Episode 200: Mariposa Folk Festival 2015

This week’s Folk Roots Radio – our 200th edition featured an interview with Mike Hill, Artistic Director at the Mariposa Folk Festival which takes place from July 3-5 in beautiful Tudhope Park on the shores of Lake Couchiching in Orillia. We also talked to Sudbury ‘bloodgrass’ band Murder Murder – they’re an outlaw country bluegrass band that play murder ballads – about their new album “From The Stillhouse” and their upcoming show in Guelph on June 20. We also included a good selection of new music alongside our mystery theme and, as the folk world mourns the passing of Ronnie Gilbert, a special tribute to folk pioneers The Weavers.

This week’s mystery theme featured seven songs about bicycles and cycling, a fine summer activity. This theme was actually a companion to the set we did recently about motorcycles. Actually the Luka Bloom song, “The Acoustic Motorbike” popped up in my music library when I was researching the motorcycle theme, and I thought… well, why not. It’s been a while since I’d played any Luka on the show, and The Acoustic Motorbike brings back great memories of cycling along the back roads of Prince Edward Island back in the day. I hope you enjoyed it.

There was a gain no guilty pleasure this week as we set it aside for a set of music paying tribute to folk singer and activist Ronnie Gilbert, a member of one of the earliest folk groups, The Weavers.

The Weavers were formed in November 1948 and featured Ronnie Gilbert alongside Lee Hays, Fred Hellerman, and Pete Seeger. Starting out as a folk string band the Weavers eventually found favour for their gospelly folk sound and, after being discovered by band leader Gordon Jenkins, and getting signed to Decca, produced a string of singles that, with the addition of orchestration, became big hits. The fact that many of the songs were overtly political was completely ignored until the rise of McCarthyism and the subsequent ‘red scare’ forced the band to break up. Despite the loss of the band, Ronnie Gilbert continued to remain active on the folk scene and true to her activist ideals.

There were three new albums deserving of special mention on this week’s show. Sue Massek‘s new album “Precious Memories” out now on Strictly Country Records forms part of a new Si Kahn musical that pays tribute to the songwriting of Sarah Ogan Gunning, whose songs brought attention to the plight of miners working in 1930s Kentucky coal camps. On this week, we listened to “I Don’t Want Your Millions Mister” written by Sarah’s brother Jim Garland, a bonus track on the new album featuring Si Kahn on vocals. We’ll have an interview with Sue Massek on a future show.

We also dipped into John McCutcheon’s fine album of songs by songwriter and union activist Joe Hill, “Joe Hill’s Last Will” out now on Appalsongs. It’s well worth checking out, especially if you like a little politics mixed in with your music!

The Henrys, Toronto’s wonderfully low-key and somewhat mysterious roots band have just released another raft of subtle and intriguing Don Rooke songs, “Quiet Industry”, only the sixth in their 25-year history, and featuring Gregory Hoskins on vocals. This week we played the very beautiful “A Weaker One”. The Henrys will be at this year’s Hillside Festival, July 25-27 at Guelph Lake.

Well, that’s all we have time for this week. Check out the full playlist with artist links below and share your love for all the great folk and roots music out there. Thanks to all the artists who share their music with us, and thank you for listening. We’ll see you next week! You can listen to this show again on Mixcloud by following the link below.

Folk Roots Radio – Episode 200 by Folk Roots Radio on Mixcloud

Mystery Theme: “Bicycles”

Nicolas & The Iceni (Theme)
Lucy She Rises (Demo)
Roll Right (expected 2015)

Coco Love Alcorn
I Got A Bicycle
Joyful (2009, Sound Of Pop) CDN

Mike Ford
Tooker (La Monde A Bicyclette)
Stars Shone On Toronto (2004, Self) CDN

David Rovics
The Bicycle Song
Make It So (1996, Self)

Tannis Slimmon
My Bike
Lucky Blue (2007, Self) CDN

Vivian Stanshall
Terry Keeps His Clips On
Teddy Boys Don’t Knit (1981) (2006, Virgin)

Mark Olson & Gary Louris
Ready for the Flood (2009, New West)

Luka Bloom
The Acoustic Motorbike
The Acoustic Motorbike (1992, Reprise)

Kevin Breit
Como Uma Corrida De Cavalo
Ernesto And Delilah (2015, Poverty Playlist) CDN

Cheryl Wheeler
Defying Gravity (2010, Rounder Records)

Interview: Mike Hill, Mariposa Folk AD

Lucinda Williams
Walk On
Down Where The Spirit Meets The Bone (2014, Highway 20 / Thirty Tigers)

The Weavers
Kisses Sweeter Than Wine (1951)
American Folk Anthology (2008, Not Now Music)

The Weavers
Sylvie (1953)
1950’s Hits & Highlights, Vol. 1 (2010, Blue Orchid)

The Weavers
So Long, It’s Been Good to Know You (1951)
Zing Went the Strings of My Heart (2007, Dynamic Music)

The Weavers
Goodnight Irene (1957)
Carnegie Hall Concert (2007, Vanguard Records)

Murder Murder
Jon & Mary
From The Stillhouse (2015, Self) CDN

Interview: Murder Murder

Murder Murder
When The Lord Calls Your Name
From The Stillhouse (2015, Self) CDN

Murder Murder
Movin’ On
From The Stillhouse (2015, Self) CDN

Zachary Lucky
Woke Up
The Ballad Of Losing You (2013, Missed Connection Records) CDN

John McCutcheon
The Preacher and the Slave
Joe Hill’s Last Will (2015, Appalsongs)

Sue Massek
I Don’t Want Your Millions Mister
Precious Memories (2015, Strictly Country Records)

Pharis & Jason Romero
Cocaine Blues
A Wanderer I’ll Stay (2015, Borealis Records) CDN

The Henrys
A Weaker One
Quiet Industry (2015, Self) CDN

The Lied To’s
Always Asking For You
The Lied To’s (2015, Self)

Katie Miller
Prairie Sea
Silverflower (2015, Self) CDN

Dave Crossland
Never Goin’ Back To Nashville
Mother Country (2014, Folk Era)

About the author


Host of Folk Roots Radio, Jan Hall started in Radio in 1993 at WEFT 90.1fm in Champaign-Urbana, Illinois. Folk Roots Radio (formerly Royal City Rag) debuted on CFRU 93.3fm in August 2005 before developing into a syndicated radio show. As the host of Folk Roots Radio, Jan focuses on bringing new folk, roots and blues music and the voices of upcoming and independent artists to the airwaves. Jan is also a much sought after stage host and festival emcee. In 2019, Jan Hall received Folk Music Ontario's prestigious Estelle Klein Award for her contribution to Ontario's folk music community.

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