Folk Roots Radio Episode 219: Big Little Lions

This week’s new release hour features music from some of the great new albums we’ve received alongside a feature interview recorded at the Folk Music Ontario conference with songwriters Helen Austin and Paul Otten from Big Little Lions.

We started off the hour with music from some of the artists who joined us for interviews at the recent Folk Music Ontario conference. We had a wonderful time at the conference and have 20 interviews to bring you over the coming weeks alongside an audio documentary on the youth programme.

The ukulele playing bluesman Manitoba Hal, who now lives in Shelburne Nova Scotia, started things off with the bright and bluesy “Come To Me” from his latest album “Dancing In The Moonlight” (2015, Hal’s Kitchen). We followed that with one of my finds of the year, Mark Martyre a singer-songwriter from Toronto with a wonderful Tom Waits like singing voice with “I Know What It’s Like” from his latest album of wry observational songs “Red Letters” (2014, Self). We then checked in with, Newfoundlander now living in Campbellford Ontario, Ken Tizzard, bassist with Canadian rock bands The Watchmen and Thornley and now forging a career as a singer/songwriter.

The East Pointers are Tim Chaisson on fiddle, his cousin Koady Chaisson on banjo, and (honorary islander) celtic acoustic guitarist Jake Charron from Toronto. They’ve just released their new album “Secret Victory” (2015, Self), and from that we played Koady Chaisson’s beautiful instrumental “Places You’ll Go”. They’re a fabulous live band and definitely worth checking out if you get the chance. Jake Charron will also be in Guelph for a show with Shane Cook and the Guelph Celtic Orchestra on November 7. Check out all the details here.

Jen Lane from Saskatoon will release her new album “This Life of Mine” in the spring 2016. She’s just released a single from it, the foot-stomping country song “Shoe”, written during a long spell at home on crutches in the dead of a Saskatchewan winter while binge-watching prison drama Orange is the New Black. Orange call their solitary confinement unit the “SHU” (the shoe) – being stuck at home on crutches in the depth of winter, it was just too good an idea to pass up!

Big Little Lions started out as a long-distance songwriting partnership between two established songwriters, Juno award winning Helen Austin from Vancouver Island and Cincinnati-based Paul Otten. In their two-year collaborative career they have produced two E.P.s and a very well-received long-player “A Little Frayed, A Little Torn”, that has been nominated for a Canadian Folk Music Award for Ensemble of the Year. Helen, Paul and Helen’s daughter Daisy Squires, a member of the Big Little Lions band, joined us at the Folk Music Ontario conference to chat about their music.

Happy Traum is back with a new album “Just For The Love Of It”. A beautifully textured album it was clearly recorded in a warm and relaxed atmosphere and features a selection of older and traditional songs recorded live off the floor with some fine musical support from Larry Campbell, John Sebastian, Martin Simpson and Teresa Williams among others.

Well, that’s all we have time for. 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 219 New & Noted by Folk Roots Radio on Mixcloud

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

Manitoba Hal
Come To Me
Dancing In The Moonlight (2015, Hal’s Kitchen) CDN

Mark Martyre
Red Letters
I Know What It’s Like (2014, Self) CDN

Ken Tizzard
Waste Your Time
No Dark No Light (2015, Storey House Records) CDN

The East Pointers
Places You’ll Go
Secret Victory (2015, Self) CDN

Happy Traum
Church Street Blues
Just For The Love Of It (2015, Lark’s Nest Music)

Free The Honey
Crooked Child
Fine Bloom (2015, Self)

Jen Lane
This Life of Mine (2016, Self) CDN

Big Little Lions
The Road With You
A Little Frayed, A Little Torn (2015, Riptide Music Group) CDN

Interview: Big Little Lions recorded at the Folk Music Ontario conference. Listen to the interview again here.

Big Little Lions
Watered Down
A Little Frayed, A Little Torn (2015, Riptide Music Group) CDN

Big Little Lions
The Way Home
Paper Cage E.P. (2014, Riptide Music Group) CDN

Collette Andrea
You & Me
Steady Sun (2015, Self) CDN

Kevin Dooley
Treehouse (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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