Saturday, January 23, 2016

Canadian Spaces – CKCU – Saturday January 23, 2016

CKCU can be heard at 93.1 FM in Ottawa and on the web.

Canadian Spaces on CKCU in Ottawa is Canada’s longest-running folk music radio program. It is heard Saturday mornings from 10:00 am until noon (Eastern time).

It was hosted for more than 33 years by the late Chopper McKinnon and is now hosted by Chris White and a rotating cast of co-hosts.

This week’s show was co-hosted by Mike Regenstreif and Chris White.

Guests: UNAM-Canada Choir; Julie Corrigan; String Masons

Jesse Winchester- All That We Have is Now

Lynn Miles- Wintery Feeling
Winter (Lynn Miles)

Anne Hills & Michael Smith- The Dutchman
Paradise Lost & Found (Redwing)

Anne Lederman with Ian Bell- Two-Step in 3 Keys
Old Man’s Table: Tunes from Grandy Fagnan (Falcon Productions)

Tim O'Brien, Margaret Glaspy, Moira Smiley, Mollie O'Brien, John Magnie, Martin Gilmore, Jayme Stone- Before This Time Another Year
Jayme Stone’s Lomax Project (Borealis)       

Victor Anthony- House of David Blues
Those Nashville Blues (Victor Anthony)

Sussex- Eagle on the Moon
Parade Day (Lucky Bear)

The Lucky Sisters- All That Is
So Lucky (Patio Records)

Garnet Rogers- Old Campfires
Summer’s End (Snow Goose)

Judy Collins- Story of Isaac
Judy Collins Sings Leonard Cohen: Democracy (Elektra/Rhino)

Leonard Cohen- Blessed is the Memory
Songs of Leonard Cohen – 2007 reissue (Columbia/Legacy)

UNAM-Canada Choir- Canción Mixteca
Live on Canadian Spaces

UNAM-Canada Choir- México en la piel
Live on Canadian Spaces

Fred Eaglesmith- Harold Wilson
From the Paradise Motel (Barbed Wire)

Julie Corrigan- Small Town
The Language (Julie Corrigan)

Julie Corrigan- Home
Live on Canadian Spaces

Julie Corrigan- The Lanuage
Live on Canadian Spaces

String Masons- Over the Waterfall
Live on Canadian Spaces

String Masons- Eight More Miles to Louisville
Live on Canadian Spaces

String Masons- Just Like Old Times
Live on Canadian Spaces

The show is now available for online listening.

I’ll be co-hosting Canadian Spaces again on March 5.

Find me on Twitter. @MikeRegenstreif

--Mike Regenstreif

Saturday, January 16, 2016

Lynn Miles – Winter


Although I’ve lived all of my life in Canada, where the winters are long and cold, sometimes very cold, I’m not one who has ever warmed to and embraced the season – except maybe when I can listen to a favorite singer sing about it.

Just before Christmas, Lynn Miles, a favorite singer-songwriter, released Winter, an excellent collection of songs set in this coldest and darkest time of the year. Some of them are performed live with a string quartet, some are studio recordings.

While most of the songs are recorded for the first time, a few are reimagined for this set because they fit the theme, including the album opener, “Last Night,” an early song of Lynn’s that beautifully captures the magic of the first snowfall of the season (the only snowfall of the year I would possibly describe in those terms). The song’s lyrics and haunting melody are served so very well by Lynn’s singing on top of a lovely string arrangement.

Other favorites include “The Coldest Winter in the History of the World,” which doesn’t describe this current El Niño winter, but is surely reminiscent of last year when the bitter cold set in early and didn’t let up; “High Heels in the Snow,” a compelling and very sad portrait of a teenaged prostitute who doesn’t make it to Christmas; and “Casino El Camino,” a song about being lonely and far away from home in Texas at Christmas time.

In addition to Lynn’s own songs there is a beautiful version of my late friend Jesse Winchester’s “Wintery Feeling,” a song that so brilliantly captures the scene of a nighttime snowfall in Montreal, the city where I lived for most of my life. I love Lynn’s plaintive harmonica playing on this track.

The five songs at the end of the album, including the already-mentioned Casino El Camino, are labelled Christmas. But they're not so much Christmas songs as songs that are set around Christmastime, so I don't get that enough-with-Christmas-already feeling hearing them in January (or, I'm sure, later).

While there is a definite sadness to many of these songs (few singers do sad as well as Lynn) the album ends with “Twenty Pound Turkey,” a really fun rock ‘n’ roll song in which Lynn channels her inner Chuck Berry (with lots of help from Keith Glass on electric guitar).

Find me on Twitter.

And on Facebook.

--Mike Regenstreif

Sunday, January 10, 2016

Terre Roche – Imprint

Earth Rock Wreckerds

I first started writing record reviews for the Montreal Gazette back in 1975 and one of the LPs I wrote about that first year – they were LPs in those days, it would be well into the 1980s before CDs came along – was Seductive Reasoning, the debut of a sister duo, Maggie & Terre Roche, built around quirky, affecting songs and terrific harmonies. Later, younger sister Suzzy Roche joined up and they became The Roches, releasing a series of albums between 1979 and 2007.

Terre Roche released her first solo album in 1998 and has participated in several other projects. Imprint, an exquisite album released in 2015, is just her second solo project.

Imprint is an intimate album. It’s just Terre’s voice and guitar with bassist Jay Anderson. Most of the time all we hear are the live-off-the-floor sounds of the voice, guitar and acoustic stand-up bass and the communication between Terre and Jay is remarkable. The voice, guitar and bass weave in and out and around each other in a seemingly effortless way. There are overdubs on some songs – a harmony vocal or second guitar part from Terre and some percussion from Jay that blends in so organically that these parts, too, seem like they’re coming off the floor at the same time.

Terre’s songwriting – she wrote 12 of the 13 songs on Imprint – is also quite remarkable. Her lyrics can be somewhat oblique or abstract on some songs, more straightforward and obvious on others – but they are always captivating, quietly demanding the listener's full attention.

Among my favorite songs is “Tinkle,” a sad, extended portrait of a disintegrating relationship. Jay’s bass playing on this track seems like a human heart beating as Terre sings to a departing lover. Another heartbreaker is “Maxwell,” a poignant elegy for a loved pet cat who has passed on.

While most of these songs seem too quiet and too personal to have been Roches songs, there are some that are reminiscent of the sister trio. I can easily imagine the three of them belting out “Stick Up Hair,” which lampoons a trumpian politician who is “naughty” and “mean” and has “stick up hair.”

“Calabash Boom” and “Waning Cats and Dogs” with their Roches-like overdubbed harmonies also remind me of the trio.

Imprint is the work of a highly creative singer, songwriter and musician. These songs continue to reveal more every time I listen again to the album.

Find me on Twitter.

And on Facebook.

--Mike Regenstreif