New Jersey based singer-songwriter Loretta Hagen has built a great reputation for the quality of her songwriting, and the warm rich alto voice she brings to her delivery. Loretta released a fine fourth album in 2017, “Lucky Stars”, a recording that takes you on a personal journey through loss and healing while leaving you with the promise of hope for better times ahead. It might be the perfect album to be listening to during Covid times. Loretta has just followed up the album with a wonderful new single that reflects on the impact that the coronavirus pandemic has been having on individuals, families and communities – and like much of her songwriting, includes a strong message of hope. “Each day I would hear news stations report the heartbreaking stories of people alone in hospitals around the world fighting for their lives without a loved one at their side. I can only imagine the terror for them. So many stories of loss: loss of life, loss of jobs, homes, loneliness. Normal life simply gone. But in all of that overwhelming despair and loss, there were also stories of survival.” Loretta Hagen joined us on Folk Roots Radio chat about her music and the new single. For more information about her music, visit lorettahagen.com. Photo: Jake Jacobson. Music: Loretta Hagen “Lucky Stars” from “Lucky Stars” (2017, Bearfort), “Not Now” (single) (2021, Bearfort), “Hello Mountain (Ode to Bearfort Mountain)” from “Sundown Till Dawn” (2008, Bearfort) and “Welcome Spring” from “Lucky Stars” (2017, Bearfort).
Windsor ON based singer-songwriter Karen Morand joins us on Episode 573 of Folk Roots Radio to chat about a musician’s life during during Covid Times. The pandemic has hit artists very hard as pretty much all live work has dried up. Fortunately it hasn’t stopped them being creative. Karen Morand has been spending her time in lockdown working on new music with a new album slated for release early next year. She joins us on this episode to talk about the project and the wonderful lead-off single “Never Enough”. As always we wrap up the hour with more new music, and this time around we hear from Bonnie Light Horseman, Peach & Quiet, Sarah McQuaid, Stella Prince, Katie McNally Trio, Sunflower Thieves, Jerry Leger and Spencer Burton. Check out the full playlist below.
We’re all about the music on Episode 572 of Folk Roots Radio, as we hold back the interviews to bring you another Covid times edition of the show with some excellent Covid Tunes and social justice songs thrown into the mix. Join us for new releases from Moira Smiley and VOCO, Crys Matthews, Ellen Bukstel, Tim Grimm, Lizzy Plotkin & Natalie Spears, Dan Hill, Eliot Bronson, Tara MacLean (with Tim Chaisson, Hubert Francis, Gilbert Sark and Dennis Ellsworth), Paul Weber, Big Little Lions, Cootes Paradise, Forest Sun, Calico and Dan Cimaglio. Check out the full playlist below.
Juno Award winning singer-songwriter Justin Rutledge joins us on Episode 571 of Folk Roots Radio to chat about his new compilation “Islands”. A retrospective with a difference, all of the songs chosen for the project were re-recorded in the way they were originally conceived – that’s pretty much solo voice and guitar with minimal accompaniment, which leaves the listener feeling like they’re listening to the songs for the first time. It’s a beautiful album, and if you’re not familiar with the music of Justin Rutledge, it’s a wonderful way to get acquainted with a great songwriter. We hope you’ll stay with us to check it out. As always, we check out more of the latest releases, and this time around we hear from Lizzy Plotkin & Natalie Spears, Anya Hinkle, Tim Grimm, Chairmen Of The Boards, Spencer Burton and Glass Cabin. Check out the full playlist below.
Guelph singer-songwriter Sue Smith has just released a wonderful new album with the Potion Kings, “Tonight We Sail”, a gorgeous blend of rock, jazz, blues and roots. The new recording features nine Sue Smith original songs plus a song each by Tom Petty (“Swingin'”) and Robbie Robertson (“Ophelia”). Recorded live off the floor at Scott Merritt’s studio, The Cottage in Guelph ON, it features Sue Smith (vocals, organ on several tracks) with the Potion Kings – Jeff Bird on bass, Kevin Breit on guitar, Randall Coryell on drums and Howie Southwood on percussion. Vocalists Nick Craine and Gwen Swick also guest on the recording, which was produced by Sue Smith with partner Jeff Bird. To say we love this album is a bit of an understatement… great songs, amazing musicians and a fantastic groove. It’s sure to figure in our favourite albums of 2021! Sue Smith & the Potion Kings will be playing a FREE live-streamed performance direct from the River Run Centre in Guelph ON on Friday March 26 at 8 p.m…. with special guest Gwen Swick. If you’d like to register for the livestream (all you need to do is sign up for the River Run Centre Spotlight newsletter) you can do that HERE. They’ll send you you the link on the day of the show. For more information about the music of Sue Smith, visit suesmith.ca. Photo credit: Dean Palmer. Music: Sue Smith and the Potion Kings “Night Skies”, “1 Step, 2 Step”, “If I am Sleeping” and “Met Him On A Train” from “Tonight We Sail” (2021, Self) CDN.
In 2007, Ontario singer-songwriter Angie Nussey experienced an emotional breakdown, which lead to a re-evaluation of her life in music, and a shift in approach to one that focused on maintaining a strong spiritual balance. Her beautiful new album “I Have No Idea What I’m Doing” grew out of that intense focus. Mostly piano driven, the new album took two and a half years to complete – recording at home with musical friends. In 2014, Angie gave a wonderful Tedx talk on music and spirituality in Sudbury which is an excellent introduction to both her music and spirituality. As well as her solo career, Angie is also a member of songwriting trio Boreal, with fellow singer-songwriters Tannis Slimmon and Katherine Wheatley. The trio tours ‘Songs For The Snowy Season’ annually each December. Angie is currently releasing a song and story from I Have No Idea What I’m Doing on a monthly basis. For more information about her music, visit angienussey.com. Music: Angie Nussey “All Your Courage”, “Forgotten Names”, “Former Me” and “Count Me Out” from “I Have No Idea What I’m Doing” (2020, Self) CDN.
Juno award winning singer-songwriter Justin Rutledge‘s ninth album “Islands” was not only a chance to look back at twenty years as a working musician, but an opportunity to revisit some of the songs in his catalogue, strip them back to their essence and deliver them in the way they were originally created – just voice and guitar, with lots of space and minimal accompaniment. For the listener that means that you get an aural experience that feels very much like it would if you were sitting in the room with the songwriter during a late night writing session. Very much a solo project, the album was recorded with regular collaborator Chris Stringer at Union Sound with the only additions being a little electric guitar from Tom Juhas and piano from Aaron Comeau. For more information about the music of Justin Rutledge, visit justinrutledge.com. Music: Justin Rutledge “Good Man”, “Out Of the Woods”, “Federal Mail” and “Jellybean” (2021, Outside Music).
Guelph ON based singer-songwriter Sue Smith joins us on Episode 570 of Folk Roots Radio to chat about “Tonight We Sail”, her wonderful new album with the Potion Kings. A fabulous recording, it features a gorgeous blend of rock, jazz, blues and roots. It’s sure to figure in our favourite albums of 2021. We wrap up the rest of the episode with more music from female artists as we continue to celebrate International Women’s Day, and this time around we feature Tekla Waterfield & Jeff Fielder, Cinder Well, Loryn Taggart, Laura Mulcahy, Sarah McQuaid and Sloan Wainwright. Check out the full playlist below.
We’re celebrating International Women’s Day on Episode 569 of Folk Roots Radio with an hour of great new music by female artists. Join us for new releases from The Weather Station, Rosier, Brigid O’Neill, Becky Buller, Katie McNally Trio, Lyn Koonce, Sara Thomsen, Colleen Kattau, Allison Russell, La Légende de Calamity Jane, Bobby Dove, Lisa Jeanette, Jaspar Lepak, Susan Ellenton and Liz Simmons. Check out the full playlist below.
It’s been a while since Tecumseh ON Glen MacNeil has put out an album, which is why the arrival of his wonderful self-titled EP in 2020 was such a pleasant surprise. Glen is a fabulous songwriter. Indeed, his last album, 2015’s “Where The Heart Remains” was included in our favourite albums of that year. Work on the new EP started during the early days of 2020 when Glen hooked up with Belfast Northern Ireland based producer Peter McVeigh – and then continued into the coronavirus lockdown. Alongside Glen MacNeil on voice and guitar, the EP also features John McCullough on keys and Dale Rivard on pedal steel and dobro. Glen MacNeil joined us on Folk Roots Radio to chat about the new recording. Visit Glen MacNeil online at glenmacneil.bandcamp.com. Music: Glen MacNeil “Car Window”, “The Quiet” and “Just A Memory” from the “Glen MacNeil E.P.” (2020, Self).
Vancouver based singer-songwriter Leah Barley‘s first full-length recording “Bring Out Your Dead” is an album of light and dark that feels right at home within the folk genre. The eight original songs on the album, which were written for both guitar and banjo, range from rousing boot stompers like “I Wish” and “Drinkin’” to the chill-inducing “Rise” and “The Doctor” (which recounts a recent period of severe illness, from which she has thankfully recovered). An accomplished self-taught banjo player, as well as guitarist, Leah Barley is joined on the album by a full band featuring her longtime collaborators violist John Kastelic and multi-instrumentalist Ross Christopher Fairbairn. Because of the on-going coronavirus pandemic, Leah has not been able to tour the new album, or even play a real release show. She hopes that she will be able to remedy that in 2021. Leah Barley joined us on Folk Roots Radio for an in-depth conversation about the project. For more information about the music of Leah Barley, visit leahbarleymusic.com. Music: Leah Barley, “Mountains”, “Bring Out Your Dead”, “The Doctor” and “Hush” from “Bring Out Your Dead” (2020, self).
Ontario singer-songwriter and motivational speaker Angie Nussey joins us on Episode 568 of Folk Roots Radio to chat about her latest recording “I Have No Idea What I’m Doing”, an album that grew out of an intense focus on her own spiritual well-being. It’s a really engaging project with loads of jumping off points into a wonderful conversation. As always, we also check out more of the new music we’ve received and this time around we hear from Rachel Walker, Jeffrey Straker, Sarah McQuaid, Kim Richey with Linda McRae & Doug Cox and Julie Title. Check out the full playlist below.
We’re pleased to bring you another performance from our sister video show – The Sun Parlour Coffee House Sessions on Episode 567 of Folk Roots Radio. Cottam ON singer-songwriter Brad Ouellette joined us in the studio for a session late last year. We have four songs and a short interview to share with you. We also check out more of the latest new releases and this time around we hear from Lizzy Plotkin & Natalie Spears, Maria Dunn, Wes Weddell & Ailisa Newhall, Bet Smith, François Couture & Quatuor 4-30 sous, Richard Garvey, Born On A Wednesday, Norrie MacIver & The Glasgow Barons and Ontarians. Check out the full playlist below.
We included part of our excellent interview with Terra Spencer, discussing her fabulous new album “Chasing Rabbits”, in Episode 557 of Folk Roots Radio. We’re now very pleased to make the full interview available. Enjoy!
Nova Scotian singer-songwriter Terra Spencer had built a career as a funeral director before she ever thought about a parallel life in music. That all changed after she met singer-songwriter and country crooner Ryan Cook at the Kempt Shore Music Festival and was invited to audition as a backing singer for an upcoming tour. After touring and recording with Ryan, Terra released her very well received debut album “Other People’s Lives”, a collection of songs about complicated relationships in 2019. “Chasing Rabbits”, the follow-up, has a lovely storytelling feel to it, and reflects on life, relationships, travel, going away to college and above all… the joy of getting to come home again. The album was recorded during the early part of the coronavirus pandemic at The Sonic Temple in Halifax under the watchful eye of co-producer studio engineer/owner Lil Thomas. Joining Terra Spencer (guitar, piano) on the new recording are The Bombadils Sarah Frank (harmony vocals & fiddle), Luke Fraser (harmony vocals & mandolin), Adam Fine (double bass, electric bass), Lil Thomas (electric guitar), David Campbell (pedal steel), Jordi Comstock (drums), Scott Ferguson (djembe), Kimm Kent (deer spirit drum) and The Kasprzaks (home choir). Terra Spencer joined Jan Hall on Folk Roots Radio for an in-depth conversation about the new album. For more information about the music of Terra Spencer visit terraspencer.ca. Music: Terra Spencer “In The City”, “Lunenburg Moon”, “Chasing Rabbits” and “Melt” from “Chasing Rabbits” (2020, Self).
We have another great interview to share with you on Episode 566 of Folk Roots Radio. We’re big fans of multi-instrumentalists Mallory Graham and Scott Tyler, and their self-styled ‘teeny tiny travelling folk band’, The Rough & Tumble. Their fabulous live show features loads of instruments, great songs and more fun than anyone is supposed to have during a house concert. Mallory and Scott join us on this episode to chat about their powerful new album “We’re Only Family If You Say So” which reflects on what it takes to be family… and what it means to lose it. It’s a fabulous recording and an excellent interview, which is why we’ve decided to dedicate the whole of this hour to it. So, settle down and enjoy… The Rough & Tumble in Conversation… on Folk Roots Radio. Check out the full playlist below.
We’re holding back the interviews again on Episode 565 of Folk Roots Radio to bring you another hour of great new music with some fine Covid times singles thrown into the mix. Musicians and music industry employees have seen their livelihoods severely impacted by the coronavirus pandemic. For that reason, we have chosen to use the Canadian Live Music Association awareness campaign slogan For The Love Of LIVE (#fortheloveoflive) to subtitle this episode. Music helps us all get through tough times. It’s time for us to give back and do what we can to help publicize the issues facing artists and the live music industry, generally, during the current crisis. Join us on this episode for new music from Allison Russell, Mati Haskell (with JK Gulley), John Smith, The Treeline, Seamus Egan, Joy Zimmerman, Lizanne Knott, Larry Folk, Jaime Michaels, Francine Honey, Luke Concannon, The Brother Brothers, Jerry Leger, Justin Rutledge and Keith Goodwin. If you like the artists you hear on this show, don’t just stream their music – BUY their music and then you’ll really make a difference to their income during this difficult time when it’s impossible to play live shows. Check out the full playlist below.
We’re heading into the midst of a Canadian winter in the middle of a pandemic lockdown, so it seems a perfect time to bring you another hour of great new music to warm the heart, and hopefully make these challenging times a little easier to bear. Join us on Episode 564 of Folk Roots Radio for some wonderful new releases with a few topical songs and Covid tunes thrown into the mix. This time around we feature music from Darlingside, Aaron Nathans & Michael G Ronstadt, Big Little Lions, Buffalo Gals Band, Andrea Bettger, Jessie & The Leonards, Colleen Kattau, Mark Dvorak, Cosy Sheridan, War & Pierce, Dan Hill, Tret Fure, Bill Bourne, Peach & Quiet, Maria Dunn and Francine Honey. Enjoy! Check out the full playlist below.
We’re holding back the interviews on Episode 563 of Folk Roots Radio to bring you another hour of great new music – including some wonderful topical songs and Covid tunes, to help you get through these strange times. Join us for new releases from Luka Kuplowsky, Bill Bourne, A.J. Croce, Sue Smith with the Potion Kings, Leahy, Maria Dunn, Bonnie Light Horseman, Raine Hamilton, Alison Brown, The Twangtown Paramours , Karyn Oliver, Scott MacDonald, Madison Cunningham, Scott Wolfson & Other Heroes, Skerryvore and Carolina Story. Remember, if you like the artists you hear on this show, don’t just stream their music – BUY their music and then you’ll really make a difference to their income during this difficult time when it’s much more challenging to find live shows. Check out the full playlist below.
Edmonton Alberta’s globetrotting troubadour singer-songwriter Scott Cook joins us on Episode 562 of Folk Roots Radio for an in-depth discussion about his music and wonderful seventh album “Tangle Of Souls” – one of our favourite albums of 2020. A fabulous recording, it comes with a 240-page, cloth-bound, hardcover book of stories from the road written around the album’s songs while also reflecting on Scott’s own life-changing health crisis which he uses to draw parallels to some of the challenges we face as a society. So, settle down and enjoy… Scott Cook in Conversation – Tangle Of Souls… on Folk Roots Radio. Check out the full playlist below.
We’re all about the music again on Episode 561 of Folk Roots Radio as we hold back the interviews for another hour of a great new releases. Actually, we should say we’re mostly about the music on this episode, as we’re also including a short audio piece from Quebec folk musician Guillaume Jabbour, artist in residence for the ELAN ACE Sound Experience Programme at Sainte Agathe Academy in Sainte Agathe QC, focusing on how his students are coping with the coronavirus pandemic. It’s really well done, so we’re very pleased to be able to include it in this episode. We have some wonderful new music to bring you, including some excellent Covid tunes, and a very special song to wrap up the hour. Join us for music from VISSIA, Courtney Marie Andrews, The Rough & Tumble, Floyds Row, Rylan Brooks, Merry Hell, Beano & Steve Pledger, Colleen Brown, Mister K, The Strange Valentines, Lisa Redfern and Sing Me A River. Check out the full playlist below.
We’re getting close to the end of 2020, which means it’s time to announce our favourite albums of the year. After the challenging year we’ve all had, it’s tempting to just want to put 2020 behind us and move on to 2021 to what will, hopefully, be a much better year for everyone. And yet, despite everything, 2020 has actually been a great year for recorded music – especially for those us who tend to focus on music that artists release independently, or via small and boutique record labels. Many artists have actually been making excellent use of the lockdown time forced on them by the coronavirus pandemic to record some wonderful ‘Covid Tune’ singles, EPs and in some case, even full albums. We’ve had great fun sharing them with you this year. We’ve also been doing our best to keep up with regularly scheduled releases. It gives us great pleasure each year, once we have put holiday radio episodes to bed, to consider our favourite albums of the year. One of the best things about doing a radio show is getting loads of great music to listen to each week. One of the hardest things to do is to take all that fabulous music and narrow it down to your ten favourite recordings of the year. You can check out The Top 10 on Episode 560 of Folk Roots Radio. We’ll be playing more of our favourite albums on upcoming episodes of Folk Roots Radio. If you don’t see an album you really loved, that’s likely because it didn’t make it up on our radar because we didn’t receive a copy. Please consider sharing your favourite albums in the comments – we might even spin them on a future episode of the show. Listen to The Top 10 on this episode, and check out the full playlist and the rest of our long list below. Enjoy!
We included an excerpt from our excellent interview with Rick Fines, discussing his wonderful new album “Solar Powered Too”, in Episode 550 of Folk Roots Radio. We’re now very pleased to make the full conversation available. Enjoy!
When Canadian roots and blues artist Rick Fines started work on his new project “Solar Powered Too”, his intent was simple – to make a new recording at his solar powered cottage in the Kawartha Highlands as a follow-up to his very well received “Solar Powered” album from 2006. Initially intended to be just a guitar and voice solo recording, this album has grown into something rather special with some nicely judged guest appearances from some of his friends and a beautifully sympathetic production from Rick with Alec Fraser. Truly a joy for the ears, this is one of those albums you put on, and listen right through to the end. An album that needs to be heard and one that we think will bring comfort to many during these strange, strange Covid times. Solar Powered Too deservedly found a place in Our Favourite Albums of 2020. To learn more about the music of Rick Fines, visit rickfines.ca. Music: Rick Fines “Below The Surface”, “Laundry On The Line”, “Worry Be The Death Of Me” and “Never Let Go” from “Solar Powered Too” (2020, Self).
The holidays are here! Join us on Episode 559 as we celebrate the season with another special blend of Folk Roots Radio for the Holidays, with mostly new, independent songs that are definitely not your typical holiday fare. This year we’ve even thrown some Covid Christmas tunes into the mix! So, throw another log on the fire, settle down in your favourite chair and enjoy music from Good Lovelies, Fresh Breath, Abbie Gardner & Matt Nakoa, Colleen Brown, RUNA, Hal Cannon, Lisa Jeanette, Dion, Brett Perkins & Tamra Rosanes, Skinner & T’witch, Fortunate Ones, Skye Zentz, Screaming Orphans, Eoin Glackin, Céleste Lévis, Philip Scott Poli, Ed Sweeney and Connie Kaldor. Check out the full playlist below.
December is here, and winter is upon us – so it’s time to bring out the Christmas music. We know a lot of people are not fans of holiday tunes which is why on this show we like to focus on new songs about the season rather than just the same old songs and tunes given a quick makeover. And if we play something that’s not a new song, well that’s because the artist has taken it somewhere rather special indeed. So, join us for Episode 558 of Folk Roots Radio – the first of two episodes of Folk Roots Radio for the Holidays, which features solstice songs, winter songs, Hanukkah songs and Christmas songs from RUNA, Sara Thomsen & Paula Pedersen, Connie Kaldor, Ed Sweeney, The Honey Larks, Jackie Washington, MacMaster Leahy Family, Finest Kind, SONiA disappear fear, Aaron Nathans & Michael G Ronstadt, Kelly’s Lot, Tony Turner, Céleste Lévis, Ken Tizzard & Music For Goats, Josh Kimbrough and Jeffrey Straker. Check out the full playlist below.
Nova Scotian funeral director turned songwriter Terra Spencer joins us on Episode 557 of Folk Roots Radio for a very engaging conversation about her wonderful wintery themed second album “Chasing Rabbits”, that reflects on many aspects of life – relationships, travel, going away to college, and, above all, the joy of getting to come home again. It’s a great interview – and settling into an album that reflects on the important things in life is just what we need after the year we’ve all experienced. We continue the winter theme throughout the rest of the episode, and feature music from Ian Gill, Colleen Kattau, Reid Jamieson, Stephan Moccio, Kathleen Healy and Grant-Lee Phillips. Check out the full playlist below.