Folk Roots Radio Episode 645: We’re All About The Music! (Wide Awake Edition)

Folk Roots Radio Episode 645: We’re All About The Music! (Wide Awake Edition)

Join us on Episode 645 of Folk Roots Radio for another selection of the latest new releases. This time around they are all by Canadian artists, and we include new music from Drea Lake, Jenny Berkel, Terra Spencer & Ben Caplan, OXLIP, Andrew Collins, James Keelaghan, Innes Wilson, Durham County Poets, Larry Folk, Janice Jo Lee, Skinny Dyck, Shane Pendergast, The Dreadnoughts, Jadea Kelly, Tia McGraff and Julian Taylor. 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.

Best 2020

Show Notes

We started off the episode with singer-songwriter Drea Lake who her splits her time between Montreal and Elora, ON and her latest single “Dreaming Peacefully” which was written for an old friend going through a really hard time.

“This song came together after I was reminded of an old friend and where his life had taken him. I was shocked by the juxtaposition of his present circumstances and my most recent and vivid memory of him: a peaceful and extremely sweet day when we were both 17. I felt that if I could share this memory with him, or with anyone going through a hard time it might remind them of themselves.”

“Speak To Me” comes from “The Quiet Between”, the pandemic inspired EP from London ON singer-songwriter Jenny Berkel which features five songs that are actually interpretations of poems by London Ontario writers. “Speak to Me” is based on a poem by Kevin Andrew Heslop. Songs based on work from London ON writers Síle Englert, Sydney Hegele, David Janzen, and Ryanne Kap are also included.

Atlantic Canada funeral director turned singer-songwriter Terra Spencer and Ben Caplan have released a wonderful new project, the pandemic inspired collaboration of sorts, “Old News” which features 11 new Terra Spencer songs focused around the themes of loss and letting go. Some of the songs Terra performs solo, while others are performed in duet with Ben Caplan (who also produced the album). The song we play on this episode “At Your Service” is the story of a man Terra met at the doctor’s office. She sadly met him again when she managed his funeral.

OXLIP is the artistic identify of Northern Irish born singer-songwriter Jayne Trimble who is now based in Vancouver. On this episode we play the title track of her sixth album “I Said You Must Be Leaving”, which was produced by Damien Jurado.

This episode’s instrumental is “I Miss You Already” from Toronto based mandolin maestro Andrew Collins. You can find it on Andrew’s excellent solo instrumental collection, “Love Away The Hate”.

“Before The Morning Sun” is a story song about a hanging that James Keelaghan describes as “a bit like the Long Black Veil, but different”. James wrote the song with Dave Gunning. You can find it on James Keelaghan’s latest album “Second-Hand”. It also features co-writes with Catherine MacLellan, Lynn Miles, J.D. Edwards and Cara Luft.

“I love co-writing – it’s the spark that gets me motivated. The fresh approach to a lyric or a different way of forming a melody for a song is so stimulating. Besides, it’s also a great impetus to get it finished.”

Guelph Ontario’s Innes Wilson‘s latest album is “Innes Wilson’s Freightliner”, a re-working of some of his favourite songs with his new backing band Freightliner who feature multi-instrumentalists R.P. McMurphy and Joshua Osmond. On this episode we play “Every Heartbeat Here”.

We followed that with Ormstown QC’s Durham County Poets and “Love’s Got A Hold On Me” which also features guest vocals from Karen Morand from their latest album, the bluesy and soulful “Out Of The Woods”.

Toronto based singer-songwriter Larry Folk‘s latest single is a remix of the beautiful “Gathering of Friends” which originally appeared in cappella demo, with Larry singing all the parts, on his 1997 album “Caught In The Light”. You can find the new version on the 2020 album “In The Moonlight”.

“It is the hardest of my songs to sing, because I always end up singing it at the saddest of occasions. But the way I sing it in those moments is with my guitar and a couple of harmony singers. I thought it would be nice to release a version which is closer to the way I sing it live.”

“Here I Am” is the upbeat first single from musician, poet, and playwright Janice Jo Lee‘s forthcoming album “Ancestor Song”, which is due in 2023.

“I wanted to write a declaration song to open my live show. I actually wrote ‘Here I Am’ the night before the album release for my last record ‘Sing Hey’ as a way to start the show by clapping and getting everyone’s attention. Initially it was a repeat-after-me, which is a very folk song form. The song features vocal unison, spoken word, and shout-singing to invoke the feeling of being at a demonstration, taking up public space, with a sense of defiance. The intention was to bring everyone together through rhythm.”

Lethbridge, Alberta-based singer/songwriter Skinny Dyck recorded most of his latest album “Palace Waiting” with Austin TX based producer Billy Horton. On this episode we play the first single, the pedal steel soaked “In On The Upswing”.

“Billy Horton is a real traditionalist and a wealth of knowledge. I was once a full-on traditional country obsessive type, but my taste has expanded in recent years. I cringe at the ‘that’s not real country’ trope that pervades many a conversation related to genre. My thing requires keeping one foot in country music as well as one foot outside.”

Shane Pendergast recorded his latest album “The House Before The Bridge”, a collection of original folk songs recorded live in his kitchen in Corran Ban, PEI. An excellent recording, the live sound makes you feel like you are actually there. On this episode we play “Sheldrake Island”.

“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.”

Vancouver Celtic-folk punks The Dreadnoughts have recorded a great version of traditional song “Bold Reilly” for their latest, album number five “Roll & Go”. Faced with the need to stay home during the pandemic, when their band members all live in different parts of the world, they vowed to use their time off the road to work on a new album… that stands as a big, giant middle finger to all of it, a defiant re-assertion of everything they stand for. Punked up polkas, waltzes, irish jigs, klezmer dances and sea shanties, all absolutely drenched in alcohol and delivered with an angry, defiant scream. 

The Dreadnoughts eventually found their way to Factory Underground Studios in Norwalk, Connecticut, USA, to work on the new songs, record and mix the album in nine days – with musical contributions from support musicians holed up elsewhere in the world.

Originally from Toronto, Jadea Kelly is now based mainly in LA. “Stupid Goddam Face” comes from her fourth album “Roses”. “I’m holding the light up now, and roses are falling all around” .

“I ended up tracking a majority of the album in Toronto with my Canadian friends and bandmates, in person and virtually. It felt full circle to record in Canada after four exploratory years in the US. I love California with all my heart. It is my new found home and has provided a playground to rediscover my confidence, my freedom, my voice and a collection of songs that truly reflects my journey to health”.

Southern Ontario singer-songwriter Tia McGraff has released a new EP with music and life partner Tommy Parham. On this episode we play the beautiful title track from “With Love”, an EP that was released on the anniversary of her beloved dog Jake’s passing. It’s a recording which pays tribute to not just Jake’s life, but every life and every voice. It’s a nice, warm and uplifting album. Tia is great live – definitely catch her if you get the chance.

We wrapped up the show with Julian Taylor and “Wide Awake” from his very well received sophomore solo release “Beyond The Reservoir”. A commitment to not dwell on regrets, mistakes and things that you wish had gone better, “Wide Awake” comes with the sage advice that it  far better to be present and living in the moment.

“So many people close to me had been dealing with loss in their lives. I was feeling for them. I’d been dealing with my own thoughts and feelings about who I am and what’s important to me. I’ve made a lot of mistakes in my life. I deal with feelings of regret. Sometimes, I unintentionally live inside my own head too often; those thoughts don’t really help me with my own mental stability, and they’ve caused people around me harm as well.”

“I now know that what I think about has a lot to do with my own happiness and the energy that I put out into the world. I now know that I’m perfect in all my imperfection, and that everything that’s happened needed to happen exactly the way that it did… We are interwoven, and we’re all so fortunate to be a part of the universal fabric of life. When I look at things that way, I’m so grateful for everything, and for everyone who’s ever shown me love. I can only hope that I’ve repaid the favor in some way.”

As this moment is the only moment we actually have, the sentiment expressed in this song is one we can completely get behind. A perfect way to finish off the episode.

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!

Image Credit: John Hain 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)

Drea Lake
Dreaming Peacefully
(single) (2022, Self) CDN

Jenny Berkel
Speak To Me
The Quiet Between (2022, Outside Music) CDN

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

I Said You Must Be Leaving
I Said You Must Be Leaving (2022, World Peach Records) CDN

Andrew Collins
I Miss You Already
Love Away The Hate (2022, Sytesounds Music) CDN

James Keelaghan
Before The Morning Sun
Second-Hand (2022, Borealis Records) CDN

Innes Wilson
Every Heartbeat Here
Innes Wilson’s Freightliner (2022, Life Makes Life Suck) CDN

Durham County Poets
Love’s Got A Hold On Me
Out Of The Woods (2022, Self) CDN

Larry Folk
Gathering of Friends (Remix)
In The Moonlight (2020, Self) CDN

Janice Jo Lee
Here I Am
Ancestor Song (2022, Self) CDN

Skinny Dyck
In On The Upswing
Palace Waiting (2022, Sound Asleep Records) CDN

Shane Pendergast
Sheldrake Island
The House Before The Bridge (2022, Self) CDN

The Dreadnoughts
Bold Reilly
Roll & Go (2022, Stomp Records) CDN

Jadea Kelly
Stupid Goddam Face
Roses (2022, Tone Tree Music) CDN

Tia McGraff
With Love
With Love EP (2022, Bandana Records) CDN

Julian Taylor
Wide Awake
Beyond The Reservoir (2022, Howling Turtle Inc. / Warner Music Canada) 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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