Before there was Folk Roots Radio there was Royal City Rag, a mixed music and spoken word magazine style show focusing on Guelph community issues, music and the arts that went out on CFRU 93.3fm Guelph’s campus & community radio station from 2005-2011. On April Fool’s Day 2009, Sya Van Guest and Brad Woods, and singer-songwriter Sam Turton joined us on the show for a very special Tall Tales themed show apparently being broadcast live from an undisclosed and, at the time, quite controversial Guelph location. We’re not going to let you know where the show was supposed to be coming from – you’ll have to listen to the episode to find out. Let’s just say that a lot of our Guelph activist friends we’re quite shocked that we would be broadcasting from there. This was certainly one of our favourite Royal City Rag episodes. Enjoy!
Quebec based singer-songwriter Doug McArthur joins us on Episode 501 of Folk Roots Radio to chat about his latest project “The Horses of the Sea”, a beautiful collection of songs and stories about Ireland. It’s a wonderful album, and one that has become a fast favourite on this radio show. This is another of our in-depth conversations recorded during the coronavirus Covid-19 emergency. Stay safe and healthy everyone – we’ll get through this together! Check out the full playlist below.
It is always a pleasure to sit down with Nashville based singer-songwriter Steve Poltz to chat about his music – especially so, when you’re in the middle of the Caribbean on the Cayamo roots music cruise. His third time on Cayamo, Steve was joined by partner Sharon, sister Kathy and Dad Joe; Steve and Sharon actually tied the knot on the boat, surrounded by 500 of their closest friends! A brilliant live performer, Steve Poltz is scheduled to be back in Canada to play the 6th Roots North Music Festival in Orillia ON on Saturday April 25 2020. The Roots North Music Festival takes place at a variety of venues across Downtown Orillia from Thursday – Sunday, April 23-26. For more information about the music of Steve Poltz, visit poltz.com. Photo: Susan Wheeler-Hall. You can also check out our full Cayamo radio episode HERE. Music: Steve Poltz “Silver Lining” from “One Left Shoe” (1998, UMG Recordings), “Sewing Machine” (Live) (2014, Live At Oasis House Concerts, San Diego CA, YouTube) and “Pharmacist” from “Shine On” (2019, Compass Records).
Canadian folk legend Ken Whiteley joins us on Episode 500 of Folk Roots Radio for an in-depth conversation about “Calm In The Eye of The Storm”, his first recording in four years and a project that looks at the personal, political and spiritual dimensions of finding peace in these turbulent times. The follow up to 2016’s Freedom Blues, the new album has a fabulous bluesy, folky and gospel sound, and a wonderful message to share with the world. Recorded during the coronavirus Covid-19 emergency, we chat about the album, Ken’s production work, live show and gospel matinees. It was a very enjoyable conversation, and hopefully it will be of great comfort to listeners during a period of uncertainty for many people. Stay safe and healthy – we’ll get through this together. Check out the full playlist below.
Kelowna BC’s Jane Eamon started writing the songs for her beautiful seventh album “Pieces of Me” after her husband had a stroke on Christmas Day and the sudden death of her father. At the time, Eamon, a 2011 Kerrville New Folk finalist, actually thought she was done with the music business – but the songs wouldn’t rest, they just kept coming. Yet, after helping her husband recover from his stroke, he was then diagnosed with Stage 4 prostate cancer which lead to further family turmoil. Fortunately Jane’s songwriting helped her pull her through this incredibly difficult period in her life. What developed from all this was the stripped down, honest and completely authentic nine track album album Pieces of Me which speaks to the emotions of that challenging period, but also brings with it a sense of hope – storms can be weathered. Pieces of Me was produced by her long-time collaborator Andrew Smith from Lake Studios, Kelowna BC, and has been critically acclaimed despite flying under many radars. It deservedly became one of Our Favourite Albums of 2019. Jane Eamon’s husband is now in recovery from cancer and she’s working on a new album. For more information about the music of Jane Eamon visit janeeamon.net. Music: Jane Eamon “Pieces Of Me”, “Broken Things”, “Stuck” and “Not Today” from “Pieces Of Me” (2019, Self) CDN.
Kevin Harvey, front man and lead vocalist of the Durham County Poets joins us on Episode 499 of Folk Roots Radio to chat about their latest album, a full on blues recording, “Hand Me Down Blues” which has earned nominations for both the 2020 JUNO Blues Album of the Year & the 2019 Maple Blues Awards New Artist/Group of the Year. It’s a wonderful tribute to some of their influences, and Kevin Harvey is always a great interview. We also check out more of the new music we’ve received, and this time around we hear from Little Misty, The Lonesome Ace Stringband, Frank & Allie Lee and Frank Birtwistle. We wrap up the episode with a special three song tribute to Nova Scotia based folk singer Laura Smith who sadly left us this week. Laura Smith had an absolutely fabulous singing voice, and though, because of some health challenges she did not leave a large body of recorded music, the excellent albums she created deserve to be shared and savoured. Her spirit will live on. Safe Home, Sweet Light! Check out the full playlist below.
The Durham County Poets are having an absolutely fabulous year. They released the wonderful “Hand Me Down Blues” in 2019 – a celebration of all things blues and the artists that have inspired their music. Since then, they have received nominations for both the 2020 JUNO Blues Album of the Year & the 2019 Maple Blues Awards New Artist/Group of the Year. According to band front man and lead vocalist Kevin Harvey, the decision to make a full-on blues album brought back memories of catching the great Muddy Waters live in Montreal in 1981, when – front row and centre, a young Kevin Harvey was able to touch the great man’s shoe. “Muddy looked at me and winked, as if to say ‘welcome to the blues, son’. I didn’t know then, that I would have a life-altering spinal cord injury three months later that would place me in a wheelchair for the rest of my life. That experience made the blues come alive to me. The band and I – we have our own experiences and inspirations that lead to the creation of a dedicated ‘blues album’, paying homage to our favourite blues artists. Muddy Waters was just one of many who handed the genre down to us, and now we want to continue in that tradition by putting our own stamp on it and “Hand” the blues to the next generation.” Hand Me Down Blues which was produced by Bill Garrett, features compositions written by all four long-time members of the band: David Whyte, Neil Elsmore, Carl Rufh and Kevin Harvey alongside some well chosen covers. New boy Rob Couture joins them in the drum chair. The Durham County Poets continue to tour on a regular basis, and upcoming dates include Sharbot Lake ON (March 21, Sharbot Lake Inn), Oakville (March 26, The Moonshine Cafe), Kingsville ON (March 27, Road to Kingsville Folk Fest), Wallaceburg ON (March 28, Jeanne Gordon Theatre) and Wakefield QC (May 16, The Blacksheep Inn). For more information, visit durhamcountypoets.com. Music: Durham County Poets, “Hand Me Down Blues”, “Can’t Be Satisfied”, “If The Lid Don’t Fit” and “Evil In The Heart Of Man” from “Hand Me Down Blues” (2019, Self).
Toronto singer-songwriter and Unitarian Universalist minster Lynn Harrison joins us on Episode 498 of Folk Roots Radio to chat about her wonderful new album “Something More”. It’s a great interview and really inspiring – you definitely don’t want to miss it. We also continue to celebrate International Women’s Day with more new music from female artists and this time around we feature Lunar Bloom, Kristen Martell, Minuscule, Wu Fei & Abigail Washburn, Della Mae, Rose Cousins, The Haden Triplets and Lynne Hanson. Check out the full playlist below.
We’re celebrating International Women’s Day on Episode 497 of Folk Roots Radio with an hour of special programming featuring female artists. Join us for new music from Sarah Harmer, Claudia Nygaard, Sarah Morris, Frazey Ford, Natalie MacMaster, Grace Morrison, Moira & Claire, The Pairs, Rory Block, Katie Dahl, Heather Pierson, 100 Mile House, The Lone Canary, Harrow Fair and The Small Glories. Check out the full playlist below.
Welcome to another very special hour of Folk Roots Radio, as we give over the whole of Episode 496 to music from artists we enjoyed on the 2020 edition of the roots music cruise Cayamo. We had an absolutely fabulous time sailing around the Caribbean with 40 of the world’s best Americana, roots and blues musicians. We even caught up with the great Steve Poltz on the boat. No stranger to this show and a brilliant live performer, Steve will be back in Canada this April to play the Roots North Music Festival in Orillia. We also include music from Hayes Carll, Mavis Staples, Molly Tuttle, Joe Robinson, Rob Ickes & Trey Hensley, Allison Moorer and Rodney Crowell. Join us for more great music, and fun conversation on Folk Roots Radio. Check out the full playlist below.
Ken Dunn is a modern day traveling troubadour giving social and environmental issues a voice in song, while reminding us to keep our loved ones and peace at the forefront of this precious life. No stranger to Folk Roots Radio, the singer-songwriter from Gibsons BC often travels and plays with partner Anna Green, but he was flying solo when he joined us in the studio for a wonderful chat about his music and 2019 live album, “Live in L.A.”. Ken also played a few songs live for us. We’re pleased to bring that interview to you as part of Episode 495 of Folk Roots Radio. We also take a listen to more of the latest new releases, and this time around we hear from Corin Raymond, Don Bray, Manitoba Hal, Poor Man’s Gambit, Andrew Bird and Che Apalache. Check out the full playlist below.
Jack Pine joins us on Episode 494 of Folk Roots Radio for a follow-up conversation about his music – and, this time around, he plays live for us. Jack Pine is the stage persona of Gareth Auden-Hole, an Ottawa based singer-songwriter, engineer and producer. It’s always fun to talk to Jack, who is a very engaging individual whether in live performance or conversation. We wrap up the episode with more of the new music that’s landed on our doorstep, and this time around we include tracks from Nathaniel Rateliff, The Lonesome Ace Stringband, Steve Martin & the Steep Canyon Rangers, Si Kahn, Mike Klein, Katy Hobgood Ray feat. Dave Ray, Kete Bowers and Paul Kelly. Check out the full playlist below.
Noah Derksen is a Canadian-American singer-songwriter with a wonderfully soulful folk-roots Americana sound. He joins us in the studio on Episode 493 of Folk Roots Radio for an in-depth conversation about his latest album “America, Dreaming”, and a few live songs. It’s a great session – we hope you’ll check it out. We also find time to include more of the new music we’ve received, and this time around we hear from Sussex, Ma Polaine’s Great Decline, Hansan, Burnstick, The East Pointers, Ayla Brook & The Sound Men, Lynn Harrison and The John Byrne Band. Check out the full playlist below.
The Red River Ramblers are an Ontario based trio dedicated to the revival of Manitoba Métis Fiddle music – which brings together the rhythmic spirit of the First Nations peoples, with a blend of both the Scottish and French fiddle traditions. Douglas Richard Sinclair, a Métis musician with roots in the Red River Settlement, joins us on Episode 492 of Folk Roots Radio to chat about the band and their music. We also take a look at more of the latest new releases, and this time around we hear from 100 Mile House, Grace Potter, Lynne Hanson, Rod Abernethy, Artists for Peace & Justice (feat. Jackson Browne), Rumour Mill and Forest Sun. Check out the full playlist below.
Kevin Roy Kratsch spent five years on the road as country folk singer-songwriter Kevin Roy before re-inventing himself as cosmic balladeer Mister K, and starting work on “In Event Of Moon Disaster”, a musical journey through the highs and lows of a mental health struggle – what Kevin describes as those Darker Days. In Event Of Moon Disaster was created with producer and collaborator Rusty Matyas (The Sheepdogs, The Weakerthans, Imaginary Cities) who opened up about his own struggles with alcoholism prior starting work on the project. The two found support, inspiration, and empowerment while breathing life into these songs; a testament to the strength of healing through music and art. Musically this is very much a folk-pop album. “I basically told producer Rusty Matyas I wanted to make an album that sounds like Neil Young produced by George Martin – kind of like Neil Young meets Abbey Road, but done in a modern way. I almost feel kind of like I’ve come full circle. When I started writing music and playing music, it was the music of Neil Young and Tom Petty – and some of those songs I grew up on, and then I went off into this whole country thing, for a while.” There have been three singles released from the album, so far: “Hundreds Of Dollars”, “Lonely One” and the latest, “Darker Days” – Kevin’s personal story and a song he hopes will be a conversation starter with respect to the importance of discussing mental health. The new single is being released on January 29 to coincide with Bell Let’s Talk Day. The full album will arrive later in 2020. Mister K sat down with Folk Roots Radio at the 2019 Folk Music Ontario conference to chat about the new project. For more information about the music of Mister K, visit heyheymisterk.com. Music: Mister K “Hundreds of Dollars” and “Lonely One” from “In Event of Moon Disaster” (2020, Self) and “Darker Days” (Live).
On Episode 491 of Folk Roots Radio we chat to Kevin Roy from Manitoba about his new music project as cosmic balladeer Mister K, and upcoming album “In Event of Moon Disaster” – a musical journey through the highs and lows of a mental health struggle. In Event of Moon Disaster is a wonderful album and this is a great interview. We wrap up the hour with more of the new music that we’ve received, and this time around we hear from The Marrieds, William Kuklis, Harrow Fair, Simon Mayor and Jay Aymar. We also include a special tribute to the fabulous Nashville songwriter David Olney, who passed away suddenly last week during an in the round live performance at a showcasing event in Florida. Check out the full playlist below.
We’re giving over the whole of Episode 490 of Folk Roots Radio to a fabulous in-depth conversation with Bill Garrett who sat down us at the 2019 Folk Music Ontario conference to talk about his long career in music and the development of the wonderful boutique folk music record label Borealis Records. We wrap up the conversation with music from Bill Garrett, Bill Garrett & Sue Lothrop, Naming The Twins, Durham County Poets and Shelley Posen. Check out the full playlist below.
Noah Derksen is a Canadian singer-songwriter with a wonderfully soulful folk-roots Americana sound and some very strong songs. Also an American citizen, Noah Derksen’s new album “America, Dreaming” – which was produced by Murray Pulver (The Bros. Landreth, Joey Landreth, Doc Walker, etc.) in Winnipeg, is a search for identity, reflecting on time spent living and travelling across the United States. “As an American-citizen growing up in Canada, I held an unrealistic depiction of the United States as a land of opportunity and freedom. In years spent living, touring, and working south of the border, I’ve discovered the practical limitations to that opportunity and freedom. America, Dreaming represents an observation of my home and native land south of the 49th parallel; an observation both externally, of how things change with time, and internally, on how I have had to shift my own perspective.” Noah Derksen joined us in the studio to chat about the new album, and while he was with us played three songs from the new album live. For more information, visit noahderksen.com. Music: Noah Derksen “Hoping You Would Stay” (Live), “Lonely in America” (Live) and “What Kind of Love is That” (Live).
Ken Dunn is a modern day traveling troubadour giving social and environmental issues a voice in song, while reminding us to keep our loved ones and peace at the forefront of this precious life. Ken’s eighth album, “Live in L.A.” was recorded at an impromptu gig at Kulak’s Woodshed in North Hollywood with proceeds going towards L.A. Family Housing support for those struggling with homelessness in the greater Los Angeles area. The songs on the album reflect on homelessness, peace, and social challenges as well as love – all things desperately needed in today’s world. The song “Tahlequah” tells the story of a mother orca who carried the lifeless body of her young for two weeks before finally releasing the baby to the deep. According to Ken, the song reminds us that not only human beings have precious lives – our planet and all its inhabitants need to be protected and loved. Sadly, there are now only 75 resident orcas in the Salish Sea near Ken in British Columbia. Ken Dunn joined us in the Folk Roots Radio studio to chat about “Live in LA”, and played three songs live for us. For more information about the music of Ken Dunn visit kendunnmusic.com. Music: Ken Dunn “Tahlequah” (Live), “Precious Life” (Live) and “King High Tide” (Live).
The Pairs are a fantastic female fronted folk/pop group from London ON featuring classically trained vocalists Hillary Watson, Renée Coughlin and Noelle Coughlin with a wonderful sound driven by sweet harmonies, and joyful rhythms. With support from their other band member, former punk rock drummer, Steve Plimmer, they really put on a great show – they’ll have you up on your feet dancing before you realize what’s happening! The Pairs have just released their second album “Noise” which features twelve self-written songs that tell stories about this beautiful, and, at times, crazy and chaotic journey we call life, and all its conflicting emotions… the joy, the sadness – the comedy and the tragedy. The Pairs sat down with Folk Roots Radio at Folk Music Ontario for a fun conversation about their music and three live songs from the new album. For more information about The Pairs, visit thepairsmusic.com. Music: The Pairs “Wrong Side Of Life” (Live), “Everything I Call Home” (Live) and “Put The Gun Down” (Live).
Our interview with Keri Latimer from Leaf Rapids went so much further than what we were able to include in Episode 489 of Folk Roots Radio. Check out our full in-depth conversation here.
Keri Latimer and her partner Devin Latimer, formerly of Juno Award-winning alt-country quartet Nathan, released “Citizen Alien”, their second album as Leaf Rapids in May 2019. Citizen Alien is a wonderful recording, that uses Keri and Devin’s own family history to tell stories about the nature of identity and reflect on what it means to belong, in a world where more and more politicians are using populist nationalistic rhetoric to separate the ‘us’ from the ‘them’. According to Keri Latimer, “Every family has stories of people who crossed oceans, who survived, who struggled and tried. People who knew injustice. And though some of those stories now fade into the haze of time, the truth of them remains vivid. On Citizen Alien, the album’s title track, love declared by ancestors leads to separation through the travesty of Canada’s Second World War-era Japanese internment camps; if the same thing happened today, Devin and I would be split up, our children taken away.” The 10 songs on the new album were co-produced with acclaimed multi-instrumentalist and composer Rusty Matyas (Imaginary Cities, The Sheepdogs) at Paintbox Recording and feature Keri Latimer (vocals, guitar and theremin), Devin Latimer (bass), Rusty Matyas (piano/keyboards/trumpet), Joanna Miller (drums) and Bill Western (pedal steel) with special guests: Alexa Dirks (Begonia), Madeleine Roger, Grant Davidson (Slow Leaves), Myron Schultz, Chris Dunn and JP Hoe. Keri Latimer sat down with Folk Roots Radio at the 2019 Folk Music Ontario conference for an in-depth conversation about her music and the new album. Citizen Alien was included on our long list of Our Favourite Albums of 2019. Check them all out HERE. For more information about the music of Leaf Rapids, visit leafrapids.org. Music: Leaf Rapids “Dear Sister”, “Citizen Alien”, Barbershop Shears” and “There They Go” from “Citizen Alien” (2019, Coax Records) CDN.
We included an excerpt from our in-depth interview with Annie Capps in Episode 488 of Folk Roots Radio. You can now check out the full interview here.
Annie & Rod Capps released their eighth, self-produced album “When They Fall” in 2019, a wonderful collection of songs that really fits every mood – from the light and cheery, to the serious and dramatic. What all these songs have in common is they are all very well-written, and beautifully sung and played by a fine group of musicians. Joining Annie Capps (vocals, guitar, banjo) and Rod Capps (guitar, viola and harmony vocals) on the album are regular band members Jason Dennie from Thunderwüde (mandolin, mandola and harmony vocals) and Dan Ozzie Andrews (bass) with Michael Shimmin (Joshua Davis, the olllam, May Erlewine) on drums and percussion. Drew Howard also guests on pedal steel and Jenny Bienemann provides some delicate vocal harmonies on the song “Brevity”. When They Fall was deservedly included on our long list of Our Favourite Albums of 2019. Check them all out HERE. Annie Capps joined us on Folk Roots Radio for an in-depth conversation about the new album. Annie & Rod Capps have also joined forces with two of their favourite songwriters, Jan Krist & Jim Bizer in a new project, and with the addition of Jan’s partner Alan Finkbeiner on percussion, they are now Diamonds In the Rust. A full length album from the new combo is expected in 2020. For more information about the music of Annie & Rod Capps, visit maynardmusic.com. Photo: Jennifer Prouty. Music: Annie & Rod Capps “When They Fall”, “(That Would Do) Some Good” and “This Little Apple” from “When They Fall” (2019, Yellow Room Records)
We’re bringing something a little different to you on Folk Roots Radio this week. We’re celebrating the music of Kevin K Gagnon, a bass player from Windsor ON who has been active on the local scene since 1978. When I received the press release about “It Is What It Is”, Kevin’s first solo album – released after 40 years in the music business, I knew I had to bring him into the studio for an in-depth conversation. During his career, Kevin K Gagnon has pretty much played every bar, club and concert venue throughout the Windsor/Essex area, and recorded in just about every local studio. “It Is What It Is” is a collection of mostly instrumental works, written for electric guitar as well as bass – Kevin plays both on the album. Back in the 80s, Kevin toured with his band “Destiny”, and he has played with Joe Konas (The Gods), the late Windsor blues great Michael Bruce and many others. He has also offered his talents for countless local charity events over the years and currently performs live with local Windsor band, The Formula. It Is What It Is includes the recently recorded “A Blues Memory”, in memory of Michael Bruce, and a brand new song entitled “One Or The Other” featuring guitarist/vocalist Jeff Oppen. Kevin Gagnon is a recipient of The Windsor/Essex County Music Appreciation Award and a Hall of Fame inductee. Kevin K Gagnon joined us in the Folk Roots Radio studio today for an in-depth conversation about his music and the new album. Music: Kevin K Gagnon “A Blues Memory”, “Minstrel Cramp”, “Today and Forever”, “One Or The Other” and “A Walk In The Park” from “It Is What It Is” (2019, Self).
New Jersey based Sharon Goldman has built a fine reputation as a songwriter with a wonderful string of albums culminating in KOL ISHA (A Woman’s Voice) from 2016 which focused on her own experience growing up in an orthodox Jewish family on Long Island. Her latest 12-song album “Every Trip Around The Sun”, produced with Allison Tartalia, was released in July 2019 to more critical acclaim. The new recording features a fabulous selection of songs – some topical, some romantic, some nostalgic and some inspirational – all of them well-crafted and engaging. Every Trip Around The Sun was included on our long list of Our Favourite Albums of 2019. Check them all out HERE. For more information about the music of Sharon Goldman visit sharongoldmanmusic.com. Music: Sharon Goldman “A Garden”, “Am I There Yet”, “Sunset At The Border” and “Penny With The Waves” from “Every Trip Around The Sun” (2019, Self).
Keri Latimer joins us on Episode 489 of Folk Roots Radio to talk about “Citizen Alien”, the second album from Leaf Rapids, the Winnipeg band she leads with her partner, Devin Latimer – and one of our favourite albums of 2019. Citizen Alien is a wonderful recording that uses Keri and Devin’s own family history to talk about the nature of identity and reflect on what it means to belong, in a world where more and more politicians are using populist nationalistic rhetoric to separate the ‘us’ from the ‘them’. It’s a really great interview – and definitely worth checking out. We can actually only share part of our conversation with you on this episode, but we’ll be bringing the full interview to the website and on demand listening very shortly. We wrap up the episode with more of Our Favourite Albums of 2019 and this time we hear from The MacQueens, Lizanne Knott, Geneviève Racette, Justin Rutledge, The Red River Ramblers, Leanne Hoffman, The East Pointers, Catherine MacLellan and Lee Harvey Osmond (Tom Wilson). Check out the full playlist below.