Miranda Mulholland, Kris & Dee, Joe Nolan, Mary Milne, and the Waverlys
Gordy the Moose presents some of his favourite new music from the submissions that have arrived in the Roots Music Canada virtual mailbox.
Miranda Mulholland – By Appointment or Chance (Release date: Oct. 11, 2019)
Damn. This is beautiful. Miranda’s sophomore album is a collection of favourite songs – classics like “The Parting Glass,” “The Old Churchyard,” and Alfred, Lord Tennyson’s “Crossing the Bar” coupled with original compositions and contemporary covers like the McGarrigles’ “Heart Like a Wheel” – all recorded in a cottage in Hampshire, UK, where Miranda has been spending her spring-times cat sitting. If the English countryside could be said to have a “sound,” this is certainly it. The album evokes Loreena McKennitt’s spare, early work, betraying Miranda’s classical training on voice and violin and featuring beautiful harp from Bjork accompanist Tara Minton. Those who are sad to see Loreena step back from music to focus on battling the negative impacts of technology on the creative class should really check out this new project from Miranda. Coincidentally, Miranda is also a powerful advocate for artists’ rights.
See Miranda (as part of Harrow Fair) opening for the Jayhawks Nov. 20-21 at The Horseshoe, Toronto, ON.
Kris and Dee – Browse Line (Release date: Oct. 1)
This is the fourth album from Kingston-based Kris and Dee, the wife-and-wife (spouse-and-spouse? Partner-and-partner?) duo of Kris Abbott of Pursuit of Happiness fame and Dee McNeil. The sound is sweet, easy-going folk, featuring close two-part harmonies and a little electric guitar here and there. In fact, the arrangements are so comfortable, you could easily miss the moving messages behind some of these songs – such as in “Settled Down,” about generations of women urging their daughters to hold off marrying, and the title track, about the complexity of deeply loving someone damaged by circumstances beyond their control. This is lovely, mature folk music that’s especially relatable for mature women.
Joe Nolan – “Drunk and in Love” (Nov. 15, 2019)
Notwithstanding the kind of depressing title, Edmonton-based Joe actually sounds less depressed on this brand new song than he did on last year’s album Cry Baby. He’s still reflective, still melancholy to be sure, but he’s not sounding so completely destroyed. This song comes from a seven-song collection called the Rootsy House Sessions, recorded live of the floor in Norrtalje, Sweden in April. It just came out yesterday, and I can’t wait to listen to the rest.
- Nov. 21 2019 – Okotoks Theatre w/ Valdy Okotoks, AB
- Nov. 22 2019 – Bailey Theatre Camrose, AB
- Nov. 23 2019 – Northern Lights Folk Club Edmonton, AB
- Nov. 29 2019 – Shell Theatre Fort Saskatchewan, AB
- Nov. 30 2019 – House Concert St. Albert, AB
- Jan. 23 2020 – Ironwood Calgary, AB
- Jan. 24 2020 – Infinite Cafe Fernie, BC
- Jan. 25 2020 – Blizzard Festival Rossland, BC
- Jan. 26 2020 – House Concert Kimberley, BC
- Jan. 27 2020 – Whitetooth Brewery Golden, BC
Mary Milne – Walking on Bears (Release date: Nov. 6, 2019)
Mary Milne makes music and videos out of her small studio in the woods near Algonquin Park in Eastern Ontario, and this song certainly possesses the contemplative feel of the wintery outdoors. It’s intimate and understated and features little more than a flurry of finger-picking – and a few effects – for backup. Fun facts: Mary is the granddaughter of Canadian painter David Milne, and her song “Already Gone” from the movie The Trotsky won a Genie Award for Best Achievement in Music.
The Waverlys – “Save Me” (Release date: Jan. 1, 2019)
Trigger warning: Joe Nolan might not be sounding so depressed on his current song, but this song – this is all about depression. And kudos to the Waverlys for getting the reality of that blackness into song in such an uncompromising way – the “trying to remember who I used to be,” the “fighting for so long,” the knowing “one day I’ll stand back up on my own two feet.” But kudos also to them for managing to make the bleakness beautiful, thanks in large part to Charlotte Moore’s breathtaking cello accompaniment. This Toronto duo of Charlotte and Kevin Myles Wilson certainly puts the world on notice of its talents with this track. I look forward to hearing more from these two.