Join us for Episode 643, the ‘Canadian Pizza Edition’ of Folk Roots Radio for an hour of great new music with a distinctly Canadian feel. This time around we check out the latest releases from JoJo Worthington, Terra Spencer & Ben Caplan, Rosanne Baker Thornley, Lisa Richard, Andrew Collins, Shane Pendergast, Michael Darcy & The Atlantic Tramps, Village Manor, Kyle McKearney, Mike Edel, The Ennis Sisters, Artists For Action , Angelique Francis, Mariel Buckley and Cynthia Hamar. Although we’ve named this episode after a north of the border specialty, we actually don’t talk about it. So, enjoy the music, though if you want to savour it alongside your favourite pizza, that works too! Remember, If you like the artists you hear on this show and want to support them, don’t just stream their music – BUY their music, and then you’ll really make a difference to their income at a time when it is becoming much more difficult to make a living as a musician. Check out the full playlist below.
We started out the episode with JoJo Worthington, who has been moving more into electronica and pop for a few years now. “Birthday” is a beautiful song – you can find it on Jojo’s latest EP, “Baptized”.
“I wrote “Birthday” about my best friend and our childhood spent growing up together in Kitchener-Waterloo, Ontario. It is a nostalgic and gentle pop song, reflecting on those happy memories. I remember countless times where she and I would sit in the car and talk for hours, trying to navigate high school life, attempting to understand what the “truths” were. It was like we had tunnel vision back then. One night, after talking on the phone with her, I was just in awe of how much she had grown as a person and before I knew it, I was writing a song about us.”
We also checked out the new collaboration between Nova Scotia based Terra Spencer & Ben Caplan. “Old News” is an album that (singer-songwriter and funeral director) Terra Spencer describes as “eleven songs written by me and produced by Ben”. Duets, intimate solo songs, and stories about the gentle art of saying goodbye. Their voices go so well together – it really works. “Brick and Mortar”, the song we played, is quite lovely.
Rosanne Baker Thornley from Toronto reflects on the fast-paced nature of our lives on the title track of her second solo recording, “Sorry I’m Late”, an album that arrived twenty-eight years after her well-received debut ‘Courage” – real life interfering with that early success. It’s great to have her back, and we’ll definitely have more from this album on a future episode.
“For all the plans you may have for the future, what doesn’t change is that life is lived moment-to-moment, day-to-day. Life unfolds in the here and now and often pulls you where you didn’t plan on going or – has you staying somewhere a little longer, just because. Sorry I’m late … “
“The songs that make up ‘Sorry I’m Late’ are journal entries that mark monumental moments in my life. The losses, the lessons, the awe and the determination to continue on – insights into pieces of my life that have moved me so immensely that I was compelled to capture them in song”.
Halifax NS’s Lisa Richard captures the moments that matter most on “News You Can Use” from her debut full-length album, “Promises Kept”.
The instrumental on this episode comes from mandolin maestro Andrew Collins. You can find the wonderfully titled “Crash And Burn 2020, You Were A Real Jerk!” on his latest solo recording, “Love Away The Hate”. We think what he said about 2020 is something we can all agree on!
“The Future of Tradition” comes from Shane Pendergast‘s new album “The House Before The Bridge” which was recorded live off the floor in his kitchen in Corran Ban, Prince Edward Island. It’s a lovely album. That kitchen has great acoustics – perfect for a party! We’ll definitely have more from this album on a future episode.
“It was important to record the entire album live-off-the-floor in the kitchen of my old homestead. I wanted the recording to be soaked in the intimacy and raw energy of the kitchen party spirit.”
“Down To The Roots”, the new album from Toronto based Michael Darcy & The Atlantic Tramps brings together Michael Darcy’s Irish roots and his love of great American songwriters like John Prine and Guy Clark. On this episode we play the beautiful “Sweet St. John’s”. Check out the great lyric video. Time for another trip out east!
Toronto’s Village Manor describe their single “Just Smile” as a cure for the ills of life, especially for harried parents and their offspring. “Spending time together is something that we should never lose sight of – because we’ll never have those days again.”
“River Rain” is the latest single from Calgary based Métis singer-songwriter Kyle McKearney. Kyle wrote it for his wife and kids as a way to remind them how much they mean to him.
“I wrote this song with the idea that if anything should ever happen to me, my wife and kids would have these words to listen to and remember how important they are.”
“Forever thank my lucky stars though I’ll never understand, what I did to deserve to be your dad.” (lyric)
Mike Edel‘s “love me the same” comes from his latest recording “casseroles & flowers”, an album he worked on while recovering from a stroke he suffered in April 2021 he matter of fact describes as “…something that happened while on the road playing shows and living out of a converted van during my post-Covid return to live music”. After rehabbing for five hours a day, and focusing on regaining his confidence in walking, he moved on to doing what he found most challenging – learning to play the guitar again. It’s good to know he’s doing well, and producing some really wonderful music.
Newfoundland’s The Ennis Sisters are celebrating twenty five years making music together. Maureen, Karen and Teresa Ennis bring their beautiful harmonies to “Somebody Like You” from their latest album, “On We Go”.
The sixteen member strong folk super group Artists For Action have recorded a new version of Florence Reece’s pro-union song “Which Side Are You On?”, which was originally written in 1931. This version, the brainchild of Prince Edward Island’s Bob Jensen features 16 difference artists from all over the world, and is being used to express concerns about the rise of far-right politics and the resurgence of fascism around the globe. It includes contributions from Bob Jensen (Canada), Black Umfolosi (Zimbabwe), Ray Bonneville (Canada), Bruce Cockburn (Canada), Guy Davis (USA), Ani DiFranco (USA), Maria Dunn (Canada), James Keelaghan (Canada), Lucy MacNeil (Canada), Tony McManus (Scotland), Moulettes (England), Oysterband (England), Richard Perso (Australia), Heather Rankin (Canada), Martin Simpson (England) and Jon Weaver (Canada). It also comes with a great video. Videos where everyone is singing and playing in a different place are often challenging to make but this one really works.
“Heaven Water” comes from “Long River”, the latest album from Ottawa based power-house blues vocalist, singer-songwriter and multi-instrumentalist Angelique Francis. In addition to her vocal contribution on this recording, Angelique also plays upright bass, electric bass, harmonica, acoustic and electric guitar, organ, and keyboards. Just wow! Another album with fabulous sound, we’ll definitely be dipping into it again.
“Despite our differences, and the vast variations in our personal histories, we are all floating down this river together. We are all connected in this way. We have all shared the same beginning, and we will all share the same end.”
Calgary based Mariel Buckley has released a fantastic new album “Everywhere I Used To Be”. On this episode we play lead single “Neon Blue”, which has a wonderful driving feel to it. But the thing that comes through is what a great lyricist Mariel is – something that stretches across the rest of the album. The arrangements – jangling guitars and pedal steel to the fore, are great too. A Western Canadian version of Kathleen Edwards. It’s an album that really rewards repeated listening. Can’t wait to take it on a road trip.
We wrapped things up with Alberta-born Métis Americana singer-songwriter Cynthia Hamar, and “Where Your Love Lives” from her new 7-track recording “Joint & Marrow” which was produced by Paul Johnston and also features Chris Andrews, Jamie Cooper and Paul Johnston, as well as Toronto producer and guitarist Joel Schwartz. We just love Cynthia’s voice!
“I believe this album stands apart because my writing is stronger at this stage of my career. I love every song and took a long time working the kinks out through live performances prior to recording them. The musicianship and production is world class. Paul really understood my vibe as a performer and understood what I was going for in the studio, intentionally bringing that out in the mixes. I love the space we left to feel the music and reflect on the lyrics, they just feel fun and organic.”A play on the classic “Canadian pizza” which normally comes with bacon, pepperoni, and mushrooms; although other variations are known to exist. We’re not sure this image exactly fits the bill although it was posted as a Canadian pizza by a Rome based contributor (what do Italians know about pizza!). Personally, Jan would never include olives on a pizza, but then she is known to be a bit picky. Truth be told because she now happily lives on gluten-free diet, a Canadian pizza is not something she can even dream about having. Sorry, Jan.
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 – 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)
Baptized EP (2022, One-Stop) CDN
Rosanne Baker Thornley
Sorry I’m Late
Sorry I’m Late (2022, Self) CDN
News You Can Use
Promises Kept (2022, Self) CDN
Crash And Burn 2020, You Were A Real Jerk!
Love Away The Hate (2022, Sytesounds Music) CDN
The Future of Tradition
The House Before The Bridge (2022, Self) CDN
Michael Darcy & The Atlantic Tramps
Sweet St. John’s
Down To The Roots (2022, Self) CDN
(single) (2022, Self) CDN
(single)(2022, Self) CDN
love me the same
casseroles & flowers (2022, Self) CDN
The Ennis Sisters
Somebody Like You
On We Go (2022, Self) CDN
Artists For Action
Which Side Are You On?
(single) (2022, Self) CDN
Long River (2022, Self) CDN
Neon Blue (radio edit)
Everywhere I Used To Be (2022, Self) CDN
Where Your Love Lives
Joint & Marrow (2022, Self) CDN