We’re getting close to the end of 2020, which means it’s time to announce our favourite albums of the year. After the challenging year we’ve all had, it’s tempting to just want to put 2020 behind us and move on to 2021 to what will, hopefully, be a much better year for everyone. And yet, despite everything, 2020 has actually been a great year for recorded music – especially for those us who tend to focus on music that artists release independently, or via small and boutique record labels. Many artists have actually been making excellent use of the lockdown time forced on them by the coronavirus pandemic to record some wonderful ‘Covid Tune’ singles, EPs and in some case, even full albums. We’ve had great fun sharing them with you this year. We’ve also been doing our best to keep up with regularly scheduled releases. It gives us great pleasure each year, once we have put holiday radio episodes to bed, to consider our favourite albums of the year. 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 Episode 560 of Folk Roots Radio. 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, that’s likely because it didn’t make it up on our radar because we didn’t receive 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 on this episode, and check out the full playlist and the rest of our long list below. Enjoy!
According to Steve Earle, his critically-acclaimed new album with his long time band The Dukes, Ghosts of West Virginia, which focuses on the 2010 Upper Big Branch mining disaster, is the record he had to make at this time. Although he has made political records in the past, those preached to the converted. This time around Steve wanted to reach out across the political divide to those that don’t vote like he does, in advance of the November US election. The Upper Big Branch Mine disaster took place in West Virginia in 2010, and killed twenty-nine miners – making it one of the worst mining disasters in American history. Seven songs on the new album are taken from the off-Broadway play Coal Country written by Jessica Blank and Erik Jensen. Jessica and Erik approached Steve to write and perform some original songs in the show – drawn from interviews and testimonials with surviving miners and the families of those who died. The new album also includes three more songs about West Virginia: “Black Lung”, “Fastest Man Alive” (about Chuck Yeager) and “The Mine”. For more information about the music of Steve Earle, visit steveearle.com. Image: Jacob Blickenstaff. Music: Steve Earle & The Dukes “Heaven Ain’t Goin’ Nowhere”, “Union God And Country”, “Time Is Never On Your Side” and “It’s About Blood” from “Ghosts of West Virginia” (New West, 2020).
Steve Earle joins us on Episode 514 of Folk Roots Radio to chat about his critically-acclaimed 20th studio album, “Ghosts of West Virginia”, which tells the story of the Upper Big Branch Mine disaster which took place in West Virginia in 2010, and killed twenty-nine miners – making it one of the worst mining disasters in American history. It’s a great interview. We hope you’ll stick around to check it out. We also include more of the new music we’ve received, and this time around we hear from Evangeline Gentle, Norma MacDonald, Kieran Begbie, Adam Karch, Mike Scott, Julian Taylor, Scott Cook and David Clayton-Thomas. Check out the full playlist below.
This week’s Folk Roots Radio features an excerpt of an interview with North Carolina singer-songwriter Jonathan Byrd discussing his forthcoming album “Mother Tongue” (recorded recently in Denmark) and upcoming Ontario tour with The Pickup Cowboys. You can listen to the full interview here. Jonathan Byrd will be in Guelph on Friday March 20 for a show at the great listening venue Silence with another fabulous songwriter, Atlanta’s Eliot Bronson. Check out the event details here. As always, the show also contains a lot of new music and our mystery theme and guilty pleasure.