called Carling Lake, in the heart of the Laurentians a resort that delighted so many people until the mid-1990s.

Calgary singer-songwriter T. Buckley‘s latest single “Before I Get to Turn Around” is the story of a friend attempting to rebuild his life in a new place, one of a number of young men from his childhood community on the south of Calgary who was caught up in the illegal drug trade, at a time when overdoses were starting to become more frequent. You’ll be able to find it on T. Buckley’s upcoming album “Frame by Frame” which lands later this fall.

“It can be tough to outrun the choices we make. How far do we have to run, to leave the things we’ve done behind?”

We wrapped the episode with Finny McConnell, leader of Kingston ON Celtic punk rockers The Mahones, who after 30 years with the band has just released his first solo album, “The Dark Streets Of Love”. “Stars” is an absolutely stunning tribute to Oscar Wilde.

Featuring eight Finny McConnell songs alongside covers of Bruce Springsteen, Lou Reed, Shane McGowan (The Pogues) and The Tragically Hip, The Dark Streets Of Love is an excellent recording. It reminds us a little of Bob Geldof’s great 1990 album, “The Vegetarians of Love”. Others have name-checked The Waterboys’ “Fisherman’s Blues”. Regardless, it’s a great recording. We’ll have more on a future episode.

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: Bessi from Pixabay.


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)

Jordana Talsky
Zahava (2020, Self) CDN

Matt Patershuk
Turn The Radio Up
An Honest Effort (2021, Black Hen Music) CDN

Caroline Wiles
Grateful (2021, Self) CDN

We Just Need Love
We Just Need Love (2021, Self)

Eli West
Ginny’s Little Longhorn
Tapered Point Of Stone (2021, Tender & Mild)

John McCutcheon
Bucket List
Bucket List (2021, Appalsongs)

John Gage and Aaron Bibelhauser
Analog Side
(single) (2021, Self)

John Wort Hannam
Round And Round
Long Haul (2021, Black Hen Music) CDN

Red Dirt Skinners
A Life On Pause
Bear With Us (2021, Self) CDN

Chris Coole
My Name Is Lie
(single) (2021, Self) CDN

Big Little Lions
You Know They Lie
(single) (2021, Self) CDN

Craig Robertson
Truth Is Everywhere
Simple Things (2021, Hashbrick Records) CDN

Carling Lake (2021, Self) CDN

T. Buckley
Before I Get to Turn Around
Frame By Frame (2021, Fallen Tree Records) CDN

Finny McConnell
Stars (Oscar Wilde)
The Dark Streets Of Love (2021, True North Records) 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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