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The Northern Report Podcast

The Northern Report Podcast

By Sean Burns
The Northern Report Podcast aims to shine a light on emerging and existing Canadian talent as well as some of the legends still with us today. The audio companion piece to the monthly column of the same title that appears in the Honky-Tonk Times.
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The Northern Report Podcast: Episode 030 - Skinny Dyck
Twang savant Skinny Dyck has put on weight since his 2020 debut LP Get to Know Lonesome – a delight to fans of traditional country music but in equal measure with an alternative leaning audience. He spearheaded the 2017 compilation album, Twenty One-Nighters featuring municipal & regional artists from across western Canada, but now the spotlight is firmly set on this bright Mennonite boy from Coaldale, Alberta who’s making waves at home and abroad with his brand of Country music. Recorded & Produced in Texas by the great Billy Horton, Skinny makes strides on his latest EP, Palace Waiting, due out September 16 on Sound Asleep Records. After 30 episodes, we finally pinned this mysterious fella down for a chat on TNR. www.skinnydyck.com
01:06:21
September 14, 2022
The Northern Report Podcast: Episode 029 - Carter Felker
Carter Felker’s Alberta roots run deep and he’s hung his hat and kicked his boots off all over Wild Rose Country. Felker burst on to the scene and turned heads with his debut album, Everyday Life in 2016 and quickly became one of the most respected names in the vibrant Alberta independent Roots music scene.Beyond the Provincial borders, folks across Canada in the know and with their ears to the ground took note of his elite songwriting talent and it wasn’t long before other noted Prairie names like Del Barber and Shaela Miller took their own stab at recording songs from Cater’s pen. Carter’s new album, Even the Happy Ones Are Sad, will be out in the world this Tuesday, June 14. Listen to Carter Felker wherever you stream music for a nominal monthly fee or check him out and show your support at: carterfelker.bandcamp.com
01:08:57
June 09, 2022
The Northern Report Podcast: Episode 028 - Bob Lucier
Bob Lucier grew up in the Chatham, Ontario area and got his start on the Pedal Steel Guitar in the 1960’s with help from Ollie Strong. He spent his early days on the bandstand in the taverns and bars in the once vibrant honky-tonk scene of Toronto, playing with Wally Dean at The Drake Hotel and on to The Edison Hotel with Mickey McGivern and the Mustangs. In his great career, he backed legends like Johnny Paycheck and Bill Anderson and was featured on stage and television with the likes of Harry Hibbs, George Hamilton IV, and for 17 years as a member of the band for the Tommy Hunter Show.  His pedal steel work featured prominently on several of Anne Murray’s top-selling albums, as well as records from Eastwind, Ian Tyson, George Hamilton IV, Dick Nolan, The Rankin Family, Dick Damron, Anita Perras & Tim Taylor, Ronnie Prophet, The Irish Rovers, The Family Brown, and many, many more. Bob’s first solo album Nerves Of Steel is especially notable for containing a rare instrumental single release that would earn airplay and an appearance on the Canadian country hit charts with his rousing steel guitar version of the Hank Williams classic, Hey Good Lookin’. The single would reach #17 on the RPM Country Charts in 1977. In addition to the Nerves Of Steel album, Bob also recorded three albums during the 1970s with Nashville dobro master Shot Jackson on the Marathon and Condor record labels. Later in his career, Bob would release another fine solo album, Eleven Favorites and a duet album, 88 & 10 with ivory tickler, Mel Aucoin. Bob was gracious enough to share his time and some stories from his great career and I’ve got to send him an extra special thank you for indulging me and my questions surrounding honky-tonkers and personal favourites like Mickey McGivern, Roy Payne, and Dick Damron.
53:29
March 03, 2022
The Northern Report Podcast: Episode 027 - Ollie Strong
Ollie Strong’s career began in the 1950’s playing Steel Guitar in the era prior to the instrument having Pedals. He was among the first small handful of pickers in Canada to begin playing Pedal Steel Guitar. Noted as an early member of the house band on CBC TV’s Tommy Hunter Show, over the course of his long career Ollie backed up legends such as Ray Price, Jean Shepard and, Jim Reeves. His playing is featured on albums by Canadian heroes Gordon Lightfoot, Murray McLauchlan and, Dick Damron along with countless other "lost" Canadian Country sessions on the Arc and Marathon/Paragon labels by singers like Chef Adams, Brent Williams, Al Hooper and, Bill Long. He’s even credited as the Steel Guitarist on Funkadelic’s 1972 album, America Eats Its Young, and I sure wish I’d known that ahead of our conversation.
01:02:42
February 03, 2022
The Northern Report Podcast: Episode 026 - Mike McDonald
From 1983-1995, Jr. Gone Wild helped introduce Canada to a new musical sound. Credited with innovating the Alt-country genre, dubbed “cowpunk”, over the course of five acclaimed albums, this Edmonton, Alberta band fused elements of folk and rock with a punk attitude, while building a devoted fan base through epic live shows. For their initial 12 year run, Jr. Gone Wild would hone its own version of alt-country on albums that have become cornerstones of Canadian music culture: Less Art, More Pop!, Folk You, Too Dumb To Quit, Pull The Goalie and Simple Little Wish. Still fronted by the immediately recognizable vocals of Mike McDonald, and stylings of lead guitarist Steve Loree and bassist Dave “Dove” Brown, the groups newest addition is McDonald’s nephew Quinton Herbert on drums. After a reunion concert in 2013 the band began thinking about a new album, reflective of all they’ve learned and experienced over a lifetime in the music business. The result is Still Got The Jacket, a 16 track album due out on November 12th that makes it clear that the band’s chemistry still thrives, and continues to be steeped in twangy rock and melodic country-punk. Mark Twain once famously said, “Politicians, old buildings and prostitutes become respectable with age.” He never got a chance to consider whether rock and roll musicians do as well, although most would likely prefer to retain their youthful glory. Somehow, against all odds, Jr. Gone Wild has done that with Still Got The Jacket, and in the process reminded us what alt-country really means. To truly be a groundbreaking songwriter is a tremendous accomplishment and McDonald is without question one of our nations best. His first foray into the music industry was in the Spring of 1979 when he was just sixteen. Certainly a local hero in Edmonton (among other things, he “discovered” the legendary Spartans Mens Club, hosted the Rosebowl jam for over 15 years, and started the nationally known and still running Hair OF The Dog Saturday afternoon gig at The Blackdog Freehouse). In the late ’90s he put together the Mike McDonald Band, which released an album and commanded an enthusiastic Alberta-based following. Unadorned by the electric chaos of a band and massive volume, Mike’s solo show is edgy folk, peppered with story and commentary, often hilarious. He’s a true alternative to affected bombast and disingenuous self aggrandizing. Mike McDonald is the real deal. For more on Jr. Gone Wild visit: jrgonewild.com For more on Mike, visit his website: mike-mcdonald.com
01:00:53
November 10, 2021
The Northern Report Podcast: Episode 025 - Sue Foley
Sue Foley grew up in Ottawa, Ontario surrounded by music and a family of guitar players. After graduating high school, Sue headed West to Vancouver where she spent a couple of years on the coast before transplanting down to Austin, Texas upon the insistence of the legendary Clifford Antone. Since her 1992 debut “Young Girl Blues” on the Antone’s label, Sue has recorded for Shanachie, Ruf, Blind Pig, and Stony Plain Records. Sue Foley has been riding a larger wave of success since her 2018 album, The Ice Queen. She won “Best Traditional Female (Koko Taylor Award) at the 2020 Blues Music Awards in Memphis, was nominated for a Juno Award (Canadian Grammy), and she took home the award for Best Guitar Player at the Toronto Maple Blues Awards. The Ice Queen reached #4 on the Billboard Current Blues chart, #1 on RootsMusic Report’s Top 50 Canada album chart and was in the Living Blues radio chart for four consecutive months, peaking at #2.Including that win for Best Blues Album in 2001 for Love Comin’ Down, Sue is a 4 time Juno Nominee . Foley also holds the record for the most Maple Blues Awards with 18 wins to her credit. Sue’s new record, Pinky’s Blues was released on October 22. It serves as a raw, electric guitar driven romp through the backroads of Texas, with Foley’s signature pink paisley Fender Telecaster, “Pinky” at the wheel. Pinky’s Blues is a collection of 12 songs, both original and some of Sue’s favourite covers, that demonstrate not only that Sue is one of the world’s greatest Blues guitarists, but that the sheer joy of playing can be felt through the recording in an emotional thrill for the listener. A vinyl version of the album in hot pink provides a dream item for fans, audiophiles and collectors. For more on Sue Foley visit: www.suefoley.com
35:06
November 01, 2021
The Northern Report Podcast: Episode 024 - Fred Penner
A veteran star of stage and Television screen, Fred Penner’s cornerstone philosophy remains the same: absolute trust that his work can make a difference. A gentle giant with kind eyes and an undeniable ability to make you feel good about yourself, this musical master brings 45 years of commitment, consistency and depth to a career that skillfully blends the many genres of performing and communication. Dubbed “Mr. Multi-Media” by Billboard Magazine, his diverse repertoire includes a prolific 12 Children’s Albums and countless energetically packed live shows for throngs of eager audiences across North America. A 2 time Juno Award Winner and 8-time nominee, Penner was the first children’s entertainer to headline at the Los Angeles Amphitheater. A four time recipient of the Parents’ Choice Award, the Los Angeles Parent called the “Canadian Minister of Positivity”. Fred has successfully transformed children’s entertainment into a family affair. Offering his broad talents to speak to the family unit and express his feelings about where the world is going and what children are learning. In 2000, the Canadian Institute of Child Health honoured Fred for his contribution to the well-being and safety of children. He is a humble recipient of the Order of Canada, the highest recognition given to a Canadian citizen and the Order of Manitoba, a similar award from his home province. One of his albums, Happy Feet was named Best Children’s Album of the Year by the U.S.A’s Entertainment Weekly and he is the first ever winner of the Prairie Music Award for Outstanding Children’s Recording. Always building on a common theme rooted in integrity and a belief in what he can do, Fred Penner has created a lasting impact that crosses the generations and continues to grow. For more on Fred visit: www.fredpenner.com
59:43
October 15, 2021
The Northern Report Podcast: Episode 023 - Mike Younger
Born in Halifax, Nova Scotia, Mike Younger left home at the age of 17 and cut his teeth as a fledgling street performer in Toronto and Vancouver. At the age of 20, he headed to New York City to seek out the 60’s folk renaissance remnants. It was while performing live on WWOZ in New Orleans, that this renegade troubadour and poet of roots music caught his first break when a music publisher heard him on the broadcast. Soon after, Mike traveled to Nashville to record demos, and his recordings reached the ear of Rodney Crowell. When Mike signed his first record deal, Crowell stepped in as producer, and together they turned out Somethin’ In The Air in 1999. In 2001, Jim Dickinson started producing Mike’s second album, which never saw the light of day. The original Memphis sessions featured legends Levon Helm, Spooner Oldham, David Hood, with Jim Dickinson on piano, and his son Luther Dickinson on electric guitar. The tapes from that session fell into legal limbo and were lost for almost two decades. Now recovered, the recordings were completed and Mike finally released Burning The Big Top Down, on August 27th, 2021 Rodney Crowell has said of Mike Younger: “No-shit poetic realism with a tendency to museum qualities…” No Depression noted “His songs of social conscience suggest Woody Guthrie, John Mellencamp, and Steve Earle” And “Easy yet effective turns of phrases a la Kris Kristofferson” proclaimed the LA Times For more on Mike visit: www.mikeyounger.com
01:06:14
October 08, 2021
The Northern Report Podcast: Episode 022 - Boy Golden
Boy Golden has a purpose: enjoy each day and make good music. Founder and minister of The Church Of Better Daze, he wants to help people seeking to improve on yesterday’s themes. His songs, like hymns, are hopeful, fresh and upbeat. Redefining jam band and stoner cultures by turning dead heads into lively brains, Boy Golden wants to unite us all in a hazy dream under one roof. Born Liam Duncan and raised in Brandon, Manitoba, he spent his early days touring & recording in The Middle Coast and has gone one to become an in-demand side player in Winnipeg, most notably for The Bros. Landreth. Dubbed a “Canadian Cannibas Hero” by EXCLAIM, it’s clear that Boy Golden has the perfect personality to be an artist. Boy Golden’s self-produced debut album, Church of Better Daze was mixed by Canadian Indie legend Joel Plaskett, and released July 16 on Six Shooter Records. For more on Boy Golden visit: www.churchofbetterdaze.com
52:04
October 01, 2021
The Northern Report Podcast: Episode 021 - Gordie Tentrees
Based all the way up in the Yukon Territory capital of Whitehorse, Gordie Tentrees possesses an unparalleled work ethic that sees him on the road as much or more than any other Canadian artist out there. With 8 records to his credit, this authentic road poet routinely travels North America, Europe, Australia, UK & Ireland either solo or with legendary sideman Jaxon Haldane (of famed Winnipeg band, D-Rangers). From Celtic Connections (in Glasgow, Scotland) to the National Folk Festival (in Canberra, AU) his ability to hold an audience and weave melody while juggling the dark with the light is infectious. Gordie’s 8th album, Mean Old World, was released earlier this month on September 14th on Buckaroo Records. For more on Gordie visit: www.tentrees.ca or gordietentrees.bandcamp.com
58:45
September 24, 2021
The Northern Report Podcast: Episode 020 - Joyce Smith
A member of the Canadian Country Music Hall Of Fame, Joyce Smith was among Canada's very first Female country stars. Over the course of her 60+ year career, she’s recorded for Point, Broadland, Royalty and, Decca Records. While in Nashville In 1962, Joyce performed at the Grand Ole Opry and cut what would become her signature song, Leavin’ On Your Mind, with the legendary Owen Bradley at the helm and backed by some of the finest musicians in country music history. The song became an immediate radio hit in the USA, selling in excess of 100,000 copies and earned Joyce a CMA nomination for Most Promising New Female Vocalist. Joyce went on to hold a residency at the famed Panther Hall in Fort Worth, Texas and it was there she met Bob Wills and went on to sing with Wills and his Texas Playboys on the Panther stage along with appearances together on a number of syndicated radio programs of the day. By the mid-1960’s, Joyce returned to Alberta to raise a family and has remained active in recording and performing ever since.
44:51
July 29, 2021
The Northern Report Podcast: Episode 019 - Jolie Blue
From the Rural Municipality of Eyebrow Saskatchewan, No. 193, Jolie Blue sings combine songs, firetruck songs, and tales of hockey players & antiquated hockey equipment. He’s often telling stories about Canada, highlighted and inspired by rural life in the farmland and dusty prairie encompassing the beautiful province of Saskatchewan. He debuted with a self-titled EP in 2018 and went on to release a pair of singles plus a full-length offering called Canadian Drifter, in 2020. Backed by The Habaneros, Jolie Blue’s most recent effort, an EP entitled Picante, was released this past May. Jolie is quoted as saying of the sessions: “We’re not here to make a Latin album, we’re here to make an album that sounds like a bunch of Western Canadians trying to make a Latin Album”... and I think we did just that.”  And I think they did, too. I’ve got his music in heavy rotation on my weekly radio show, Boots & Saddle. I’m a fan and hopefully by the end of this podcast you will be, too. For more on Jolie Blue visit: www.thecanadiandrifter.ca
59:33
July 22, 2021
The Northern Report Podcast: Episode 018 - Al Hooper
A member of the New Brunswick Country Hall of Fame and East Coast Music Award winner, Al Hooper has been entertaining audiences for over half a century and he's still going strong. Star of stage, radio, and television, he’s released over 50 albums and has recorded for Paragon, Dominion, Columbia, RCA and TWA records over the course of his near-60 year career. Born in Back Bay New Brunswick, Al spent the early years honing his music at halls, dances, and jamborees before moving to Toronto where he formed the Blue Diamond Showband. I got hip to Al Hooper via his signature song ’N.B to T.O’ and was eager to hear about his life and journey in country music.
53:57
July 15, 2021
The Northern Report Podcast: Episode 017 - Shaela Miller
As one of the Canadian prairie underground’s most respected independent artists, Shaela Miller is playing the music she wants to, adding the elements that progress her vision while firmly grounded in that go-to sound generation after generation grew up with on AM radio in single-cab farm trucks. Swingin’ shuffles and sweet, yearning songs depicting both the good times and hard times that only get written by someone who’s lived every minute of them. Shaela’s new record, Big Hair, Small City further cements her place as a cut above the rest in her region in terms of any kind of real tangible Honky-Tonk/Country Music flavouring. It was nice to catch up to interrogate her about the new album and interesting journey that led her there. For more on Shaela visit: www.shaelamiller.com
01:09:42
July 12, 2021
The Northern Report Podcast: Episode 016 - Cindi Cain
Referred to as “Winnipeg’s go-to Female Country Singer”, Cindi found a love for country music at an early age. Beginning her music career in high style as a 13 year-old she spent a week touring as the opening act for a series of Canadian dates by Country music star, Ferlin Husky. Counting numerous appearances on the Canadian Country Music Awards and Manitoba Country Music Awards, Cindi also guested on top Canadian TV shows including The Tommy Hunter Show, Big Sky Country (hosted by Ray St. Germain), and was Canada's representative on the 1991 International Show at Fan Fair Week in Nashville. Cindi Cain was twice nominated for the CCMA Rising Star Award (1988 & 1989) and in 1992 received a Juno nomination for Country Female Vocalist of the Year. She was named the Manitoba Country Music Association's Entertainer Of The Year and Recording Artist Of The Year on four occasions and was a three-time winner of Female Vocalist Of Year. In 2019, Cindi Cain was inducted into the Manitoba Country Music Hall of Fame. For more on Cindi visit: www.cindicain.com
45:18
June 30, 2021
The Northern Report Podcast: Episode 015 - Brent Williams
Born and raised on a small farm in Hassetts, Nova Scotia, Brent Williams developed a love and appreciation for music at an early age. One-night stands in the Maritimes in their early teens with fellow Afro-Canadian and lifelong friend Harry Cromwell, signalled the beginning of a life in music for Brent. The Birch Mountain Boys were one of the first groups to play and perform live Bluegrass music in Canada. Following the Birch Mountain Boys, the ‘Brent & Harry Show’ was formed. Two LPs were recorded during that time – ‘Country Special’ and ‘More Country with Brent & Harry’. In subsequent years, Brent toured extensively and made regular television appearances on programs including Don Messer’s Jubilee, The Maritime Playboys, and The Marcel Martel Show. Settling into a solo career, he recorded ‘Soft Soft Shoulders and Dangerous Curves’ which was a significant regional hit in the Toronto area and led to numerous releases including the Nashville recordings of ‘Back Home in Georgia’ and ‘Till I Can’t Take it Anymore’. Brent has released 23 albums, had a number of songs appearing on the national charts and was nominated for a CCMA. In 2013 he received the honour of being inducted into the Nova Scotia Country Music Hall of Fame and in 2015, Brent received the prestigious “Lifetime Achievement Award” from the African Nova Scotian Music Association. An accomplished musician, consummate entertainer and truly a pioneer in many facets of the music industry in Canada, it was a great pleasure to speak with Mr. Brent Williams. For more on Brent visit: www.brentwilliams.ca
57:55
June 24, 2021
The Northern Report Podcast: Episode 014 - Scotty Campbell
For a period of about 15 years there was no more authentic a Country music outfit in Canada than Scotty Campbell. Scotty set the bar high for Honky-Tonk up here with “his hurtin’ opus”, 1999’s, Damned If I Recall. After settling on a new, more permanent outfit branded as The Wardenaires, the groups experience and efforts culminated in their 2008 release, Smokin’ and Drinkin’. Never one afraid to speak his mind, Scotty with his veteran band fought hard for a seat at the table. They carved out a respectable audience, consistent press and positive reviews but unfortunately still did not get the credit due as sincere performers and torch bearers of beautiful country music in Canada. Far too Country for commercial radio and more knowledgable & legit than most of their peers, the band held a long-standing residency at Toronto’s Cadillac Lounge when they weren’t touring the taverns, bars, honky-tonks, and festival stages all across this country. Scotty transitioned out of live performance about 10 years ago but remains a good citizen of country music. This guy knows his shit and he comes by it honestly.
49:46
June 21, 2021
The Northern Report Podcast: Episode 013 - Slow Leaves
Grant Davidson, known professionally as Slow Leaves, is a Canadian singer, songwriter, and musician. Davidson began playing guitar at age 15, inspired after discovering a Led Zeppelin II cassette tape in his older brother’s room. It was a finger-picked guitar however that would eventually form the heart of his songs. After three shoe-string budget albums under his own name, Davidson debuted as Slow Leaves in 2014 with Beauty Is So Common, followed by Enough About Me in 2017. In 2020 he released the strikingly vulnerable Shelf Life which represented the culmination of a distinctive poetic voice exploring recurring themes of romantic memory, artistic ambition, and dreams left unfulfilled. Davidson’s voice is fragile and assured. His music could exist as comfortably in the ‘70s as it does in today’s age of curated images and hollow soundbites, when vulnerability can be seen as defiance and sincerity as radical. For more on Slow Leaves visit: www.slowleaves.com
01:01:37
June 17, 2021
The Northern Report Podcast: Episode 012 - Marie Bottrell
Marie Bottrell, got her start in country music at an early age when she joined the family band. A natural performer and gifted songwriter, it didn’t take long for Marie to get noticed. At age 17 she began recording for The Mercey Brothers label and from there it was on to RCA. Beginning in the late 1970’s and into the late 1980’s, Marie maintained a tremendously busy touring schedule. During this time she was twice named Female Artist of the Year at the Canadian Country Music Awards. In addition to those wins were another 7 nominations by the association. For 8 consecutive years, Marie was nominated for Country Female Artist of the Year at the Juno Awards. She released five albums and charted five Top 10 singles, many of which she wrote or co-wrote and in 2010, Bottrell was named to the Canadian Country Music Hall of Fame. I was happy to hear her story from the early days in London, Ontario, to grinding it out in smokey bars on the long road across Canada, to the dark side of the music business and where she’s at today.
56:21
June 14, 2021
The Northern Report Podcast: Episode 011 - Russell deCarle
For over 30 years Russell deCarle acted as bass player & lead vocalist of Canadian Country Music Hall of Famers, Prairie Oyster. Quite probably the last actual Country band to find success on commercial radio (and television) in Canada, ‘Oyster’ were awarded 6 Junos and more than 10 Canadian Country Music Awards during their illustrious career. Since his 2010 debut Solo album Under The Big Big Sky, Russell has gone on to release 3 records under his own name and has continued to tour regularly performing as a duo or with his trio in theatres, folk clubs, and house concerts all across Canada. For more on Russell visit: www.russelldecarle.com
52:22
June 10, 2021
The Northern Report Podcast: Episode 010 - Jerry Leger
Proudly from the East end of Toronto, Ontario, Jerry Leger is an acclaimed Singer/Songwriter who has released an impressive amount of art. Albums, singles, a poetry book, and later this week for his mailing list subscribers a film called, “The Apartment Show He Never Gave”. He has been called “one of Canada’s best” by Exclaim, a “gifted storyteller” by The Toronto Star and "One of the best Canadian songwriters" by Rolling Stone. Ron Sexsmith, Jim Lauderdale, and Michael Timmins (of Cowboy Junkies) are known fans and supporters of Jerry Leger. For more on Jerry visit: www.jerryleger.com
01:11:05
June 07, 2021
The Northern Report Podcast: Episode 009 - Carroll Baker
Regarded as “Canada’s Queen of Country Music”, and for good reason. Carroll Baker’s long and impressive list of accolades includes over 25 Juno Nominations (3x Winner), and 15+ CCMA nods (3x Winner). She is a member of the Canadian Country Music Hall of Fame and in 2009 was appointed to the Order of Canada. Her debut record, Mem’ries of Home was released on Columbia Records in 1970 and between then and 1992, Carroll went on to release 14 studio albums, charting 53 Singles on the Canadian RPM Country Tracks charts including 14 #1 hits, many of which coming from her very own pen. I was eager and so happy to hear her story from the early years in the honky-tonks to cementing herself as a bonafide Country music star.
01:06:17
June 03, 2021
The Northern Report Podcast: Episode 008 - Redd Volkaert
Redd Volkaert is without question one the finest guitar pickers of his generation. His work in Merle Haggard’s band The Strangers and time in Austin, Texas based group Heybale are well known in country music circles. Over the course of his storied career, Redd has spent time backing up, sharing the stage and recording with some of the brightest stars and biggest legends in country music. Included among his long list of accolades is a 2009 Grammy Award for Best Country Instrumental Performance. It was a great pleasure to speak with Redd and learn more about his backstory, his journey and contributions to the sophisticated field of beautiful country music. For more on Redd visit: www.reddvolkaert.com
01:09:26
May 31, 2021
The Northern Report Podcast: Episode 007 - Mike T. Kerr
Mike T. Kerr is a wild guitar player and ambitious songwriter of Canadian heritage and American citizenship. During his time at Berklee College of Music in Boston and in over 10 years of performing, he's lived his life through many historical and contemporary musical styles. Always curious to dig up not only a song's history, but the shape of the world at the time, Mike plays passionately and openly while interpreting the great guitar players of the past. A Danny Gatton lick or Django Reinhardt tune is never far from his fingertips. Mike had a brief but boisterous stint based out of Halifax, Nova Scotia where in 2018 he was nominated by Music Nova Scotia as Musician of the Year. Currently residing in Toronto, pre-pandemic Mike was found gigging regularly at hot-spots like The Cameron House, The Dakota Tavern, and The Local Pub playing original country music almost any night of the week, or lending his guitar skills to Canadian folk singers such as Corin Raymond, Campbell Woods, and others. Guitar Rags & Country Ballads is Mike's first album, it was recorded and released in 2018. It features 7 original Country songs and 3 instrumentals. Mike has kept very busy since that debut release and has endeavoured to release an album a month in 2021 at: miketkerr.bandcamp.com For more on Mike visit: www.miketkerr.com
01:26:18
May 27, 2021
The Northern Report Podcast: Episode 006 - Little Miss Higgins
From the Great Northern Plains, Little Miss Higgins struts and serenades her way onto any stage playing music brewed in early country blues, jazz and folk. Playing, touring, collaborating and recording for over 15 years, this musician and mother now navigates her time through performing and parenthood. Her six independently released albums and artwork have received many awards and nominations, including a Canadian Folk Music Award nomination for her latest collection of songs, My Home, My Heart (2017) and 2 Juno nominations (Blues Album of the Year for 2008’s Junction City & Roots & Traditional Album of the Year: Group for Bison Ranch Recording Sessions, the 2014 album with backing band, The Winnipeg Five). Along with Maple Blues Awards nominations, LMH won Outstanding Blues Recording at Western Canadian Music Awards and Favourite Blues Artist/Group or Duo of the Year category of the 8th Annual Indies Awards. LMH has appeared live on many CBC radio shows such as Stuart McLean’s Vinyl Café, Michael Enright’s Sunday Edition and Rich Terfry’s Drive. For more on LMH visit: www.littlemisshiggins.com
01:04:02
May 24, 2021
The Northern Report Podcast: Episode 005 - Scott MacKay
From the bright red mud of Prince Edward Island, Scott MacKay is a beautiful country music singer and a total gentleman. I was really glad he took the time to share his story and tell us more about his latest album, Stupid Cupid, and the journey that led to it. For more on Scott visit: www.scottmackay.ca
44:42
May 20, 2021
The Northern Report Podcast: Episode 004 - Mariel Buckley
Over the last number of years Mariel has become established as a darling of the vibrant Alberta Roots music scene. The winner of Roots Artist of the Year at the 2019 Western Canadian Music Awards, Mariel topped that successful year by finishing 1st place at Project Wild. We dug a little deeper into Mariel's backstory, the Motorhome and Driving In The Dark albums, the journey into regional stardom and the plans, albeit ever-changing, for the future. For more on Mariel visit: www.marielbuckley.com
34:27
May 17, 2021
The Northern Report Podcast: Episode 003 - Alex Madsen [of The Divorcees]
For more than 15 years, Alex has had a hand in lead vocal and guitar duties in the Moncton, New Brunswick based outfit, The Divorcees. A familiar voice no doubt for country music fans - especially if you tune in with me even semi-regularly on Boots & Saddle as I’m no stranger to spinning a tune from the bands handsome catalogue of outlaw inspired country music. It was a treat to catch up with Alex on the phone and politely interrogate him about his backstory, The Divorcees history and their latest album, Drop Of Blood. For more on The Divorcees visit: www.thedivorcees.ca
01:09:38
May 13, 2021
The Northern Report Podcast: Episode 002 - Bobby Dove
Hailing from Montreal, Quebec - one of our nations most civilized and vibrant cities, Bobby has become of Canada’s most dedicated troubadours, crooning live audiences with heart worn originals, and paying tribute to the golden age of Country music. We spoke about getting started out in Montreal, Bobby Hill's great influence, grinding it out on the road, and their stellar new record, Hopeless Romantic. For more on Bobby visit: www.bobbydove.com
01:21:40
May 10, 2021
The Northern Report Podcast: Episode 001 - Corb Lund
With 10 full length albums and one EP to his credit, Corb Lund is one of Canada's biggest names in Roots music. The winner of Roots & Traditional Album of the Year at the 2006 Juno Awards, other hardware include 11 Canadian Country Music Awards, and 7 Western Canadian Music Awards. Backed (as he always is) by his stellar band The Hurtin' Albertans, his most recent release Agricultural Tragical came out in June of 2020 on the New West Records label. We caught up on the phone to chat about his career and what he's been up to of late. For more on Corb visit: www.corblund.com
50:50
May 06, 2021
The Northern Report Podcast TRAILER
The audio companion piece to my column in the Honky-Tonk Times, here on the podcast I’ll be interviewing and shooting the breeze with local legends, regional stars, and the cream of the Canadian crop in a more in-depth fashion than the print column allows for. The inaugural episode is set for release on Thursday, May 6th and will feature our guest, Corb Lund.
01:01
April 29, 2021