Feature

Roots Music Canada’s lockdown survival guide; a.k.a the Canadian roots radio guide

 

Phase three – or is it phase four now? – of the COVID-19 pandemic is now in high gear in a lot of provinces, and a lot of us are stuck at home again, waiting until we can all get our vaccines, and heard immunity puts this thing to bed once and for all.  If you’re in Ontario, your options for entertainment just got further diminished as Doug Ford closed down a bunch of outdoor recreation options in order to divert attention from his unwillingness to do what his experts say actually needs to be done: mandate paid sick days for essential workers.

For a lot of us, a year without much of a social life has really started to take its toll.  And while we here at Roots Music Canada lack the power to end COVID and bring back real, live, in-person gatherings, we can at least remind you of the places you can go to hear a familiar, friendly voice – or an unfamiliar one if you’re feeling adventurous.

Across the country, community radio stations broadcast a range of folk, world, country, roots, blues, reggae, Caribbean and Indigenous music programs – and these days, just about all of them live stream to the world. What’s more, the majority of them are available as podcasts on-demand.

I sat down and made a list of as many as I could.  This is a huge list, but it’s still not exhaustive.  I was excited to discover just how much live folk and world radio there is every single day.

So if you need a companion to get you through the day, here is a list of dozens of contenders.

Syndicated and online shows

Folk Roots Radio

Host Jan Hall won the 2019 Folk Music Ontario Estelle Klein lifetime achievement award, and for good reason. Folk Roots Radio is more than a syndicated folk radio program. The web site features show archives, extended interviews and a link to the Sun Parlour Coffee House Sessions, a series of video sessions that Jan also hosts.  If it’s possible to be a one-woman folk music media empire, Jan is it.

Just Us Folk 

Just Us Folk ranked just behind Ottawa’s Canadian Spaces as the second longest-running folk show on Canadian radio when it was unceremoniously canceled last year due to a radio station format change.  However, without missing a beat, Jan Vanderhorst relaunched the show as a weekly podcast, and since then, he’s also been turning his interviews into stories for Roots Music Canada, for which we love him an awful lot.

Worldbeats Radio

Cal Koat is something of a world music celebrity in Vancouver, and he deserves credit for having managed to get world music programs onto commercial radio several times over, sometimes for years at a time – and he also hosted a pretty great world music TV show for a while on OMNI. But regardless of whether or not you can find him on the radio, you can always count on his two podcasts for great new world and Celtic music.

Celt in a Twist

Also hosted by Cal Koat, this one, as the name suggests, is focused on Celtic music.

Radio Wrycraft and From Cover to Cover

Celebrity album designer Michael Wrycraft hosts these two programs on Folk Roots Radio online. One of them features music from albums he’s designed the covers for. The other one is … whatever he wants it to be.

Regional programs across Canada, available nationally via streaming and podcasts

Monday

11 p.m. PT (Sunday night) / 2 a.m. ET – Ska Party (UMFM)
6 a.m. PT / 9 a.m. ET – Latin Music Mondays (CKUT)
9 a.m. PT / Noon ET – So Many Roads (CFCR): roots
9 a.m. PT / Noon ET – World Skip the Beat (CKUT)
10 a.m. PT / 1 p.m. ET – Diasporic Music (Radio Regent): African
Noon PT / 3 p.m. ET – Free Verse (CJSW): folk
4 p.m. PT / 7 p.m. ET – Blues Around the Block (CFRU)
9 p.m. PT / midnight ET – Redbeard’s Blues (CJTR)
10 p.m. PT / 1 a.m. ET (Tuesday morning) – Blues in the Dark (CFRO)

Tuesday

6 a.m. PT / 9 a.m. ET – Pacific Pickin’ (CITR): bluegrass
8 a.m. PT / 11 a.m. ET- Six String Variety Hour (CJSW): guitar music
9 a.m. PT / Noon ET – So Many Roads (CFCR): folk/roots
9 a.m. PT  / noon ET – Ode to Ani (CFUV): folk
9 a.m. PT / noon ET – Boots and Saddle (CKUW): country
Noon PT / 3 p.m. ET – It Takes A Village (CJSR): folk/roots
12:30 p.m. PT / 3:30 p.m. ET – Stranger Songs with Mike Regenstreif (CKCU)
3 p.m. PT / 6 p.m. ET – Redbeard Special (CJTR): blues/roots
3 p.m. PT / 6 p.m. ET – Aboriginal Voices (CFRC): Indigenous
5 p.m. PT / 8 p.m. ET – Bluesday (CKUW): blues
6 p.m. PT / 9 p.m. ET – Tombstone After Dark (CJSW) country
6 p.m. PT / 9 p.m. ET- Fiddlefest (CFIS)
8 p.m. PT / 11 p.m. ET – Back Porch Bluegrass (CFIS)

Wednesday

1 a.m. PT / 4 a.m. ET – The Motherland Influence (CKUW): world
3 a.m. PT / 6 a.m. ET – Global Rhythms (CIUT): world

Global Rhythms

Ken Stowar hosts this flagship world music show each week from CIUT in Toronto.

9 a.m. PT / Noon ET – So Many Roads (CFCR): folk/roots
4 p.m. PT / 7 p.m. ET – Twang Trust (CKUW): country
5 p.m. PT / 8 p.m. ET – Blues Witness (CJSW)
5 p.m. PT / 8 p.m. ET – Woza Africa! (CJSR): African
5 p.m. PT / 8 p.m. ET – For the Folk / The Blues Never Die (CHRW): folk/blues
6 p.m. PT / 9 p.m. ET – Calling All Blues (CJSR)
6:30 p.m. PT / 9:30 p.m. ET – Hardcore Country (CHRW)

Thursday

6 a.m. PT / 9 a.m. ET – Folk Directions (CKUT)
9 a.m. PT / Noon ET – So Many Roads (CFCR): folk/roots

Folk Directions

Thursday mornings at 9 a.m. ET, Montreal folk fans start their day with the voice of Gerry Goodfriend – who continues a long tradition of Thursday morning folk on CKUT. Gerry took over from Mike Regenstreif’s Folk Roots Folk Branches when Mike moved to Ottawa

Noon PT / 3 p.m. ET – Barking Dog (CKUW): folk/roots
2 p.m. PT / 5 p.m. ET – Deeper Well (CJTR): folk
4:30 p.m. PT / 7:30 p.m. ET – Caribbean Pepperpot (CHRW)
5 p.m. PT / 8 p.m. ET – The Long Journey (CFRC): folk
6 p.m. PT / 9 p.m. ET – Folkcetera (CJSW)
8 p.m. PT / 11 p.m. ET – African Rhythms (CiTR)

Friday

9 a.m. PT / Noon ET – So Many Roads (CFCR): folk/roots
2 p.m. PT / 5 p.m. ET – Corby’s Orbit (Radio Regent): folk/roots/world/reggae

Corby’s Orbit

If you read Roots Music Canada, you already know Paul Corby because he writes here on a regular basis. But did you know that he also hosts a radio show on Radio Regent in Toronto? Corby interviews a range of acts, including lots of folk, world and reggae artists – he plays in a reggae band himself, as a matter of fact – and he plays a lot of great stuff.

5 p.m. PT / 8 p.m. ET – Sounds of Africa (CFRC)
5 p.m. PT / 8 p.m. ET – The Celtic show (CKUA)
6:30 p.m. PT / 9:30 p.m. ET – In the Claddah Ring (CFRO): Celtic
9 p.m. PT / Midnight ET – Roots Inna Biggs’ Style (CJTR): reggae
Midnight PT / 3 a.m. (Saturday) ET – Roots Reggae (CFRO)

Saturday

3 a.m. PT / 6 a.m. ET – Acoustic Roots (CHUO): folk
4 a.m. PT / 7 a.m. ET – Saturday Morning (CKCU)
5 a.m. PT / 8 a.m. ET – World Bliss (CFRC)
6 a.m. PT / 9 a.m. ET (biweekly) – Senor Blues (CJSR)
6 a.m. PT / 9 a.m. ET – Beer for Breakfast (UMFM)

Beer for Breakfast

Beer for Breakfast isn’t strictly a roots music show.  If it was, Broose Tulloch might’ve given it a different name. But Broose is a die hard supporter of roots and world music and a contributor to Roots Music Canada. He’s a fantastic writer who has told us some great stories from the Winnipeg Folk Fest and beyond. He’s also an engaging host and interviewer.

6 a.m. PT / 9 a.m. ET – Touchstone (CKDU): folk
7 a.m. PT / 10 a.m. ET – Folk Everything (CFRC)
7 a.m. PT / 10 a.m. ET – A Dogs Breakfast (CFRU): world
7 a.m. PT / 10 a.m. ET – The Freewheeling Folk Show (CFMU)
7 a.m. PT / 10 a.m. ET – Afrika Revisited (CHUO): African
7 a.m. PT / 10 a.m. ET – Canadian Spaces (CKCU)

Canadian Spaces  (Click on the episode you want to hear, then click “listen”)

Broadcast live on CKCU FM in Ottawa every Saturday morning from 10 until noon, Canadian Spaces was founded by the late local legend Chopper McKinnon and has been carried on in his absence by a team of volunteers coordinated by artist and general folk music community-builder Chris White. One of those volunteers is veteran folk music journalist and former CKUT folk radio host Mike Regenstreif. Since the pandemic started, Chris has added to his media empire by also producing a weekly Zoom chat show called Canadian Faces.

8 a.m. PT / 11 a.m. ET – The Road (CJTR): country
8 a.m. PT / 11 a.m. ET – The Edge on Folk (CiTR)
9 a.m. PT / Noon ET – Wide Cut Country (CKUA)
9 a.m. PT / Noon ET – The Back 40 (CKCU): bluegrass
9 a.m. PT / Noon ET – Rockers (CHUO): reggae
9 a.m. PT / noon ET – Deeper Well (CJTR): folk
11 a.m. PT / 2 p.m. ET – Ivory Tower (CKUW): folk, jazz, world
11 a.m. PT / 2 p.m. ET – Caribbean flavour (CHUO)

The Saturday Edge on Folk

It’s hard to know what Vancouver folkies would do without Steve Edge. He runs their folk club, the Rogue Folk Club, and he hosts this flagship folk and world music show on CiTR.  And I have to say that listening to him read the UK soccer scores in that English accent of his truly is a soothing thing (although I guess no soccer right now). Steve is still producing new shows each Saturday morning and sending them in from home, but he also has an extensive back catalogue to work through.

Noon PT / 3 p.m. ET – Journeys (CKUA): world
Noon PT / 3 p.m. ET – Reggae in the Fields (CKCU)
1 p.m. PT / 4 p.m. ET – Caribbean Anthology (CFRU)
2 p.m. PT / 5 p.m. ET – Blues Roadhouse (CFIS)
2 p.m. PT / 5 p.m. ET – Natch’l Blues (CKUA)
3 p.m. PT / 6 p.m. PT – Code Blue (CiTR)
3 p.m. PT / 6 p.m. ET – The Blues Project (CFRC)
3 p.m. PT – Level the Vibes (CJSW): reggae
5 p.m. PT / 8 p.m. ET – Ribbon of Darkness (CJTR): country
6 p.m. PT / 9 p.m. ET – Reggae Show (CFRO)
6 p.m. All time zones – Saturday Night Blues (CBC Music)
7 p.m. PT / 10 p.m. ET – Reggae Riddims (CIUT)
8 p.m. PT / 11 p.m. ET – Dancehall Fever (CKUW)
8:30 p.m. PT / 11:30 ET – Caribbean Sounds (CFRO)
9 p.m. All time zones – Saturday Night Blues (CBC Radio 1)

Sunday

4 a.m. PT / 7 a.m. ET – Gospel Generation (CHUO)
5 a.m. PT / 8 a.m. ET – Brother Brian’s Bluegrass (CFRC)
8:30 a.m. PT / 11:30 a.m. ET – Music from the Glen (CKCU): folk/Celtic
9 a.m. PT / Noon ET – Clan Na Gael (CFRU): Celtic
9 a.m. PT / Noon ET – Folk Routes (CKUA)
10 a.m. PT / 1 p.m. ET – This Island Earth (CKCU): world
11 a.m. PT / 2 p.m. ET – All Over the Map (CFRO): world
11 a.m. PT / 2 p.m. ET – World of Blues (CJTR)
11 a.m. PT / 2 p.m. ET – Ultra Latino (CIUT)
11 a.m. PT / 2 p.m. ET – Wayback Jamboree (CFRC)
11 a.m. PT / 2 p.m. ET – Bluegrass Hour (CKUA)
Noon PT / 3 p.m. ET – The Rocker’s Show (CiTR): reggae
Noon PT / 3 p.m. ET – Karibuni (CIUT): African
Noon PT / 3 p.m. ET – Tell the Band to Go Home (UMFM): folk/roots/singer-songwriter
Noon PT / 3 p.m. ET – World of Blues (CJTR)
1 p.m. PT / 4 p.m. ET – Grasstowne (CFRC): bluegrass
1 p.m. PT / 4 p.m. ET – Mundial (CHUO): world
2 p.m. PT / 5 p.m. ET – Borderlines (CJTR): country
2:30 p.m. PT / 5:30 p.m. ET – In the Pines (CFRO): bluegrass
3 p.m. PT / 6 p.m. ET – World Spinning (CKUA)
3 p.m. PT / 6 p.m. ET – Blood on the Saddle (CiTR): country
3:30 p.m. PT / 6:30 p.m. ET – Smoke Signals/All Indigenous Music (CHRW): Indigenous
4 p.m. PT / 7 p.m. ET – What the Folk (CFRO)
4 p.m. PT / 7 p.m. ET – The Long Note (Radio Regent): Celtic
4 p.m. PT / 7 p.m. ET – Bluegrass Rambling (CKUT)
5 p.m. PT / 8 p.m. ET – Back Porch Picking (CFIS): country
5 p.m. PT / 8 p.m. ET – Country Classics (CKUT)
5 p.m. PT / 8 p.m. ET – Roots and Rhythms (CKCU): roots
6 p.m. PT / 9 p.m. ET – Cha Cha in Blue (CKUT)
6 p.m. PT / 9 p.m. ET – Black and Blues (CKCU)
8 p.m. PT / 11 p.m. ET – Island Vibes (CKUW): reggae

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