Join us on Episode 639 of Folk Roots Radio for another hour of great new releases that sound just so good together. This time around we check out new music from Noah Reid, Jenny Colquitt, Allison Moorer, Ian Lake, Wolf & Clover, Big Little Lions, Lunar Bloom, Kellie Loder, Sweet Alibi, Taj Mahal and Ry Cooder, Dodi Kallick, David Olney, Kim Beggs, The Slocan Ramblers and Kyle McKearney & Don Amero. 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 this episode with Toronto-based singer-songwriter and actor Noah Reid (of Schitt’s Creek fame) with “Rivers Underground” from his latest album “Adjustments”. It’s a song that uses the creeks and rivers that lie under the City of Toronto as a metaphor for the interactions that impact our lives, and intimate relationships.
“My wife Clare and I have talked at various points about how easy it would’ve been for us not to find our way to each other. Writing this song, I was thinking about how Toronto’s built on all these underground creeks and rivers, and how that’s a good metaphor for the strangeness of human connection – these waters trying to find their way out to the lake, flowing together or ending up apart.”
Ian Lake is also an actor and singer-songwriter from Toronto. “What It Is” is a song about feeling misunderstood. It comes from his debut album “Fishing For Promises”.
‘Fishing for Promises’ is about feeling misunderstood, and the desire to explain yourself to someone who is not really listening to you. It’s an imagined conversation that will never take place. I wanted this song to sound like it was almost being sung in private. The song is equal parts clinging to hope, and calmly accepting whatever comes.”
Jenny Colquitt is a songwriter from Widnes, Lancashire in England. Her single “Soldier Of The Modern Day” is all about modern-day struggles we face on a day-to-day basis.
“Thank You” comes from Allison Moorer‘s new EP “Wish For You”, a recording she created with help from her son John Henry Earle who was diagnosed with autism at 23 months old and lives with a severe speech disability. Despite John Henry’s inability to speak he spontaneously came up with the melodies for the five tracks that Allison fleshed out with her long-time collaborator, producer, and guitarist Kenny Greenberg for the new EP.
“Sometimes he would say a line, then I’d say a line. It was the same conversational pattern with the music – a spirit conversation, a soul conversation. It’s the universal language because we don’t necessarily need to understand the lyrics. In fact, it doesn’t even have to have lyrics.”
“Music can connect. When you see someone light up because they’ve made a connection with another person through a thing like music it’s very powerful. When I first played John Henry one of these songs, he knew it was his. Just because a person is autistic does not mean that they are not 100% there, and I know that to be true.”
The instrumental on this episode “The Animal Set” comes from the six-piece progressive Celtic band Wolf & Clover from Columbus GA. You can find it on their new album “Twelvemonth And A Day”, a pandemic times recording they say should more truthfully have been called Two Years & More (In The Making).
“Extraordinary” is another song from long-distance songwriting partners Helen Austin (BC Canada) and Paul Otten (Ohio, US) who make music together as Big Little Lions. It’s a song about becoming who you were always meant to be. You can find it on their latest album “Happy Accident” which collects all the songs they released on a monthly basis during the pandemic.
Toronto-based female harmony trio Lunar Bloom are riding the waves on their own emotions on “Running Deep”, the title track from their debut album.
‘Running Deep’ is inspired by the phrase ‘still waters run deep’, and asks the question, What if we let that water run out? The song invites listeners to let the water out, run free and celebrate the waves of their own emotions.
St John’s NF singer-songwriter Kellie Loder‘s powerful single “Fearless” generated more than eighty-seven thousand views on YouTube after their appearance on TV show Canada’s got Talent. The song then went on to become part of CBC’s soundtrack for their 2021 Tokyo Olympic coverage. It’s a great song. Kelly’s 2017 full-length debut “Benefit Of The Doubt” is also definitely well worth checking out.
Staying with the female vocalist theme, “Really Great” from Winnipeg harmony trio Sweet Alibi is a song they hope will bring a little sunshine into our lives during these challenging times. Positive and upbeat, it celebrates change-makers – people who are willing to make their own sacrifices for the sake of the greater good. You can find it on their latest album, “Make A Scene”
After years apart, Taj Mahal and Ry Cooder have produced their own tribute to blues masters Sonny Terry and Brownie McGhee. “GET ON BOARD: The Songs Of Sonny Terry & Brownie McGhee” which includes 11 songs drawn from recordings and live performances by Terry and McGhee. It features Taj Mahal on vocals, harmonica, guitar, and piano, and Ry Cooder on vocals, guitar, mandolin and banjo with Ry Cooder’s son Joachim on drums and bass.
“I started hearing music by Sonny Terry and Brownie McGhee when I was about 19, and I really wanted to go to coffee houses, ‘cause I heard that these old guys were playing. I knew that there was a river out there somewhere that I could get into, and once I got in it, I’d be all right. They brought the whole package for me.” (Taj Mahal)
Taj Mahal and Ry Cooder played together in the short-lived The Rising Sons in 1965 when Ry Cooder was just 17.
“We’ve been doing this a while. Perhaps we’ve earned the right to bring it back.” (Ry Cooder)
“We’re now the guys that we aspired toward when we were starting out. Here we are now… old timers. What a great opportunity, to really come full circle.” (Taj Mahal)
“What Are They Doing in Heaven Today?” is a new double CD set from folk and bluegrass singer-songwriter Kathy Kallick. It’s a unique project as it features Kathy’s second recording of songs she learned from her 60s folk-singing mother Dodi Kallick, alongside recently-discovered performances by Dodi on WFMT’s “Midnight Special” radio show in Chicago during the 1960s. On this episode, we play Dodi’s version of the title track. It’s a lovely project.
“Ferris Wheel” comes from “Nevermore”, one of his last two live recordings (the other being “Evermore”) from the late great David Olney, and the final two parts of his LIVE IN HOLLAND series.
“I Wanna Be A Flower” comes from “Steel And Wool” the latest recording from Yukon-based Kim Beggs, an album of songs recorded after a trip to Nashville to work with other songwriters.
The Slocan Ramblers included a wonderful progressive bluegrass version of Tom Petty’s “A Mind With A Heart Of Its Own” on their latest album, ”Up The Hill And Through The Fog”. The whole album is worth checking out. Banjo player Frank Evans joined us on Episode 636 of Folk Roots Radio to chat about the release.
We wrapped up the episode with “Let ‘Em Lie”, a collaborative single from Canadian singer-songwriters Kyle McKearney and Don Amero. Let ‘Em Lie is a song of healing and empowerment that honours the indigenous children that never made it home as well as the survivors and families still affected by the intergenerational trauma caused by the Canadian residential school programme. All proceeds from the sale of the single will be donated to the National Centre for Truth and Reconciliation.
“Don and I wrote this song with the intention of keeping the conversation progressing. It is written from the perspective of a residential school survivor and touches on some of the hardships so many had to face and are still living with.” (Kyle McKearney)
“While Kyle and I didn’t attend Residential Schools, we have felt the burden that those places cast upon Indigenous peoples in this country. After the uncovering of the 215 children in Kamloops, we felt compelled to share a perspective of some of the stories we hear all too often from those that have survived.” (Don Amero)
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)
Adjustments (2022, Self) CDN
Soldier Of The Modern Day
(single) (2022, Self)
Wish For You (2022, Autotelic Records)
Fishing For Promises
What It Is (2022, Self) CDN
Wolf & Clover
The Animal Set
Twelvemonth And A Day (2022, Self)
Big Little Lions
Happy Accident (2022, Fallen Tree Records) CDN
Running Deep (2022, Self) CDN
(single) (2019, Self) CDN
Make A Scene (2022, Self) CDN
What Are They Doing in Heaven Today?
Kathy Kallick & Friends / Dodi Kallick (Archival Recordings): What Are They Doing in Heaven Today? (2022, Live Oak Records)
Nevermore (The Final LIVE IN HOLLAND Session II) (2022, Strictly Country Records)
I Wanna Be A Flower
Steel And Wool (2022, Self) CDN
The Slocan Ramblers
A Mind With A Heart Of Its Own
Up The Hill And Through The Fog (2022, SloMusic) CDN