We’re holding back the interviews on Episode 624 of Folk Roots Radio, to bring you another hour of great new music on an episode we hope you’ll find uplifting. With all the challenges of the current times, we need to be gentle with ourselves, and gentle with those around us, and show everyone – our friends and family, everyone we know… and even those we don’t know… some love! Join us for new music from Heather Pierson, Jackson Browne (with Lesley Mendelson), Emma Gale, Seth Lakeman, Megan Henderson, Shirley Eikhard, Amanda Rheaume, Yael Wand, The Bros. Landreth, Janis Ian, John Muirhead, The Rough & Tumble, Will Kimbrough, Dan and Claudia Zanes, Maria Muldaur with Tuba Skinny, Isabel & The Uncommons and AV (Ann Vriend). 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 live show opportunities are harder to come by. Check out the full playlist below.
“I wish you happiness and joy
I wish you strength and ease
I wish you freedom from suffering
and I wish you peace.”
We started off the episode with New Hampshire based folk/jazz singer-songwriter, pianist and multi-instrumentalist Heather Pierson and the title track from her latest album of chants and rounds for meditation and wellness, “Wishes of Lovingkindness”.
Heather Pierson, with fellow singer-songwriter Bernice Martin, has also released two songbooks of chants and rounds “Heart Songs & Circle Songs”, specifically intended for use by community song groups including hospice choirs, churches and schools – basically anywhere blessed by harmony and unity.
Loving Kindness practice is a daily ritual for Jan. Let’s just say that she was a little excited to hear that Heather had actually written a whole album based around her favourite practice.
“A Human Touch” comes from “Downhill From Everywhere”, the latest album from Jackson Browne. Written for the new Paul Haggis film, 5B – an inspiring documentary about the nurses and doctors that revolutionized AIDS care during the 80’s, it features a beautiful duet with fellow singer-songwriter Lesley Mendelson.
Emma Gale is singer-songwriter from Dorset in England. The dreamy “Enjoy Life While You Can” celebrates the little things in life. You can find it on her self-titled debut album.
“The album started out as quite an eclectic mix of different styles and genres – there were pop, acoustic and rock songs created at different times. As the album progressed, Americana quickly became the focus and worked really well across the material, bringing a nostalgic and soulful sound to the body of work which I hope will really pull on people’s heart strings.”
Seth Lakeman‘s rousing “Higher We Aspire” comes with the clear message that we should all try to make the best use of time we have in this short life. You can find it on Seth’s 11th album, the self-produced “Make Your Mark”, which was recorded during pandemic lockdown and features songs about environmental issues, love, death and self-belief.
“The pandemic gave me a real determination to come out musically stronger and I really dug deep into myself for this album. Being able to record and play with the band again was really quite spiritual.”
The instrumental on this episode “The Dawn Chorus” comes from “Pilgrim Souls”, the debut solo album from Scottish multi-instrumentalist Megan Henderson, who is also a member of award-winning folk group Breabach. A beautiful recording, Pilgrim Souls was inspired by the dream-like, impressionistic paintings of Highland artist Christine Clark.
“I’m really excited about putting this record out because it’s my first solo project. I wanted to capture the energy and emotion that Christine’s artwork makes me feel and I am delighted to be able to share it with everyone. My music is influenced by a mix of genres – trad. and classical mainly. I drew inspiration for the album from fellow Fort William native and artist Christine Clark, whose paintings depict – in her own words – ‘imagined landscapes and narratives which transport us to unknown lands, conveying moments of solitude, love, hope, beauty and loss’. This is something I really connected with and wanted to reflect in my own art.”
Shirley Eikhard is probably best known as the writer of the Bonnie Raitt classic “Something to Talk About”. Shirley continues to write great songs. “Anything Is Possible” is the first single from her latest release “On My Way To You”, with a reminder that we all have the power to control the narrative of our lives.
“The Spaces In Between” is the latest single and title track of Métis/Canadian singer-songwriter Amanda Rheaume‘s forthcoming album.
“The Spaces In Between touches on a common Métis experience: the feeling of not being enough, and learning to validate oneself despite it. ‘I’m finding my own voice in the sound of the spaces in between…'”
“That Need Be Done” find’s British Columbia’s Yael Wand changing things up in her life. You can find it on her latest album “Saltwater Heartwood”.
“‘That Need Be Done’ is one of the first songs I wrote after moving back to the BC coast. I found myself exposed to a certain compelling appetite for change-making that I hadn’t experienced in some time. It’s the opposite of apathy and hopelessness.”
“Stay” is the first single from The Bros. Landreth‘s forthcoming third album “Come Morning”. It’s a song written from the perspective of a touring musician, wondering whether they wouldn’t rather be spending more time at home instead of out on the road.
“This was a tough song to write. Not because it’s a lyrical masterpiece or anything, but because, as a touring musician who has spent the last 15 years on the road, admitting that you maybe don’t want to be on the road anymore, or at least as much, is hard. But you can’t change how you feel and it’s best to lean into the truth than to try and hide from it!”
That’s a very post-pandemic way of thinking about your life going forward, Many people are re-evaluating how they spend their time in a world that seems a little more unpredictable than they previously thought. We think it may be best wrapped up in this simple question… If something doesn’t bring you joy, do you really still want to be doing it?
“Wherever Good Dreams Go” is a beautiful song from what is likely to be Janis Ian‘s last studio album “The Light at the End of the Line”.
“This Distance” comes from John Muirhead‘s debut long-player “Traveller”. Originally released as a single in 2019, it’s not strictly a COVID tune – more of a break-up song, but it does seem to fit the current times.
The Rough & Tumble have written their first album of love songs… well sort of. The EP “Love is Gross (But It Looks Good On You)” was inspired by songs that they were commissioned to write by some of their fans as a way to keep busy and somewhat remunerated during the early days of the pandemic. You can check out a short fun interview about the project with the R & T’s Mallory Graham and Scott Tyler on Episode 621 (the Love Is *#!$^ Edition of Folk Roots Radio!)
“When This Is All Over” is a new COVID tune from Will Kimbrough, the first single from his new album, “I Don’t Want to Start a War”.
“I wrote ‘When This is All Over’ with Rich McCulley over a video call. He had just moved to El Paso from LA in the middle of 2020, to be closer to his young son. Every time we wrote, I would start by simply asking him how he was doing. One day, he shrugged and said, ‘When this is all over…’ and proceeded to tell me all the things he was going to do when he could get out of the house. I wrote it all down. We got to work. It didn’t take long. We were bursting at the seams with all the the people, places and things we missed. Now, here it is a couple of years later and we’re still in this…new world? Either way, this song helps me through. I played it every Saturday during lockdown on my porch, for socially distanced neighbors and folks tuning in online. It seemed like it made them feel better, too. I played this song at a private party on New Year’s Eve and it brought a young woman to tears. I asked her about it later. She said it just hit home and the tears came. It took a little time, but now the song is here for everyone–it’s short, sweet, to the point. It’s a Valentine for everyone on Earth.”
“Let Love Be Your Guide” is the title track from Dan and Claudia Zanes‘ debut album as a duo.
“This song was written last summer, July 30th, after watching John Lewis’ funeral. We tuned in to the entire broadcast from Ebenezer Baptist Church, read his mighty op-ed in the New York Times, and sat down at the kitchen table with a guitar and notebook. The power of his words in the Times piece and the depth of his legacy hit us so hard that the song practically wrote itself.”
Singer-songwriter and visual artist Isabel Fryszberg reflects on the challenges of being intimate with friends in COVID times on “Distance”, her latest single. Just giving a hug, a social kiss or even a handshake to someone you haven’t seen for a while is now potentially fraught with risk. A great song that also comes with a very nice video featuring some of Isabel’s own artwork. A joy from beginning to end.
“Sometimes songs can fall from the sky, and I can honestly say this was one of them. There has been lots of love put into this project. The original song track was created by a great team: Steve Briggs on guitars, bass, and arrangements, Rebecca Hennessy on trumpet, Gary Craig on drums, Rebecca Campbell singing harmonies and Mitch Girio mixed, mastered and produced. The animated video features my original artwork and is magically animated by Ronley Teper and Saul Lederman.”
We wrapped up the episode with Edmonton’s Ann Vriend as the artist AV with “Gonna Be Fine” from her latest release, album number seven “Everybody Matters”, a stripped down recording, that much like her pre-pandemic live show features just keyboards, vocals and drums but still has that big sound we know and love.
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!
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)
Wishes Of Lovingkindness
Wishes Of Lovingkindness (2022, Vessel Recordings)
Enjoy Life While You Can
Emma Gale (2022, Self)
Higher We Aspire (Radio Edit)
Make Your Mark (2021, Honour Oak Records)
The Dawn Chorus
Pilgrim Souls (2021, Acoustic Records)
Anything Is Possible
On My Way To You (2022, Self) CDN
The Spaces In Between
The Spaces In Between (2022, Ishkōdé Records) CDN
That Need Be Done
Saltwater Heartwood (2021, Self) CDN
The Bros. Landreth
(single) (2022, Birthday Cake) CDN
Wherever Good Dreams Go
The Light at the End of the Line (2022, Rude Girl Records)
Up To Now (2021, Self) CDN
The Rough & Tumble
When It’s Over
Love is Gross (But It Looks Good On You) (2022, Self)
When This Is All Over
(single) (2022, Self)
Dan and Claudia Zanes
Let Love Be Your Guide (for John Lewis)
Let Love Be Your Guide (2021, Smithsonian Folkways)
Isabel & The Uncommons
(single) (2022, Self) CDN
AV (Ann Vriend)
Gonna Be Fine (acoustic) (radio edit)
Everybody Matters (2022, Self) CDN