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!
We’re bringing another of our Covid Times interviews to Episode 544 of Folk Roots Radio – an opportunity for artists to chat about how the coronavirus pandemic has upended their music careers. This time around we are joined by Chris McKhool, violinist and band leader of world folk combo, Sultans of String, who released a fabulous new recording “Refuge” earlier this year – an album that highlights the extraordinary contributions that indigenous people, immigrants and refugees make to culture and life in North America. Sultans of String were supposed to be out on tour across both North America and the UK this year. None of that has been able to happen which is why we encourage all our listeners – if you like the music you hear on this show, buy the music, don’t just stream it! That way, you can really make a difference in artists lives during a period that they can’t be out on the road. We also check out more of the latest new releases, and this time around we hear from Ruston Kelly, Will Kimbrough, The Bodarks and Vi Wickam and Paul Anastasio. Check out the full playlist below.
We’re all about the music on Episode 541 of Folk Roots Radio as we step back from the interviews once again to bring you another hour of great new releases. We’re subtitling this one the “Be Grateful Edition”, because despite everything – an on-going pandemic and a lunatic in the White House, there is still much to be thankful for. Join us for new music from Brennen Leigh, Piper & Carson, Andrea Bettger, 100 mile house, Simone Romei, Twin Flames, David Leask, Kevin California, Ian Reid, Gillian Welch, Bruce T. Carroll, Chris Smither, Dione Taylor and Laila Biali. Check out the full playlist below.
We’re all about the music again on Episode 527 of Folk Roots Radio, as we hold back the interviews to bring you another hour of great new music, with some Covid lockdown tunes thrown into the mix. Stay with us as we bring you new releases from Francesca Blanchard, Mattie Leon, Byrd & Street, Big Little Lions, Stéafán & Saskia, The Burying Ground, Skydiggers, Tret Fure, Kris Paul, Twin Flames, Midnight Shine, The Jerry Cans, Logan and Nathan, Mallory Chipman & The Mystics and SONiA disappear fear. Check out the full playlist below.
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.
Sultans of String have just released the second single from their forthcoming album, “Refuge” which is due in the spring of 2020. “The Power of the Land” is a poem by Duke Redbird, now set to music by Sultans of String, with harmonies from indigenous husband and wife duo, Twin Flames. Refuge will feature some incredible musicians from the USA and Canada, many of whom arrived here as recent immigrants and refugees. According to Chris McKhool “The goal of the project is to highlight the extraordinary contributions of those that have arrived here from around the globe, as well as global talents that have been ambassadors for peace. Each one of us has a remarkable story to tell, and we are excited to share the beauty of these collaborations with you, featuring special guests from First Nations, Turkey, Somalia, Iraq, Iran, Pakistan, Greece, Syria, Mexico, Portugal, Cuba, and Sudan.” The first single from Refuge, “I Am a Refugee” featured the powerful lyrics and spoken word vocal of Somali refugee poet and multimedia artist Ifrah Mansour. Chris McKhool, leader of Sultans of String joined us on Folk Roots Radio to chat about the new project and upcoming tour dates. Sultans of String will be playing a rare performance in their original trio formation, featuring Chris McKhool on fiddle, Kevin Laliberté on guitar and Drew Birston on bass, at the Fergus Grand Theatre (Fergus ON) on November 23. GET TICKETS. On November 28, Sultans of String head out on their 3rd annual Christmas Caravan tour, which this year will be visiting Alberta and Ontario. For more information and all tour dates, visit sultansofstring.com. Music: Sultans of String “I Am a Refugee” (feat. Ifrah Mansour) (single), “The Power of the Land” (feat. Duke Redbird & Twin Flames) (single) and “Himalayan Sleigh Ride” from “Christmas Caravan” (2017, Self).
The winners of the 2017 Canadian Folk Music Awards were recently announced at a couple of very special gala evenings in Ottawa. On Episode 351 of Folk Roots Radio we feature music from some of the award winners alongside an interview with double award-winning singer-songwriter Ken Yates, recorded at this year’s Summerfolk. Ken took home the awards for both English Songwriter of the Year and New/Emerging Artist of the Year for his wonderful 2016 album “Huntsville”. Check out the playlist below.