Episode 230: Mill Race Folk Society

This week’s Live & Local reflects the fact that the Christmas season, or the holidays or whatever you like to call this time of year, is rapidly approaching. This week, Brad McEwen, Artistic Director at the Mill Race Folk Society joins us to chat about a couple of fun seasonal events in their calendar. We also include some other musical ways to celebrate this time of year.

We started off the hour with Trent Severn and the holiday remix of the track “O Snow” from their new album “Trillium”. As the story goes, a listener picked up on the fact that “O Snow” would be perfect to promote for the holidays and sent the band a message… and lo and behold, here it is – with the addition of sleigh bells – and a pretty good holiday song it is too!

This week’s big news in the Trent Severn universe is not the Christmas single or the fact that they now have a beer, a rye pale ale from Stratford’s Black Swan Brewery, named after them – and it’s apparently very good. No, the big – and sad news is that fiddler Laura C. Bates has left the band to explore some new musical projects. The good news for fans, however, is that Em Gryner and Dayna Manning have found another great fiddler to replace her. Lindsay Schindler, founding member of Stratford-based trad, celtic and world cross over group Rant Maggie Rant – and a dynamic fiddler with an outstanding reputation, is stepping up to fill Laura’s admittedly big shoes. Which is great news indeed, and it sounds like it will be a seemless transition.

We followed Trent Severn with three songs about heading home for the holidays. Tom Hampton with “The Road South” and Robyn Landis with “Across The Miles” are both on the 2014 compilation “Hudson Harding Music: Happy Holidays Vol. 9”. And we followed those songs with The Good Lovelies and “Hurry Home” from their 2010 “Under The Mistletoe” (Self/Six Shooter Records) holiday album. The Good Lovelies will be at Dublin St United in Guelph on Saturday December 11 as part of their Winter’s Calling Holiday Tour, which consists of eight shows in Ontario and Quebec. The tour coincides with the re-issue of their “Winter’s Calling E.P.” consisting of five tracks: three originals, and a couple of covers, including a holiday song by Gordon Lightfoot. Sounds like it should be a great show!

The Good Lovelies are not the only band appearing locally on a holiday tour, Rant Maggie Rant are touring Frost & Fire: A Celtic Christmas Celebration across south Ontario in the run up to the holiday season. They’ll be in Caledon on Sunday December 13 at 7 p.m. for a Claude Parlour concert at Claude Presbyterian Church, 15175 Hurontario Street, Caledon, ON. Admission: $20 advance, $25 at door. Advance tickets are available on Ticketscene HERE.

The Ondine Chorus are gearing up for the winter solstice with concerts at the Wellington County Museum in Elora on December 13, the newly-renovated Art Gallery of Guelph (formerly MacDonald Stewart Art Centre) (December 17) and at the beautifully-situated Paul Morin Gallery in Alton on December 18. For more information check out this post elsewhere on the website.

The Mill Race Folk Society has a couple of great events that take place each year during the holiday season. Pub Carolling with the Orange Peel Carollers and Village Band takes place on Sunday, December 13 from 3-6 pm at the Brownestone Gastropub, 39 Queen St. E. in Cambridge ON. It’s a free event, though donations for the musicians are gratefully accepted – and lots of fun!  And Twelfth Night: An Ancient Midwinter Celebration takes place on Saturday, January 9 at The United Kingdom Club of Cambridge, 35 International Village Dr., Cambridge ON. Advance tickets $15 ($20 at the door). Artistic Director Brad McEwen joined us to chat about the upcoming festivities. Listen to the interview again HERE. For more information visit millracefolksociety.com.

Scott Merritt is playing a series of shows across Southern Ontario as part of the launch of his new album “OF”. He’ll be at the Guelph Black History Society Hall on December 12, with accompaniment from multi-instrumentalist Jeff Bird. Tickets for the Guelph show are available at The Bookshelf (41 Quebec St., Guelph), Dis-a-Ray (3 Wyndham St. N., Guelph) and The Beat Goes On (23 Wellington St. E., Guelph). For more information on Scott’s tour, visit scottmerritt.com.

And finally, a couple of shows worth checking out at the great bistro and live music venue in Georgetown, Uncorked on Main. Suzie Vinnick will be bringing her bluesy sound to Uncorked on Thursday, December 10 from 7 p.m. She’s great in concert, if you haven’t seen her. And Scottish-born singer-songwriter David Leask will be playing there again on December 11 from 9 p.m.

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 230 Live & Local by Folk Roots Radio on Mixcloud

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

Trent Severn
O Snow (Holiday Remix)
Trillium (2015, Self) CDN

Tom Hampton
The Road South
Hudson Harding Music: Happy Holidays Vol. 9 (2014, Half Mountain Music)

Robyn Landis
Across The Miles
Hudson Harding Music: Happy Holidays Vol. 9 (2014, Brave Hearts Music)

The Good Lovelies
Hurry Home
Under The Mistletoe (2010, Self/Six Shooter Records) CDN

Rant Maggie Rant
Port Na Deori Set
Live at Hugh’s Room (2013, Self) CDN

Ondine Chorus
Into the Dark
Towards A Little Light (2014, Self) CDN

Coope, Boyes & Simpson & Fraser, Freya & Boyes
Bodmin Wassail
Voices at the Door – Midwinter Songs & Carols (2006, No Masters)

Interview: Brad McEwen, Artistic Director at the Mill Race Folk Society discussing their holiday season events. Listen to the interview again HERE.

Coope, Boyes & Simpson & Fraser, Freya & Boyes
While Shepherds Were Watching
Voices at the Door – Midwinter Songs & Carols (2006, No Masters)

Scott Merritt
Of (2015, Self) CDN

Suzie Vinnick
Sometimes I Think I Can Fly
Me ‘n’ Mabel (2011, Self) CDN

David Leask
Underneath (2013, Self) CDN

Skinner And T’witch
Santa, Teach The World To Fly
(Single) (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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