Winnipeg singer-songwriter Monika Wall started out singing opera before moving into a career as a singer-songwriter. Her second album, the E.P. “Earth” was released late in 2018, the first of four albums in a series (Earth, Wind, Water, Fire) exploring true happiness. With influences that range from folk to jazz to gospel blues, the new recording has an inspirational quality. Reflecting on the fact that life can feel short, and individual moments often fleeting, the songs on the album focus on the need for us all to develop a deeper and more sustainable connection to the world around us, and the earth beneath our feet – in the hope that we can leave behind a meaningful legacy for the generations to come. Earth was recorded with Juno-awarding producer Murray Pulver (Crash Test Dummies, Doc Walker). Monika Wall will be touring the new E.P. in Ontario in February with London vocal trio The Pairs and including stops in Guelph (Red Brick Cafe, Feb 8 with Mikalyn Hay), London (London Music Club Feb 9 with Marty Kolls), Toronto (The Painted Lady, Feb 10 with Darling Cora) and Ottawa (The Avant Garde, Feb 11 with Laura Gagnon). We caught up with Monika Wall at home in Winnipeg to chat about her music. For more information visit monikawall.com. Photo Credit: Luna Lily Photography. Music: Monika Wall “Let It Flow”, “Moments” and “We Will Rise” from “Earth” (2018, Self).
Episode 426 of Folk Roots Radio features a great interview with Peter Boyer, from Same Latitude As Rome, who joins us in the studio to chat about their latest album “Stay The Course”, which features Sean McCann, formerly of Great Big Sea, on the title track. We also take a look at more of the new releases we’ve received, and this time around we check out new music from Claire Coupland, Benjamin William Pike, The Pairs, Judy Brown, Emilyn Stam & Filippo Gambetta, Andy Hughes, Matt Andersen and Naming The Twins. Check out the full playlist below.
Toronto based singer-songwriter Jay Aymar joins us on Episode 425 of Folk Roots Radio to chat about his latest recording “My Perfect Matador”, an album that is surely his most complete artistic statement to date. Drawing comparison to no less than Canadian icon Leonard Cohen, with a nod to the groundbreaking work of Tom Waits, “Your Perfect Matador” sets out to explore love and yearning, and the place of art in our society. It’s a great album, and an excellent interview – and definitely worth checking out. We also take a look at more of the new music we’ve received, including releases from Kat Danser, Kalyna Rakel, Suzanne Jarvie, Cathy Hutch, Matt Tighe, Colm Gavin, Abby Zotz and The Sturgeons. Check out the full playlist below.
Kalon Hart is the singer-songwriter alter-ego of Canadian film/TV composer Rob Teehan, who also played the tuba with both the Lemon Bucket Orkestra and The Boxcar Boys. Currently based in LA, Kalon Hart will release his first album, “Love Is Surrender”, a seven song meditation on love and emotion, in 2019. Kalon Hart sat down with Jan Hall from Folk Roots Radio at the 2018 Folk Music Ontario conference to chat about his music. He also played two songs from the new album live. For more information, visit kalonhart.com. Music: Kalon Hart “Song For Bill (Don’t Lose Yourself To My Mistakes)” (Live), “Come On Out Of The Rain” (Live) and “I Think You Know” from “Love Is Surrender” (2019, Self) CDN.
Long Island based folk band Gathering Time joins us on Episode 424 of Folk Roots Radio for a fun conversation about their music. They also play two songs live for us. It’s a great interview and well-worth sticking around for. We also take a look at more of the new releases we’ve received, and this time around we check out new music from Claudia Russell & Bruce Kaplan, Kalyna Rakel, Mike Plume Band, Paul & Trevor Mills, Tomorrow Bird, Ken Dunn and David Storey. Check out the full playlist below.
We’re all about the Folk Music Ontario conference 2018 Developing Artist Program on Episode 423 of Folk Roots Radio. Each year during the annual conference, a group of developing artists – youth performers are paired with mentors from the Ontario folk community to work on a showcase performance and participate in professional development activities. Join us as we chat to participants in this year’s program and check out some of their music. The program is open to residents of Ontario and the National Capital Region, between the ages 15 and 21, who are chosen for their interest, ability and experience. Learn more about the program HERE. This episode features commentary and musical contributions from program coordinator Treasa Levasseur; Mentors: Rae Spoon, Binaeshee-Quae, Amanda Rheaume, Laura C. Bates and Wesli; Youth: Chloe Lukia Pilar, Saffron A., Cassidy Houston, Jessica Wedden and Gabriel Cyr. Photo credit: Mike Bourgeault. Check out the full playlist below.
Same Latitude As Rome, the vehicle for masterful storytelling singer-songwriter Peter Boyer are back with “Stay The Course”, the follow-up to 2015’s “Early Days”, their very well received collection of early Canadian history in song. The new album features eight original songs about mammoth cheeses, horses, old trucks, cars and guitar players – and remaining positive in the face of adversity. Joining Peter Boyer on acoustic guitar and harmonica are producer and multi instrumentalist JK Gulley, Matt Lima/Tomas Bouda (acoustic bass), Gary Kreller (accordion), Mark Mariash (percussion), and Dale Rivard (dobro). There are also cameo appearances from Sean McCann, formerly of Great Big Sea, who shares vocals and plays the bodhran on the title track and Roly Platt with some fine bluesy harmonica on “Blue Shelby Mustang”. Peter Boyer joined us in the Folk Roots Radio studio to chat about the new album. For more information about the music of Peter Boyer and Same Latitude As Rome, visit samelatitudeasrome.com. Music: Same Latitude As Rome “Stay The Course”, “Perth’s Mammoth Cheese”, “Old Guys With Guitars” and “Lost Patrol” from “Stay The Course” (2019, Self) CDN.
North Carolina singer-songwriter Jonathan Byrd joins us on Episode 422 of Folk Roots Radio to chat about his latest album “Pickup Cowboy”, the wonderful follow up to his great 2014 album “You Can’t Outrun The Radio”. Pickup Cowboy features ten songs, eight Byrd originals (one a co-write with Charles Humphrey III, formerly with the Steep Canyon Rangers) and two songs by fellow singer-songwriter Matt Fockler, the inspiration for the title track. We also check out more of the new music we’ve received including releases by Belle Of The Fall, Sammy Duke, Reece Sullivan, Bob MacLean, A New Ground, Marty Kolls and Dennis Roger Reed. Check out the full playlist below.
We catch up with Big Little Lions on Episode 421 of Folk Roots Radio. It’s at least a couple of years since we last sat down with Helen Austin and Paul Otten from the band to chat about their music. Always a great conversation, Big Little Lions released their very well-received third full length album “Alive And Well” earlier in 2018. Full of clever hooks and great harmonies, and, in some cases, a distinct message – it’s definitely worth checking out. We also check out more of the latest new releases and this time round we include new music from Hannah Sanders & Ben Savage, Lennie Gallant, Jane Yolen & 3 Ravens, Bob MacLean and Caribou Run. Check out the full playlist below.
Jesse Matas joins us on Episode 420 of Folk Roots Radio to chat about his great new solo album “Tamarock”, our favourite album of 2018. Jesse Matas has a great vocal style, and the album features some fine playing, with a lovely sonic palate and a production that really gives all the instruments space to breath. But, above all, it’s full of really interesting songs with great lyrical imagery – and that’s what makes this album a recording that you really need to check out. You can listen to the rest of our Top Ten favourite albums of the year on Episode 417, and The Next 15 on Episode 418. We also take a look at more of the new music we’ve received, and this time around we check out albums from Johnsmith, Paul & Trevor Mills, Youngtree and The Blooms, Rich Krueger, The Slocan Ramblers and Wes Collins. Check out the full playlist below.
Mara Levine from New Jersey joins us on Episode 419 of Folk Roots Radio for a wonderful conversation about her music. Mara Levine is not a songwriter, but she is a fine, fine singer, and a great interpreter of other people’s songs. She’s just released a fabulous new album “Facets of Folk”, which features 13 tracks that showcase various different faces of folk music, often with a strong social conscience, and including favourites from Gordon Lightfoot, Paul Simon, Leonard Cohen and Christine Lavin alongside some new discoveries from contemporary songwriters. And while Mara is with us, she also sings a song from Facets of Folk live. We also check out more of the new albums we’ve received including new music from Jesse Parent, T Buckley, Dave McEathron, Jenie Thai, Andrea Bettger, Niall Teague and the Fast Company, Merry Hell, Mike T. Kerr and Ben Heffernan. Check out the full playlist below.
Shawn William Clarke is a wonderfully quirky and engaging singer-songwriter who really deserves a wider audience. His last two solo albums “William” (2014) and “Topaz” (2017) were very well-received, and both made our long list for favourite albums of the year. A second trip to Europe on tour, another visit to Iceland for some off-venue gigs at the Iceland Airwaves festival, alongside picking up Folk Music Ontario‘s 2018 Songs from the Heart award for best instrumental for “Bellwoods Park” (from the William album) and a very well-received official showcase at the FMO conference, made 2018 a year to remember. It’s always fun to chat to Shawn about his music. We sat down with him at FMO for a great conversation and a couple of live songs, including another new song. Visit Shawn William Clarke online at shawnwilliamclarke.com. Music: Shawn William Clarke “Young In Love (At The End Of The World)” (Live), “Everybody Gets Sad Sometimes” (Live) and “The Tourists” from “Topaz” (2017, Self) CDN.
Long Island based folk band Gathering Time are an excellent harmony trio in the tradition of Peter, Paul & Mary, with a little bit of Crosby, Stills & Nash, The Byrds and Joni Mitchell thrown into the mix. The band features Stuart Markus and Gerry McKeveny on guitars and vocals, with Hillary Foxsong on percussion and vocals. Their latest album is the very well-received “Keepsake” from 2016. Gathering Time joined us in the mobile studio at the 2018 Folk Music Ontario conference for a fun conversation about their music and a couple of live songs, with vocal support from Mara Levine. Visit Gathering Time online at gathering-time.com. Music: Gathering Time “Too Far To Turn Back Now” (Live), “You Were Always On My Mind” (Live) and “Westerly” from “Keepsake” (2016, Treble G Records).
Toronto based troubadour singer-songwriter Jay Aymar has just released a new album that is surely his most complete artistic statement to date. Drawing comparison to no less than Canadian icon Leonard Cohen, with a nod to the groundbreaking work of Tom Waits, “Your Perfect Matador” sets out to explore love and yearning, and the place of art in our society or as his publicity material describes it… The acclaimed wordsmith and performer pulls out all the creative stops on these nine tracks spinning a poetic fable of seduction, obsession and addiction — while washing it down with a narcotic cocktail of edgy post-Americana, swampy southern roots-rock and even menacing soul-funk. I think you get the picture – this vision is fully realized. Musically the new album, produced by Michael Phillip Wojewoda, is an all-enveloping sonic wonder with some fabulous support from Champagne James Robertson on electric guitar, Robbie Grunwald (keyboards), Devon Henderson (bass), Wojewoda (drums, additional keyboards), Drew Dureka (strings) and wonderful cameo vocal performances by Alejandra Ribera, Shakura S’Aida and Chloe Charles. We caught up with Jay Aymar at home in Toronto to chat about the new album. Visit Jay Aymar online at jayaymar.com. Music: Jay Aymar “Your Poet Bleeding”, “Us Wild Dogs” and “The Greatest Story Never Told” from “Your Perfect Matador” (2018, Self).
New Jersey based Mara Levine is a fabulous singer, and a great interpreter of other people’s songs. She’s just released a lovely third album “Facets Of Folk” the follow up to “Jewels and Harmony” (2013) and her debut “Mara’s Gems” (2009) which were both well-received. A very well curated collection, Facets of Folk features 13 tracks that showcase various different faces of folk music, often with a strong social conscience, and including favourites from Gordon Lightfoot, Paul Simon, Leonard Cohen and Christine Lavin alongside some new discoveries from contemporary songwriters. Mara Levine tours across the US, often with Gathering Time (Stuart Markus, Hillary Foxsong, and Gerry McKeveny). She also performs as a duo with both Terry Kitchen, and Caroline Cutroneo. Mara Levine sat down with Folk Roots Radio at the 2018 Folk Music Ontario conference to chat about her music, and shared a live version of Tommy Sands “Daughters and Sons”, which appears on the new album. For more information visit maralevine.com. Music: Mara Levine “You Reap What You Sow” from “Facets of Folk” (2019, Self), “Daughters and Sons” (live) and “By My Silence” (with Gathering Time) from “Facets of Folk” (2019, Self).
There are no interviews on Episode 418 of Folk Roots Radio as we check out more of our favourite albums of the year. We’ve already released The Top 10 on Episode 417 of Folk Roots Radio. This time around we check out The Next 15, featuring some of our favourite tracks from those albums. It’s a great privilege to bring lots of great music and interviews to you each week on Folk Roots Radio, something we’re looking forward to continuing throughout the next year. Listen to tracks from The Next 15 and check out the full playlist below.
It’s that time of year… we’re holding back the interviews on Folk Roots Radio as we check out our ten favourite albums of 2018. 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, though, is to take all that fabulous music and narrow it down to your ten favourite recordings of the year. To make the selection process go as smoothly as possible, I actually start off with about 40 albums that I’ve really enjoyed, and narrow that down to a 25 album long list, and then select what I consider my ten favourite albums. You can check out The Top 10 on this episode, and The Next 15 on Episode 418 of Folk Roots Radio. So here they are… in reverse order, Folk Roots Radio’s favourite albums of 2018. Listen to The Top 10 and check out the full playlist below.
Episode 416 is the third of three special episodes of Folk Roots Radio to celebrate the season. An all music episode, we move towards the end of the year with a selection of music that covers the bases… we have some seasonal music, we have some wintery music and we also have some music that sounds wintery but actually it’s a bit political. It’s all good stuff, because on this show we only play good music and if we’re going to play it, it has to feel good next to everything else. So sit back, grab another glass of egg nog and enjoy more Folk Roots Radio at the end of the year with music from Laura Mulcahy, Georgian Bay, The O’Pears, Bill Keith, Richard Ruane & Beth Duquette, Randall Kromm, Katherine Rondeau, Iain Thomson And Marc Duff, Arnie Naiman, Carla Gover & Zoey Barrett (from Zoe Speaks), Naming The Twins, Laura Zucker, Susan J. Berman, Sofia Talvik and Ian Foster & Nancy Hynes. Check out the full playlist below.
We’re back with more holiday music on Episode 415 of Folk Roots Radio. I don’t know about you, but I love Christmas music, I just hate the way it gets used as a cheap marketing tool, especially if you’re in the mall, or the grocery store or dare I say it, listening to the radio. So here it is, another attempt at some thoughtful and insightful holiday music programming – featuring mostly new self-written songs, and if they’re not original compositions, well let’s just say the artists concerned definitely take them off the beaten track. We also talk to Cambridge ON singer-songwriter Allison Lupton about her new Christmas single “The Eve of Christmas Day”, recorded with the fabulous English vocal trio The Young’uns alongside music from The O’Pears, Faron Young, Eddie Cletro with The Frontiersmen, Jimmy Witherspoon, Hank Snow, Johnny Salad, Ian Foster & Nancy Hynes, Meghan Cary, Lennie Gallant, Bob MacLean, Naming The Twins, Randall Kromm, Delta Moon, Sarah Smith and Suzzy Roche with Family and Friends. So take off your Santa suit, put your feet up and enjoy some great music to celebrate the season! Check out the full playlist below.
We love seasonal music on Folk Roots Radio – what we don’t love is more straight up versions of the same old Christmas songs and carols. Join us on Episode 414 of Folk Roots Radio as we celebrate the season with a selection of music that’s mostly new, independent and definitely interesting. We also include an interview with Chris McKhool, the leader of world music combo, the Sultans Of String, who are taking their “Christmas Caravan” back out on the road this holiday season alongside music from Ian Foster & Nancy Hynes, Rich Krueger, Reg Meuross, Kelly’s Lot, Vi Wickam, Bob Jensen & Tony McManus, Rachael Sage, Mara Levine, Cathy Fink & Marcy Marxer and Eric Gerber. It’s a great episode, and the perfect accompaniment to a glass of your favourite tipple and a mince pie, or two. Check out the full playlist below.