Saturday, March 30, 2019

Saturday Morning with Mike Regenstreif – CKCU – Saturday March 30, 2019

Saturday Morning is an eclectic roots-oriented program on CKCU in Ottawa heard live on Saturday mornings from 7 until 10 am (Eastern time) and then available for on-demand streaming. I am one of the four rotating hosts of Saturday Morning and base my programming on the Folk Roots/Folk Branches format I developed at CKUT in Montreal.

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

This episode of Saturday Morning can be streamed on-demand at …

Fraser & Girard- My Name is Carol
Fraser & Girard (Fraser & Girard)

Ken Tizzard- House
Jessica Pearson & The East Wind- Heave Away
Grave and Garden Songs (Jessica Pearson & The East Wind)
Alana & Leigh Cline- Slip Jigs: Whinny Hills of Leitrim/Ryan’s/Humours of Whiskey
Alana & Leigh Cline (Scimitar)

The Village Dudes- Another Time and Place
Another Time and Place (Blue Flute Music)
Dave Van Ronk- Gaslight Rag
Going Back to Brooklyn (HighTone)
Tom Russell- T-Bone Steak and Spanish Wine
Ian Hanchet- I’ll Fly Away
New Life (Ian Hanchet)

Our Native Daughters (Allison Russell w/Rhiannon Giddens & Leyla McCalla)- Quasheba, Quasheba
Songs of Our Native Daughters (Smithsonian Folkways)
Kaia Kater- Heavenly Track
Grenades (Smithsonian Folkways)
Mother Banjo- Trust Your Boots
Eyes on the Sky (So Low Recordings)

Danny Schmidt- Last Man Standing
Standard Deviation (Live Once)
Kate Weekes- Poet Friend
Taken By Surprise (Artiste Extrordinaire Originals)
The Confabulation- Precious Little Solves the Riddle
Tunnels and Visions (Woodhead Music)

Ben Caplan- Birds with Broken Wings
Birds with Broken Wings (Coalition)
SONiA dissapear fear- Eleh Chamda Libi
By My Silence (Disappear Records)
Lisa Gutkin, Aaron Halva & Company- Suitcase Song: Ich hab’ noch einen koffer in Berlin

Extended Feature: Songs of Guy Clark – The next 16 songs were written or co-written by Guy Clark.

Doug Cox & Sam Hurrie- Old Friends
Old Friends (Black Hen)
Jay Ungar & Molly Mason- Homegrown Tomatoes
Relax Your Mind (Angel)
Johnny Cash- Let Him Roll
Johnny Cash is Coming to Town (Mercury)
Guy Clark- That Old Time Feeling
Keepers: A Live Recording (Sugar Hill)

Steve Earle & The Dukes- Sis Draper
Guy (New West)
Asleep at the Wheel- Blowin’ Like a Bandit
10 (Epic)
Emmylou Harris- New Cut Road
Quarter Moon in a Ten Cent Town (Warner Bros./Rhino)
Guy Clark- The Guitar

Eric Bibb w/Martin Simpson- The Cape
Friends (Telarc)
Gove Scrivenor- Boats to Build
Shine On (Compass)
Bill & Bonnie Hearne- L.A. Freeway
Watching Life Through a Windshield (Back Porch)
Guy Clark- The Randall Knife

Nanci Griffith, Guy Clark, Rodney Crowell, Jimmie Dale Gilmore, Jerry Jeff Walker, Steve Earle & Eric Taylor- Desperadoes Waiting for a Train
Other Voices, Too (A Trip Back to Bountiful) (Elektra)
Bill Staines- Lone Star Hotel Café
Old Dogs (Red House) 
Bettysoo & Doug Cox- Dublin Blues
Across the Borderline: Lie to Me (Borderline Talent)
Guy Clark- My Favorite Picture of You

Suzie Vinnick- Find Some Freedom
Shake the Love Around (Suzie Vinnick)
Harrison Kennedy- Who U Tellin’?
Who U Tellin’? (Electro-Fi)
Michael Jerome Browne- Somebody Have Mercy
That’s Where It’s At! (Borealis)
Tim O’Brien Band- Diggin’ My Potatoes
Tim O’Brien Band (Howdy Skies)
Andy Statman- Statman Romp
Monroe Bus (Shefa)

Maria Dunn- Whiskey Evening
For a Song (Distant Whisper Music)
Ian & Sylvia- Nancy Whiskey
Early Morning Rain (Vanguard)
Vivian Nesbitt & John Dillon- The Whiskey Ring and the Railroad Trust
The Songs of Mother Jones: A Musical by Si Kahn (
Doug McArthur- Whiskey in the Jar
The Horses of the Sea: A Personal Exploration of Ireland (
Allison de Groot and Tatiana Hargreaves- Farewell Whiskey
Allison de Groot and Tatiana Hargreaves (Free Dirt)

I’ll be hosting Saturday Morning next on April 27.

Find me on Twitter. @MikeRegenstreif

--Mike Regenstreif

Saturday, March 9, 2019

Tom Russell – October in the Railroad Earth

October in the Railroad Earth

On Hotwalker, an album released in 2005, Tom Russell mixed original songs, poetry, stories and rants with the recorded voices of Jack Kerouac, Charles Bukowski, Lenny Bruce, Dave Van Ronk and others into a brilliantly conceived and executed audio collage that delved into lost or dimly remembered aspects of American culture – what Greil Marcus, writing about Bob Dylan, referred to as the “old weird America.”

Much of Tom’s work since then, including October in the Railroad Earth, yet another great album from the songwriter I consider to be the finest of my generation – the generation that came after groundbreakers like Dylan and Tom Paxton – has continued to be inspired by that faded American culture. Tom refers to this album as “Jack Kerouac meets Johnny Cash in Bakersfield” – a good description.

The album opens with the title track, a tribute to Kerouac, that takes its title from one of the beat writer’s prose poems – a short excerpt of it was included on Hotwalker – on which Tom references Kerouac’s days as a railroad brakeman in San Francisco and ultimately as the creator of one of the most important bodies of work in 20th century literature. The Bakersfield-style arrangement features Bill Kirchen on lead guitar and Marty Muse on pedal steel.

“Red Oak Texas” is one the most poignant songs I’ve heard in years. It tells a sad and true story of twin brothers from that small Texas town who went off to war in the Middle East and came home only to lose their battles with PTSD when they couldn’t leave the war behind.

“Isadore Gonzalez,” an infectious Tex-Mex corrido featuring Los Texmaniacs members Max Baca on bajo sexto and Josh Baca on accordion, tells the story – also true – of a Mexican cowboy who was part of Buffalo Bill’s Wild West Show in the late-1880s and who died when his horse fell on him during a show in England. Tom wrote the song from Gonzalez’s perspective singing from beyond the grave.

Other favorites include “T-Bone Steak and Spanish Wine,” a piece about Tom’s visit to a restaurant in Northern California where he’d gigged at back in 1981 and the nostalgic evening he spent there with the owner singing old songs and eating the same special – a T-bone steak with Spanish wine – that was on the menu almost four decades ago; “Hand-Raised Wolverines,” in which he recalls encountering “semi-tame” wolverines at a game park in Alberta; and “Back Streets of Love,” featuring Eliza Gilkyson’s harmony vocals, a beautiful love song with modern technological references.

Tom Russell & Mike Regenstreif (2018)
Along with 10 of his own songs – one co-written with his wife Nadine Russell – Tom ends the album with a great version of the traditional folk song, “Wreck of the Old 97,” that he says he learned as a kid from Johnny Cash’s first record. I remember Tom singing it in tribute to Cash at a gig in Montreal about a week after he died in 2003.

Virtually every album Tom has released over the past three decades has ended up at or near the top of my best-of list for the year. Less than three months into 2019, I suspect that will be the case for October in the Railroad Earth come December.

Watch the trailer for October in the Railroad Earth.

Find me on Twitter.

And on Facebook.

Mike Regenstreif