We’re getting close to the end of 2020, which means it’s time to announce our favourite albums of the year. After the challenging year we’ve all had, it’s tempting to just want to put 2020 behind us and move on to 2021 to what will, hopefully, be a much better year for everyone. And yet, despite everything, 2020 has actually been a great year for recorded music – especially for those us who tend to focus on music that artists release independently, or via small and boutique record labels. Many artists have actually been making excellent use of the lockdown time forced on them by the coronavirus pandemic to record some wonderful ‘Covid Tune’ singles, EPs and in some case, even full albums. We’ve had great fun sharing them with you this year. We’ve also been doing our best to keep up with regularly scheduled releases. It gives us great pleasure each year, once we have put holiday radio episodes to bed, to consider our favourite albums of the year. One of the best things about doing a radio show is getting loads of great music to listen to each week. One of the hardest things to do is to take all that fabulous music and narrow it down to your ten favourite recordings of the year. You can check out The Top 10 on Episode 560 of Folk Roots Radio. We’ll be playing more of our favourite albums on upcoming episodes of Folk Roots Radio. If you don’t see an album you really loved, that’s likely because it didn’t make it up on our radar because we didn’t receive a copy. Please consider sharing your favourite albums in the comments – we might even spin them on a future episode of the show. Listen to The Top 10 on this episode, and check out the full playlist and the rest of our long list below. 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.
Yellowknife based indigenous singer-songwriter Leela Gilday joins us on Episode 480 of Folk Roots Radio to chat about her great fifth album “North Star Calling” which was inspired by a need for self-empowerment, facing your fears, and living with courage, boldness and joy. North Star Calling is a fabulous recording, and Leela Gilday is always a great interview. We also include new music from Doug McArthur, Stephen Fearing, Miranda Mulholland, Sam Weber, The Red River Ramblers, Bobtown, Frank Solivan & Dirty Kitchen and Jessica Rhaye and the Ramshackle Parade. Check out the full playlist below.
Amy Mangan joins us on Episode 435 of Folk Roots Radio to talk about the 5th Annual Roots North Music Festival which takes place across Downtown Orillia on Friday April 26 and Saturday April 27. This year, a fabulous main stage line-up sees renowned Canadian songsmith Ron Sexsmith take the stage on he Friday evening with Prince Edward Island raised, Halifax NS based Rose Cousins and the ever intriguing Ariana Gillis, while inspirational world music performer Alysha Brilla who blends folk, jazz and world rhythms together and Orillia based Americana duo VK join The Weather Station on the Saturday evening. There will also be a full day of free performances throughout the day on Saturday at a variety of downtown venues. We also take a look at more of the latest new releases and this time around we check out new music from Iain Thomson and Marc Duff, Doug McArthur, Le Vent du Nord, AKA Trio, Ashley Condon, Cathy Hutch and Noah Derksen. Check out the full playlist below.
Another hour of Folk Roots Radio that’s all about the music as we take a look at more of the latest new releases. Among the new releases on this episode, we check out “Khlebnikov”, the latest from Danny Michel – which was recorded far above the arctic circle, while aboard the Russian icebreaker Capitan Khlebnikov, in the middle of the arctic ocean. We also take a first listen to “Folklife”, Jayme Stone‘s follow up to the fabulous Lomax Project, a new Battlefield Band compilation, and the latest from folk great Tom Paxton.
On this edition of Folk Roots Radio we head out to Corner Brook in Newfoundland to talk to folk-pop duo Gary & Whit, about “Matches”, an album of beautiful songs, with engaging lyrics and gorgeous harmonies that really connects with the listener – and another of our favourite albums of 2016. And as always, we take a look at some of the latest new releases. For more information about the music of Gary & Whit, visit garyandwhit.com. Photography: Candace Cunning and Dru Kennedy.