Folk Roots Radio Episode 644: We’re All About The Music! (You’re Not Alone Edition)

Folk Roots Radio Episode 644: We’re All About The Music! (You're Not Alone Edition)

We’re pleased to bring you another hour of great new music on Episode 644 of Folk Roots Radio. This time around we include “You’re Not Alone”, the latest single from Allison Russell (which also features Brandi Carlile), alongside new releases from Suzie Vinnick, Terra Spencer & Ben Caplan, Mia Kelly, Tommy Emmanuel, John McCutcheon, Peter Mulvey & Sistastrings, Wally Barnick, Deidre McCalla, Coulee Creek, Helen Townsend with Shannon Smith. We wrap things up with a rousing blues rock set featuring Blue Moon Marquee, Steve Strongman, Crystal Shawanda and Bywater Call. It’s a great episode. We hope you’ll enjoy it. As always, 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.

Best 2020

Show Notes

We started off the episode with more great new music from Allison Russell. Fresh from picking up Album of The Year at the 2022 Americana Awards for her solo debut Outside Child (Our Favourite Album of 2021), Allison’s latest single “You’re Not Alone” (which also features Brandi Carlile) is an inspiring meditation on the power of ancestral strength and the essential nature of community. You’re Not Alone originally appeared on the acclaimed 2019 album Songs Of Our Native Daughters acclaimed 2019 album which also featured Rhiannon Giddens, Leyla McCalla and Amythyst Kiah.

Suzie Vinnick has just released her seventh solo recording “Fall Back Home”, an album that allows Suzy to rock out while also showing her gentler side. “Talk To Me” is a co-write with Matt Andersen, who also gets to duet with Suzy.

“I do cross over genres and I love all sorts of music so I consider that my home. There’s also a double meaning to the title, in that it references coming back home to a comfortable and safe place during the pandemic.

“Saudade” comes from “Old News”, the new collaboration between Terra Spencer and Ben Caplan – who also produces. Old News features eleven new Terra Spencer songs that she describes as “stories of someone struggling with loss while the rest of the world carries on – whether that would in my other role as a funeral director or coming out of a global pandemic.” It’s an interesting project and well worth checking out.

“Vagabond” comes from Gaineau QC singer-songwriter Mia Kelly. It’s inspired by a kind stranger Mia met while travelling in B.C. You can find it on Mia’s full-length debut “Garden Through The War”, which was produced by Jim Bryson.

The instrumental on this episode comes from great Australian guitarist Tommy Emmanuel who now makes his home in the US. You can find “Song For A Rainy Morning” on Tommy’s double album retrospective, “The Best Of Tommysongs”.

“When I was a kid, I wanted to be in show business. Now, I just want to be in the happiness business. I make music, and you get happy. That’s a good job.”

Celebrated and prolific songwriter John McCutcheon spent most of his time while in pandemic lockdown working on new songs. One of our favourites new songs from John is the humorous song “Song When You Are Dead” which is actually based around a request John received to write another obituary in song – the inquiry inspired by the release of his wonderful song for the late great John Prine, “The Night John Prine Dead”. You can find it on John’s latest album “Leap!”

“You And (Everybody Else)” was written by another great songwriter, Milwaukee WS’s Peter Mulvey. It’s Peter’s take on pandemic loneliness. You can find it on his latest album, the excellent “Love Is The Only Thing”, his second collaboration with Sistastrings – that’s cellist-vocalist Monique Ross and violinist-vocalist Chauntee Ross, and a self-proclaimed anti-fascist record that also speaks to the value of close family and community during challenging times. We’ll dip into it again on a future episode.

“This album is basically a happy family song, then a song about how f*cked up things are, then a family song, then a song about how f*cked up things are.”

Californian singer-songwriter Wally Barnick is also a fine bluegrass player. “Midnight Rails” comes from his third solo album “New Road”.

Dealing with the loss of someone you love is never easy. But a beautiful song like “Even Now” can really help. It comes from “Endless Grace”, the fifth solo album from Deidre McCalla and reflects on both the memories and presence that will stay with you forever.

“A Distant Land To Roam” comes from “Matriarch Song & Verse”, Wisconsin based bluegrass band Coulee Creek‘s tribute to Hazel Dickens and Alice Gerard.

Australian Americana duo Helen Townsend with Shannon Smith are setting love free on the bluegrassy “Where Are You Now” from their EP “Love Lies ‘n’ Leaving”.

Roots and blues duo Blue Moon Marquee, from Cowichan Valley in BC, feature A.W. Cardinal on vocals and guitar with Jasmine Colette, a.k.a. Badlands Jass on vocals/bass/drums. You can find “Hound Dog On A Chain”, a song about pushing back against oppression, on their fourth recording “Scream, Holler & Howl”. They put on a great show. Check them out if you get the chance.

“Wake up to the realization that people have the power. We need to believe in that power and to believe in the people. The chain is taut. This hound dog is about to bust loose.”

We managed to squeeze in two songs featuring powerhouse vocalist Crystal Shawanda on this episode. The first is actually “Tell me I’m Wrong” from Steve Strongman with his blues collective, The Strongman Blues Remedy Vol. 1 – a project built around idea that the best cure for the challenges of the world we’re living in right now is to fill it with music that celebrates life and joy.

“How Bad Do You Want It” comes from Crystal Shawanda‘s own album “Midnight Blues” which was produced in Nashville by her husband and long-time collaborator Dewayne Strobel. Midnight Blues is Crystal’s eighth studio album, and fifth since switching away from a very successful career as a country artist.

We wrapped up the episode with the epic “Left Behind” from “Remain”, the latest release from Bywater Call, a powerhouse 7-piece southern soul roots rock band from Toronto lead by Meghan Parnell and Dave Barnes. They are just brilliant live. Check them out if you get the chance.

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)

Allison Russell
You’re Not Alone (feat. Brandi Carlile) (Radio Edit)
(single) (2022, Fantasy Records / Concord) CDN

Suzie Vinnick
Talk To Me (feat. Matt Andersen)
Fall Back Home (2022, Self) CDN

Terra Spencer & Ben Caplan
Old News (2022, Self) CDN

Mia Kelly
Garden Through The War (2022, Self) CDN

Tommy Emmanuel
Song For A Rainy Morning
The Best Of Tommysongs (2020, CGP Sounds)

John McCutcheon
Song When You Are Dead
Leap! (2022, Appalseed)

Peter Mulvey & Sistastrings
You And (Everybody Else)
Love Is The Only Thing (2022, Righteous Babe Records)

Wally Barnick
Midnight Rails
New Road (2022, Self) CDN

Deidre McCalla
Even Now
Endless Grace (2022, MaidenRock Records)

Coulee Creek
A Distant Land To Roam
Matriarch Song & Verse (2021, Self)

Helen Townsend with Shannon Smith with Shannon Smith
Where Are You Now
Love Lies ‘n’ Leaving (2021, Self)

Blue Moon Marquee
Hound Dog On A Chain
Scream, Holler & Howl (2022, Self) CDN

Steve Strongman
Tell Me I’m Wrong (feat. Crystal Shawanda)
The Strongman Blues Remedy Vol. 1 (2022, Stony Plain Records) CDN

Crystal Shawanda
How Bad Do You Want It
Midnight Blues (2022, True North), CDN

Bywater Call
Left Behind
Remain (2022, Gypsy Soul Records) 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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