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!
Kevin Harvey, front man and lead vocalist of the Durham County Poets joins us on Episode 499 of Folk Roots Radio to chat about their latest album, a full on blues recording, “Hand Me Down Blues” which has earned nominations for both the 2020 JUNO Blues Album of the Year & the 2019 Maple Blues Awards New Artist/Group of the Year. It’s a wonderful tribute to some of their influences, and Kevin Harvey is always a great interview. We also check out more of the new music we’ve received, and this time around we hear from Little Misty, The Lonesome Ace Stringband, Frank & Allie Lee and Frank Birtwistle. We wrap up the episode with a special three song tribute to Nova Scotia based folk singer Laura Smith who sadly left us this week. Laura Smith had an absolutely fabulous singing voice, and though, because of some health challenges she did not leave a large body of recorded music, the excellent albums she created deserve to be shared and savoured. Her spirit will live on. Safe Home, Sweet Light! Check out the full playlist below.
The Durham County Poets are having an absolutely fabulous year. They released the wonderful “Hand Me Down Blues” in 2019 – a celebration of all things blues and the artists that have inspired their music. Since then, they have received nominations for both the 2020 JUNO Blues Album of the Year & the 2019 Maple Blues Awards New Artist/Group of the Year. According to band front man and lead vocalist Kevin Harvey, the decision to make a full-on blues album brought back memories of catching the great Muddy Waters live in Montreal in 1981, when – front row and centre, a young Kevin Harvey was able to touch the great man’s shoe. “Muddy looked at me and winked, as if to say ‘welcome to the blues, son’. I didn’t know then, that I would have a life-altering spinal cord injury three months later that would place me in a wheelchair for the rest of my life. That experience made the blues come alive to me. The band and I – we have our own experiences and inspirations that lead to the creation of a dedicated ‘blues album’, paying homage to our favourite blues artists. Muddy Waters was just one of many who handed the genre down to us, and now we want to continue in that tradition by putting our own stamp on it and “Hand” the blues to the next generation.” Hand Me Down Blues which was produced by Bill Garrett, features compositions written by all four long-time members of the band: David Whyte, Neil Elsmore, Carl Rufh and Kevin Harvey alongside some well chosen covers. New boy Rob Couture joins them in the drum chair. The Durham County Poets continue to tour on a regular basis, and upcoming dates include Sharbot Lake ON (March 21, Sharbot Lake Inn), Oakville (March 26, The Moonshine Cafe), Kingsville ON (March 27, Road to Kingsville Folk Fest), Wallaceburg ON (March 28, Jeanne Gordon Theatre) and Wakefield QC (May 16, The Blacksheep Inn). For more information, visit durhamcountypoets.com. Music: Durham County Poets, “Hand Me Down Blues”, “Can’t Be Satisfied”, “If The Lid Don’t Fit” and “Evil In The Heart Of Man” from “Hand Me Down Blues” (2019, Self).
We’re giving over the whole of Episode 490 of Folk Roots Radio to a fabulous in-depth conversation with Bill Garrett who sat down us at the 2019 Folk Music Ontario conference to talk about his long career in music and the development of the wonderful boutique folk music record label Borealis Records. We wrap up the conversation with music from Bill Garrett, Bill Garrett & Sue Lothrop, Naming The Twins, Durham County Poets and Shelley Posen. Check out the full playlist below.
Leader of the world rhythms folk combo Sultans of String, Chris McKhool joins us on Episode 476 of Folk Roots Radio to chat about the band’s forthcoming album “Refuge”, a project that is all about highlighting the extraordinary contributions that indigenous people, immigrants and refugees make to our culture and life, and showcases some of the amazing people who are sharing their musical gifts with us in Canada and the United States. It’s a very inspiring interview, and well worth checking out. We also include new music from Bobtown, Kristen Martell, Durham County Poets, Dayna Manning, Jason Wilson and Kyp Harness. Check out the full playlist below.
Australian acoustic blues great Lloyd Spiegel joins us on Episode 464 of Folk Roots Radio for a chat about his music and three live songs. A fantastic live performer, Lloyd Spiegel has been performing his hard-hitting, cutting edge brand of blues for more than 30 years. Lloyd Spiegel released his tenth album, “Cut & Run”, earlier this year. It’s a great interview – we hope you’ll check it out. And as always we wrap up the hour with more new releases, and this time we hear from I’m With Her, Annie & Rod Capps, Zachary Lucky, Dale Boyle, The Lifers, Jennis, Durham County Poets and Kae Shelby. Check out the full playlist below.
We’re all about the music on Episode 320 of Folk Roots Radio as we catch up on some of the great new music we’ve received recently. Among the new and upcoming releases we check out is the third album from highly rated roots singer-songwriter Sarah Jane Scouten, and Rescue Me!, a great new compilation that’s all about cats and dogs, and the people that love them. (Disclaimer: we’re cat people so we play cat songs on this episode, though the dog songs are pretty good too!). Listen to the episode and check out the playlist below.
On Episode 319 of Folk Roots Radio, we’re back at the Folk Music Ontario conference for another in our interview/mini-session series Folk Roots Radio at FMO. Country roots singer-songwriter Bobby Dove joins us to chat about her music and play a couple of songs from her great debut album “Thunderchild” live. As always, we also check out more of the latest new releases. Check out the full playlist below.
The 41st annual Summerfolk Music and Crafts Festival takes place August 19-21, in Kelso Park, on the shores of Georgian Bay, in Owen Sound. The festival features more than 40 musical acts from across Canada and across the world representing genres from folk, country and bluegrass, to blues, to hip-hop and funk. Like any great folk festival they also have lots of children’s activities, community workshops, artisan booths, dozens of food vendors… and two licensed areas. This year’s line-up features Anne Beverly Foster * Ben Spencer * Ben Turcotte and Carter Rolland * Beppe Gambetta/Tony McManus * Big Little Lions * Blackburn * Bobby Dean Blackburn * Bruce Cockburn * Cassie and Maggie MacDonald * Coco Love Alcorn * David Newland * Durham County Poets * Frank Francalanza * Good for Grapes * Gypsy Kumbia Orchestra * Ian Tamblyn * Irish Mythen * Ken Whiteley & The Beulah Band * Leonard Sumner * Les Poules a Colin * Lindi Ortega * The Lifers * LookUp Theatre * Magoo * Maneli Jamal * Matt Gordon and Leonard Podolak * Mel Parsons * Michael Jerome Browne * My Son the Hurricane * Natalie MacMaster * Notre Dame de Grass * Old Man Luedecke * Olivia and The Creepy Crawlies * Richard Garvey and Celidh Barker * Roger Roger * Sarah Beatty * Scarlett Jane * Scatter The Cats * The Small Glories * The East Pointers * The Krueger Band * The Mae Trio * The O’Pears * Todd Crowley’s Musical Petting Zoo * Treasa Levasseur …alongside Youth Discoveries Jimmy Pearson * Cassie DaSilva * Jake Feeney * Brontae Hunter * Marshall Veroni. We caught up with James Keelaghan, Artistic Director at Summerfolk to chat about this year’s line-up. For more information and to buy tickets visit summerfolk.org. Music: The Small Glories with “Had I Paid” from “Wondrous Traveller” (2016, Self) and Big Little Lions “Fill Me Up” from “Just Keep Moving” (2016, Riptide Music Group).
Durham County Poets are five guys from the Chateauguay Valley in Quebec who have played in blues bands, gospel groups, Cajun, vaudeville, folk, rock and country bands. Since coming together as the Durham County Poets they have developed a sound that is uniquely their own. A collective blend of styles from Dan Hicks to James Taylor, the Band to Leon Redbone, they are a melting pot of inspired tunes to enjoy. They released their first album “When The River Flows” in 2012, and have just released their follow-up, the intriguingly titled “Chikkaboodah Stew”. We caught up with lead singer Kevin Harvey this past week to talk about the new album. For more information visit durhamcountypoets.com. Music: Intro: Chikkaboodah Stew, Outro: Lipstick Sky from Chikkaboodah Stew (2014, Self).
Folk Roots Radio on June 7 2014 (Episode 153) featured the usual mix of great music – some new, some not so new, and a visit from Ian Reid, who joined us in the studio to chat and play a few songs from his new album “Delivered On Delhi Street”. Guelph area Delivered On Delhi Street CD release shows are scheduled for Waterside Park, Rockwood (June 13) and Magnolia Café, Guelph (June 21).