We’re giving Episode 260 of Folk Roots Radio over to the Youth Program at the 2015 Folk Music Ontario (FMO) Conference. The program is open to residents of Ontario and the National Capital Region, between ages 15 and 21, who are chosen for their interest, ability and experience. The selected youth members are paired with experienced mentors from the Ontario folk music community for the duration of the weekend conference, while developing a showcase performance and participating in professional development activities. This documentary features commentary and musical contributions from programme coordinator Treasa Levasseur; Mentors: Quique Escamilla, Rosina Kazi, Amélie Lefebvre, James Keelaghan and Julian Taylor and Youth: Sydney Delong, Jillian Kerr, Mira Meikle, Braden Phelan and Joelle Villeneuve. For more information about the Folk Music Ontario Youth Program visit folkmusicontario.ca. Photo credit: Mike Bourgeault. Music: Treasa Levasseur “Feel Good Time” from “Broad” (2011, Self), Amélie & Les Singes Bleus “La Rua Madureira” from “À l’étage des funambules” (Self, 2012), Joelle Villeneuve “En vert” (Demo), Quique Escamilla “Nuevo Dia, Hombre Libre” from “500 Years of Night” (2014, Lulaworld Records), Braden Phelan “With You” (with Vale Abbott) from “379 Evert Street” (2015, Self), Lal “Stand In My Way” from “Find Safety” (2016, Coax Records), Mira Meikle “Coming Home” from “Mira” (2015, Self), Julian Taylor Band “Just A Little Bit” from “Desert Star EP” (2015, Aporia Records), Sydney Delong “Cruel, Adore” from “My Vow To You EP” (2014, Self), James Keelaghan “Glory Bound” from “History: The First 25 Years” (2013, Borealis Records) and Jillian Kerr “Cold Winter” from “Dreams” (2015, Self).
St Catherine’s born Darren Eedens plays both flat-picking banjo and guitar at such a frenetic pace that you can’t help but sit up and pay attention whenever he starts to play. His nasal percussive vocal delivery makes you think that you’ve stepped into some honky tonk saloon from a bygone era. Known as the Canadian Dirty Little Picker in Europe, Darren now calls Cardiff Wales, home. He joined us in the studio straight after a rousing and rambunctious performance at the 2015 Hillside Festival to chat about his latest album “Of My Word” (2014, Self) and play a few tunes live. For more information, visit darreneedens.bandcamp.com. Music: Darren Eedens “Oh Darlin” from “Of My Word” (2014, Self), “Mountain Dew” (Live), “On The Line (The Laundry Song)” (Live), “Rye Whiskey” (Live) and Darren Eedens “Movin’ On” from “Of My Word” (2014, Self).
Guitar-picking, classically-trained folkie Shawna Caspi released a great album of coffee house folk in 2014, “Apartments For Lovers” – an album that not only contains Shawna’s songs, but is also adorned by her own art work. Shawna joined Folk Roots Radio at the Folk Music Ontario conference to chat about her music, and play a couple of songs live. For more information visit shawnacaspi.com. Photo: Roni Hoffman. Music: Shawna Caspi “Devil’s Rolling Pin” from “Apartments For Lovers” (2014, Self), “Take This Mountain” (Live), “Never Enough” (Live) and “Not So Silent” from “Apartments For Lovers” (2014, Self).
We’re giving the whole of this episode of Folk Roots Radio over to an interview with banjo player and rising star Kaia Kater who has just released her sophomore recording “Nine Pin”. Nine Pin is a concept album that takes as its inspiration the Black Lives Matter movement and Kaia’s own experience growing up as a person of colour in North America. And it’s an album that gives Kaia free reign to push her own boundaries using her old-time Appalachian banjo as the leaping off point for powerful lyrical songs that show maturity way beyond her years. It really is a terrific album, and it’s a great interview. I hope you enjoy it.
Dale Butler has been making music in Essex County in South-Western Ontario for over forty years. A full time musician, singer-songwriter and storyteller Dale performs solo, as a duo with wife Judy and also with his band “Dale Butler & Friends”. He also hosts Dale’s Friday Coffee House, formerly known as the Last Friday Coffee House, a Leamington musical institution that takes place monthly at The Bank Theatre and helps nurture the careers of young and new performers. Dale is also known for a great folk festival workshop where he shows participants how to play a guitar in two minutes even if they’ve never ever held a guitar before – a hold over from his days as a music store proprietor in Leamington. Dale joined us in the Folk Roots Radio studio to chat about his music and play a few songs live. Music: Dale Butler “Love That Grows” from “Aiming For Left Field” (2014, Self), “My Life” (Live), “Let’s Write Our Song” (Live), “Question Marks on My Windshield” from “Now I See” (2013, Self), “Lonely Child” (Live), “Thirty Years On” (Live) and “Summertime” from “Butler Tunes 1” (2012, Self).
This episode of Folk Roots Radio features an interview with Manitoba Hal Brolund who has dedicated his musical career to proving that the ukulele is a mighty instrument despite only having four strings. It’s a really informative interview and well worth checking out. As always we also have a great selection of new music we’ve received to share with you. Photo credit: James Millar.
This episode features an interview with John & Michele Law who joined us to chat about the line up for the 3rd Annual Kingsville Folk Music Festival, which takes place from August 12-14, in the beautiful confines of Lakeside Park in Kingsville on the shores of Lake Erie It’s a great festival and already gaining a great reputation for bringing fabulous folk, roots, blues and world music down into South-western Ontario. There’s also a lot of new music on this episode. I hope you’ll check it out.
Ukulele bluesman Manitoba Hal Brolund has dedicated his musical career to proving that the ukulele is a mighty instrument despite only having four strings. Ukelele advocate, teacher and performer, Hal joined us at Folk Music Ontario to chat about all matters ukulele, including his new album “Dancing in the Moonlight”, a fine selection of songs reflecting on matters of love, loss and redemption. For more information, visit manitobahal.com. Photo credit: Ed Sprake Photography. Music: Manitoba Hal “Come To Me”, “Sweet Honey Bee” and “Daylight” from “Dancing In The Moonlight” (2015, Hal’s Kitchen).
Hamilton ON singer-songwriter Will Gillespie truly has a sound of his own. A dynamic performer with a crooning cabaret style delivery, his diverse catalogue of original songs combine elements of folk, pop, rock & roll and jazz to create a unique sound he describes as jazzed-up folk-rock. Will sat down with us at the Folk Music Ontario conference this past October to chat about his music. For more information about Will Gillespie, visit willgillespie.ca. Music: Will Gillespie, “Let The Money Keep You Warm” from “Chasing Shadows” (2015, Self), “Moving To Music” (Live), “Kings of the Summer” (Live) and “Ankle Deep” from “Chasing Shadows” (2015, Self).
Singer-songwriter Glen MacNeil produced one of our favourite albums of 2015, “Where The Heart Remains”. A veteran of the South West Ontario music scene, it was hard to believe that this was Glen’s debut solo album. Featuring a fine selection of beautifully-crafted songs focusing on relationships, family and life in general with some fabulous musicianship and beautifully understated production from John Law from The Laws – the album is truly a joy for the ears. Glen came into the Folk Roots Radio mobile studio at the Folk Music Ontario conference this past October for a chat and a few live songs. Music: Glen MacNeil, “If I Could I Would” (Live), “The Island Is Where The Heart Remains” (Live), “Up On High” (Live) “I’m In Love” (Live).
Toronto-based singer-songwriter Mark Martyre is heading out on his “Bluebird” tour of Southern Ontario and Montreal this March, which includes shows at Silence (Guelph) on March 4, The Artbar (Hamilton) on March 5 and The Piston (Toronto) on March 13 among others. Check out all the tour dates HERE. Mark joined us at the Folk Music Ontario conference to chat about his music and play a couple of songs live. For more information, visit markmartyre.com. Music: Mark Martyre “I Know What It’s Like” from “Red Letters” (2014, Self), “Long Goodbye” (Live), “The Devil On Your Back” (Live) and “Oh Luna” from “Red Letters” (2014, Self).
The East Pointers – banjoist Koady Chaisson, fiddler Tim Chaisson, and guitarist Jake Charron, all have strong musical careers in the own right yet they’ve come together as a trio to bring a contemporary spin to traditional maritime folk, with an exhilarating live sound that can’t help but get the audience clapping, stomping and bouncing along. They’ve just released their debut album “Secret Victory” (2015, Self) which features ten original tunes and songs, and are about to head out on their CD release tour. We caught up with Koady, Tim and Jake at the Folk Music Ontario conference. For more information visit eastpointers.ca. Music: East Pointers, “Secret Victory”, “Cold” and “Woodfordia” from “Secret Victory” (2015, Self).
Singer-songwriter Carly Thomas was born in Thailand and raised in Argentina and France, before returning to her family roots in London Ontario. Carly Thomas first came to our attention through “I Remember You”, her beautiful and thought-provoking song written for the How We Survive teen suicide awareness campaign. Check out the very impactful video that accompanys the song here. Known as much for her powerful lyrics as her engaging live performance, Carly has played everywhere from street festivals in Paris to the folk circuit in Manhattan. Carly Thomas sat down with Folk Roots Radio at the 2016 Folk Music Ontario conference to chat about her music. For more information, visit carlythomas.com. Music: Carly Thomas “Sink or Swim” and “Lightning Bolts” from “Explode E.P.” (2014, Self) and “Drive Me Home” from “Up This High” (2009, Self).
Marianne Girard and Allan Fraser had been making music for over thirty and forty years respectively before a chance meeting in 2013 lead to the development of a new musical partnership “Fraser & Girard” and the release of a critically-acclaimed self-titled album. They joined us in the studio recently for an in-depth conversation and a few live songs. For more information visit fraserandgirard.com. Music: Fraser & Girard “Picov Downs” (Live), “Outside St Louis” (Live), “The Might Penny Blues” (Live), “My Name Is Carol” (Live), “Dancehall Girls” (Live) and Fraser & Girard “Don’t Blame It On Me” from “Fraser & Girard” (2015, Self).
Renowned Canadian singer-songwriter Stephen Fearing will be in Waterloo ON on Friday September 25 2015 for a day-long songwriting workshop and a solo evening concert. The songwriting workshop takes place at The Button Factory, 25 Regina St. S.in Waterloo. The evening concert takes place at First United Church, 16 William St. W., Waterloo at 8:00 pm. We caught up with Stephen at his new home in B.C. to chat about his music and this special opportunity to catch him live. Music: Stephen Fearing “The Golden Days” and “As The Crow Flies” from “Between Hurricanes” (2013, Lowdenproud). Photo: Jason MacNamara.
“Erin Roots” is an exciting new monthly roots music series taking place at The Busholme Inn in Erin ON. Erin Roots, a collaboration between Erin Radio and Folk Roots Radio, aims to bring affordable great live roots music to Erin while, at the same time, recording the shows for future broadcast. The first Erin Roots show takes on Saturday September 12 and features two fabulous singer-songwriters, Tannis Slimmon and Clela Errington. Crossover roots duo Jennis and The Banjo Mechanics take to the stage on October 24 with more shows to come.
There is nothing better than getting a pleasant musical surprise in the mail. That happened when North-East of England based singer-songwriter Pete Davies sent me his 2014 release, “Long Way Home”, eleven songs with thoughtful and uplifting lyrics, and great hooks – sung with warmth and passion in a fine troubadour voice. That it came out of the blue made it all that more special – one of my favourite albums of the year so far. We tracked Pete down for a feature-length conversation while on vacation in Florida. For more information about Pete Davies visit petedaviesmusic.co.uk. Music: Pete Davies, “A Soldier’s Lullaby”, Rusted and “It’s A Long Way Home” from “Long Way Home” (2014, Home Routes Music)
Singer-Songwriter Peter Boyer joined us on Folk Roots Radio on May 9 for an an in-depth conversation about the new Same Latitude As Rome album, “Early Days”, a collection of songs that pays homage to Canada’s earliest history. A CD release for the album takes place at the Acoustic Cafe at the Elora Centre for the Arts on June 12. We’re also giving away a copy of the new CD to the person who can tell us the name of the Father of Confederation mentioned in song on the album. Send us an e-mail or contact us via the website and we’ll be mailing that CD right off to you! Music: Same Latitude As Rome “Early Days”, “Song for David Thompson”, “Song for Louis Riel”, “The Wild McLean Boys”, “The Assassination of Thomas D’Arcy McGee”, “The Great Rendezvous Polka” and “Robbin’ Trains” from “Early Days” (2015, Self).
Sarah Jane Scouten brings her unique blend of roots music back to Guelph on Saturday May 23 for a Folk Roots Radio presents… show at Silence, Guelph’s premier listening venue. For this show Sarah will be joined by Alan Mackie (from The Bombadils and Jaron Freeman Fox and the Opposite of Everything) on stand-up bass. The opening act for the evening will be Guelph’s own bluegrass band The Chesterfield Trio, the abbreviated version of Chester Field and The Sofa Kings. It promises to be a great night so get your tickets early! We caught up with Sarah at home in Toronto to chat about the Guelph show, and her most recent album, “The Cape” which was nominated for two Canadian Folk Music Awards. Music: Sarah Jane Scouten, “The Cape” from “The Cape” (2014, Self).
Toronto-based singer-songwriter Clela Errington joined us in the CFRU 93.3fm studio in Guelph for an in-depth interview and some live songs on Folk Roots Radio . Clela released “More Love & Happiness” in 2014, one of our favourite albums of the year. This is what we said about the album at the time: “The freshness of the songwriting, beautiful harmonies (with daughter Jocelyn Barth), tasteful production from Alec Fraser Jr and the varied musical styles makes it a joy for the ears. That we were unfamiliar with Clela’s work made it all that much more special to share her musical talent on air. Her music deserves to be heard and savoured.” Clela and I had a great conversation, and the live songs we’re just fabulous. Enjoy. Music: Clela Errington, “More Love & Happiness” from “More Love & Happiness” (2014, Self), “Home On High” (Live), “Shoulder To Lean On” (Live), “White Dove” from “More Love & Happiness” (2014, Self), “Country Squall” (Willie P. Bennett) (Live), “Got To Make A Change Blues” (Memphis Minnie) (Live), “Angels on the Radio” (Band Mix) from “More Love & Happiness” (2014, Self).
Sarah Jane Scouten brings her unique blend of roots music back to Guelph for a Folk Roots Radio presents… show at Silence on Saturday May 23 at 8 p.m. For this show she will be joined by Alan Mackie (from The Bombadils and Jaron Freeman Fox and the Opposite of Everything) on stand-up bass. The opening act for the evening will be Guelph’s own bluegrass band The Chesterfield Trio, the abbreviated version of Chester Field and The Sofa Kings. It promises to be a great night so get your tickets early!
Jonathan Byrd and The Pickup Cowboys (feat. Johnny Waken and Paul Ford) and Eliot Bronson were in Guelph on March 20 2015 for a wonderful show at Silence. They joined us in the studio at CFRU 93.3fm the next day as we went “Overtime” on Folk Roots Radio. Music: Jonathan Byrd “38 Baby” from “You Can’t Outrun The Radio” (2014, Waterbug Records); Jonathan Byrd and the Pickup Cowboys – “I Was An Oak Tree” (Live), “Working Offshore” (Live) and “Love Is The Law” (Live); Eliot Bronson – “Comin’ For Ya North Georgia Blues” (Live), “River Runs Dry” (Live) and “One Mississippi” (Live); Jonathan Byrd and the Pickup Cowboys – “A Big Truck Brought It” (Live) and “Sun On The Water” (Live).
Irish Mythen travelled the world as a singer-songwriter before settling in Canada and making Prince Edward Island her home. Irish, who is just about to release her new album – the self-titled “Irish Mythen”, joined us for an interview and impromptu session at the recent Folk Music Ontario conference. For more information visit irishmythen.com. Music: Irish Mythen “Gypsy Dancer” from “Irish Mythen” (2014, Self), “These Walls” (Live), “Their Waltz” (Live) and “Take Me To The River” from “Irish Mythen” (2014, Self).
The MacKenzie Blues Band are one of the hottest bands out of Owen Sound. Featuring the powerhouse vocals of Tara MacKenzie alongside the guitar of Trevor MacKenzie with Joel Dawson on bass and Mike Weir on drums they were voted best new artist or group at the 2014 Maple Blues Awards. They released their sophomore album, “Slam! Bam!”, an album of dark and spiritual but ultimately uplifting blues earlier this year. We caught up with band members Tara MacKenzie, Trevor MacKenzie and Mike Weir at the Folk Music Ontario conference for a feature length conversation. Photo: Jason Ruznak. Music: MacKenzie Blues Band – “Down With Love (Slam! Bam!)”, “Move On”, “Bone Cage”, “Spiritual Power” and “Higher Road” from “Slam! Bam!” (2014, Self)