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5 summer singles you need to hear from our favourite folk and roots artists

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One of our jobs here at Roots Music Canada is to keep on top of all the new music out there so that you don’t have to.

So every now and again, we do a little summary here to let you know what we’ve heard lately that’s really blowing us away.

This summer, while we were all busy attending festivals, a shocking number of amazing new songs cam out. These are just a few of them.

I encourage you to take 15 minutes to listen to these five songs and see what you think.

Julian Taylor – “Georgia Moon”

“Georgia Moon” is not from Julian’s most recent album, Beyond the Reservoir. Rather, it’s from a new, as yet unreleased album called Anthology, which brings together some of Julian’s greatest songs from his 25-year career. It’s a chance for all the people who discovered him early in the pandemic, with the release of his Juno-nominated, Canadian Folk Music Award-winning album The Ridge, to catch up on his body of work. And you can’t go much farther back in Julian’s career than to “Georgia Moon.” It’s one of the first songs he ever wrote as a teenager with the band that would establish his career: Staggered Crossing. But honestly, it fits right in with his current repertoire with it’s country-tinged, cinematic vibe. Julian’s been a force in the Canadian music scene for a long time, and hearing early tracks like this is a good reminder as to why.

Qiyuapik (James Ungalaq) – “alianairaalunga”

Long before the Jerry Cans, Quantum Tangle or Piqsiq – long before Susan Aglukark even, there was Northern Haze. The Igloolik band’s self-titled debut album, released in 1985 through the CBC northern service, is believed to be the first Indigenous language rock album ever recorded in North America. The band was never able to afford to record a follow-up, and it disbanded in 2007 after the deaths of two of its members. But then along came the Jerry Cans, who convinced the remaining members to reunite. They released their long-awaited follow-up in 2018. And now we have Rebel Music, the debut solo album from Qiyuapik, the stage name of James Ungalaq, one of the founding members of Northern Haze. And what an album it is! The music is driven by acoustic guitar and a booming drumbeat, and the catchy melodies and subtle harmonies are accessible to both folk and pop fans, but the music also contains plenty of nods to hard rock and psychedelia. Check out this single to see exactly what I mean.

Juurini – “Qaumajur” (feat. Beatrice Deer)

Juurini, a.k.a. Joey Partridge, made his debut two years ago with a gorgeous acoustic EP called Saimanrimut. Now he’s got a follow-up on the way, and if this single is any indication, we’re in for a treat. “Quamajur” is the kind of catchy acoustic roots/pop song that Juurini does so darned well, and this time, we’re treated to breathtaking backing vocals from Beatrice Deer.

Adrian Sutherland – “Notawe”

Adrian first captured people’s attention as the front man for the Attiwapiskat band Midnight Shine when the group released a cover of Neil Young’s “Heart of Gold” sung partly in Omushkegowuk Cree. But other singles from the band, such as “Sister Love,” “Northern Man” and “Survivor,” revealed that Adrian was also a skilled songwriter. His debut solo album, When the Magic Hits, reinforced that impression. And now, we have the first single from its forthcoming follow-up, due early next year. This one is about dearly departed fathers, and it was produced, as several of Adrian’s songs have been, by Colin Linden.

Allison Russell – “Snakelife”

How do you follow-up one of the most acclaimed debut albums in the past decade or so? Well, if the first singles from Allison’s forthcoming album, The Returner, are any indication, you make one just as good. Of the three singles she’s released so far – the title track and “Stay Right Here” being the previous two – “Snakelife” is probably the biggest departure from Allison’s signature sound. It’s more amospheric and cinematic than soulful and hookey. But it makes me all the more intrigued to hear how it fits into what is undoubtedly one of the most anticipated new albums of the year.

 

 

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