Sunday, March 8, 2020

Laura Smith 1952-2020

“Safe home, sweet light, no longer of this world
On wings, safe and sound you are carried
No longer casting shadows, no longer counting days
You are love and you are loved always”

My friend Laura Smith wrote “Sweet Home, Sweet Light” as a farewell song to a brother and an old friend after losing both around the same time in July 2012. Last night, I was deeply saddened to learn, via an email from Ross MacDonald, that Laura “passed away peacefully in her home surrounded by love, joy, music and compassion from her family of friends in Mahone Bay,” and immediately went to her album Everything is Moving to find comfort in her voice, her music, and particularly in the words of that poignant and beautiful song. Laura was 11 days shy of her 68th birthday.

This news was not unexpected. Just a couple of months ago, Laura was diagnosed with incurable pancreatic cancer and elected to receive palliative care at home. With the support of friends and fans from near and far, she was able to spend her final weeks peacefully reading so many messages from those who loved her. On February 15, she spoke so bravely on the phone with Chris White on CKCU’s Canadian Spaces about her “life challenging” situation. But, still, this news was hard.

In the 1990s, Laura’s recordings were staples on the Folk Roots/Folk Branches radio show I hosted on CKUT in Montreal. Her reimagined version of the traditional “My Bonny” was one of the most requested songs on the show. I met Laura for the first time in 1997 when she was my guest on the show. It took only one conversation to form a bond of friendship with her. After I moved to Ottawa, I was honoured, in 2013 and 2015, that Laura asked me to MC both of her concerts at the National Arts Centre.

Chris White, Laura Smith & Mike Regenstreif at the National Arts Centre (2013)
Laura overcame a number of difficult struggles in her life – struggles that she faced with much grace and dignity. Although she has left this earthly life, she will live on in the beautiful, elegant and timeless songs she left behind.

“Safe home, sweet heart, no longer beating here
Your life is but a whisper to my sorrow
But time does not confine you now, my spirits I must raise
You are love and you are loved always

You are love, you are love, you are loved always

Safe home, sweet light, no longer shining here
Though your joy is now a beacon for the weary
Never more to shed a tear, never more to feel alone
You are love and you are loved, you’re home

You are love and you are loved, you’re home…home…

Find me on Twitter.

–Mike Regenstreif

Saturday, February 29, 2020

Saturday Morning with Mike Regenstreif – CKCU – Saturday February 29, 2020

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 live at 93.1 FM in Ottawa and on the web.

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

Amy Helm – Friday, March 20, 8 pm at National Arts Centre – Azrieli Studio

Amy Helm- Mandolin Wind
This Too Shall Light (Yep Roc)

Rose Cousins – Friday, March 6, 7:30 pm at National Arts Centre – Babs Asper Theatre

Rose Cousins- Stray Birds
Stray Birds (Old Farm Pony)
The Haden Triplets- Gray Mother Dreaming
The Family Songbook (Trimeter/Thirty Tigers)
Ian Hanchet- No More Worries
New Life (Ian Hanchet)
Miranda Mulholland- The Old Churchyard
By Appointment or Chance (Roaring Girl)
Claudia Schmidt- Weather
Slow Steady Heart (Pragmavsion Publishing)

Tom Russell- Sam Bonnifield’s Saloon
Ian & Sylvia- Come All You Fair and Tender Ladies
The Lost Tapes (Stony Plain)
Stephen Mendell- Darcy Farrow
Sing Me a Story (Stephen Mendel)
Steve Gillette- Back on the Street Again
Steve Gillette (Vanguard)

Nanci Griffith- Banks of the Pontchartrain
The Last of the True Believers (Philo)
Susan Werner- Nobody Loves You Like Me
Paul Barbarin w/Danny Barker- Eh La Bas
Paul Barbarin and His New Orleans Jazz (Collectables)

Socalled Sings with Strings: Yiddish Song – Tuesday, April 28, 8 pm at National Arts Centre – Azrieli Studio

Socalled with The Kaiser Quartett- Roumanishe Kretchme
Di Frosh and other Yiddish Songs (Membran)
Daniel Kahn with Vanya Zhuk- Busking Vagabond
Bulat Blues (Oriente Musik)
Leonard Cohen- The Night of Santiago
Thanks for the Dance (Columbia/Legacy)
Laura Smith- My Gate’s Wide Open
It’s a Personal Thing (Cornermuse)

Extended Feature: Songs of Phil Ochs (1940-1976). The next 16 songs were written by Phil Ochs.

Pete Seeger- The Draft Dodger Rag
Dangerous Songs (Columbia/Legacy)
Joan Baez- There but for Fortune
75th Birthday Celebration (Razor & Tie)
Martyn Joseph- Knock on the Door
Days of Decision: A Tribute to Phil Ochs (Pipe)
Phil Ochs- Bound for Glory
Farewells & Fantasies (Elektra/Rhino)

Judy Collins & Arlo Guthrie – Friday, July 3, 8 pm at National Arts Centre – Southam Hall

Judy Collins- In the Heat of the Summer
Forever: an anthology (Elektra)
Arlo Guthrie- I Ain’t Marching Anymore
What’s That I Hear: The Songs of Phil Ochs (Sliced Bread)
Phil Ochs- One More Parade
Farewells & Fantasies (Elektra/Rhino)
Pat Wictor- I’m Tired
This is Absolutely Real: Visions and Versions of Phil Ochs (Risky Disc)

disappear fear- Outside a Small Circle of Friends
Get Your Phil (Disappear Records)
Magpie- That’s What I Want to Hear
A Tiding (Longtail Records)
Phil Ochs- Too Many Martyrs
Farewells & Fantasies (Elektra/Rhino)
Kim & Reggie Harris- What’s That I Hear
Let My People Go! (Appleseed)

Gordon Lightfoot- Changes
The Original Lightfoot (EMI)
Phil Ochs- Links on the Chain
Farewells & Fantasies (Elektra/Rhino)
Karen Savoca- No More Songs
What’s That I Hear: The Songs of Phil Ochs (Sliced Bread)
Theodore Bikel- When I’m Gone
While I’m Here (Red House)

John Prine – Tuesday, July 7, 8 pm at National Arts Centre – Southam Hall

John Prine with The Nitty Gritty Dirt Band- Grandpa was a Carpenter
Will the Circle Be Unbroken Volume Two (MCA)

Lyle Lovett & John Hiatt – Tuesday, April 28, 8 pm at National Arts Centre – Southam Hall

Lyle Lovett- If I had a Boat
Pontiac (Curb/MCA)
John Hiatt with Rosanne Cash & The Nitty Gritty Dirt Band- One Step Over the Line
Will the Circle Be Unbroken Volume Two (MCA)
Jud Caswell- 1952 Vincent Black Lightning
Live at the Seagull Shop (Jud Caswell)

Ken Tizzard- For the USA
Bill Garrett & Sue Lothrop- St. John’s Waltz
Red Shoes (Borealis)
Christy Moore- Sonny’s Dream
Magic Nights (Sony)
Ron Hynes- Love and Hunger
Stealing Genius (Borealis)

Vance Gilbert- Brunswick County
Good Good Man (Disismye Music)
Annette Wasilik- Don’t Think Twice, It’s All Right
Love & Fire (Azalea City)
The Small Glories- Secondhand
Assiniboine & the Red (Red House)
The New Customs- Hey Little Bird
Selling Religion on Government Street (The New Customs)

The Lonesome Ace Stringband- Highlanders Farewell/Monroe’s Farewell to Long Hollow
Modern Old-Time Sounds for the Bluegrass & Folksong Jamboree (Lonesome Ace Stringband)

I’ll be hosting Saturday Morning next on March 28.

Find me on Twitter. @MikeRegenstreif

--Mike Regenstreif