Many of Canada’s summer music festivals have been severely impacted by the coronavirus pandemic. Join us on Episode 588 of Folk Roots Radio as we relive one of our favourite festival experiences, the 2018 Hillside Festival. Set on the island at beautiful Guelph Lake, just outside Guelph, in Southern Ontario, Hillside has an incredible vibe. Authentic, inclusive, respectful and environmentally sustainable… Hillside is a festival that should be on everyone’s bucket list. Stay tuned as we chat with Frank Evans from The Slocan Ramblers, Martin Harley, the Fortunate Ones and Cécile Doo-Kingué. We also squeeze in music from Hillside 2018 favourites, Rev. Sekou and female Latino vocal group LADAMA. Although there is no in-person Hillside Festival this year, you can still visit Hillside virtually, from the comfort of your own home, as Hillside Homeside 2021. It’s not like being there, but actually, it’s not bad. Live music, spoken word and dance performances, workshops, children’s programming, Hillside archive presentations and more – it’s all there – just like the real thing. And like the real summer festival, the presentations are only available from July 23 – 25. You can check them out from wherever you are on the planet by following the links from hillsidefestival.ca. And guess what, it’s all free, though if you want to make a donation, we’re sure they would love you for it! Check our the full playlist for this episode below.
We’re giving over the whole of Episode 391 of Folk Roots Radio to some great artist interviews we recorded at the 2018 Hillside Festival. We had an absolutely fabulous time at the festival again this year – it’s hard to put into words how wonderful it is. Set in the beautiful setting of Guelph Lake, just outside Guelph, in Southern Ontario, If you’ve not experienced it yet, you definitely should try and make it there at least once. Hillside has an incredible vibe and musically there really is something for everyone. With all the craziness going on in the world just now, it feels like a respite from all the insanity. Authentic, inclusive, respectful and environmentally sustainable… Hillside you’re just the best! Stay tuned as we chat with Frank Evans from The Slocan Ramblers, Martin Harley, the Fortunate Ones and Cécile Doo-Kingué. We also squeeze in music from Hillside 2018 favourites, Rev. Sekou and female Latino vocal group LADAMA.
Toronto’s Slocan Ramblers are one of Canada’s finest bluegrass bands. Rooted in the tradition, they’re as comfortable with their own songs as they are with the bluegrass canon. They’ve just released a great new album “Queen City Jubilee”. The Slocan Ramblers are Frank Evans on banjo, Adrian Gross on mandolin, Darryl Poulsen on acoustic guitar and Alastair Whitehead on bass. Frank Evans joined Folk Roots Radio while at the 2018 Hillside Festival to chat about the band, and their new album. Check out The Slocan Ramblers online at slocanramblers.com. Music: The Slocan Ramblers, “Mississippi Heavy Water Blues” from “Queen City Jubilee” (2018, Slomusic).
Guelph Ontario singer-songwriter Doris Folkens writes songs that are rooted in people and the events that shaped their lives. She’s just about to release her old-time styled self-titled debut. The album, produced by Toronto’s five-time Juno nominee, and seven-time Canadian Folk Music Award winner, Andrew Collins features seven original story songs with support from Collins (mandolin), Shane Cook (fiddle) and Frank Evans (banjo). “The story behind the album started two generations ago. During World War 2 in Hamburg, my grandmother rescued her piano from her burning house (the family house is depicted in the album art), which had been hit by a bomb. This was the piano that crossed the ocean on a container ship to Canada when my mother married. Years later, I learnt music on that same piano. I often wonder: If my grandmother hadn’t rescued that piano, would I be playing music at all? Her actions, two generations later, left their mark on the songs that I’ve written for this album. The songs are based on true family stories. It’s about where we came from and those who raised us.” The album also includes the Doris Folkens song “Lonesome In The Grave No More” which took home the Songs of the Heart award for humorous song at the 2017 Folk Music Ontario conference. We caught up with Doris Folkens at home in Guelph to chat about her music. The Doris Folkens CD release show will take place in Guelph at The Common on Saturday May 26 2018 at 7 p.m. For more information about the music of Doris Folkens, visit dorisfolkens.com. Music: Doris Folkens “Dig A Hole”, “Lonesome In The Grave No More” and “Right Side Of The Tracks” from “Doris Folkens” (2018, Self).
Toronto bluegrass band The Slocan Ramblers have a reputation for producing some of the best live acoustic music out there – a refreshingly youthful and fiddle-free take on bluegrass featuring Adrian Gross on mandolin, Darryl Poulsen on guitar, Alastair Whitehead on bass and Frank Evans on three-finger and clawhammer banjo. They released their second album “Coffee Creek”, the follow up to their very well received 2012 debut “Shaking Down The Acorns”, in 2015. An album that explores the outer reaches of bluegrass while respecting its traditions, Coffee Creek was recorded live off the floor with Chris Coole (from the Foggy Hogtown Boys) at the controls and features a healthy dose of their own original material. The Slocan Ramblers will be appearing at the River Run Centre in Guelph on January 27, The Old Town Hall in Newmarket on March 25, The Registry Theatre in Kitchener on April 7, the Aurora Cultural Centre on May 12 and the Regent Theatre in Picton on May 20 alongside dates in Western Canada, Prince Edward Island and Nova Scotia. We caught up with banjo player Frank Evans in Toronto, to chat about their music. For more information visit slocanramblers.com. Music: The Slocan Ramblers “Pastures of Plenty / Honey Babe”, “Elk River”, “Coffee Creek” and “Call Me Long Gone” from “Coffee Creek” (2015, Self).
Zachary Lucky is just about to release “Everywhere A Man Can Be”, the follow-up to 2013’s “The Ballad Of Losing You”. And where The Ballad of Losing you was introspective and reflective – focusing on some very personal themes, the new album is outward looking, expansive and optimistic featuring nine new songs written on the road, that name check people and places he visited while touring his last effort. The album features stellar support from pedal steel virtuoso Aaron Goldstein, who also produced, and a band that includes Taylor Knox on drums, Dan Edmonds (Harlan Pepper) on piano, Darcy Yates (Flash Lightnin’, Bahamas) on bass, Rosalyn Dennett on fiddle, and Slocan Ramblers‘ Frank Evans on banjo. Nichol Robertson also guests on guitar, alongside vocalist Julie Fader, and pianist Jay Swinnerton. With a laid-back style that’s all his own, “Everywhere A Man Can Be” is clearly a step towards solidifying Zachary’s place in the vanguard of Canadian country music. We caught up with Zachary at home in Orillia to chat about the new album. The album release takes place at the Dakota Tavern in Toronto on October 7. For more information visit zacharylucky.com. Music: Zachary Lucky “Can’t Say Why”, “Everywhere A Man Can Be” and “Lost My Way (Now & Then)” from “Everywhere A Man Can Be” (2016, Self).
The Shoeless are back in tour in Ontario with upcoming shows in Hamilton and Kitchener. The Shoeless are Frank Evans (Slocan Ramblers) on banjo, Eli Bender (Hale and Hearty) on cello and Emilyn Stam (Lemon Bucket Orkestra, Beneath the Ice, Eh?!, Té) on fiddle. Their music is a blend of traditional and original tunes/songs, with influences from klezmer, celtic, old time, french, bluegrass and more… they describe it as Bela Fleck meets Bela Bartok in Appalachia! They are lots of fun live, and definitely worth checking out if you get the chance. For more information, visit www.theshoeless.com.
“The Shoeless” are Frank Evans (Slocan Ramblers) on banjo, Eli Bender (Hale and Hearty) on cello and Emilyn Stam (Lemon Bucket Orkestra, Beneath the Ice, Eh?!, Té) on fiddle. They’ll be in Guelph on Thursday November 13 for a show at Magnolia Café at 8 p.m. Their music is a blend of traditional and original tunes/songs, with influences from klezmer, celtic, old time, french, bluegrass and more … they describe it as Bela Fleck meets Bela Bartok in Appalachia! The show starts at 8 p.m. The cover is $10. Magnolia Café is a licensed cafe and restaurant that also doubles as one of the area’s most intimate listening venues. Because of the size of the venue, reservations are highly recommendeded especially if you’d like to enjoy a meal before the show! For more information, visit www.theshoeless.com.