Folk Roots Radio Episode 631: We’re All About The Music! (Cosmic Mirror Edition)

Folk Roots Radio Episode 631: We’re All About The Music! (Cosmic Mirror Edition)

It’s great to be back with another selection of the latest new releases on Episode 631 of Folk Roots Radio. This time around we check out new music from Avi Kaplan, Brendan Scott Friel, Heather Sarona, Justine Giles, Michael Walsh, Barney Bentall, Amy Correia, Sarah Hiltz, Matt Andersen, Emily Jean Flack, Dieter van der Westen Band, Shred Kelly, Lynne Hanson and Donovan Woods. 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.

Best 2020

Show Notes

Avi Kaplan provided us with the perfect way to start off the episode with “I’m Only Getting Started”, a song about going through some really rough times – but using those experiences as fuel to get wherever you want to go. It’s from his debut solo album, the Shooter Jennings produced “Floating On A Dream”.

“My journey has taken many twists and turns. It’s been a battle at times, but the completion of this album is a huge step toward the things I hope to achieve as an artist. I’ve been waiting a long time for this chance to give people my music, and to give people myself through my music.”

Windsor ON singer-songwriter Brendan Scott Friel has released a great new single “Through The Rain”. A story of obsessive love, it’s the first single that Brendan has written on piano.

“I think there’s a romanticized image of the obsessed lover who won’t stop until the person they are after loves them back. That sometimes feels to me like it encourages a view of treating people like they are something to be collected; the narrator of this song definitely embodies that. ‘Through The Rain’ is about the toxic trait, which is usually a male trait, unfortunately, of assuming that if you want someone badly enough that it is fate that they will one day be yours to take.”

“This is the first song I’ve ever written on piano. I don’t have any piano tricks or tropes to lean on, so what came out was a very honest representation of how I like the instrument to sound. Usually, a lack of finesse is a bad thing, but for this song, I think it worked perfectly.”

North Carolina’s Heather Sarona yearns for something more on “Better Than What I Got”, from her love and relationship-based first album “Head Above Water”.

“The human experience is just so universal once you start looking at our emotions and love and relationships – those are the things I write about. That’s why I want people to hear these songs. I want to let the way that I have processed these big feelings, big decisions, and big changes to help someone else get through those same things they’re probably experiencing, too.”

“Save Myself” is the new single from Calgary-based singer-songwriter Justine Giles. It’s a powerful statement of strength and determination.

“There’s been a huge amount of growth for me over the past few years. I’m trying to embrace vulnerability and honesty and I feel that ‘Save Myself’ captures my strength in a new way. Above all, I’ve learned how to trust myself and find my own voice.”

The instrumental on this episode “Boys Of The Lough / Trip To Birmingham” comes from Manchester-born, Sheffield-based singer, flutist, and poet Michael Walsh. You can find it on his 2019 album “Quarehawk”.

“My music reflects growing up in the Irish community in Manchester, my Yorkshire home & my love for the music of the Iberian peninsula. My flute playing is inspired by Irish traditional music from the west of Ireland. The album charts the last three years of my life. Celebration, loss, moving on & finding my own voice.”

“Cosmic Dreamer” is the title track of Barney Bentall‘s latest album, his seventh solo release. Like the rest of this recording, it’s beautiful. Cosmic Dreamer features nine original tracks and two covers, Bob Dylan’s “You Gonna Make Me Lonesome When You Go” and Gordon Lightfoot’s “Shadows”. Ruth Moody, Valentino Trapani, and Adrian Dolan (who also shares production duties) guests on the album.

“I wanted to experiment with other things and everybody, bless their hearts, was very good about it. It’s important for me to write songs and try different music styles. Why limit myself? To me, it’s just good music.”

“With All of Us” is the latest single from American singer-songwriter Amy Correia. A love song to artists, you can find it on her latest EP “As We Are”, which was produced by Kimon Kirk.

This one is for the lovers out there/ The ones who dare to share/All of their hearts (and most of their thoughts)/They share their love. (Amy Correia, With All Of Us)

“With All Of Us was inspired by a very supportive period spent in the musical community in Boston. One of those kindred spirits was alluded to in the lyric: ‘Her truth was her beauty, her beauty was the truth/ And when she sang, it cracked me open like a shell’.”

Toronto-based Sarah Hiltz is channeling the late great Buddhist teacher Thich Nhat Hanh’s mantra about telling your partner how you are feeling in the moment on “Darling, I Suffer”. You can find it on Sarah’s latest album “Calm Fury”, a collection of songs that grew out of her research into the ways people (especially women) experience, express, and suppress their anger in modern society.

Cape Breton-based roots quintet Pretty Archie are celebrating their 10th anniversary. On this episode, we play “Feel It In My Bones” from their self-titled sixth album which was recorded live off the floor with producer and engineer, Mark Howard (The Tragically Hip, Tom Waits, Willie Nelson) to give it that authentic live feel.

“See This Through” comes from Matt Andersen‘s latest album “House To House”, a recording that features just Matt and his guitar captured by producer Chris Kirby

“Changing”, the latest single from London ON’s Emily Jean Flack, is a love song but also a plea for people to be true to themselves.

“‘Changing’ is about simply telling someone far away that you love them for who they are, and no matter how far apart the world takes you. The world is beautiful and humbling. Despite the fact we can’t control much in life, we definitely can tell the people we love that who they are is enough. Don’t go changing for the world. We’ve all got something unique to give. Lean into it. Be who you are.”

“No Time To Waste” is the latest single from Americana/Folk band the Dieter van der Westen Band who are based in Amsterdam, Netherlands.

We defy you not to want to get up and dance to the rousing “Roman Candle Eyes” which you can find on “Like A Rising Sun”, the 2020 album from Fernie BC-based indie-folk band Shred Kelly. A deluxe version of the album has just been released.

“Hundred Mile Wind” is the latest single from “Ice Cream In November”, the new album from Canada’s Queen of Americana, Lynne Hanson.

“The song was inspired by a windstorm I found myself in while on tour in the southern United States. On that particular day in Oklahoma, the winds reached 100 miles an hour, and I was almost blown off my feet at one point while filling up the tour van at a gas station. The dirt got into everything, and at times we couldn’t see anything but dusty air. Definitely not something one forgets, and after telling the story a few times, that line in the chorus popped into my head so I wrote it down.”

“I don’t want to keep making the same record over and over again. Getting outside of my artistic comfort zone and trying new things is what keeps things fresh for me at this point in my career. Over the course of the last three or four years, I think I’ve grown more adventurous with the kinds of songs I’m writing and the production approaches when recording them. I think this is one of the reasons that I still get excited about writing songs and making records.”

We wrapped up the episode with Donovan Woods and “Leave When You Go”, a co-write with Peter Groenwald from Donovan’s six-song EP “Big Hurt Boy”, an album that Donovan describes as an exploration of how our failures – and our fixations on them, not only shape us but also enlighten us. Leave When You Go also features backing vocals from indie-pop artist Ralph.

“I write about them (failures) again and again, just hoping people will still be interested. So the title of the EP is poking fun at myself. I’m theoretically this big sad guy who keeps getting dumped and writes heartache songs about it.”

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: Dmitri Posudin 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)

Avi Kaplan
I’m Only Getting Started
(single) (2022, Fantasy Records / Concord)

Brendan Scott Friel
Through The Rain
(single) (2022, Soul City Music Co-op) CDN

Heather Sarona
Better Than What I Got
Head Above Water (2022, Self)

Justine Giles
Save Myself
(single) (2022, Self) CDN

Michael Walsh
Boys Of The Lough / Trip To Birmingham
Quarehawk (2019, Self)

Barney Bentall
Cosmic Dreamer
Cosmic Dreamer (2022, True North Records) CDN

Amy Correia
With All Of Us
As We Are E.P. (2022, Self)

Sarah Hiltz
Darling, I Suffer
Calm Fury (2022, Self) CDN

Pretty Archie
Feel It In My Bones
Pretty Archie (2022, Curve Music / Warner Music) CDN

Matt Andersen
See This Through
House to House (2022, Stubbyfingers / Sonic Records) CDN

Emily Jean Flack
(single) (2022, Self) CDN

Dieter van der Westen Band
No Time To Waste
(single) (2022, Self)

Shred Kelly
Roman Candle Eyes
Like A Rising Sun (DevilDuck Records, 2021) CDN

Lynne Hanson
Hundred Mile Wind
Ice Cream In November (2022, Self) CDN

Donovan Woods
Leave When You Go (feat. Ralph)
Big Hurt Boy EP (2022, End X Music) 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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