Join us on Episode 662 of Folk Roots Radio for another selection of the latest new releases. This time around, all the tracks come from Canadian artists, and, we are pleased to include our first play from “O Sun O Moon”, the critically acclaimed new album from Bruce Cockburn. We also check out music from Alexis Normand, April Verch & Cody Walters, Bryan Butler, James Gray, Meredith Moon, Duke & Goldie, Del Barber, Lennie Gallant, Glencoe Station (featuring Glen MacNeil), Pete Eastmure, Jason Lang, Desiree Dorion, Propter Hawk and Ken Whiteley. 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 more and more difficult to make a living as a musician. Check out the full playlist below.
We started off the episode with Saskatchewan based bilingual singer-songwriter Alexis Normand, who makes use of both of Canada’s official languages on her latest single “The Night Before – je t’aime”. You’ll be able to find that song on Alexis’ upcoming album “Mementos” which shares, explores and celebrates her experience living in two languages.
“I had been wanting to tell my partner that I loved him, but my natural instinct was to say it in French, even though we mostly speak to each other in English. “I love you” felt foreign compared to saying “Je t’aime”.
“Navigating the bilingualism of my voice through songwriting took time to figure out and a lot of trial and error. Folks often assume that I can flow seamlessly from French to English. While this is often true, there are some moments where one language feels much more instinctive for me to use than the other. I wanted to illustrate this in a song and realized that, for me, this type of language negotiation plays out most often in relationships.”
We followed that with Ottawa Valley raised fiddler, April Verch and partner, multi-instrumentalist Cody Walters with “Not To Fall” from their first album as a duo “Passages & Partings”. Not to Fall which came out of a songwriting session with folk legend and activist, Si Kahn also features Pharis Romero on vocals and guitar, with her music and life partner Jason Romero on banjo.
Bryan Butler was a member of one of our favourite bands – Toronto’s late great “The Warped 45s”. “Wishful Thinking” is the first single from Bryan’s upcoming album. It’s a song he wrote with fellow Warped 45s member Dave McEathron who is very well-known to Folk Roots Radio. Dave recently kindly lent us our new theme – an instrumental version of his song “His Mother Called Him Angel” from his fabulous 2018 album “Abandoned Companions” – one of Our Favourite Albums of 2019.
James Gray spends half of the year in a cabin up in Muskoka ON, and the other half travelling the world as a storytelling troubadour singer-songwriter. “Sleepless” comes from his latest album “New Friends That Talk Like Old Friends”, a recording James worked on during pandemic lockdown.
‘Have I ever told you why? Told you why,
Have I ever told you how? Told you how,
Did I ever scream out loud? out loud,
Did I ever tell you why I can’t sleep at night?’ (Lyric)
The instrumental on this episode, “Needlecase Medley”, comes from “Constellations”, the latest album from Meredith Moon. Meredith is, of course, daughter of the late great Gordon Lightfoot – something she deliberately didn’t mention when playing live during the early years of her career because she wanted to prove herself as a banjo playing singer-songwriter first. In fact, it wasn’t until 2022 that she played publicly with her father.
Bruce Cockburn has released a fabulous new album “O Sun O Moon”, which, staggeringly, is his 38th studio album. O Sun O Moon finds Bruce reflecting on life, as he matter of factly acknowledges moving into the latter stages of his own. Already critically acclaimed, this new recording is definitely one of the best in a long and storied career. The track we chose to play on this episode, “Into The Now” moves from world events into an appraisal of where he is at in his life, with perhaps a wish that he will be ready (for whatever happens next) by the time he reaches the end. It is one of the best songs on an album that is full of great songs – and a recording you can connect to on so many different levels. We’ll definitely have more from this album on future episodes.
‘End of it all, end of it all
See if I get there at the end of it all
Honey from God, honey from God
Love trickles down like honey from God
Into the now, into the now
Out of the armor and into the now.’ (Lyric)
Eric Duquette and Jena Gogo, formerly of Rocky Mountain Desert Rock band Blue Sky Miners, swapped Toronto for a small island in the Pacific NorthWest. They now make music as the duo Duke & Goldie. “Courage” comes from their six song “Duke & Goldie EP”.
“‘Courage’ reflects on the incredible feelings that come with moments of creative fulfillment and release. It can be difficult to carry that feeling forward into the more challenging, every day slog that inevitably follows. Finding the courage to face behaviour and circumstances that lead to come downs is important for your mental health and wellness.” (Goldie)
Manitoba Prairie based singer-songwriter Del Barber sings about the challenges of making a living as a farmer on “One Good Year” from his critically acclaimed album “Almanac”. It’s the fourth track we’ve played from this recording. It’s safe to say that it will likely feature in Our Favourite Albums of 2023!
“On the Minnehaha” is the latest single from Prince Edward Island’s Lennie Gallant. Lennie wrote the song for South African female round-the-world solo yacht’s woman Kirsten Neuschäfer and her boat ‘The Minnehaha’ – an indigenous word which means ‘The Laughing Waters’. Kristen was one of only three competitors (out of the 16 who started) to finish the Golden Globe Race. A race she actually won, despite taking time out to aid a fellow competitor in distress, whose boat suddenly sank. Way to go, Kristen!
“‘Seaglass’ was inspired and is dedicated to the memory of our beautiful Aunt, Jessie Hanley. She was truly a beautiful human being in every sense of the word. Please take a few minutes to have a listen and think about someone you’re missing in your life today.” (Glen MacNeil)
“Lake Superior Sunset” comes from “Devil’s Taxi”, the latest album from Toronto’s Pete Eastmure which which was co-produced with ex-pat Canadian Steve Dawson in Nashville. with support from members of the HenHouse Express band.
Jason Lang reflects on the serious impact alcoholism can have on life, health and family on “Firewater” from his third album “Handled With Care”; a tribute to his mother, folk icon Penny Lang , which features his own versions of favourite Penny Lang songs.
Manitoba based country artist Desiree Dorion wrote “Sometimes I Drink”, ‘an anthem for women who unapologetically take time for themselves to let loose and have fun’ with one of her musical idols, Crystal Shawanda. You can find it on Desiree Dorion’s latest album “That’s How I Know”.
Propter Hawk are a female fronted roots-rock band from Toronto who playfully describe their musical style as ‘Humble Pie, The Beatles, The Band and Otis Redding tossed in a burning barrel at the dark end of an unmarked street’. “Telephone” which comes from their soon to be released self-titled debut record features some powerful lead vocals from Malorie Blake.
We wrapped up the episode with Ken Whiteley and his beautiful version of Bob Dylan’s “I Shall Be Released” which you can find on Ken’s excellent 2016 album “Freedom Blues”. The reason we chose to play this song, was not only because it is a fabulous track (which it clearly is) but because it comes with a great video.
Aaron Lightstone (from Toronto based world music group Jaffa Road), who is also a music therapist, brought Ken Whiteley together with the Bliss iBand, a group of adults with different disabilities who like to make online music together over Zoom. It would be wonderful if you checked the video out, shared it and sent the Bliss iBand some love by subscribing to their YouTube channel. Aaron is now in the process of editing more Bliss iband videos featuring Drew Gonsalves (Kobo Town), Aviva Chernick, Jaffa Road, and Nobu Adilman from Choir, Choir, Choir.
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 – many of whom aren’t able to play live at the moment because of the Covid-19 pandemic, 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 by following the link below. You can also listen to episodes of Folk Roots Radio, on-demand, via Soundcloud and wherever you get your podcasts – including on both Apple Podcasts and Spotify (Click on the highlighted link to reach your chosen platform).
His Mother Called Him Angel (Instrumental Version) (Theme)
Abandoned Companions (2018, Self) CDN
The Night Before – je t’aime
(single) (from Mementos) (2023, Self) CDN
April Verch & Cody Walters
Not To Fall (feat. Pharis Romero)
Passages & Partings (2023, Slab Town Records) CDN
(single) (2023, Self) CDN
New Friends That Talk Like Old Friends (2022, Self) CDN
Constellations (2023, True North Records) CDN
Into The Now
O Sun O Moon (2023, True North Records) CDN
Duke & Goldie
Duke & Goldie EP (2023, Self) CDN
One Good Year (Radio Edit)
Almanac (2023, Acronym Records) CDN
On The Minnehaha
(single) (2023, Self) CDN
(single) (2023, Self) CDN
Lake Superior Sunset
Devil’s Taxi (2023, Self) CDN
Handled With Care (2023, Self) CDN
Sometimes I Drink
That’s How I Know (2023, Self) CDN
(single) (2023, Self) CDN
I Shall Be Released
Freedom Blues (2016, Borealis Records) CDN