Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Bob Dylan -- The Witmark Demos: 1962-1964

The Bootleg Series, Vol. 9 – The Witmark Demos: 1962-1964

Like countless other songwriters signed to Tin Pan Alley publishing houses over the years, Bob Dylan – between 1962 and 1964 – knocked off quickie solo demos of many of his songs so that they could be pitched to various recording artists. And when song publishers Leeds Music – briefly – and Witmark signed the young songwriter to publishing deals, they surely had no idea that he was on the verge of smashing the Tin Pan Alley model that the music business had thrived on for decades ushering in the era of the singer-songwriter.

Dylan was all of 20 years old when he recorded his first LP – Bob Dylan – in late 1961 (it was released in '62). Although that album only included two of Dylan’s own songs, the songs had already begun pouring out of him at a pace seemingly unrivalled since Woody Guthrie’s most prolific period in the 1940s and he began cutting these demos in January 1962.

And it wasn’t just the sheer number of songs that he produced in this period that was astounding – it was the already-mature quality of the writing, its constant evolution and its wide variety. Here was a kid between the ages of 20 and 23 producing topical songs like “Blowin’ in the Wind,” “A Hard Rain’s A-Gonna Fall,” “Masters of War,” and “Ballad of Hollis Brown”; love songs ranging from “Tomorrow is a Long Time,” to “Farewell,” “Don’t Think Twice, It’s All Right,” “Girl from the North Country” and “Boots of Spanish Leather.”

There are comic songs, philosophical pieces, folk-based ballads, and, in “Mr. Tambourine Man,” the second-to-last of these demos presented completely and in chronological order, a great big hint at how Dylan would soon redefine the possibilities inherent in a contemporary song.

These publishing demos – which are Dylan solo, mostly playing guitar, or guitar and harmonica, or occasionally piano – were not recorded for commercial release so there are some that include coughs, abrupt endings and forgotten lyrics. The recording quality varies from track to track and few of the versions here are superior to the officially recorded and released versions. But, still, every performance is worth listening to for clues to the development of the most essential of all 20th century songwriters. One track that is particularly noteworthy for its unique approach is the version of “Mr. Tambourine Man,” the earliest he ever recorded, which Dylan plays on the piano, giving it a very different feel than his guitar-based versions of the classic. (For what it’s worth, I think the definitive version of “Mr. Tambourine Man,” is the nine-minute performance on Live 1966, The Bootleg Series, Vol. 4.)

And, what makes this collection essential are 15 songs that Dylan has never before released on albums or earlier volumes of The Bootleg Series. Some of the 15 I know from other artists like Dave Van Ronk, who recorded a Dixieland version of “All Over You” with the Red Onion Jazz Band, or Judy Collins, who sang “Farewell,” based on “The Leaving of Liverpool,” so beautifully on Judy Collins #3, or Odetta, who did “Long Ago, Far Away” on her whole album of Dylan songs. But, there are some, like the Guthrie-esque songs “Gypsy Lou” and “Ain’t Gonna Grieve,” the latter surely based on Woody’s “Sally Don’t You Grieve,” that I’ve never heard before by Dylan or anyone else.

--Mike Regenstreif

Monday, October 25, 2010

Rosemary Phelan -- What Sings in the Blood

What Sings in the Blood
Mighty Wren

If I’m not mistaken, Toronto-based singer-songwriter and community nurse Rosemary Phelan had already finished recording What Sings in the Blood, a lovely set of haunting songs, and was already scheduled to launch the album this Wednesday (October 27) with a concert at Hugh’s Room in Toronto before she was diagnosed with ovarian cancer in July.

With her cancer battle, some of these songs – no doubt influenced by her years as a community nurse – seem almost prophetic as she poetically wrestles with human mortality. “Oh you never do know if tomorrow will come,” she sings in “Redwing,” the first song on the album and “Red sky at night, gold light at dawn/Will still burn bright when we are gone,” she sings in “We Never Cry.” In “Overwhelmed,” Rosemary seems to be reflecting the ongoing struggle between life and death faced by someone dealing with serious illness.

Not all of the songs call for reinterpretation in light of Rosemary’s cancer battle. “Three Wishes” is a peace song that longs for a world in which prayers for peace are no longer necessary; “Hymn for the Innocent,” which touches on many themes ranging from the innocence of childbirth to the sacrifices of war, almost seems like a Stephen Foster song from 150 years ago; and “Red Dress,” is a mature love song borne of life’s everyday struggles (and is one of several songs on the CD in which the colour red figures in one way or another).

Rosemary’s singing is compellingly lovely throughout the album. Her voice, sincere lyrics, folk-inflected melodies and tasteful arrangements draw the listener right into the songs. Kudos, too, to such supporting musicians and singers as co-producer Jason LaPrade, David Francey, Jon Brooks, banjo player Chris Coole and multi-instrumentalist/singer Ian Tamblyn whose tasteful contributions help make this CD a success.

With Rosemary now undergoing chemotherapy, the Hugh’s Room CD launch has been turned into a benefit concert featuring Jon Brooks, Annabelle Chvostek, Chris Coole, Spencer Lewis, David Newland, Evalyn Parry, Elizabeth Shepherd, Tannis Slimmon, Ian Tamblyn, Adam Warner and Katherine Wheatley singing her songs. The host will be Andy Frank of Roots Music Canada.

BTW, I like the roots and branches motif of the cover drawing.

--Mike Regenstreif

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Mavis Staples -- You Are Not Alone

You Are Not Alone

Now over 70, and 60 years after she started singing with her family band, the Staple Singers, Mavis Staples remains a tour-de-force of gospel music (and blues, too.)

Her last couple of albums, We’ll Never Turn Back and Live: Hope at the Hideout, revisited the civil rights era that the Staples Singers provided much of the soundtrack to and she showed how vital and contemporary those songs remain. On You Are Not Alone, she breathes new life into some of the traditional and Pops Staples-composed spirituals that she was singing with the Staples Singers, mixing them with some equally formidable contemporary songs suggested by producer Jeff Tweedy (of Wilco).

Among the gospel highlights are an infectious revival tent version of Reverend Gary Davis’ “I Belong to the Band,” that could get anyone up out of their seats, an a cappella rendition of “Wonderful Saviour,” that has Mavis leading the harmony singers in call-and-response, and an arrangement of “In Christ There Is No East or West” built around Mavis’ lead vocals and Tweedy’s acoustic guitar playing. Speaking as a non-Christian, I can say one needn’t be a believer to believe in the power of Mavis’ singing or to appreciate the honest conviction that seems to be evident in every word she sings.

Highlights among the more contemporary songs include a powerful version of John Fogerty’s “Wrote a Song for Everyone,” a compassionate take on Tweedy’s “You Are Not Alone,” and slow, blues ballad rendition of Randy Newman’s “Losing You.”

There’s a whole of soul on this CD.

--Mike Regenstreif

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Justin Townes Earle -- Harlem River Blues

Harlem River Blues
Bloodshot Records

Justin Townes Earle is Steve Earle’s son and his middle name honours Townes Van Zandt. In the course of three albums, now, he’s more than lived up to the Earle and Townes names as a promising singer-songwriter well-versed in folk, honky tonk and rockabilly styles. His first album, 2008’s The Good Life was a formidable debut and his second, last year’s Midnight at the Movies, was even better. Harlem River Blues, his third in three years, cements his reputation as one of today’s finest young artists.

After living most of his young life in Nashville, Earle moved to New York City and many of the songs on Harlem River Blues, beginning with the title track that opens the CD, seem inspired by the city. In “Harlem River Blues,” Earle’s first-person character is on his way to drown himself in the Harlem River. It’s a surprisingly manic song for such a depressive subject. Other NYC-referenced songs include “One More Night in Brooklyn,” a love song with an R&B groove, and “Workin’ for the MTA,” an infectious modern-day folksong about working in train tunnels – in this case the tunnels of the New York City subway system.

“Wanderin’,” with its familiar themes of footloose travelling is another modern-day folksong. The spirit of Woody Guthrie – who spent some of his most productive years in New York City – can be felt in “Workin’ for the MTA” and “Wanderin’.”

Along with New York City, there also seems to be some pretty obvious Memphis influences on this record. “Move Over Mama” is a rockabilly tune driven by a slap-happy bassist that sounds like it could have been recorded at Sun Records in 1958, and “Christchurch Woman” sounds like it could have been recorded in a soul session a decade later. And I’ve already mentioned the R&B groove on “One More Night in Brooklyn.”

There is so much promise in this young artist. Unfortunately, it seems that he’s also got Steve’s and Townes’ predilections for self-destructive behaviour. He recently entered rehab to deal with addiction issues – here’s hoping that, like his dad, he’s successful in getting control of his demons.

--Mike Regenstreif

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Peter Rowan Bluegrass Band -- Legacy

Compass Records

Peter Rowan left Massachusetts in 1964 to play guitar and sing with Bill Monroe and his Bluegrass Boys – the legacy band in bluegrass music. After serving his three-year apprenticeship with the father of bluegrass music, he’s gone on to make all kinds of music from Tex-Mex to folk, from reggae to rock ‘n’ roll, with frequent returns to make some of the best bluegrass albums north of Kentucky.

Legacy, featuring an all-star set of musicians is surely the finest album of traditional, by-the-rules bluegrass music I’ve heard this year. Peter’s songwriting is first-rate, his singing has remained virtually unparalleled over many decades, and he’s surrounded himself with a dream band with the great Jody Stecher, one of our finest folk artists, on mandolin, Keith Little on banjos and Paul Knight on bass. All three add superb harmonies and Jody and Keith each take a lead vocal. There’s is also a great Jody Stecher instrumental track that includes Tim O’Brien sitting in on fiddle.

The other guests on the album are Del McCoury and Ricky Skaggs who join Peter for some close gospel harmonies on “God’s Own Child,” and singer Gillian Welch and guitarist David Rawlings who add something special to the quasi-gospel “So Good.”

Among the other highlights are “The Family Demon,” sung from the perspective of a young boy determined to not be defeated by his violently abusive father, “Jailer, Jailer,” a somewhat oblique song that seems to suggest that the psychological bonds one enforces on himself can be stronger than the steel bars of a jail cell, and “Across the Rolling Hills,” which seems to combine Eastern and Western spiritualism. Spiritualism, in some form or another, seems to be the pervasive theme of much of this album.

--Mike Regenstreif

OCFF Conference

I had a most excellent time at the annual conference of the Ontario Council of Folk Festivals (OCFF) this past weekend in Ottawa. I attended some interesting panels and meetings – including State of the Folk Nation, at which a recent PhD in ethnomusicology was totally unconvincing in his theories about what folk music is – and heard a lot of great music from both young performers I was experiencing for the first time and veteran artists I’ve been listening to for decades. It was also a wonderful opportunity to see some old friends and make some new ones.
It was an honour for me to be one of the conference’s mentors. As a mentor, I spent time working with several promising artists whose paths in folk music I look forward to following in the years to come.

Congratulations to Paul Mills, OCFF’s retiring president and Executive Director Peter MacDonald, along with the other board members, staff, and volunteers, for a superbly-organized event.

Speaking of old friends, I was very happy to see William (Grit) Laskin receive the Estelle Klein Award. Named for the visionary artistic director of the Mariposa Folk Festival in the 1960s and ‘70s, the award is the OCFF’s annual recognition of lifetime achievement and Grit is a most-worthy recipient.

Andy Frank of Roots Music Canada did an excellent job of putting together this video tribute to Grit on the occasion of his receiving the Estelle Klein Award.

--Mike Regenstreif

Monday, October 18, 2010

Billy Novick -- Music from The Great Gatsby; Ernie Hawkins -- Whinin' Boy

Music from The Great Gatsby
Billy Novick

Clarinet and sax player Billy Novick has been one of my favourite musicians since I first heard him playing with David Bromberg in the mid-1970s. A few years later, I got to know him and to hear him a lot when the small booking agency I operated for several years in the late-‘70s represented Billy’s duo with master finger-style guitarist Guy Van Duser. Thirty years later, as evidenced on this CD, Billy is still making exceptional music.

Billy was commissioned by the Washington Ballet to provide the score for their production, earlier this year, of The Great Gatsby, a ballet based on the classic novel of the 1920s by F. Scott Fitzgerald. Not having seen the ballet, I can say, without reservation, that the CD stands on its own as a great set of 1920s-era jazz, blues and ragtime that includes a bunch of period classics and some great in-the-tradition pieces composed by Billy.

Billy’s Boston-based band, the Blue Syncopators, are mostly playing in New Orleans Dixieland mode as they run through such numbers as James P. Johnson’s “Charleston,” W.C. Handy’s “Yellow Dog Blues,” Scott Joplin’s “Swipsey Cakewalk” and Louis Armstrong’s “Wild Man Blues.” The interplay between the various horns and the impeccable rhythm section is a constant delight.

Also delightful is the work of vocalists Louise Grasmere and Dane Vannater on several numbers. Whether it’s Grasmere’s humorous scatting on Billy’s “Dance of the Ashes” or sounding like a classic blues singer on “He May Be Your Man,” or Vannater singing poignantly on Irving Berlin’s “What’ll I Do,” or camping it up on “We Are All Going Calling on the Kaiser,” their singing is in the same league as the instrumentalists.

Whinin’ Boy
Corona Records

Speaking of New Orleans Dixieland mode, Whinin’ Boy, the latest CD by Ernie Hawkins, who is primarily known for his Piedmont-style guitar playing, – he was a student of Reverend Gary Davis and remains one of the Rev’s greatest interpreters – blends Piedmont guitar playing with Dixieland arrangements featuring an equally fine set of musicians.

The album opens with Ernie’s guitar playing Jelly Roll Morton’s title track in an arrangement that, early on, is reminiscent of Dave Van Ronk’s great Morton interpretations. By the time he starts singing the first verse, the washboard is beefing up the rhythm, and by the time he gets to the second verse, the horns are sounding like Saturday night at Preservation Hall. (The album ends with an instrumental reprise of “Whinin’ Boy.”)

Whether doing faithful versions of New Orleans standards like “Basin Street Blues,” or adapting Davis’ “There is a Table in Heaven” to a Dixieland arrangement or vamping on Big Bill Broonzy’s “Shuffle Rag,” Ernie makes this music come alive.

Mixed in with the classic blues and jazz tunes are a couple of Ernie’s original instrumentals. On “The Southbound Sneak,” he matches his great blues fingerpicking to a great tuba-trombone-washboard accompaniment. Then, on “My Poodle Has Fleas,” a tune he’s recorded before, he switches to ukulele to trade licks with tuba player Roger Daly.

Both of these CDs are a reminder of how infectious Dixieland music can still be in the hands of creative and inventive musicians and arrangers.

--Mike Regenstreif

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Ken Whiteley -- Another Day's Journey

Another Day’s Journey

Ken Whiteley’s website notes that “his musical journey has taken him from jug band, folk and swing to blues, gospel and children's music.” With the exception of children’s music, Ken covers all of those grounds on Another Day’s Journey, which I think I can say without much reservation, is the finest solo album of his long career.

Of course, the term ‘solo’ is a bit of a misnomer as Ken, who sings and variously plays more than a dozen different instruments, works with cast of great collaborators – singers and instrumentalists – that changes, track to track, as the album unfolds on this journey through Ken's musical world.

The album begins with the title track, a joyous, uplifting song from the repertoire of the amazing Bessie Jones and the Georgia Sea Island Singers. Acoustic blues great Guy Davis, is Ken’s principal accomplice on this tune. Guy returns later in the CD to add his harmonies, harmonica and guitar playing to “Too Much Trouble,” a lovely, nostalgic original by Ken, and on a bluesy version of the traditional “Motherless Children.”

Kim and Reggie Harris – whose music and infectious personalities never fail to inspire – and sacred steel master Chuck Campbell join Ken for three songs including the inspirational “Butterfly,” and the poignant “No Answer,” both co-written by Ken and Reggie, and “I Want to Live So God Can Use Me,” an on-your-feet gospel number.

I’ve been on a listening to a lot of jug band music lately and two juggy tracks here are duets with Maria Muldaur, a central figure in the jug band revival of the 1960s and in its latest revival over the past few years. “Language of Love” and “Mike and Mary” are both recent Ken Whiteley originals that sound like they could have been recorded by the Memphis Jug Band in 1927, the Jim Kweskin Jug Band in 1965, or the Original Sloth Band in 1975.

Newfoundland swing guitarist Duane Andrews joins Ken for two other highlights on the album: Ken’s own “Old Wind Blow,” which also features some excellent harmonica work by Ken’s brother, Chris Whiteley, and “I Want To Be Happy,” an old swing tune that was a staple in the repertoire of the late, great Jackie Washington.

Ken Whiteley performs in Montreal on a split bill with Lake of Stew on Saturday, December 11, 8:00 pm, at Petit Campus. Click here for info.

--Mike Regenstreif

Monday, October 11, 2010

Joan Baez in Kitchener, Montreal and Ottawa this week

Ottawa is folk music central this coming weekend as it hosts the annual Ontario Council of Folk Festivals  (OCFF) conference. I’m going to step out of the conference for a couple of hours on Saturday evening for the Joan Baez concert, five blocks away at the National Arts Centre.

Half a century after a still-teenaged Joan took the 1959 Newport Folk Festival by storm, she remains a great performer. The last time I saw her perform – 2003 in Burlington, Vermont – Joan was remarkable.

According to Joan’s website, her band includes three great acoustic musicians: John Doyle, the great Celtic guitarist; Dirk Powell, an incredible multi-instrumentalist who’s one of the most innovative of today’s old-time and Cajun musicians (I’ve hosted folk festival workshops a couple of times with Dirk, see the photo in the post below, and he is truly amazing – when Linda Ronstadt was a guest on Folk Roots/Folk Branches, she raved about Dirk’s playing on the Zozo Sisters CD she’d just released with Ann Savoy); and virtuoso bassist Todd Phillips, whose work, 30 years ago, with the original David Grisman Quintet redefined the possibilities in acoustic music.

Addendum (October 13): As noted, the above information about who is in Joan's band was found on her official website. However, I'm now given to understand that Dirk Powell will be the only musician with her. -MR

Joan’s three Canadian dates this week are:

Wednesday, October 16 – Centre in the Square, Kitchener, Ontario
Friday, October 15 – St. Denis Theatre, Montreal, Quebec
Saturday, October 16 – National Arts Centre, Ottawa, Ontario.

Here’s a CD review I wrote for the September 4, 2008 issue of the Montreal Gazette.

Day After Tomorrow
Razor & Tie

Almost 50 years into her recording career, Joan Baez teams with producer Steve Earle and a select group of acoustic musicians for one of her strongest albums in three decades. Although these songs – by such writers as Earle, Eliza Gilkyson, Tom Waits and Diana Jones – are all of recent vintage, each has a timeless quality to it. Waits’s title track, for example, written from the perspective of a soldier returning home, dates from the current Iraqi War. But it could have come from any other war time. The most beautiful song is Gilkyson’s "Rose of Sharon," an adaptation of the biblical "Song of Solomon." Baez’s voice, though lower than it was in her youth, is a remarkable instrument still capable of great beauty and power.

-Mike Regenstreif

Pictured: Joan Baez and Mike Regenstreif backstage at the Flynn Theatre, Burlington, VT. (October 12, 2003)

--Mike Regenstreif

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Riley Baugus, Jenny Whiteley & Dan Whiteley in Ontario and Quebec

A very interesting collaboration of Riley Baugus, one of the finest contemporary masters of traditional Southern, old-time music, who was recently on tour and CD backing Willie Nelson in his traditional country project, and Jenny Whiteley, one of Canada’s best singer-songwriters and multiple Juno-winner, and her brother, multi-instrumentalist Dan Whiteley, is now on tour with dates this weekend in Kingston, Montreal and Wakefield (near Ottawa).

Riley was a guest on Folk Roots/Folk Branches in 2006. We recorded the conversation in August 2006 at the Ottawa Folk Festival where I hosted a couple of workshops that he participated in. He should not be missed by anyone interested in traditional Southern music.

This review I wrote of Riley’s album, Long Steel Rail, is from the January 11, 2007 issue of the Montreal Gazette.

Long Steel Rail
Sugar Hill

Although Riley Baugus is a relatively young singer, banjo player and fiddler from North Carolina, his music is deeply rooted in ancient Appalachian balladry and the traditional old-time country music he grew up playing. It is obvious that Baugus is a modern master of this old music. Performing songs like "Old John Henry" and "Lonesome Road Blues," Baugus’s singing and playing powerfully evokes generations of earlier musicians who have passed these songs along. When he lays down his instruments for an a cappella rendition of "Now is the Cool of the Day," his voice is spine-tingling. Baugus’s principal collaborators on the album are co-producers Tim O’Brien, who plays mandolin and guitar, and Dirk Powell, who plays fiddle and guitar.

-Mike Regenstreif

And click here for my review of Jenny’s latest album, Forgive or Forget.

It should be a great concert They’ve already played in Toronto and have these dates coming up:

Friday, October 8, 10 pm – The Grad Club in Kingston
Saturday, October 9, 8 pm – The Yellow Door in Montreal (presented by Hello Darlin’ Productions)
Sunday, October 10, 4 pm – The Black Sheep Inn in Wakefield.

Pictured: Dan Frechette, Riley Baugus, Dirk Powell, Courtney Granger, Martha Scanlan, Robert Michaels &  bass player, and Mike Regenstreif at the Ottawa Folk Festival (2006).

--Mike Regenstreif

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

The Once -- The Once

The Once

The Once, a trio from Newfoundland, played at the Montreal Celtfest on July 31. I was there but, unfortunately, had to leave just before their festival-closing performance. If the concert was anything like their self-titled debut album – which has been nominated for three Canadian Folk Music Awards – I missed something very special.

They play a mixture of traditional material and first-rate contemporary songs drawn from such songwriters as Leonard Cohen, Tom Waits, Amelia Curran and others. Although there are no original songs on the CD, the arrangements are all strikingly original as they make each song uniquely their own.

About a third of the songs are sung a cappella by lead singer Geraldine Hollett with harmonies from Once-mates Phil Churchill and Andrew Dale. Their vocal arrangements on such songs as Leonard Cohen’s “Coming Back to You” and Tom Waits’ “The Briar and the Rose” – which I’ve always thought sounds like a traditional folksong – are spine-tingly beautiful. Hollett’s solo vocal on Scott Richardson’s “Marguerite”is absolutely riveting.

Churchill and Dale are both multi-instrumentalists and their arrangements on such songs as “Three Fishers,” sung beautifully by Hollett, the traditional “Maid On the Shore,” Amelia Curran’s “What Will You Be Building” and Leonard Cohen’s album-closing “Anthem” are superb. They also offer a fine medley of three Celtic instrumental tunes.

I do think there is a mistake in the credits. The composers of the contemporary songs are listed with a notation that all other songs and tunes are traditional. The words to “Three Fishers,” though, should be properly credited to Charles Kingsley, the 19th century poet. It’s been set to music several times and the version performed by The Once was composed by Garnet Rogers (and sung by Stan Rogers on For the Family).

--Mike Regenstreif

Sing Out! Magazine – Summer 2010

Sing Out! Magazine – actually the Summer issue – has finally made its way north into Canada. The cover story is about Nanci Griffith, a regularl performer at the Golem, the folk club I ran in Montreal in the 1970s and '80s. My review of The Loving Kind, Nanci’s latest album can be read by clicking here.

As usual, this issue of Sing Out! has a bunch of my CD reviews including:

The Chieftains- San Patricio
Tim Eriksen- Soul of the January Hills
Steve Gillette- The Man
Marianne Girard- Pirate Days
Robin Greenstein- Images of Women Vol. 2
Jim Guttmann- Bessarabian Breakdown
Steve Howell- Since I Saw You Last
The Huppah Project- Under the Canopy
Bonnie Koloc- Beginnings
Pokey LaFarge- Riverboat Soul
Tom Lehrer- The Tom Lehrer Collection (CD/DVD combo)
Natalie Merchant- Leave Your Sleep
Red Hot Chachkas- Beats Without Borders
Carrie Rodriguez- Love and Circumstance
Chip Taylor- Yonkers, NY
Shari Ulrich- Find Our Way
Various- Rounder Records 40th Anniversary Concert
Tom Waits- Glitter and Doom Live

I’ll have another 20 or so reviews in the Fall issue of Sing Out!

--Mike Regenstreif

Canadian Folk Music Awards nominations

The Canadian Folk Music Awards announced the 2010 nominations today. The awards ceremony takes place in Winnipeg on November 20.

Traditional Album of the Year

David Francey and Mike Ford - Seaway
Le Vent Du Nord - La part du feu
The Foggy Hogtown Boys - Scotch and Sofa
The Once - The Once
The Sojourners - The Sojourners

Contemporary Album of the Year

Amelia Curran - Hunter, Hunter
Dala - Girls from the North Country
Lennie Gallant - If We Had A Fire
Old Man Luedecke - My Hands Are On Fire and Other Love Songs
John Wort Hannam - Queen's Hotel

Children’s Album of the Year

Andrew Queen - Too Tall
Kathy Reid Naiman -Sing the Cold Winter Away
The Kerplunks - Number 3
Madame Diva - Madame Diva
Peter Lenton - Proud Like a Mountain

Traditional Singer of the Year

Emma Beaton and Nic Gareiss - Emma Beaton and Nic Gareiss
Rebecca Barclay - Cinnabar
Rik Barron - Never So Far
Woody Holler and his Orchestra - Western Skies
Yves Lambert - Bal à l'Huile

Contemporary Singer of the Year

James Keelaghan - House of Cards
Justin Rutledge - The Early Widows
Lynn Miles - Black Flowers Volume 1 & 2
Nathan Rogers - The Gauntlet
Rose Cousins - The Send Off

Instrumental Solo Artist of the Year

Brad Keller - House On Fire
Colin Grant - Fun For The Whole Family
Sahra Featherstone - Born of a Summer's Day
Samantha Robichaud - Collected
Wendell Ferguson - Ménage a Moi

Instrumental Group of the Year

Beyond the Pale - Postcards
Duo Duval Boulanger - Pièces sur Pièces
Daniel Koulack and Karrnnel- Fiddle & Banjo
Oliver Schroer & Stewed Tomatoes - Freedom Row
Sokoun Trio - Zanneh

Vocal Group of the Year

Dala - Girls From The North County
The Marigolds - That's The State I'm In
The Once - The Once
The Sojourners - The Sojourners
The Wailin' Jennys - Live At The Mauch Chunk Opera House

Ensemble of the Year

Beyond the Pale - Postcards
Le Vent Du Nord - La Part Du Feu
Les Tireux d'Roches - Cé qu'essé?
Nicolas Pellerin et les Grands Hurleurs - Nicolas Pellerin et les Grands Hurleurs
The Sojourners - The Sojourners

Solo Artist of the Year

Amelia Curran - Hunter, Hunter
David Myles - Turn Time Off
Justin Rutledge - The Early Widows
Matt Anderson - Live From The Phoenix Theatre
Old Man Luedecke - My Hands Are On Fire and Other Love Songs

English Songwriter of the Year

Amelia Curran - Hunter, Hunter
Chris MacLean - Feet Be Still
Ian Tamblyn - Gyre
Justin Rutledge - The Early Widows
Lennie Gallant - If We Had a Fire

French Songwriter of the Year

David Jalbert - Le Journal
Francis D'Octobre - Ma bête fragile
Frederick Gary Comeau - Effeuiller les vertiges
Geneviève Toupin - Geneviève Toupin
Lennie Gallant - Le coeur hante

Aboriginal Songwriter of the Year

Asani - Listen
Brenda MacIntrye - Medicine Song
Eagle and Hawk - The Great Unknown
Tom Racine - Three Mile Junction
Wayne Lavallee - Trail of Tears

World Artist of the Year – Solo

Briga - Diaspora
Dominic Mancuso - Comfortably Mine
Élage Diouf - Aksil
Jeff Bien - Songs of Forgiveness and Prayer
Jocelyn Pettit - Jocelyn Pettit

World Artist of the Year – Group

Beyond the Pale - Postcards
Le Vent Du Nord - La Part Du Feu
Roberto Lopez Project - Soy Panamericano
Sokoun Trio - Zanneh
Apadooraï - Kinda Roots

New/Emerging Artist of the Year

Jack Marks - Two of Everything
Jadea Kelly - Eastbound Platform
Jay Aymar - Halfway Home
Peter Katz - First of the Last to Know
The Once - The Once

Producer of the Year

David Gillis - To Make it Make Sense (Ariana Gillis)
Hawksley Workman - The Early Widows (Justin Rutledge)
Jory Nash - New Blue Day (Jory Nash)
Steve Dawson - Things About Comin' My Way (Various Artists)
Thom Swift and Charles Austin - Blue Sky Day (Thom Swift)

Pushing the Boundaries

Beyond the Pale - Postcards
Daniel Koulack and Karrnnel - Fiddle & Banjo
Mauvais Sort - Droit Devant
Miss Emily Brown - In Technicolor
Oliver Schroer & Stewed Tomatoes - Freedom Row

Young Performer of the Year

Alexandre Boivin-Caron - La Tradition
Jocelyn Pettit - Jocelyn Pettit
Kierah - A Fiddle Affair
Lucas Chaisson - No Loitering
Rachel Davis - Rachel Davis

--Mike Regenstreif