Home Feature Jan Vanderhorst launches third volume of Just Us Folk book series

Jan Vanderhorst launches third volume of Just Us Folk book series


More often than not here at Roots Music Canada, your Saturday read is a story from Jan Vanderhorst, host of the long-running radio program-turned-podcast Just Us Folk.

Every year, Jan interviews dozens of artists on his show then turns those interviews into stories for this fine website.

And he has now published three volumes of those stories in book form.

The third of those, Just Us Folk: Music to Our Ears Again, came out this month.

The subtitle derives from the lyrics to David Francey’s song “The Breath Between,” Jan explained.

A changed musical landscape

“The epigraph in the book is, ‘the sun’s returned for all to see a world of light and memory, smiling faces of missing friends, music to our ears again.’ So I thought that, you know, it sort of fit what’s been going on.”

By that, Jan means the return to music industry operations following the end of COVID-related lockdowns – a series of events captured indirectly in his first two books: We Shift and Remain and The Long Haul.

“The first two were, you know, about all the plans that artists had that were dashed because of the COVID pandemic,” Jan said.

“The second one can [be] transformed into, ‘OK, now, what do I do?’ And this one sort of picks up from there and goes through, ‘OK, we can go back to live music, but the economic conditions have changed.’”

Jan, Garnet Rogers and James Gordon swap books following the release of Jan’s second book, The Long Haul.

There aren’t as many venues and festivals available as there were before COVID because some have shut down, Jan noted.

And streaming royalties have eaten away at artists’ album revenues.

“You know, a lot of artists are wondering, ‘Should I even make an album anymore?’” Jan said. “Because, you know, I’m not gonna get my money back out of it, you know?”

Yet, in spite of everything they’ve faced over the past five years, Jan found that the passion of the artists he interviewed remained consistent.

“They still have the urge to create new songs and to find ways to present them in front of an audience and connect with an audience,” he said.

“They’re doing it online with Zoom concerts or connecting with their audience giving them extra content online through, like, Patreon memberships.”

Jan with his first book, We Shift and Remain.

The artists featured in the book range from Order of Canada recipient Tom Wilson and Juno winner Catherine MacLellan to Juno nominee Susie Vinick, Quebec music icon Benoit Bourque, celebrated east coast singer-songwriter Dave Gunning, Montreal duo the Bombadils, Cape Breton singer-songwriter Mary Beth Carty and many more.

The book also contains something the previous two volumes didn’t: photos!

Buy your copy at Amazon.


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