Folk Roots Radio Episode 619: feat. Raine Hamilton – Brave Land & More New Releases

Folk Roots Radio Episode 619: feat. Raine Hamilton - Brave Land & More New Releases

Raine Hamilton (they/them) joins us on Episode 619 of Folk Roots Radio to chat about their new concept album “Brave Land”, a chamber-folk recording that speaks to both courage and wisdom, inspired by a deep connection to the earth through the mountainous landscapes they have encountered while out on the road. It’s a fascinating conversation about a really interesting album. We wrap up the rest of the episode with new releases from Sarah Jarosz, Billy Strings, Malcolm McWatt, Old Blind Dogs, Over The Moon, Eliza Gilkyson and Rhiannon Giddens (with Francesco Turrisi). Check out the full playlist below.

Best 2020

Interview

A concept album, “Brave Land” is the follow-up to Raine Hamilton‘s 2018 Canadian Folk Music Award winning album “Night Sky”. Once again Raine worked with their string trio collaborators Quintin Bart on double bass, Natanielle Felicitas on cello with Lloyd Peterson in the producing/engineering chair.

“Mountains have the courage to reach up, off the earth, beyond what is easily known. They are the ‘brave land’ this album is about. Ascending slowly with patience over eons, they are ancient and wise. From my place in the valley, I am held and protected, enclosed within their stone and earth. One foot then the other, I can follow their courageous example and trek up, connecting to the sky world, but always with my feet on their wise and ancient ground. The earth and the sky at once. Earth bound and ethereal.”

Love Has Come For Me
“The first track on the album ‘Love Has Come For Me’ is an anthem of radical self love. It is a song for looking inside of ourselves and loving and celebrating what we find. This one is for all the forgotten parts, a queer love song I wrote to myself.”

It Matters
“‘It Matters’ tells the story of a systemically racist and harmful encounter with police experienced by indigenous elder Gramma Shingoose. This song and story are shared with her blessing. We stand with you, Gramma Shingoose!”

Brave Land
“‘Brave Land’ speaks to the courage of these landforms that reach out beyond their earthly world, and the spiritual connection that represents. Brave Land is a joyful song that celebrates being alive on the Earth! What an amazing time that can be!”

Eclipse
“It can feel like there is a lot to sit with in the dark. I witnessed a full lunar eclipse in the mid-winter while in Banff National Park, and it was profound. The loss of the reassuring light of the moon is a lot to handle, especially when we are already in our darkest moments of the winter. I learned a lot by sitting with the dark through that experience. There was something about enduring, moving through, and accepting that darkness that made me more able to trust my own ability to endure, move through, and accept. That winter eclipse taught me that I can make it through my own darkness, too.”

For more information about the music of Raine Hamilton, visit rainehamilton.com.

Show Notes

We started things off with Sarah Jarosz with “Painted Blue” from her Grammy nominated 32-minute song cycle “Blue Heron Suite”.

“‘Blue Heron Suite’ initially came about when I was chosen to be the second recipient (following Bill Frisell) of the FreshGrass Composition Commission. It was a really exciting challenge for me musically. I worked on the piece in the late summer and early fall of 2017. Ultimately, I ended up with a ~32 minute song cycle inspired by the frequent trips my parents and I make to a little town called Port Aransas on the Gulf Coast of Texas, a few hours from where I grew up in Wimberley. 2017 was an emotional year for me — my mom had been diagnosed with breast cancer the previous winter and the town of Port Aransas was severely impacted by Hurricane Harvey. Thankfully, my mom is now in remission and Port Aransas is slowly on the mend. Blue Heron Suite encapsulates so many of the feelings associated with that time — I like to think of the song cycle as a quiet acknowledgment of life’s many uncertainties; you never know what will be thrown your way, but you can always work to try to face the highs and the lows with grace and strength.”

We followed that with young guitar phenom Billy Strings and “In The Morning Light” from his latest critically acclaimed album “Renewal”, which while still an acoustic record moves beyond bluegrass to dabble in psychedelic folk and classic rock.

Scottish singer-songwriter Malcolm McWatt‘s latest album “Settler” explores ties between Scotland and the New World. On this episode we play the politically charged “Avalanche and Landslide” which also features Jaimee Harris on vocals. Gretchen Peters and Laura Cantrell also guest on the album, alongside British folk stalwarts Eliza Carthy and Kris Drever.

This episode’s instrumental comes from Scotland’s Old Blind Dogs. “Thin Man” comes from their 14th album “Knucklehead Circus”, a new mix of instrumentals and original songs from a band celebrating 30 years together in 2022.

You’ll probably recognize “Someday Soon” as an Ian Tyson song. Alberta’s Over The Moon recorded a lovely version of the song for their second album “Chinook Waltz”. Ian Tyson lives on the next door ranch, so they decided to be neighbourly and include a song of Ian’s on each of their albums.

Eliza Gilkyson has released a new album, her love letter to the old west, “Songs From the River Wind” – a deliberately apolitical follow up to her last album, the critically acclaimed “2020”.

Feeling the need to step away from political songwriting, the new album features a mix of originals and vintage classics. It reflects Eliza’s decision to move from Austin TX to Taos NM to put down some roots after the 2020 Presidential Election. On this episode we play Eliza’s updated version of Irish trad song “Wanderin’”.

Snapshots of the people and places, lives and loves lost and found over her years of wandering the West as a musical minstrel, searching for her heart’s home.

We wrapped things up with Rhiannon Giddens, joined by life and musical partner, fellow singer-songwriter Francesco Turrisi on Alice Gerrard’s powerful “Calling Me Home” from their latest album “They’re Calling Me Home”. Recorded in Dublin, Ireland during pandemic lockdown, They’re Calling Me Home reflects on the comfort of home, as well as the metaphorical “call home” of death, a sad reality for so many families during Covid-19 times.

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!

Stay safe and well everyone!

Image credit: Megan Steen.

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)

Sarah Jarosz
Painted Blue
Blue Heron Suite (2021, Rounder Records)

Billy Strings
In The Morning Light
Renewal (2021, Rounder Records)

Malcolm McWatt
Avalanche and Landslide (feat. Jaimee Harris)
Settler (2021, Need To Know Records)

The Old Blind Dogs
Thin Man: The Thin Man / Hommage à Edmond Parizeau
Knucklehead Circus (2021, OBD Music)

Raine Hamilton
Love Has Come For Me
Brave Land (2022, Self) CDN

Interview: Raine Hamilton discussing their latest album “Brave Land”.

Raine Hamilton
It Matters
Brave Land (2022, Self) CDN

Raine Hamilton
Brave Land
Brave Land (2022, Self) CDN

Raine Hamilton
Eclipse
Brave Land (2022, Self) CDN

Over The Moon
Someday Soon
Chinook Waltz (2021, Borealis Records) CDN

Eliza Gilkyson
Wanderin’
Songs From The River Wind (2022, Howlin’ Dog Records)

Rhiannon Giddens (with Francesco Turrisi)
Calling Me Home
They’re Calling Me Home (2021, Nonesuch)

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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