We’re holding back the interviews again on Episode 627 of Folk Roots Radio to bring you another selection of great new releases, and most of them are from independent artists. This time around we feature Eric Anders and Mark O’Bitz, The Breath, Declan O’Rourke, Amanda Anne Platt & The Honeycutters, Old Blind Dogs, Bob Stark, Daughter Of The Moon, Stella Prince, Matt Andersen, Claire Lynch, William Prince & Serena Ryder, Harley Kimbro Lewis, Just A Season and HOROJO Trio. 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.
We started off the episode with California based singer-songwriter duo Eric Anders and Mark O’Bitz and “Morton’s Pillory Plea” from their third Covid lockdown release, “Stuck Inside: Music In The Time Of Coronavirus”.
A reflection on the politicized response to pandemic control measures in the United States, Morton’s Pillory Plea actually tells the story of Thomas Morton who opposed the excesses of the first settlers from the Mayflower, who were determined to ruthlessly force their idea of God on to the Native American population they encountered.
Singer Ríoghnach Connolly and guitarist Stuart McCallum make music together as Manchester England based folk duo The Breath. Their (new to us) 2019 album “Only Stories” features eight stripped down acoustic versions of songs from their second recording, 2018’s “Let The Cards Fall”. All of the tracks were recorded in one take, as if taking place during a live show rather than in the studio.
“Whilst feeling a bit daunting at first, we knew after the Brighton (duo) gig that the space in the music allowed for more subtlety, presenting the songs in a new light and really capturing the lyrical narrative and performance nuances in an extremely intimate way. It felt important to go to Real World Studios and revisit these songs in this intimate, raw duo setting.” (Stuart McCallum)
“‘Only Stories’ (the song) is about oral history – that which can’t be written down, and memories of childhood summers in Glandore, West Cork, with my grandparents. Proper Irish summers, that seemed to go on forever – and where time appeared to stand still.” (Ríoghnach Connolly).
“The Harbour” comes from “Arrivals”, the latest album from acclaimed Irish singer-songwriter Declan O’Rourke, an album that was produced by none other than the great Paul Weller (The Jam, The Style Council, solo work).
“My goal is to take something that has already moved me, and paint it into some kind of poetic vehicle that will carry it to others, with the correct instructions inside for them to unpack it and get the same result. Over time, I have found that being an artist is a process of stripping away layers of yourself in order to get to the core, to get to something that is pure and honest.”
“Paul (Weller) was there for every moment of the recording process – before, during and long after, discussing ideas about this and that, even down to the artwork. It was hugely impressive.”
Amanda Anne Platt & The Honeycutters come from Asheville NC. “Burn” comes from their double ‘concept’ album “The Devil And The Deep Blue Sea” which features songs written around their pandemic lockdown experiences – songs that were originally released as a monthly series of paired singles. The full album holds together really well.
“This album has been a wild ride — both globally, and in personal events that took place during its creation and in the act of creation itself. Releasing two tracks from the project each month – more than once it seemed like a song would take on a new poignancy as life unfolded.”
“Because of the disjointed nature of the recording process, I was worried that the songs might not fit together as cohesively as I had planned. But when I finally sat down and listened to the finished product, I realized that there were themes running throughout that I hadn’t even intended – images that I used repeatedly even though some of these songs were written years apart.”
“I guess it feels a little funny to be releasing a ‘concept album’ in a time when there is so much emphasis on streaming. Especially one composed of songs that have all been available to stream individually for some time now. But I also grew up in the nineties, and have always been a stickler for the way things fit together – how one song flows into the next on an album. And so I will say that, even if CDs seem to be going the way of the dinosaur, I am extremely satisfied to have something to show for these past two years, a body of work that makes sense to me and gives these songs a home.”
The instrumental we play on this episode “Knucklehead Circus” is the title track from Old Blind Dogs‘ 14th album. The Scottish band are now celebrating 30 years together.
Bob Stark is a Vancouver based singer-songwriter. New to Folk Roots Radio, receiving Bob’s excellent new album – his eighth, “Sculpted Pieces Of Love”, in the mail was a lovely surprise. The song we play on this episode “I’ll Never Be The Same Again” is a beautiful song Bob describes as partly truth, partly fiction, with some poetic licence. There is a lovely warm feel to this album, but what comes through loud and clear is the quality of the songwriting and delivery. We’re working on an interview.
“To The Stars” is the first single from “River of Stars” the upcoming album from Sunshine Coast BC based dream-folk artist Daughter Of The Moon, which is expected later in 2022.
“I wrote most of the songs for the new album in the depth of the pandemic or just before it started. I’ve been taking my time with them, which feels healthy.”
Singer-songwriter Stella Prince wrote her new single “Crying On A Saturday Night” for all the people who have found themselves struggling with loneliness during the pandemic. Just 17 years old, Stella has already written with Nashville pros and appeared at the Bluebird Café.
“The reason I wrote this song is because I know there are millions of people out there that feel the exact same way as I do, especially during these difficult times. I just thought there should be a song that we can all relate to.”
New Brunswick vocal powerhouse Matt Andersen actually released the single “Some Things Never Change” before the holidays. We only just received a copy, and decided we had to give it a spin. It’s all about that feeling of warm familiarity you get when you head home to spend time with loved ones.
“‘Some Things Never Change’ is what getting back to my folks’ place is all about. No matter what is happening in the world around us, it all just falls away when I pull into their driveway. “
Matt Andersen already has a new album out, “House To House”. It’s a solo recording – just Matt and his guitar captured by producer Chris Kirby. We’ll dig into it on a future episode.
“Who But Man?”, a beautiful re-telling of the biblical Easter story, is the latest single from bluegrass/Americana singer-songwriter Claire Lynch. Claire wrote the song after receiving a poem in the post from Prince Edward Island based poet and singer-songwriter Bob Jensen.
“The poem’s pathos stirred something deep within me – and the music came so easily, I wondered if I was experiencing one of those ‘downloads from the universe’ that writers talk about! The song provides a description of the darkest part of the Easter saga, but to me it speaks deeper – to our constant struggle with what is called ‘Man’s inhumanity to Man.’”
William Prince and Serena Ryder have collaborated on a surprise new single “Sing Me A Song”. A classic love duet, its simple, straightforward yet playful lyrics belie the totally authentic feeling it leaves you with.
“‘Sing Me A Song’ is about communicating love between two individuals. The cohesiveness comes from one person being the instrument and the other being the voice. Honest and vulnerable, without rehearsal, the two lovers make music together in harmony. The song captures my friend Serena Ryder and I communicating through our most comfortable language: singing and playing music. Letting admiration, respect and love for another give life to humanity’s oldest story.” (William Prince)
“I’m in a car that doesn’t belong to me driving towards a wide horizon, preparing to make mistakes I’ve made before, Laying out the consequences and inviting a sense of familiarity to occupy the passenger seat to tell the story. There’s a line in John Prine’s song “Late John Garfield Blues”… “Old men sleep with their conscience at night, young kids sleep with their dreams.” And in this song, I’m the old man.” (Martin Harley)
“You’re Gonna Be Okay” comes from Vancouver folk rockers Just A Season‘s third recording “Leave To Come Home”, an album that provides a reminder that there is always light at the end of the tunnel.
We wrapped things up with Ottawa’s HOROJO Trio – drummer Jamie Holmes, singer/keyboard player Jeff Rogers, and guitarist JW Jones with “Hard As I Can” from their new album “Set The Record”. HOROJO developed out of a live jam session that left the audience screaming out for more. A great story about the start of a wonderful live band.
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)
Eric Anders and Mark O’Bitz
Morton’s Pillory Plea
Stuck Inside: Music In The Time Of Coronavirus: Songs 10-20 (2021, Baggage Room Records)
Only Stories (Acoustic)
Only Stories (Let The Cards Fall Revisited) (2019, Real World Records)
Arrivals (2022, Schoolkids Records)
Amanda Anne Platt & The Honeycutters
The Devil And The Deep Blue Sea (2022, Organic Records)
Old Blind Dogs
Knucklehead Circus (2021, OBD Music)
I’ll Never Be The Same Again
Sculpted Pieces Of Love (2021, Self) CDN
Daughter Of The Moon
To The Stars
River of Stars (2021, Citadel House) CDN
Crying On A Saturday Night
(single) (2022, Self)
Some Things Never Change
(single) (2021, Stubbyfingers / Sonic Records) CDN
Who But Man?
(single) (2022, Thrill Hill Records) CDN
Harley Kimbro Lewis
Harley Kimbro Lewis (2022, Self)
Just A Season
You’re Gonna Be Okay
Leave To Come Home (2022, Northern Electric) CDN
Hard As I Can
Set The Record (2022, Stony Plain Records) CDN