We’re bringing something a little different to you on Folk Roots Radio this week. We’re celebrating the music of Kevin K Gagnon, a bass player from Windsor ON who has been active on the local scene since 1978. When I received the press release about “It Is What It Is”, Kevin’s first solo album – released after 40 years in the music business, I knew I had to bring him into the studio for an in-depth conversation. During his career, Kevin K Gagnon has pretty much played every bar, club and concert venue throughout the Windsor/Essex area, and recorded in just about every local studio. “It Is What It Is” is a collection of mostly instrumental works, written for electric guitar as well as bass – Kevin plays both on the album. Back in the 80s, Kevin toured with his band “Destiny”, and he has played with Joe Konas (The Gods), the late Windsor blues great Michael Bruce and many others. He has also offered his talents for countless local charity events over the years and currently performs live with local Windsor band, The Formula. It Is What It Is includes the recently recorded “A Blues Memory”, in memory of Michael Bruce, and a brand new song entitled “One Or The Other” featuring guitarist/vocalist Jeff Oppen. Kevin Gagnon is a recipient of The Windsor/Essex County Music Appreciation Award and a Hall of Fame inductee. Kevin K Gagnon joined us in the Folk Roots Radio studio today for an in-depth conversation about his music and the new album. Music: Kevin K Gagnon “A Blues Memory”, “Minstrel Cramp”, “Today and Forever”, “One Or The Other” and “A Walk In The Park” from “It Is What It Is” (2019, Self).
New Jersey based Sharon Goldman has built a fine reputation as a songwriter with a wonderful string of albums culminating in KOL ISHA (A Woman’s Voice) from 2016 which focused on her own experience growing up in an orthodox Jewish family on Long Island. Her latest 12-song album “Every Trip Around The Sun”, produced with Allison Tartalia, was released in July 2019 to more critical acclaim. The new recording features a fabulous selection of songs – some topical, some romantic, some nostalgic and some inspirational – all of them well-crafted and engaging. Every Trip Around The Sun was included on our long list of Our Favourite Albums of 2019. Check them all out HERE. For more information about the music of Sharon Goldman visit sharongoldmanmusic.com. Music: Sharon Goldman “A Garden”, “Am I There Yet”, “Sunset At The Border” and “Penny With The Waves” from “Every Trip Around The Sun” (2019, Self).
Keri Latimer joins us on Episode 489 of Folk Roots Radio to talk about “Citizen Alien”, the second album from Leaf Rapids, the Winnipeg band she leads with her partner, Devin Latimer – and one of our favourite albums of 2019. Citizen Alien is a wonderful recording that uses Keri and Devin’s own family history to talk about the nature of identity and reflect on what it means to belong, in a world where more and more politicians are using populist nationalistic rhetoric to separate the ‘us’ from the ‘them’. It’s a really great interview – and definitely worth checking out. We can actually only share part of our conversation with you on this episode, but we’ll be bringing the full interview to the website and on demand listening very shortly. We wrap up the episode with more of Our Favourite Albums of 2019 and this time we hear from The MacQueens, Lizanne Knott, Geneviève Racette, Justin Rutledge, The Red River Ramblers, Leanne Hoffman, The East Pointers, Catherine MacLellan and Lee Harvey Osmond (Tom Wilson). Check out the full playlist below.
Episode 488 of Folk Roots Radio features a great interview with Annie Capps, from the Michigan based duo Annie & Rod Capps, who joins us to chat about their latest album “When They Fall”, a wonderful collection of songs that really fits every mood – from the light and cheery, to the serious and dramatic. What all these songs have in common is they are all very well-written, and beautifully sung and played – by a fine group of musicians. When They Fall deservedly became one of Our Favourite Albums of 2019. We also take a look back at more of the albums we enjoyed last year, and this time around we hear from Burnstick, Bob Sumner, Ken Tizzard, Jackson Grimm, Còig, Linda McRae, Celeigh Cardinal and Forest Sun. Check out the full playlist below.
Emily Mure is a classically-trained oboist who performed at world-class venues like Carnegie Hall as a teenager, before picking up a guitar and developing a career as a singer-songwriter. After three albums of original music, Emily’s six-track EP of reimagined cover songs, “Sad Songs & Waltzes” features folky and acoustic versions of songs that were originally performed by Radiohead, The Cranberries, Coldplay, Willie Nelson, Wilco, and The Shins. Working on these songs – favourites while she was growing up, gave Emily the opportunity to use her classical music background to take some of these songs, like Radiohead’s “No Surprises” (with the addition of piano, English horn and cello) to another place altogether. The new E.P. was co-produced with Dan Cardinal at Boston’s Dimension Sound Studios with a small group of collaborators including Elizabeth Ziman (from Elizabeth and the Catapult) who played piano and added background vocals, Audrey Q. Snyder (cello), Emily DiAngelo (English horn) and singer/songwriter Caroline Cotter (backing vocals). Sad Songs and Waltzes was included on our long list of Our Favourite Albums of 2019. Check them all out HERE. For more information about the music of Emily Mure, visit emilymure.com. Music: Emily Mure, “Yellow”, “Sad Songs & Waltzes” and “No Surprises” from “Sad Songs & Waltzes” (2019, Nine Athens Music).
Douglas Richard Sinclair is a Métis musician with roots in the Red River Settlement. He’s also a member of The Red River Ramblers, an Ontario trio dedicated to reviving Manitoba Métis Fiddle music – which brings together the rhythmic spirit of the First Nations peoples with a blend of both the Scottish and French fiddle traditions. Douglas Richard Sinclair has developed his own rhythmic and melodic style of Métis banjo and guitar, and is joined in the band by Stephen Dayfoot on hand drum, spoons and assorted percussion, and new band member Nathan Smith on fiddle. The band have just released their eight track debut album “Métis Fiddle Music”, which also featured fiddler Pierre Arsenault. The new album was recorded in Toronto with John Dinsmore at Lincoln County Social Club. To learn more about the band and music, we caught up with Douglas Richard Sinclair at home in Halton Hills. For more information about The Red River Ramblers, and their upcoming live dates, visit theredriverramblers.com. Music: The Red River Ramblers “Wigwam Polka”, “Red River Jig” and “Louis Riel Reel” / “Chanson De La Grenouilliere” from “Métis Fiddle Music” (2020, Self) CDN.
New Jersey based singer-songwriter Sharon Goldman joins us on Episode 487 of Folk Roots Radio to chat about her fine new album “Every Trip Around The Sun”, the follow up to the very well-received “KOL ISHA – A Woman’s Voice” from 2016 which focused on Sharon’s experience growing up in an orthodox Jewish family on Long Island. The new recording has garnered more praise, with a great selection of songs – some topical, some romantic, some nostalgic and some inspirational – and all of them well-crafted and engaging. In fact, we’ve included “Every Trip Around The Sun” on our long list of Our Favourite Albums of 2019. We’re going back to that list today as we also include music from Gillian Nicola, The Small Glories, Tomato Tomato, Frank Birtwistle, Irish Mythen, Sofia Talvik and Tim Grimm. Check out the full playlist below.
It’s that time of year… we’re holding back the interviews on Episode 486 of Folk Roots Radio as we check out our ten favourite albums of 2019. 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 this episode. 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, maybe it didn’t make it up on to our radar, or perhaps we never received 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 and check out the full playlist below. Enjoy!
Well, it’s that time of year. Time for another very special seasonal edition of Folk Roots Radio. So here it is – another attempt at some thoughtful and insightful holiday music programming, that steps off the beaten track and features mostly new and original songs. This time around we hear from Good Lovelies, Silent Winters, Karen Morand, The Roys, Còig, Matt Andersen, Kristine St-Pierre & Justin Lacroix, Matt Andersen, Sofia Talvik, Howlin’ Bill and Skinner & T’witch. We also squeeze in a fun interview with South Western Ontario singer-songwriter Francine Honey who released her own holiday album “Take Me To The North Pole” earlier this year. Check out the full playlist below.
The holidays are here! Join us on Episode 484 of Folk Roots Radio as we celebrate the season with a selection of music that’s mostly new, independent and definitely not your typical holiday fare. We’re including some solstice music, and some wintery music, alongside some fine songs to celebrate both Hanukkah and Christmas. So, throw another log on the fire, settle down in your favourite chair and enjoy… another special blend of Folk Roots Radio for the Holidays. This time around, we’re featuring music by Gathering Sparks, Katie Dahl, Eli Lev & Megan Leigh, Dale Boyle, Frank Birtwistle, David Roche & Oona Roche, Emily Kurn, Tom Prasada-Rao, B Knox, The O’Pears, Kristine St-Pierre & Justin Lacroix, Dear Reader, Silent Winters, Good Lovelies, Mare Wakefield & Nomad, Còig and Skinner & T’witch. Check out the full playlist below.
Ottawa based singer-songwriter Kae Shelby joins us on Episode 483 of Folk Roots Radio to chat about her music and debut album “Music & Motorcycles”. Kae Shelby is another one of those musicians who had to wait to record her own music; and after a very successful career in law enforcement – that day, and her debut album have finally arrived. Like all of the musicians we talk to who are following their dream, this is quite an inspirational interview. It’s a real pleasure to share it with you today. Kae Shelby’s story really fits with the ethos behind this radio show; We truly are all about the music and the people that make it! We hope you’ll stay with us to check it out. We also take a look at more of the new music we’ve received and, this time around, we include tracks from Windborne, Anna Ludlow, Si Kahn, Frank Solivan & Dirty Kitchen, Rod Abernethy, Red Moon Road and The Levins. Check out the full playlist below.
Welcome to another very special hour of Folk Roots Radio, as we give over the whole of Episode 482 to an in-depth conversation with our favourite songwriters, LaSalle ON’s Martha Renaud. Martha Renaud is a fine storytelling songwriter and hugely underrated. She’s also pretty prolific – she’s just released her fourth album since 2015, “Wonderland”. So, settle down and enjoy Martha Renaud In Conversation… on Folk Roots Radio. Check out the full playlist below.
Manitoba singer-songwriter Del Barber released a wonderful new album this year – the Americana flavoured “Easy Keeper”. Four years in the making, this album really packs a punch. 11 great songs, that are at times deeply personal, and yet at others, quite celebratory. A renowned storyteller in song, Del Barber has produced five critically acclaimed albums and been nominated for JUNO Awards, Western Canadian Music Awards, and Canadian Folk Music Awards. Easy Keeper was predominantly recorded in Manitoba, and produced by Del Barber with Grant Siemens (Corb Lund, Tom Russell), with Bill Western on pedal steel, Bernie Thiessen on bass and Ivan Burke on drums with Geoff Hilhorst (Leeroy Stagger, The Deep Dark Woods) on keys, and Jeremy Rusu (Rosie & The Riveters, Red Moon Road) on accordion. For more information about the music of Del Barber, visit delbarber.com. Music: Del Barber, “Dancing In The Living Room”, “Louise” and “Easy Keeper” from “Easy Keeper” (2019, Acronym Records).
On Episode 481 of Folk Roots Radio, we head up to Inuvik NWT, and over 100 miles into the Arctic circle, to talk to Bancroft ON raised singer-songwriter, educator and activist Abe Drennan about his latest album “Iglu Sessions” which was recorded in the iconic Igloo Church in Inuvik. It’s a great interview, and very inspirational. As usual, we also check out more of the latest new releases, and this time around we from hear from The Whispering Tree, Burnstick, Laura Cortese & The Dance Cards, Frank Birtwistle, Jennis and Tim Grimm. Check out the full playlist below.
Yellowknife based indigenous singer-songwriter Leela Gilday joins us on Episode 480 of Folk Roots Radio to chat about her great fifth album “North Star Calling” which was inspired by a need for self-empowerment, facing your fears, and living with courage, boldness and joy. North Star Calling is a fabulous recording, and Leela Gilday is always a great interview. We also include new music from Doug McArthur, Stephen Fearing, Miranda Mulholland, Sam Weber, The Red River Ramblers, Bobtown, Frank Solivan & Dirty Kitchen and Jessica Rhaye and the Ramshackle Parade. Check out the full playlist below.
Dayna Manning has just released a fabulous chamber folk album “Morning Light”, recorded with Stratford Festival alumnus Ben Bolt-Martin – who arranged all of the songs for a chamber quartet featuring violin, cello, flute and French horn. Morning Light is a fabulous album, with a sumptuous feel – Dayna’s beautiful voice gliding over a lovely instrumental accompaniment, on a great selection of original and traditional songs. Dayna has also released a fine memoir about songwriting entitled “Many Moons: A Songwriter’s Memoir” which tells the story of her three decade career in music using twelve of her own songs to guide the way. As well as being a founding member of Trent Severn (who are currently on hiatus), Dayna Manning also runs Folk Army, a private music instruction academy in Stratford Ontario focused on nurturing human potential through the love of music. For more information about the music of Dayna Manning, visit daynamanningmusic.com. Photo: Dave Brosha. Music: Dayna Manning “Charlie Lake”, “You You You”, “Peter Amberley” and “I Get Closer” from “Morning Light” (2019, Self) CDN.
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).
Every artist needs a holiday album – South West Ontario singer-songwriter Francine Honey has just released hers. Eight songs, including some well chosen Christmas classics, and two originals, the title track “Take Me To The North Pole” and “Christmas Round My Tree”. As a child, the idea of being taken to the North Pole to visit Santa, seemed to young Francine, like the best thing ever; which makes the playful title track the perfect way to share that sentiment. “Christmas Round My Tree”, was written for those who will be alone at Christmas. “When I was in my teens, I would go to nursing homes and sing Christmas carols for the elderly. My heart always sank when I would see some of them had no family. As I got older and saw my own family members deal with a first Christmas after a loved one passed away. I witnessed their determination to still find a sense of Christmas tradition and the knowledge of what truly matters is being together and not the gifts you buy”. The album wraps with Francine’s version of Verlon Thompson’s “My Heart Is There With You”, a song she wanted to record from the first time she heard Verlon sing it at a workshop. “When he played it, I immediately felt tears running down my cheeks, because of its honesty, and how I feel about my family and friends who I don’t get to see over the holidays and at other times.” The new album was recorded in Nashville with Neilson Hubbard who also produced Francine’s 2018 album “To Be Continued”. Joining them in the studio were a great group of support players, including guitarist Will Kimbrough, pianist Dan Mitchell, and bassist Dean Marold – and Verlon Thompson himself. Francine Honey and her band The Stingers will be releasing the new album at a special release party at The Bank Theatre in Leamington ON on Saturday, December 7 (Doors 6:30 pm, Show 7:30 pm). Tickets are $25 per person and are available online HERE. For more information about the music of Francine Honey, visit francinehoney.com. Music: Francine Honey “Christmas Round My Tree”, “Take Me To The North Pole” and “My Heart Is There With You” from “Take Me To The North Pole” (2019, Self).
London ON based female fronted folk/pop vocal group The Pairs join us on Episode 479 of Folk Roots Radio for a wonderful conversation about their music and new album “Noise”. They also sing three songs live for us. It’s a fun interview, and definitely worth sticking around for. We also check out more of the new music we’ve received, and this time around we hear from Sam Weber, Jane Eamon, Martha Renaud, Katie Dahl, Searson, Deni Gauthier and The Marrieds. Check out the full playlist below.
Multi-instrumentalists Mallory Graham & Scott Tyler make music together as The Rough & Tumble. If you’re a regular listener to this show you’ll know that we’re big fans of this folky rootsy Americana duo who gave up their permanent home in 2015 for a life on the road with their dogs; traveling from gig to gig in their small RV. They join us on Episode 478 of Folk Roots Radio to chat about their latest album “Howling Back At The Wounded Dog” which feels like a bit of a game changer as far as their career is concerned. Alongside some great songs from the new album, it’s a really fun interview. We also include new music from Jason Wilson, Jane Eamon, Coco Love Alcorn, Miranda Mulholland and a special musical tribute to the late great John Mann, leader of iconic Canadian folk rock band Spirit Of The West. An amazing singer, songwriter, performer, actor and activist, John touched many lives, especially so after being diagnosed with colon cancer, and fighting back and then being diagnosed with Early Onset Alzheimer’s Disease several years ago, and still trying to fight back. He will be missed. Check out the full playlist below.
Mattie Leon, the fantastic Toronto based singer-songwriter with a wonderful catchy and soulful folk/pop style joins us in the studio on Episode 477 of Folk Roots Radio for a chat about his music and three live songs. Later in the hour, we also squeeze in his fabulous new single “Silver Line”. As usual, we wrap up the episode with more of the great new music we’ve received, and this time we hear from Bobtown, Dori Freeman, Ellen Froese, The Dreadnoughts, Cathy Fink & Marcy Marxer, Jerry Leger, The Hearts and Miranda Mulholland. Check out the full playlist below.
Graham Lindsey is an Ottawa-based multi-instrumentalist who currently plays mandolin and banjo, percussion (bodhran, cajon, shakers and more), as well as flutes and whistles. Already developing a great reputation as a composer, his inventive tunes have been praised for their feel and flare, while also acknowledging their traditional Irish, Scottish or other Celtic heritage. Graham plays in folk combos From Away (with fiddler, guitarist and singer Kristan Couture and guitarist Kyle Jordan), The Trads (with Kristan Couture and Peter Taylor), McGregor & Lindsey (with Arthur McGregor) and the Sarah Burnell Band. In June 2019, Graham Lindsey released the first album of his own compositions, “Tradhead”. The new album features thirteen tracks (25 original tunes) set as twelve instrumentals alongside a version of the traditional song “Wild Mountain Thyme” that also includes Graham’s tune “From Away”. Graham’s tunes have been played on the Carillon in the Peace Tower on Parliament Hill in Ottawa, as well as in Sweden, cruising in international waters and at festivals and venues across Canada. His creativity and hard work has resulted in his recent nomination for a 2020 Canadian Folk Music Award for Instrumental Solo Artist of the Year for debut album Tradhead. Folk Roots Radio had the pleasure of sitting down with Graham at the 2019 Folk Music Ontario conference to chat about his music. He also played his tune “From Away” live for us, on his ten string Laskin tenor mandolin. For more information about the music of Graham Lindsey, visit grahamlindsey.com. Graham Lindsey is also a video director, videographer and web designer with Wavelength Media. Music: Graham Lindsey “Leaving Goderich Set” (with From Away), “From Away” (Live) and “Folk At Heart Set” (with Ten Strings & a Goat Skin) (2019, Wavelength Media).
Toronto based singer-songwriter Jeremy Voltz has been writing music, recording, and performing for 18 years. As well as his solo career, Jeremy is also a member of fantastic thirteen voice a cappella group Countermeasure, under the direction of musical director Aaron Jensen. Known for his contemporary soul sound and huge voice, Jeremy’s songs bridge the gap between folk, rock, and soul. He sat down with Folk Roots Radio at the 2019 Folk Music Ontario conference for three live songs and an in-depth conversation about his music. For more information about the music of Jeremy Voltz visit jeremyvoltzmusic.com. Music: Jeremy Voltz “One Day At A Time” (Live), “Running Away” (Live) and “I’ll Follow” (Live)
After a hectic year supporting The LYNNeS – her collaboration with Lynn Miles, and their very well-received release “Heartbreak Song For The Radio” (2018), Canada’s own queen of Americana, Lynne Hanson, is getting ready to release her next solo album “Just Words” – the follow up to “Uneven Ground” from 2017. The new album, produced by Jim Bryson at Fixed Hinge Recording in Ottawa, is slated for release in February 2020. Two singles have been released so far; the first, “True Blue Moon”, is a tongue-in-cheek response to the Jacques Brel classic “Ne Me Quitte Pas”, and the perils of falling for a poet. The second single, and title track “Just Words”, focuses on verbal bullying and why we should choose our words more carefully – especially on social media. The new project has some great support players. Canadian guitar virtuoso Kevin Breit lends his skills on electric guitar, and Jim Bryson plays guitar, keyboards and piano. Prince Edward Island singer-songwriter Catherine MacLellan also guests on four tracks. Lynne Hanson is also releasing a book of poetry featuring poems, haikus and lyrics, to tie in with the album. Lynne Hanson joined us in the Folk Roots Radio studio to chat about the new project. For more information and upcoming tour dates, visit lynnehanson.com. Music: Lynne Hanson “True Blue Moon” (single) and “Just Words” (single) (2019, Self) CDN.
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.