Episode 211: Glen MacNeil & Linda McRae

Episode 211 of Folk Roots Radio features two interviews. South-western Ontario singer-songwriter Glen MacNeil joins us to chat about his debut album “Where The Heart Remains” and we also talk to Linda McRae about her latest release “Shadow Trails”. Linda’s in Guelph for a CD release show on October 9. Among the new music on this week’s show we take a look at a new tribute album to the godfather of the first British folk revival, Ewan McColl out now on Cooking Vinyl.

We continued our run down of the nominees for the Canadian Folk Music Awards this week with a look at the artists in the Ensemble of the Year category. Astute listeners will realize that it was announced that we were looking at that category on last week’s show only we weren’t – we were actually listening to the nominees for Contemporary Album of the Year. A bit of an on-air brain fart – which I’ve now hopefully put straight, getting us back on track again. Anyway, it gave me a chance to play songs from five more great albums – it still amazes me how much great music there is out there. Thankfully there are radio shows that enjoy bringing the Best in Folk, Roots, Americana, Alt. Country and Blues… and Artist Interviews to you every week (shameless plug). This year’s award ceremonies takes place in Edmonton on the weekend of November 6-8. For more information, visit folk awards.ca.

“Joy of Living” is a new tribute album to British folk pioneer Ewan McColl, a songwriter whose influence extended far beyond the folk world. Featuring a who’s-who of contemporary British and Irish pop, rock and folk, the double album put together by sons Calum and Neil celebrates the centenary of the birth of Ewan McColl, who died in 1989. Available on Joy Of Living: A Tribute To Ewan MacColl (2015, Cooking Vinyl / Compass Records) includes new versions of classics such as “The First Time Ever I Saw Your Face,” “Dirty Old Town,” “The Shoals of Herring” and “The Joy of Living.” There are too many highlights to mention but with a contributor list that includes Paul Brady, Billy Bragg, Dick Gaughan, David Gray and others and great sleeve notes that provide a bit of background on each song. Well… you really need to check it out.

This week we played three tracks from the album: Kathryn Williams with her version of Ewen McColl’s 1962 song about life from the perspective of a teenage girl…“Alone”, the amazing Scottish singer Karine Polwart singing Ewen McColl’s 1964 song about winter, appropriately titled (for some) as “The Terror Time” and Christy Moore with his song about the Cuban Revolution… “The Compañeros”.

You’ll definitely get to hear more from the album on future shows… it’s just too good to just play a track or two. Stay tuned for Ewan McColl songs interpreted by Rufus & Martha Wainwright, Chaim Tannenbaum, Damien Dempsey and Paul Buchanan from The Blue Nile.

South-Western Ontario singer-songwriter Glen MacNeil‘s has just released a great debut album “Where The Heart Remains”. Very much a personal testament to love and life, it features ten fine songs, written or co-written by Glen, that focus on life, love and personal relationships, and his Cape Breton roots. Featuring some fabulous musicianship, and beautifully understated production from John Law (of The Laws), the album is a joy for the ears, and one that once you start listening, you need to stay with to the end. Check out the full album review HERE. Listen to our full interview with Glen HERE.

Linda McRae has just released her latest album, the Steve Dawson produced “Shadow Trails” (2015, Borealis Records), an album of songs inspired by workshops that she and her partner – retired rancher turned poet, James Whitmire have been doing with at risk youth. The album features Linda McRae on guitar, banjo and vocals with Steve Dawson (guitar, additional banjo and backing vocals), Steve O’Connor (keyboards) and a rhythm section of John Dymond (bass) and Gary Craig (drums) alongside a group of special guests that includes Ray Bonneville (harmonica) and Fats Kaplin (fiddle). The album is chock full of raw, honest reflections on hardship delivered with her inimitable rough-hewn style. Linda brings the new album to Silence in Guelph on Friday October 9 at 8 p.m. Tickets are $20 in advance (no booking fee), $25 at the door. It should be a great night. I hope you’ll consider joining us. BUY TICKETS. Check out our interview with Linda HERE.

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 have a lot of great music to bring you on future shows. I hope you’ll join us! You can listen to this show again on Mixcloud by following the link below.

Folk Roots Radio – Episode 211 by Folk Roots Radio on Mixcloud

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

The Sweet Lowdown
River Winding Down
Chasing the Sun (2014, Self) CDN

Big Little Lions
Every Time
A Little Frayed, a Little Torn (2015, Far Flung Records) CDN

The Once
Fool For You
Departures (2014, Nettwerk) CDN

Jayme Stone
Goodbye Old Paint (feat. Tim O’Brien, Margaret Glaspy, Moira Smiley, and Greg Garrison)
The Lomax Project (2015, Borealis Records) CDN

Dear Irony
Leave No Bridge Unburned (2015, Six Shooter Records) CDN

I’ve Come Too Far (feat. Helen Austin & Ivonne Hernandez)
Coastline (2015, Self) CDN

Joao Frazao
Feto e afecto
Organico (2015, Self)

Christy Moore
The Compañeros
Joy Of Living: A Tribute To Ewan MacColl (2015, Cooking Vinyl / Compass Records)

Karine Polwart
The Terror Time
Joy Of Living: A Tribute To Ewan MacColl (2015, Cooking Vinyl / Compass Records)

Kathryn Williams
Joy Of Living: A Tribute To Ewan MacColl (2015, Cooking Vinyl / Compass Records)

Glen MacNeil
I Wish I Was A Train
Where The Heart Remains (2015, Self)

Interview: Glen MacNeil joins us to chat about his debut album “Where The Heart Remains”. Listen to the full interview with Glen HERE.

Glen MacNeil
Up On High
Where The Heart Remains (2015, Self)

Dave Gunning
They Don’t Do That No More (2015, Wee House of Music)

Sarah Eide
Forgiveness (When These Things Come To Pass)
Borderland (2015, Self)

Alison Brown
Carolina In The Pines (feat. The Indigo Girls)
The Song Of The Banjo (2015, Compass Records)

Dirty Dishes
And Stay Out! (2015, Self) CDN

Linda McRae
Long Shadow Trail
Shadow Trails (2015, Borealis Records)

Interview: Linda McRae discussing her new album “Shadow Trails”. Check out our interview with Linda McRae HERE.

Linda McRae
My Man
Shadow Trails (2015, Borealis Records)

Linda McRae
Jesus Or Jail
Shadow Trails (2015, Borealis Records)

The John Byrne Band
The Immigrant And The Orphan
The Immigrant And The Orphan (2015, Self)

Harpeth Rising
Dance Me To The End Of Love
Shifted (2015, Grimm Rising)

Sandy Ross
Distant Campfire
Grandma’s Got a Boombox (2015, Self)

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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