We’re pleased to bring you more of the latest new releases on Episode 647 of Folk Roots Radio. This time around we hear from Joe Nolan, Bob Stark, Bywater Call, Shirley Eikhard (RIP), Eric van der Westen and Louis Mhlanga, Julian Taylor, Peter Mulvey & Sistastrings, Shane Pendergast, Charlie Parr, and Corb Lund, alongside an extended musical tribute to Canadian musical icon Ian Tyson who sadly left us recently. We’re biased but we think it’s a nice mix. Enjoy! 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.
A message from Jan:
Unfortunately, I ran into some health issues during 2022 (probably triggered by COVID) that really impacted my ability to make radio, eventually requiring me to take break for a couple of months or so. The good news is that I’m now feeling a lot better and am finally ‘back in the saddle’. Long may this continue! These things happen in life – to all of us. You just need to work on getting well and getting going again. As my mother would always say… “one step in front of the other’. I hope wherever you are listening to this show, you are doing well.
At the time I prepared this episode I actually thought I wouldn’t be able to put out an official ‘Folk Roots Radio favourite albums of 2022’ listing but as you will discover shortly, that has now happened. When I get going, I get going!
We started the episode off with one of our favourite songwriters, Edmonton’s Joe Nolan with “Killin’ All Them Radios” from his latest album “Lost Verses”, eleven songs that grew from notes Joe collected in his private journals that reflect on different aspects of this crazy, complicated thing we call life.
We followed that with Vancouver based singer-songwriter Bob Stark with the title track of his 2015 album “Storefront Photograph”. Bob blew our socks off with his latest album, 2021’s “Sculpted Pieces Of Love”, one of our favourite albums from the past year. I think this is a clear indication that you should also check out Bob Stark’s back catalogue. Another great song from a great songwriter.
We also heard from Toronto blues and roots band Bywater Call, with fabulous vocalist Meghan Parnell very much to the fore while singing about lost love on “Remain”, the title track of their sophomore album.
Acclaimed Canadian songwriter Shirley Eikhard became famous as the composer of Bonnie Raitt’s Grammy-Award winning song “Something To Talk About”. She also picked up many awards in her own right, including two JUNOs. Sadly, Shirley left us recently, after a valiant battle with cancer. The song we just played, the poignant “My Final Chapter” comes from Shirley’s final album “On My Way To You”. We’ll have more from Shirley on a future episode.
The instrumental on this episode, “The Happy Song”, features Eric van der Westen from the Netherlands on acoustic bass and Louis Mhlanga from Zimbabwe on acoustic guitar. It comes from Putamayo’s excellent EP “Acoustic World Vol 2”. This tune is also available on Eric van der Westen and Louis Mhlanga’s 2008 collaboration “Tiri Vaviri”.
Toronto’s Julian Taylor, who fronts the fabulous soulful and funky rock combo The Julian Taylor Band, is now also making waves as a singer-songwriter. Julian, who has Mohawk and West Indian heritage, released his second solo album “Beyond The Reservoir” in late in 2022 – the follow-up to the critically acclaimed “The Ridge” from 2020. “Beyond The Reservoir” is already collecting a critical buzz in its own right with a selection of songs that reflect on identity, loss, sadness, hope, and redemption.
Julian wrote “Opening The Sky”, a song of unconditional love, for his daughter. It’s a call to stand up for what’s right, and to believe in yourself.
“I wrote “Opening The Sky” as an antidote and guide for my daughter. It is something that I hope speaks to all children, especially girls. This song was written to let my daughter know that whatever happens to keep her head up and wear her heart on her sleeve. If there are unjust things happening in the world around her or to her, “Opening The Sky” is a call for her to stand up for what’s right and believe in herself. No matter what, I will always be there for her, whether it is in the flesh or in spirit. This song is meant to be transformative and exudes a feeling of unconditional love.”
“The ultimate goal for me is just to put out the best work I possibly can. If people respond to it in that way, then that’s beautiful. I’m only trying to open the doors for other people like myself. In writing the nine new songs for Beyond the Reservoir, I went backwards in time to pick things out again, as well as meet things head on from an identity standpoint.”
“The reservoir, for me, symbolizes a lot of things. Water helps seeds grow when you plant them. I come from two cultures that are still here. I think about that feeling of growth, of identity, of healing, and water symbolizes a lot of that. At the same time, so too the other elements — earth, wind, and fire. All of them play heavily in this record at some point. There are some really sad moments, some really in-depth moments, and some really hopeful moments in this record. It’s a conversation piece, like The Ridge was’.”
And talking of albums we enjoyed in 2022, we also listened to Peter Mulvey with Chauntee and Monique Ross as Sistastrings on “See You On The Other Side” from Peter’s latest recording, “Love Is The Only Thing”, which is sure to feature in Our Favourite Albums Of 2022.
Prince Edward Island singer-songwriter Shane Pendergast recorded his latest album, “The House Before The Bridge”, live off the floor in his kitchen of his home in Corran Ban. On this episode we play “The Keeper”. This recording has great sound – Shane’s kitchen clearly has wonderful acoustics! Kudos to all concerned on an excellent release – one we’ve thoroughly enjoyed.
“Last Of The Better Days Ahead” comes from Duluth MN based Charlie Parr, another fine songwriter. According to Charlie, who is not afraid to describe himself as ‘getting on in years’, Last Of The Better Days Ahead is about looking back on a life lived as well as forward on what’s still to come.
Blues and roots duo Blue Moon Marquee are A.W. Cardinal (vocals/guitar) and Jasmine Colette a.k.a. Badlands Jass (vocals/bass/drums). “Lowlands” comes from their excellent 2022 album – their fifth together, “Scream, Holler & Howl”.
“Music is a release, and we encourage expression of the spirit with this tune. It’s a song to honour what music provides for so many — an escape.” (A.W. Cardinal)
“We have written many esoteric, dark songs. This was a surrender to a fun, goes-down-easy, hard-hitting groove tune about the ultimate: to love, and be loved.” (Jasmine Colette)
We kicked off our tribute to Ian Tyson with a beautiful Corb Lund song “The Rodeo’s Over” which also features Ian Tyson on vocals from Corb’s 2005 album “Hair In My Eyes Like A Highland Steer”. Corb and Ian hung out and played together quite a bit in the later years of Ian’s life. Ian actually started out life as a rodeo rider before deciding after injury that music might be a safer career choice. Thank god for that! We’ve all gained some great songs and had the opportunity to check out some fabulous performances from a true Canadian icon.
We followed that with “Springtime” from Ian Tyson’s critically acclaimed 1994 album, “Cowboyography”. And then, with former musical partner Sylvia Tyson as Ian & Sylvia, a duo version of “Summer Wages” from the 2019 Stony Plain album “The Lost Tapes Disc 1 (The Classics)” which features recently discovered concert tapes from the 70s.
From there we played an Ian Tyson live solo version of “Someday Soon”. Originally released as an Ian & Sylvia song in 1963, you can find it on Ian’s great 2002 album “Live At Longview” It’s written from the perspective of a cowboy’s girlfriend whose parents weren’t really very enthusiastic about her choice of partner.
My parents cannot stand him ’cause he works the rodeos/ They say, ‘He’s not your kind, he’ll leave you cryin’ (lyric)
We wrapped our Ian Tyson tribute set with a live classic from Ian & Sylvia – one of Ian Tyson’s best-known songs and the song that another amazing Canadian songwriter Neil Young chose to cover. Of course, it’s “Four Strong Winds”.
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)
Killin’ All Them Radios
Lost Verses (2022, Fallen Tree Records) CDN
Storefront Photograph (2015, Self) CDN
Remain (2022, Gypsy Soul Records) CDN
My Final Chapter
On My Way To You (2022, Self) CDN
Opening The Sky
Beyond The Reservoir (2022, Howling Turtle Inc.) CDN
The House Before The Bridge (2022, Self) CDN
Last Of The Better Days Ahead
Last Of The Better Days Ahead (2021, Smithsonian Folkways)
The Rodeo’s Over (feat. Ian Tyson)
Hair In My Eyes Like A Highland Steer (2005, Stony Plain Records) CDN
Blue Moon Marquee
Scream, Holler & Howl (2022, Self) CDN
Cowboyography (1994, Stony Plain Records) CDN
Ian & Sylvia
The Lost Tapes Disc 1 (Classics) (2019, Stony Plain Records) CDN
Someday Soon (Live)
Ian Tyson: Live At Longview (2002, Stony Plain Records) CDN
Ian & Sylvia
Four Strong Winds
The Lost Tapes Disc 1 (Classics) (2019, Stony Plain Records) CDN