Helen Austin and Paul Otten are two fabulous songwriters who make music together as Big Little Lions, even though they are actually based over two thousand miles apart. They were on tour as the coronavirus pandemic hit, and despite having to head home and into lockdown, they have continued to make great music – including the release of a pandemic inspired album “Are We there Yet?”. Big Little Lions join us on Episode 543 of Folk Roots Radio for a fun in-depth conversation about how their lives and their music have been changed by the on-going emergency. The pandemic has hit the artistic community hard, which is why we all need to do what we can to ensure it is supported during these strange Covid Times – and why we encourage our listeners to… buy the music, don’t just stream it! As always, we wrap up the episode with more new releases, and this time around we hear from Emily Barker, Lizzy Hardingham, Gillian Welch, Mo Kenney, Hauler and Mike Plume. Check out the full playlist below.
Big Little Lions, the wonderfully prolific folk pop duo featuring Helen Austin from Vancouver Island, and Paul Otten from Cincinnati, have just released their sixth album “Inside Voice” – fourteen new songs that take their theme from issues in relation to our mental health, that while thoughtful and reflective, still leave the listener feeling optimistic and hopeful for the future. Helen and Paul consistently crank out amazingly addictive folk pop songs – jam-packed with emotion and tight harmonies, that really sound like they are produced by two people working closely side-by-side, rather than thousands of miles apart. Big Little Lions picked up a JUNO for their music in 2014, and the Canadian Folk Music Award for Ensemble of the Year in 2015. They also have a fabulous live show, that always sounds much bigger than the two multi-instrumentalists on stage – Paul on drums, bass, keyboard and vocals; Helen on guitar, foot percussion and vocals. For more information about the Big Little Lions and upcoming tour dates, visit biglittlelions.com. Music: Big Little Lions “Here We Go Again”, “Lonely Blue” and “I Can Have It All” from “Inside Voice” (2019, AntiFragile).
Helen Austin and Paul Otten make music together as Big Little Lions. They join us on Episode 469 of Folk Roots Radio to chat about their sixth album “Inside Voice” – fourteen songs that take as their theme the issue of mental health with songs about dementia, depression and anxiety. It’s a great album, and Helen and Paul are always a great interview. We also check out new music from Hannah Connolly, Lizanne Knott, Lori Lynne Johnson, Anna Ludlow, The Fitzgeralds and Don Brownrigg. 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.
The Big Little Lions are Helen Austin and Paul Otten. A remarkable songwriting duo, they actually live in two different places – Helen on Vancouver Island, and Paul in Cincinnati OH, and send song ideas back and forward as they work on them, individually and together. Big Little Lions released their latest album “Alive And Well” in February 2018 – a very well received folk pop recording chock full of poppy songs with clever hooks and great harmonies, and, in some cases, a distinct message. Helen and Paul from Big Little Lions sat down with Jan Hall from Folk Roots Radio at the 2018 Folk Music Ontario conference to chat about their music. Visit Big Little Lions online at biglittlelions.com. Music: Big Little Lions “Against The Wall”, “Static” and “Find Your Tribe” from “Alive And Well” (2018, Self) CDN.
Brian Blain, self-described semi-retired blues guy, “Blainsletter” blogger and managing editor of the Toronto Blues Society‘s Maple Blues newsletter joins us on this episode to chat about his music. Brian stopped by our mobile studio at the 2016 Folk Music Ontario conference for an immensely enjoyable conversation about his 40 plus years in the music business. We also take a look at the nominees for Vocal Group Of The Year at the 2016 Canadian Folk Music Awards.
Singer/songwriter Sharon Goldman from New Jersey joins us on this episode to chat about her latest album, “Kol Isha (A Woman’s Voice)”, an album that it takes as its theme, Sharon’s own life experience – growing up in an orthodox Jewish family on Long Island, New York. We also take our first look at the nominees for the Canadian Folk Music Awards starting off with the category of Contemporary Album of the Year.
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).
Big Little Lions started out as a long-distance songwriting partnership between two established songwriters, Juno award winning Helen Austin from Vancouver Island and Cincinnati-based Paul Otten. In their two-year collaborative career they have produced two E.P.s and a very well-received long-player “A Little Frayed, A Little Torn”, that has been nominated for a Canadian Folk Music Award for Ensemble of the Year. Helen, Paul and Helen’s daughter Daisy Squires, a member of the Big Little Lions band, joined us at the Folk Music Ontario conference to chat about their music. For more information visit biglittlelions.com. Music: Big Little Lions “The Road With You” and “Watered Down” from “A Little Frayed, A Little Torn” (2015, Riptide Music Group) and Big Little Lions “The Way Home” from “Paper Cage E.P.” (2014, Riptide Music Group).
Episode 211 of Folk Roots Radio features two interviews. South-western Ontario singer-songwriter Glen MacNeil joins us to chat about his debut album “Where The Heart Remains” and we also talk to Linda McRae about her latest release “Shadow Trails”. Linda’s in Guelph for a CD release show on October 9. Among the new music on this week’s show we take a look at a new tribute album to the godfather of the first British folk revival, Ewan McColl out now on Cooking Vinyl.
The nominations for the 2015 Canadian Folk Music Awards have been announced. Pharis and Jason Romero lead the pack with four nominations for their album “A Wanderer I’ll Stay”. Their nominations include Traditional Album of the Year, Vocal Group of the Year, Traditional Singer of the Year (Pharis Romero), and Producer of the Year (Pharis and Jason Romero with David Travers-Smith). Amelia Curran (St John’s, NL), Fortunate Ones (St John’s, NL), Jenn Grant (Lake Echo, NS), Whitehorse (Toronto, ON) and Catherine MacLellan (Charlottetown, PEI) each received three nominations.
This year’s youngest nominee is nine year old Vancouver Island artist Stella Swanson for the album “I’m Not A Bunny” in the Children’s Album of the Year category. Inspired by Stella’s pet bunny Romeo, the album was produced by Comox’s Helen Austin, a previous Canadian Folk Music Award and Juno Award recipient and a nominee this year with her group Big Little Lions.
Check out the full list of nominees here. We’ll be previewing the nominees on upcoming editions of Folk Roots Radio.