We have another hour of great new music to share with you on Episode 656 of Folk Roots Radio. As always, most of the music we play is actually self-released, and this time around it is all be Canadian artists. Join us as we check out the latest releases from Noah Derksen, Stephen Hardy Palmer, Doug Cox & Linda McRae, Del Barber, Natalie MacMaster & Donnell Leahy, Tara MacLean, Moonfruits, Scott Nolan, Peach & Quiet, Maggie Fraser, Eliza Mary Doyle, Whitehorse, Pete Eastmure, The Pairs and Boy Golden. 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.
Canadian-American singer-songwriter Noah Derksen kicked off this episode with “Sanctity Of Silence”, a song of yearning about love and beauty it’s also the beautiful title track from Noah’s latest album. Sanctity Of Silence, the album, is actually a bit of a musical therapy project as it follows the arc of a failed relationship from the joyful beginning to the bitter ending. Ouch!
“This album is about love – from start to finish, and represents a snapshot from my life. These past few years have been dominated by love – in both its beauty and hardships. These nine songs present the story of love from start to finish – from highway 17 in Northwestern Ontario, to being devastatingly alone on my basement floor in my hometown of Winnipeg two years later. The songs are ordered as I wrote them, and capture a specific moment along this fated arc of love. Recording this album was the best form of therapy I could have ever hoped for.”
We followed that with Gatineau QC based troubadour singer-songwriter Stephen Hardy Palmer and “Southern Angel” from his latest album, “Bye & Bye”, a four song EP that features three originals plus a version of old Appalachian favourite “Wayfaring Stranger”. “Southern Angel” also features Cara Luft from The Small Glories on clawhammer banjo.
The COVID times inspired “Beyond The Great Pause” is the title track of Doug Cox and Linda McRae‘s first album together. Doug and Linda actually started working on the album during the pandemic. After several false starts they were finally able to record it… live, over three nights, while touring in Alberta and British Columbia.
“Still Got You” comes from Del Barber‘s twelve song eighth studio album “Almanac”. It’s a song that came to him while standing outside on his Manitoba farm with his dog on a beautiful starlit night.
“The stars looked like they were crammed in the sky like sardines, the wolves were howling, cows were bawling. I had my dog Fischer next to me. I realized how lucky I was to have this life; the simplicity, the isolation, all of it.”
“My partner Haylan and I were building a life on the fringes of it all and I was in love with it and proud of what we had. However, with those feelings of love and thankfulness came guilt. I had privileges so many didn’t have and I wanted to do right by them. And I knew there’d be some consequences from looking away from the world as often as we liked.”
“I want my work to be seen as subtle by definition. I want my statements to come across as questions rather than decrees or opinions. Some of these songs are descriptions of my world through my own eyes; a way of songwriting I’ve never felt I’ve done well until now. Writing Almanac felt like I had another chance. It felt like spring.”
We dipped back into “Canvas” again, the wonderful new ‘Celtic folk with no boundaries’ album from Natalie MacMaster and Donnell Leahy for the instrumental on this episode. The tune we played, “Caramelo”, also features Josemi Carmona on acoustic guitar.
“Lay Here In The Dark” comes from the new Tara MacLean album “Sparrow” which has been released to accompany her memoir “Song Of The Sparrow. Lay Here In The Dark was actually written in the midst of a divorce. It’s a beautiful song that Tara describes as a moment of light in the midst of some dark and lonely times.
“My memoir, Song of the Sparrow, is about my life in music. While I was writing it, new original songs were born and old songs found new meaning. Music has always been the key to my survival in life, so it is natural for there to be a soundtrack to accompany the book. To capture the new songs and revisit the old, I went into the studio to record the soundtrack to the book which is Sparrow.”
“Sparrow, is a journey, encompassing songs I wrote as a teenager and as the woman I am now. The process has shown me that I am still the same in many ways, exploring and navigating the heart, and looking for poetry in everything. My story is universal; it is one of growth and unfolding, letting go of the things that hold us back and soaring as high as we can.”
Kaitlin Milroy and Alex Millaire are the creative force behind bilingual folk duo Moonfruits. “Salt”, the title track from their latest album, is a song that Alex Millaire wrote for his grandmother after quizzing her about what she thought happened after death, and whether she thought reincarnation was a possibility. “Heaven is good enough for me!” was her succinct reply – before turning the question back to Alex. What did he think happened after death?… which lead to the lyrical exploration that ultimately became this song.
“Bella Vista” comes from “The Suburb Beautiful”, Scott Nolan‘s love story to the Winnipeg neighbourhoods of his youth. His first new album in six years, it’s beautifully brought to life in string arrangements created by his collaborator, composer and arranger Glenn Buhr.
Jonny Miller and Heather Read make music together as British Columbia’s Peach & Quiet. “Horse And Saddle” comes from “Beautiful Thing”, their Steve Dawson produced second album together. Featuring Steve Dawson on electric, pedal steel and slide guitar alongside Henhouse Express regulars Jeremy Holmes (bass), Gary Craig (drums) and Chris Gestrin (keys), it’s a reminder that even in troubled times, life is, indeed, a beautiful thing!
The environmentally conscious “The Cornfield” comes from “The Way That I Wish It Was”, a collection of original songs from Toronto singer-songwriter Maggie Fraser. The Way That I Wish It Was was produced by Maggie’s husband Alec Fraser Jr with support from some familiar names on the Toronto music scene. Joining Maggie Fraser (vocals/acoustic guitar) in the studio were Alec Fraser Jr (circus bass/drums/ guitars/ banjo/ keyboards/ percussion/ and BG vocals), Dennis Keldie (piano/Wurlitzer/organ/accordion), Chris Staig (guitar), Chris Bartos (violins/moog bass/pedal steel), James McKie (mandolin/Bodhran), Rich Roxborough (piano/keyboard), and Colleen Hodgson (BG vocals).
Saskatoon’s Eliza Mary Doyle, formerly the banjo player with The Dead South, has released her second solo album “Pretty Strange”, a ten song collection that was recorded live off the floor at Nashville’s Sidekick Studios. On this episode we play the track “Red Dress”.
“If The Loneliness Don’t Kill Me” comes from “I’m Not Crying, You’re Crying”, the classic country pandemic lockdown release from Luke Doucet and Melissa McClelland who make music together as Whitehorse.
“Luke was staying up late every night and writing all the songs about lockdown, and then he all of a sudden had like this collection of songs about lockdown that was stunning, and so I was like, oh, okay, I’m going to shift my thinking and start writing thematically.” (Melissa McClelland)
If the loneliness don’t kill me… then the good times surely will. (lyric)
The “Long Run” comes from “Devil’s Taxi”, the latest recording from Toronto’s Pete Eastmure. A toe-tapping head-nodding Americana/Folk affair, Pete describes “Devil’s Taxi” as influenced by Gordon Lightfoot, Stompin’ Tom Connors, Joni Mitchell and Hank Williams (with The Drifting Cowboys). It’s another album produced by Steve Dawson with support from the Henhouse Express band (who all must be incredibly busy).
“Easier To Leave” is the second single from London ON’s female vocal trio The Pairs forthcoming EP “When Will We Find Our Way?”.
“‘Easier to Leave’ was inspired by all the challenges that we inevitably face within long term relationships. It was written in response to the many fears and anxieties that trickle into our day to day interactions causing inevitable arguments that seem to have no rational foundation. It’s about those moments when all of our kind, compassionate communication skills fly out the window, and we adopt a more self protective, argumentative stance, especially when compromise feels next to impossible, and leaving, perhaps the easier option.”
We wrapped up the episode with “A Little Space” from Winnipeg’s wonderful Boy Golden, the self-described founder and minister of ‘The Church Of Better Daze’ which just happens to be the name of his excellent 2021 album. We’ve played the album a lot around the house yet somehow haven’t had a chance to play it the radio. Consider that now remedied.
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.)
His Mother Called Him Angel (Instrumental Version) (Theme)
Abandoned Companions (2018, Self) CDN
Sanctity Of Silence
Sanctity Of Silence (2023, Overdraft Records) CDN
Stephen Hardy Palmer
Bye & Bye EP (2023, Self) CDN
Doug Cox & Linda McRae
Beyond The Great Pause
Beyond The Great Pause (2023, Self) CDN
Still Got You (Radio Edit)
Almanac (2023, Acronym Records) CDN
Natalie MacMaster & Donnell Leahy
Caramelo (feat. Josemi Carmona)
Canvas (2023, Self / Linus Entertainment) CDN
Lay Here In The Dark
Sparrow (2023, Self) CDN
Salt (2022, Self) CDN
Peach & Quiet
Horse And Saddle
Beautiful Thing (2023, Self) CDN
The Way That I Wish It Was (2023, Self) CDN
Eliza Mary Doyle
Pretty Strange (2023, Self) CDN
If The Loneliness Don’t Kill Me
I’m Not Crying, You’re Crying (2023, Six Shooter Records) CDN
Devil’s Taxi (2023, Self) CDN
Easier To Leave
(single) (2023, Self) CDN
A Little Space
Church Of Better Daze (2021, Six Shooter Records) CDN