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Recently posted by Jamie Fitzpatrick

Favourite Records and Musical Turning Points

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Many rock n' roll fans of a certain age will recall their first encounter with the Ramones.


Folks of a slightly older generation might remember when they first heard Janis Joplin.


Then there's Nana Mouskouri. Not held in quite the same regard by those who grew up on rock n roll. But she's the idol of millions, and for many she was a staple in the family record collection.


Those are a few of the artists we'll hear this week, as guest host Jamie Fitzpatrick sits down with three Newfoundland songwriters.


They'll talk about their earliest favourite records, and recall the songs that made them want to play music in the first place.


The guests include Joanna Barker, Sean Panting, and Mary Barry.

Chris Hennessy's Road to Torbay

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A restless spirit and a touring band brought Chris Hennessy from Ireland to Canada in the 1970s.


When he reached Newfoundland he never looked back.


He's spent most of his life in Torbay, playing original and traditional songs at pubs around St. John's.


Chris dropped by Studio F at CBC St. John's to record a session for the Performance Hour, and we'll hear it this week.


Our second studio session features Aley Waterman.


She's been in bands, as a keyboard player and harmony singer, and is currently a member of Thee Internet, one of the most popular new bands in St. John's


She's also a burgeoning songwriter, just starting to explore her own sound and voice.


Aley Waterman took time from her studies at Memorial University to drop by the Performance Hour studio.

Jenny Gear's Latest Favourites

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It's over a decade since Jenny Gear wowed audiences on Canadian Idol. She remains one of the finest voices in Newfoundland and Labrador.


Lately she's been working on new songs with her longtime collaborator, Sandy Morris.


You'll hear Jenny Gear this Saturday on CBC Radio, in a session recorded exclusively for the Performance Hour.


She and Sandy drop by the studio to play a few tunes and talk about plans for a new Jenny Gear album.


Our second session features a rousing fiddle and accordion set by Graham Wells and Billy Sutton.


Graham and Billy are constant companions in Newfoundland traditional music. They host regular sessions around St. John's, trading tunes with players from across the province and beyond.

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Gordon Quinton: A Visit With the Virtuoso

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Since starting out in the coffee house folk scene of the 1970s, Gordon Quinton has mastered a finger-picking style that makes him the envy of fellow guitarists far and wide.


The release of his 2012 album, A Guitar's Story, proves that he's still at the top of his game.


While he was still at work on that record, Gordon took an afternoon to drop by the CBC Studios.


This week you'll hear him talk about the new music and how e achieves the brilliantly coloured sound that defines his work. Plus he'll play some of his latest tunes.


Also this week, a session with Danielle Bailey.


Danielle is among the latest in a series of young singers and songwriters emerging in St. John's. Her visit to CBC's Studio F represents her first real recording session. 

Newfoundland Musicians and Their Roots

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Colleen Power had to trick her father into buying her a Michael Jackson album.


Terry Penney was enthralled by the voices he heard coming from the kitchen radio.


Chris Kirby's life changed late one night when he stayed up to watch a concert on television.


We'll hear those stories and more his Saturday (May 18) as the Performance Hour continues its occasional series on Newfoundland musicians and their early influences.


Colleen Power, Terry Penney, and Chris Kirby join me to talk about favourite singers and memorable songs.


The playlist includes country legend Hank Williams, Francophone star Pierre Lapointe, the celebrated singer-songwriter Randy Newman, and much more.

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Live from ECMA 2013: The All-Time East Coast Top Ten

This week, we hand the reins over to our sister show, Atlantic Airwaves, for a very special live broadcast from the 2013 East Coast Music Awards weekend in Halifax.

Host Stephanie Domet will count down the Top Ten East Coast Songs of All Time, as selected by voters at CBCMusic.ca.

The songs will be performed live by artists like Maureen Ennis, Jimmy Rankin, George Canyon, Jenn Grant, and Ben Caplan.

 

The Top Ten has been revealed, and you can view the list here.

 

But which Atlantic Canadian classic will top the charts as number one? You'll have to listen to find out.

 

Because this is a live show, it will only be heard during our CBC Radio One broadcast. It will be on the air at the usual time, 5:35 PM, half an hour earlier in Labrador.

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The ECMA Extravaganza, 2013 Edition

If you go back to the early 1990s, to names like the Irish Descendants and Thomas Trio and the Red Albino, you can use the East Coast Music Awards to track changing fashions in Newfoundland and Labrador music, year over year.

It's far from definitive, but the list of nominees provides a glimpse of how our music is viewed by the insiders and industry professionals who vote on the awards.

The 2013 ECMA weekend kicks off Wednesday, March 6 in Halifax, and that's our focus for the next two weeks.

On Saturday, March 2, the Performance Hour checks in on the Newfoundland and Labrador challengers who are heading off to this year's extravaganza.

The 2013 ECMA idols from this province include Repartee, The Once, Chris Kirby, the Long Distance Runners, and the Dardanelles. We'll hear them and a whole lot more.

On Saturday, March 9, we hand the reins over to our sister show, Atlantic Airwaves, for one of the highlights of ECMA 2013: The Top Ten East Coast Songs of All Time.

Stephanie Domet hosts a one-hour special from Halifax, featuring artists like George Canyon, Jenn Grant, Jimmy Rankin and Maureen Ennis.

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The Sparks Literary Festival, Part Two

in_the_field.jpgThis Saturday we sample more poetry, fiction, and non-fiction from the dynamic and ever-changing literary scene in Newfoundland and Labrador.

In the second of two shows recorded at the 2013 Sparks Literary Festival in St. John's, we hear from Joan Sullivan, Gerard Collins, and Eva Crocker.

They're joined by special guest Carmine Starnino, one of Canada's renowned poets.

Joan Sullivan is the author of In The Field, published by Breakwater Books. It tells the story of Stephen Norris, a volunteer with the Newfoundland Regiment in World War One, and the lasting impact the war had on his family and community.

Gerard Collins is the award-winning author of a short story collection, Moonlight Sketches, and a novel, Finton Moon. Both books are set in the fictional town of Darwin, Newfoundland.

Eva Crocker is part of the new generation of Newfoundland writers. Currently a student at Memorial University, she has been writing acclaimed fiction and poetry.

Carmine Starnino is a poet, essayist, and critic in Montreal. He's a past winner of the Canadian Authors' Association Prize for Poetry and the David McKeen Award for Poetry. His latest book is Lazy Bastardism.

Newfoundlanders With a Story to Tell: The Sparks Literary Festival

That-Forgetfu-Shore-Trudy-Morgan-Cole-Cover.jpgThis week's show features scenes from a Newfoundland outport during the war years, poetry about old hockey players, a glimpse of a Greek vacation gone wrong, and much more.

We'll hear it all as guest host Jamie Fitzpatrick presents the first of two shows recorded last weekend at the 2013 Sparks Literary Festival in St. John's,

The annual festival has been showcasing Newfoundland and Labrador writers since 2010, and the Performance Hour has been there every year.

For the 2013 edition, book lovers packed the Petro Canada Hall on the campus of Memorial University.

They were treated to a showcase of the spectacular range of Newfoundland literature. From that event, we'll hear:

Trudy Morgan-Cole reading from her novel, That Forgetful Shore.

Randall Maggs with selections from his acclaimed collection, Night Work: The Sawchuk Poems.

Plus brand new fiction from Ramona Dearing, and the poetry of Iain McCurdy.

We'll hear further highlights from the festival in our second Sparks show, on February 2.

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Sherman Downey Takes the New Songs for a Workout

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Music fans first came to know him as the guy with the dreadlocks from the Codroy Valley.

Now he's one of the hottest young voices in Newfoundland and Labrador music.

This Saturday's show Oct 6 features Sherman Downey and his band the Silver Lining, recorded live in concert.

It's been two years since a highly-acclaimed debut CD called Honey for Bees put Sherman and his band on the local music map.

They're targeting this fall for the release of the all-important second album.

Many of the songs destined for that album were heard during the band's recent tour of the province, and they drew a tremendous response from a growing community of fans.

Those tunes are featured on this week's show, recorded at the St. John's Arts and Culture Centre. 

Man of the Year: New Tunes from Sean Panting, St. John's Singer and Songwriter

"I'm the sum of all my fears. I'm the man of the year."

So says singer-songwriter Sean Panting, as he gets set to release his latest album.

Panting04.jpgThat CD will be called Man of the Year, and it's his first in nearly six years.

In the time since then, Sean has been busy acting (Republic of Doyle) and raising kids.

He's also written a batch of new songs, many of which reflect on the ups and downs of family life. Man of the Year was released in December.

Sean Panting dropped by the CBC studio, guitar in hand, for a session and chat recorded exclusively for the Performance Hour. (July 28)

Here's our exclusive video excerpt from Sean's visit to CBC's Studio F in St. John's:

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Also on the show this week - Forty years on, Denis Parker is still confessin' the blues.

Since landing on these shores in the early seventies, he's been one of the bedrock artists of the Newfoundland and Labrador blues scene.

This Saturday (July 28) we showcase the current edition of Denis Parker, with John Clarke sitting in on dobro and guitar, recorded live at the Ship Pub in St. John's.

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Megan Warren, Mark Bragg, Dan Bursey, and Craig Young in the CBC-MusicNL Songwriters' Circle

meg warren.jpgThis week's edition of the CBC-MusicNL Songwriters' Circle calls on voices from around the province.

Megan Warren (left) is from Grand Falls-Windsor. She's the lead singer and songwriter in the band Repartee, which released an outstanding self-titled album in September.

Lewisporte's Dan Bursey delivers songs in a voice that has been described as "gentle, pure, and inviting." He won Gospel Album of the Year at the 2011 Music Newfoundland and Labrador Awards.

Born and raised on the southwest coast, Craig Young is an acclaimed session guitarist who first made his name in Nashville. He's another 2011 MusicNL winner, for Country Album of the Year.

Mark Bragg is the "delightfully disturbing" rock n' roll man from St. John's. His new album, Your Kiss, is an acclaimed collection of songs ranging from the poignant to the absurd.

They came together at the Delta Hotel in St. John's during the 2011 Music Newfoundland and Labrador Awards weekend.

Our CBC Radio recording crew was on hand to capture it all, and you'll hear that show this Saturday (July 21) on the Performance Hour.

Veterans and Rookies in the CBC-MusicNL Songwriters' Circle

Kim Stockwood's first session for CBC Radio dates back to the early 1990s.

hornell.jpgRon Hynes' status as one of Canada's signature songwriters goes back even further.

Matthew Hornell and Andrew James O'Brien are of a much younger generation, each arriving on the local music scene in the last couple of years.

Together, they make an outstanding quartet for the 2011 CBC-MusicNL Songwriters' Circle.

Matthew, Andrew, Kim, and Ron shared the stage on a Sunday afternoon in October, at the Delta Hotel in St. John's.

It was a highlight of the 2011 Music Newfoundland and Labrador Awards weekend, and you'll hear the results this Saturday (July 14) on the Performance Hour.

You'll hear award-winning songs from all four, wrapping up with Kim Stockwood's emotional rendering of a classic from the Ron Hynes songbook.

Photo: Matthew Hornell, by Susan Wyse.

Performance Hour Video: Aley Waterman in Studio F

She's studied piano since the age of five. She's given piano lessons to kids, competed in music festivals, and played keyboard in bands.

Now Aley Waterman has her own songs to sing. Here's a tune from her recent Performance Hour session, recorded in Studio F at CBC St. John's.

It's called "Halfway Song." The full session airs on the July 7th edition of The Performance Hour 

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Performance Hour VIdeo: Chris Hennessy's Tribute to Torbay

A restless spirit and a touring band brought Chris Hennessy from Ireland to Canada in the 1970s, and when he reached Newfoundland he never looked back.

He's spent most of his life in Torbay, playing original and traditional songs at pubs around St. John's.

Chris dropped by Studio F at CBC St. John's to record a session for the Performance Hour.

We captured that session on video as well, and from it, here's Chris Hennessy doing one of his signature songs. "The Sea Town of Torbay."

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Crooked Tunes from a Night at The Ship

 

cameron malischewski.jpgHe cut his teeth in the folk clubs of Toronto. She grew up in the east end of St. John's.

Duncan Cameron and Charlotte-Anne Malischewski share a love of Newfoundland tunes, traditional standards, and songs from Quebec.

We'll hear them this Saturday (June 30) on the Performance Hour, in a Folk Night session recorded at the Ship Pub in St. John's.

Charlotte-Anne is a fiddle player steeped in the Newfoundland tradition, with a fondness for the "crooked tune." Duncan is a multi-instrumentalist who brought bouzouki, guitar, fiddle, and concertina to the session. And they both sing.

The result is a rich and varied take on the trad sound, featuring songs and tunes, old and new, in French and English, from near and far.

(Photo by Rick West.)

Jody Richardson: Voice of Several Generations

If you haunted downtown St. John's in the 1980s, you surely spent a few late nights with Thomas Trio and the Red Albino.

If you took in the nightlife of the 1990s, you probably saw a Fur Packed Action gig.

If you're downtown anytime these days, you might by lucky to catch one of the best rock groups in the city today, the Pathological Lovers.

The common thread in all those bands: Jody Richardson, lead singer and songwriter.

He's our studio guest this week (June 23). He'll play a few tunes and talk about his long and winding career.

Here's a look at Jody's session at CBC Studio F. In this video he plays a song called "Six A.M."

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A Bedrock Artist of Newfoundland Blues

 

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Forty years on, Denis Parker is still confessin' the blues.

Since landing on these shores in the early seventies, he's been one of the bedrock artists of the Newfoundland and Labrador blues scene.

Denis has had his ups and downs during that time, including a couple of heart attacks, the most recent of which happened about a year ago.

But he's back in form, and this Saturday (June 9) we showcase the current edition of Denis Parker, with John Clarke sitting in on dobro and guitar, recorded live at the Ship Pub in St. John's.

"Confessin' the Blues" is one of the songs we'll hear, along with other standards, Parker originals, and much more.

Also on this week's show, Joel Thomas Hynes talks about his writing and we hear him read from his new collection of "intimate little narratives and observances," called Straight Razor Days.

Joanna Barker and the Songs of "February"

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And I've not completely grown
into the woman that I'm supposed to be.
But hell I'm a lot closer than I was last February.

That's the closing line from the debut album by Joanna Barker.

It's not meant as a status update on her growth as a singer and songwriter.

But it could be.

A little over a year ago, Joanna Barker was taking her first steps as a performer on the St. John's bar scene.

Now she has a debut CD chronicling a year's worth of life and experience.

The album is called February - referring to the 12-month period from one February to the next - and it establishes her as a singular voice in Newfoundland's burgeoning singer-songwriter community.

Joanna Barker joins us on the show this Saturday (June 2) to talk about the album and how she found her voice as a songwriter.

Also this week, we'll hear from Jim Fidler on his latest album, Up That River, and Katie Baggs brings us up to date on her band, All the Wiles.

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Performance Hour Video: Matthew Byrne Dusts Off an Irish Ballad

Here's an inside look at the studio session recorded for the May 19 edition of The Performance Hour.

Matthew Byrne sings an Irish classic he picked up it from the English folk singer Danny Spooner. It's called "The Banks of Bann."

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Matthew Byrne Digs Into the Newfoundland Songbook

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Though he emerged just a couple of years ago, Matthew Byrne ranks as one of Newfoundland's finest folk singers.

But you won't hear him doing many of the tried and true favourites.

Rather than treat everyone to yet another rendition of Lukey's Boat or Kelligrew's Soiree, he digs through the folklore collections for stuff most of us haven't heard before.

So every time you hear Matthew sing, there's a good chance you'll discover another page of the Newfoundland songbook.

This Saturday (May 19), Matthew Byrne drops by the CBC St. John's studio to sing a few ballads and talk about his fascination with our vast and varied folk culture.

A Note to Those in the St. John's Area: 
Join us for Matthew Byrne in concert at the LSPU Hall on Thursday, May 31. He'll have a variety of special guests, including Emilia Bartellas and Aaron Collis of The Dardanelles. Tickets are available at the LSPU Hall box office. The show will be recorded for broadcast on The Performance Hour.

Also on this week's show, we'll hear from the debut album by Pilot to Bombardier, and chat with the local jazz-funk trio Evry7th.

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Performance Hour Video: Chris Kirby's New Single

May 15 is the release date for the new Chris Kirby album, Wonderizer.

Chris talks about the album and plays a few songs from it this Saturday (May 12) on The Performance Hour.

We also captured that session on video.

From his visit to Studio F at CBC St. John's, here's Chris Kirby with a solo version of the first single on his new album.

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Performance Hour Video: Title Track from the New Chris Kirby Album

The soul man from Norris Arm is back.

This Saturday (May 12), Chris Kirby joins me in the Performance Hour studio to play songs from his brand new album, Wonderizer.

It's his third solo CD, and it continues the evolution of his rich blend of blues, R&B, soul, and funk.

Here's a video from Chris Kirby's session in Studio F at CBC St. John's. He's at the piano to play the title track from the new album.

 

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Performance Hour Video: Pamela Morgan Sings "The Frog Prince"

Pamela Morgan is back in the game.

After nearly three decades devoted to folk and traditional music, Pamela stepped away for the last few years.

We haven't heard much from her since the summer of 2008, when she led a reunion of Newfoundland and Labrador's seminal folk group, Figgy Duff.

Now she's recording and performing again, and you'll hear her new songs this Saturday (May 5) in a session recorded exclusively for the Performance Hour.

From that session, here's Pamela Morgan filmed live off the floor of Studio F at CBC St. John's.

She sings a lyric by the great Newfoundland poet Tom Dawe, set to music composed by Pamela.

It wonders whether the prince of fairy tale legend might ever long for his days as a frog, and regret the kiss that changed everything.

 

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The Symphonic Amelia Curran

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It's been quite a journey for the woman who got her start busking on the streets of St. John's.

These days Amelia Curran is considered one of the great young voices in Canadian music.

This Saturday you'll hear her songs in a whole new context, in a concert recorded at the Rebecca Cohn Auditorium in Halifax.

Amelia sings with Symphony Nova Scotia, giving some of her finest songs the full, sweeping symphonic treatment.

Conductor Shalom Bard leads the ensemble through arrangements written by two of Amelia's longtime collaborators, Erin Costello and Phil Sedore.

You'll hear favourites like Scattered and Small, Bye-Bye Montreal, and All Hands on a Grain of Sand, delivered with swelling strings and muscular brass. 

With a brand new album in the works, the concert provides a look back at how Amelia Curran's music has evolved during her meteoric rise over the last few years.

Most of us are used to hearing Amelia Curran accompanied by little more than an acoustic guitar.

But the "big" sound brings out nuances of dramatic tension, humour, and insight that you might not have heard before.

Also this week, poetry by Kerri Cull of Labrador City. She reads from her new collection, Soak, and talks about it.

Andrew James O'Brien Live in St. John's

157.jpgThey are few and far between, the songwriters who can stop you in your tracks, have you hanging on every word.


Andrew James O'Brien first appeared on this show as part of the 2010 CBC-Music NL Songwriters Circle in Rocky Harbour.


Almost nobody in the room knew who he was. His first album was still a few months away.


But from the moment he began his first song, you could hear a pin drop.


He's had that effect on audiences everywhere, and his days as an unknown performer are long over.


Last month, Andrew James O'Brien and his band the Searchers took the stage of the LSPU Hall in St. John's.


Fans packed the house for a pair of shows presented by CBC Radio, and the event turned into a celebration of one of the great young voices in Newfoundland music.


It was quite a time, as you'll hear this Saturday.

 

Photo: Andrew James O'Brien with Catherine Allan of his band the Searchers. (Bud Gaulton).

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Performance Hour Video: A New Song from Pamela Morgan

Pamela Morgan took an extended break from music for the last few years.

We haven't heard much from her since 2008, when she led a summer reunion of Figgy Duff, the seminal folk group of Newfoundland and Labrador.

But Pamela Morgan is back in the game, and you'll hear some of her new songs on the May 5 edition of the Performance Hour.

Here's one of them, Between the Lines, recorded live off the studio floor.

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Patrick Boyle's Ode to Confederation

patrick boyle by william suarez.jpgPatrick Boyle is a rising star of jazz who also dabbles in rock, rap, blues, and bluegrass. He plays live soundtracks to silent films. He's even composed an ode to his favorite fish n' chips shop.

At the most recent Sound Symposium in St. John's, Patrick took on another challenge: a musical reflection on Newfoundland and Labrador's union with Canada.

Well Enough Alone: The Confederation Suite, was composed by Patrick as a special commission for CBC Radio.

This Saturday (March 31), you'll hear the debut performance, recorded at the LSPU Hall in St. John's.

The show features an all-star lineup of Newfoundland jazz alumni:

Patrick Boyle, trumpet and flugelhorn.
John Nugent, saxophone.
Bill Brennan, piano.
Jim Vivian, bass.
Michael Billard, drums.

The second set from this concert features another Patrick Boyle composition: Same Here, along with Charlie Parker's Confirmation, and the Gershwin classic Embraceable You.

(Photo: William Suarez.)

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Performance Hour Video: Megan Warren of Repartee

Here's the lead singer of one of Newfoundland's hottest young bands, Repartee. Megan Warren performs her song "Strong" in Studio F at CBC St. John's. This video was shot during her session for the March 24 edition of The Performance Hour. 

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Check our "on demand" page for more video from previous Performance Hour studio sessions.

Megan Warren Follows the Songwriting Road Less Traveled

 

meg headshot edit.jpgMegan Warren wants you to get up and dance.

That's one of the reasons she formed a synth-pop band called Repartee back in 2009. The band quickly earned a reputation for high-energy, high-tempo live shows.

In that context, it can be hard to stand out as a distinct and original songwriter.

But Megan Warren's songs have layers of depth and personality you won't find in most catchy pop tunes.

It's one reason why Repartee is among the strongest young bands in Newfoundland and Labrador, in demand for events like Canada Music Week and the East Coast Music Awards.

This Saturday we'll hear her music in a more intimate setting, as Megan joins me in Studio F at CBC St. John's.

She'll sit at the Steinway grand piano to play a few selections from the Repartee catalogue, and talk about her songs and her band.

Also on this week's show, new fiction by Russell Wangersky, from his short story collection Whirl Away.

A Performance Hour Documentary Special: "A Bullet for the General"

The latest audio feature from Newfoundland documentary maker Chris Brookes unravels the mystery of Major General Hugh Tudor.Tudor mugshot-1.jpg

For four decades, this decorated World War One general and friend of Winston Churchill lived in St. John's - far from his country, his wife and children, and very far indeed from the limelight.

But he lived in fear, carrying a Webley revolver and a set of brass knuckles in case of a surprise attack.

And he harboured a dark secret - one that would eventually carry an assassin across the Atlantic on a mission to hunt him down. Or so they say.

Tudor had been the commander of the infamous Black and Tans, the British force formed in 1920 to "fight fire with fire" against the IRA in Ireland.

After Irish independence in 1922, Tudor was considered a marked man, and he escaped to exile in Newfoundland.

Did the assassination attempt actually happen, or is it the stuff of legend?

With the help of Newfoundland crime novelist Thomas Curran, the documentary sleuths the mystery of a man reviled in Ireland as a rapacious war criminal, and remembered in St. John's only as a quiet old man.

"A Bullet for the General" is a Battery Radio production, and aired on RTE Dublin in January.

You'll find an audio listening link and background information on Hugh Tudor at the Battery Radio website.

Performance Hour Video: Jill Porter Sings "Birds"

Here's Newfoundland singer and songwriter Jill Porter in Studio F at CBC St. John's. This video was shot during her session recorded for the March 10 edition of The Performance Hour. 

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Saturday on the Performance Hour: Jill Porter Perseveres

JillPorter.jpgIt's nearly seven years since Jill Porter released her debut album, took to the road, and played regular shows in downtown St. John's.

The woman from Burgeo has been more quiet lately, working her day job and avoiding the late nights.

But she's never far from her guitar, does plenty of recording at home, and  continues working with other local singers and songwriters like Mark Bragg, Mick Davis, and Duane Morgan.

This Saturday (March 10), Jill Porter visits the Performance Hour studio, guitar in hand, with a batch of new songs.

We'll hear how she's changed and grown from the young woman who made her self-described "authentic rock and roll" album back in 2005.

Also this week, we'll hear St. John's novelist Edward Riche reading at the Sparks Literary Festival, and Mark Hiscock of Shanneyganock talks about the band's latest album, a tribute to the music and legacy of the McNulty Family.

(Jill Porter photo by Tracy Davis) 

Constant Companions in Newfoundland Traditional Music

graham-billy-jason.jpgThe fiddle and accordion are a near-perfect combination in Newfoundland trad music.

And the same might be said of Graham Wells and Billy Sutton.

Having learned the music at the feet of his father and grandfather, Graham is a button accordion player of great renown in St. John's.

Billy is master of many instruments, but the fiddle is his weapon of choice when he and Graham sit down to play.

For over a decade they've been jamming together and trading tunes. These days they host regular sessions at Erin's Pub in St. John's.

This Saturday (March 3), Graham Wells and Billy Sutton drop by the Performance Hour studio, armed with fiddle and accordion, ready for a chat and a spirited set of tunes.

Also this week, Leslie Vryenhoek reads from her latest book of poetry, Gulf.

With titles like "The Sum of Come From Aways" and "New Tenant's Lament," her poems explore the meaning of home and the search for belonging. Her reading was recorded at the 2012 Sparks Literary Festival in St. John's.

(Photo: Don Shorrock)

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Stories Real and Imagined from Newfoundland and Labrador Writers

33 callanan at 2012 sparks.jpgOver the next few weeks we'll highlight the dynamic and ever-changing literary scene in Newfoundland and Labrador.

Each show will include a brief performance by one of our finest writers, as heard at the 2012 Sparks Literary Festival in St. John's.

Our recording crew was at the festival in January, where local writers like Mark Callanan, Patirck Warner, and Leslie Vryenhoek read from their latest work.

It's the kind of radio that rewards close listening. If you can stop whatever else you're doing and give it your full attention, you'll be rewarded.

This week we'll feature poetry by Mark Callanan. His latest book, Gift Horse, has been hailed as a collection of "incredible poems of mortality" by the National Post.

Also this week, my studio guest is Aley Waterman, the young singer, songwriter, and pianist from Corner Brook.

Plus I talk to the members of Every7th, and we hear from the first two albums released by the self-described flamenco-flared acoustic rock trio.

Photo: Mark Callanan at the 2012 Sparks Literary Festival (Maria Penney).

Performance Hour Video: Chris Picco in Studio F

The St. John's singer and songwriter played three brand new songs in this week's recording session for the Performance Hour, including one that remains a work in progress.

It's called The Beach.

Here it is, filmed live off the studio floor at CBC St. John's:

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Chris Picco: The Long Distance Runner Slows His Pace

DSC_9060-1.jpgLike many a Newfoundlander before him, Chris Picco set out for the bright lights of Toronto at a young age.

That's where he got started as a singer and songwriter, releasing his first album in 2004.

But a few years later, Chris was back in his hometown of St. John's, and it's proved to be a productive return.

After releasing another solo album in 2007, he formed a band called The Long Distance Runners.

Their debut CD is nominated for Rock Recording of the Year at the upcoming East Coast Music Awards, and a new album by the Long Distance Runners will be ready by April.

Meanwhile, Chris Picco continues his solo work, and he's our studio guest this Saturday (February 11) on the Performance Hour.

He'll play a song from the upcoming Long Distance Runners CD, plus a couple of brand new tunes, and talk about his slow and steady approach to his music career.

Also this week, we'll hear "Mainland Man" and several other poems read by St. John's poet Danielle Devereaux, and chat with the local jazz-funk trio Evry7th.

(Photo: Sandra Lee.)

Performance Hour Video: Terry Penney Seeks His "Last Guitar"

Terry Penney made the drive from Lewisporte to join us for this Saturday's edition of the Performance Hour (February 4).

From his session in Studio F at CBC St. John's, here's a preview of the show.

Terry Penney performs the title track from his new album, The Last Guitar.

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Terry Penney's Songs of Lovers, Fighters and Bikers

terry-penney-1.jpgA childhood memory from Shoal Harbour, a romance stretching from Lewisporte to Colorado, a motorcycle club in central Newfoundland...

Those are just a few of the subjects addressed in the latest batch of songs by Terry Penney.

The Lewisporte singer and songwriter is about to release his fifth album, The Last Guitar.

This Saturday (February 4) he drops by the Performance Hour studio, guitar in hand.

He'll discuss the new album and play several songs from it.

Also this week, new music from the Navigators. Lead singer and songwriter Arthur O'Brien talks about Soldiers and Sailors, the latest CD from a much-loved trad band.

(Photo credit: Angie Wilmott)

Remembering "What a Time" It Was

ryans fancy CD.jpgThey are cited as an influence and inspiration by countless traditional bands and musicians.

But for many years, most of the music of Ryan's Fancy was unavailable. The band made a dozen LPs between 1971 and 1983, all of them long since out of print.

That all changes earlier this year, with the release of What a Time: A Forty Year Celebration.

The two-CD set assembles 42 favourites from the days when Ryan's Fancy was a household name, renowned for their live shows and known to all as television stars who travelled and filmed across Newfoundland and the Maritimes.

This Saturday, the Performance Hour reviews the remarkable career of Ryan's Fancy. Surviving members Dennis Ryan and Fergus O'Byrne join me to talk about the new release and hear a few of the old tunes.

They'll recall their younger days, pay tribute to their late friend and colleague Dermot O'Rielly, tell a few stories, and remember what a time it was.

From Storefront to Studio: Busker and Songwriter Danielle Bailey on the Performance Hour

She's a regular outside the Sobey's on Merrymeeting Road in St. John's.

If you're picking up groceries or seeking a libation at the adjacent liquor store, you might hear Danielle Bailey sing a Dylan song, or a John Prine song, or maybe one of her own.

Danielle came in from the cold to record a session in Studio F at CBC St. John's, and talk about her music. You'll hear it this Saturday (Dec. 3) on the Performance Hour.

For a preview of the show, check out this video of Danielle Bailey, made during her visit to Studio F. She sings "Whiskey and Women," one of three original songs you'll hear this Saturday.

And if you see her on your next shopping trip, singing her heart out on the sidewalk, toss a Loonie her way. It will be another small boost for a burgeoning songwriter.

Performance Hour Video: Danielle Bailey Sings "Whiskey and Women"

Danielle will be our guest on Saturday, December 3, chatting and playing a few tunes.

In advance of that show, here's a video shoot from one of the songs Danielle did during her session in Studio F at CBC St. John's.

It's a great tune that grabbed our attention when she performed it at HeavyWeather.ca:

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Superpickers! and the Peter Narvaez Legacy

 superpickers.jpgI wound up in one of the best places in North America for folk music, and that's Newfoundland. I feel like I've been blessed musically... As long as you're expressing yourself from the heart, people dig your music. It's a fantastic place to live and call home. - Peter Narvaez, April, 2011

Acoustic blues, ragtime, and country music, played with finger-picking guitar and a moaning harmonica.

It's the kind of music Peter Narvaez loved and thrived on all his life.

Peter passed away last week at the age of 69, leaving a great legacy as a Newfoundland musician and folklorist.

The final chapter in that legacy was a collaboration with Glen Collins and Sandy Morris. They called themselves Superpickers!

The Superpickers! album, Blues on the Ceiling, was released last spring. It's a showcase of roots music and original songs.

In retrospect, it's also a great sendoff for Peter Narvaez, who handled finger-picked guitar, blues harp, and lead vocals.

In April, the three men of Superpickers! dropped by the CBC studio for an extended chat with the Performance Hour, and we played several cuts from the album.

We'll rebroadcast that show this Saturday (Nov. 19), as a tribute to the Peter Narvaez.

Photo: Sandy Morris, Peter Narvaez, Glen Collins (L-R).

The Fine Art of Jigs, Reels and Murder Ballads

hewson and smith.jpgCreative partnerships are volatile. Keeping one together requires diplomacy, humility, an open mind, and an appreciation of the big picture. 

Genuine friendship doesn't hurt, either. Which brings us to Jean Hewson and Christina Smith, friends and musical soul mates.

2010 marked their 25th year as a fiddle-and-guitar duo and institution on the Newfoundland and Labrador folk music scene.

"The Ducks," as they occasionally call themselves, celebrated with a pair of rousing anniversary concerts in November, and you'll hear the highlights this Saturday (Nov. 5) on the Performance Hour.

Jean and Christina play many of their most popular songs and tunes. They're joined by special guest Daniel Payne, and a packed house of trad music fans who take the show home with a series of standing ovations.

Recording Live this Sunday: The CBC-MusicNL Songwriters Circle

stockwood water.jpgKim Stockwood (left) will be there.

So will Ron Hynes and a host of other great Newfoundland songwriters.

If you love a great tune, you'll want to be there as well.

It's the 2011 CBC-MusicNL Songwriters' Circle, this Sunday afternoon at the Delta Hotel in St. John's.

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The lineup is spectacular. Along with Kim and Ron, you'll hear Matthew Hornell, Mark BraggMegan Warren, Dan Bursey (right), Craig Young, and Andrew James O'Brien.

The show features two sets, with four songwriters in each set. So you get two circles for the price of one.

If you're in the St. John's area, please join us at the Delta. Admission is $20 and the music begins at 2:00.

We'll be recording the music for future broadcast on the Performance Hour, and it will sound a whole lot better if you're part of the show.

Check out the Music Newfoundland and Labrador website for more about the Songwriters' Circle and other events in what promises to be a jam-packed MusicNL Awards Week. 

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Fierce, Feisty and Furious: The Dardanelles in Concert

 
Dards_Ship-1.jpg"...a bunch of young bucks lashing through a fierce and feisty bunch of fit trad grace notes." - Irish Times
 

"...a fresh and invigorating new voice in Newfoundland music." - Patrick Boyle, musician

 
"The Dardanelles... played accordions, fiddles and guitars loud and furious and then louder and more furious." - Cleveland Dealer
 
Many folk musicians talk about their love of the past, about honouring the tradition and preserving a legacy.
 
But if you're looking for a band that looks ahead, driving the tradition relentlessly forward, we've got it for you this Saturday (Oct. 15).
 
The Dardanelles make the old music sound as fresh and vital as if it was written yesterday, 
 
Without opting for "contemporary" arrangements - no electric guitars or drums here - the band gives the Newfoundland tradition a shot of adrenalin by capturing the joy and fire within the classic tunes.
 
The musicianship is brilliant, but it's the spirit of discovery and infectious devotion to the music that makes the Dardanelles one of the hottest young trad acts in Canada.
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Joanna Barker: A Songwriter Grows Up in Public

Thumbnail image for IMG_0222.JPGJoanna Barker has played music all her life. But it's barely a year since she took centre stage and started singing her own songs.

Joanna is the latest in a series of young singer-songwriters to emerge from Grand Falls-Winsor.

It was another Grand Falls artist, Matthew Hornell, who convinced Joanna to do her first bar gig when she moved to St. John's. Now she's working on her first album.

This Saturday (October 8) Joanna Barker joins us in the CBC studio to play a few songs and tell us about her early adventures in music.

Also this week, the prolific Ian Foster. The St. John's songwriter talks about his latest album, Evening Light. It's his fifth full-length CD in the last five years.

Festivals, Folkies, Writers and Jazz Cats: The Performance Hour in Summer

Our schedule for July and August includes music from an exciting festival season in St. John's, highlights from Newfoundland's newest literary event, and the finest concerts recorded by our CBC Radio crew over the last year or so.

Here's the lineup:

Saturday, July 9 - A world of traditional music arrives in St. John's next week. The SoundShift Festival features everything from Portugese fado singing to music from the Beijing opera. Jean Hewson introduces us to the spectacular range of acts on the SoundShift concert schedule.

patrick boyle and band.jpgSaturday, July 16 - In a musical reflection on Newfoundland's union with Canada, jazz composer and trumpeter Patrick Boyle performs "Well Enough Alone: The Confederation Suite." Recorded live at the LSPU Hall in St. John's, the concert features an all-star lineup of Newfoundland-born jazz players.

Saturday, July 23 - Showcasing a young songwriter from western Newfoundland, the Mountains and the Trees are making inroads on the folk circuit across Canada and in Europe. We'll hear a concert featuring songs from the band's latest CD.

Saturday, July 30 - We'll set you up for the 2011 Newfoundland and Labrador Folk Festival, with music by Paul Brady, Sarah Harmer, the Good Lovelies, and other folk luminaries scheduled to appear at Bannerman Park in St. John's.

Saturday, August 6 - The Circle of Payne: Jim Payne, Charlie Payne, Daniel Payne, and Roy Payne gather at the Fisherman's Landing Inn in Rocky Harbour, where they share songs, tunes, and stories from their diverse musical careers. It's the first of two songwriters' circles recorded during the 2010 Music Newfoundland and Labrador Awards weekend.

Amelia Curran.jpgSaturday, August 13 - The hottest name in Newfoundland music did more than collect an armload of trophies during last October's Music Newfoundland and Labrador Awards weekend in Rocky Harbour. Amelia Curran also hosted the 2010 CBC-MusicNL Songwriters' Circle, Episode Two. Amelia joins Teresa Ennis, Rick Lambe, and Andrew O'Brien to share songs and stories before a packed house of west coast music fans.

Saturday, August 20 - Today's show features stories, poetry and aphorisms from some of Newfoundland and Labrador's finest writers. In the first of two shows recorded at the 2011 Sparks Literary Festival in St. John's, Kevin Major, Robin McGrath, Libby Creelman, Kate Evans, and Bernice Morgan read from their latest work.

Saturday, August 27 - In our second show from the Sparks Literary Festival in St. John's, we sample poetry, fiction, and non-fiction from the dynamic and ever-changing literary scene in Newfoundland and Labrador. Larry Mathews, Jane Urquhart, George Murray, James Langer, and Emily White read from their latest work.

Jazz, Blues, and Beyond

jaffa-road.jpgMusic festival season is just getting underway here in St. John's.

That includes the Wreckhouse International Jazz and Blues Festival, which begins July 13.

The Performance Hour has been tracking the progress of that event since it began a decade ago.

If you've never been to the festival, the first thing you need to know is that Wreckhouse operates on a very broad definition of "jazz and blues."

Every year, the lineup features an incredible variety of artists from across Canada.

This Saturday (July 2), the Performance Hour brings you music from the singers and players who will headline the 2011 edition of Wreckhouse.

You'll hear diaspora roots music from Jaffa Road, torch songs by Jill Barber, blues tunes with an Indian raga twist from Harry Manx, and much more.

(Photo courtesy of Jaffa Road)

Folk Legends at the Folk Festival

martin carthy.jpgAs we wait for summer to finally begin, the Performance Hour takes you back to a hot August morning at Bannerman Park in St. John's.

This Saturday (June 25) you'll hear music from the 2010 Newfoundland and Labrador Folk Festival, featuring a quartet of outstanding traditional artists.

Martin Carthy, Eliza Carthy, Hammy Hamilton and Dave Panting gather for a session called "The U.K. Connection."

Martin Carthy (pictured) and his daughter Eliza are among the most dynamic personalities in English folk music.

Hammy Hamilton is a master flutist and flutemaker from Belfast.

Dave Panting has played and sung with bands ranging from Figgy Duff to Rawlins Cross to the Irish Descendants.

They'll share tunes from the old world that helped shape the Newfoundland tradition.  

The Singer and the Squeezebox

Bob Hallett-1.jpgA voice and an accordion. Your Newfoundland folk music doesn't get much more basic than that.

The singer perched in the corner, cradling a squeezebox, has long been a fixture at parties and music sessions in Newfoundland and Labrador.

We celebrate the tradition of buttons, bellows and voices, this Saturday (June 18) on the Performance Hour.

It's a set recorded at last summer's Newfoundland and Labrador Folk Festival, featuring four veterans of local music.

Baxter Wareham, Fergus O' Byrne, Bob Hallett (pictured) and Jim Payne share the stage to squeeze out some of their favourite songs.

(Photo: Copyright Great Big Sea. Used by permission.)

Songs of Seduction and Courtship

archie fisher.jpgThe ancient love ballads of folk music rarely end happily.

The lovers usually end up separated and heartbroken. That's if they're both still alive.

But there's a comic side to the song tradition as well.

This Saturday (June 11) on the Performance Hour, you'll hear songs both comic and tragic in a session recorded at last summer's Newfoundland and Labrador Folk Festival.

The session is called "Bird in the Bush: Songs of Seduction and Courtship."

Your balladeers are Eliza Carthy and John Roberts from England, Archie Fisher from Scotland, and Anita Best from Placentia Bay.

They gathered on a sunny Sunday at Bannerman Park in St. John's to ponder the perils and pratfalls of romance.

You can hear the show Saturday afternoon at 5:35 island time, on CBC Radio One.

"Bird in the Bush" is also available at our Concerts on Demand website, where you can hear the finest music in Canada at the click of a mouse.

Photo: Archie Fisher is one of the great names in Scottish folk music.

The "Newfoundlanders Away" Edition

selina boland.jpg

Lately we've heard a good deal about more people from Newfoundland and Labrador staying home, or returning home to find work.
 
It's the side benefit of a booming economy (booming in some parts of the province, at least).
 
But there remain many thousands spread far and wide. Some of them would surely like to come home. Others couldn't be bothered.
 
Musicians have always been among our most prominent exports, and although many of them choose to stay, we still send plenty to the mainland and beyond.
 
This Saturday (June 4), we check in with Newfoundland artists living in Calgary, Toronto, and London, England.
 
Selina Boland (pictured), Barry Canning, David Picco, and Ashley Fayth will talk about their travels, their latest recordings, and how they maintain musical links back home.

The Expanding Range of Newfoundland Music

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Local CDs continue to emerge from the studios and basements of Newfoundland and Labrador musicians, so much so that earning steady airplay is a serious challenge.

This Saturday (May 28) we'll sit back and listen to some of the music released in the last few weeks, and the variety and range you'll hear is astounding.

These days, Newfoundland music is a label that's getting broader by the minute.

We'll feature the latest tunes from Mercy the Sexton, Dan Bursey, Kellie Loder (pictured), the Long Distance Runners, and Rex Goudie, among others.

Recalling the 2010 MusicNL Awards

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On this holiday weekend marking the advent of summer (such as it is) we're going to look back at one of the final weekends in autumn.

 
This Saturday (May 21), we review the 2010 Music Newfoundland and Labrador Awards,

In late October, Music Newfoundland and Labrador took its annual awards show to the heart of Gros Morne National Park.

It was a brilliant weekend of music, wrapping up when the trophies were handed out on Sunday evening at Gros Morne Academy in Rocky Harbour.

We'll sample music from the nominees and award winners, including Amelia Curran (pictured), Matthew Hornell, Gramercy Riffs, and more.

Jamming Without a Net

DAVID BRAID.jpgThey don't rehearse or write music together.

Sometimes they just get on stage and start playing without a word.

David Braid (left) and Phil Nimmons (below) play spontaneous music, improvised on the spot.

This Saturday (May 7) they'll bring that approach to the Performance Hour.

They played their first "improv" show in 2004, which is also when they made their first live, unedited and uncut CD, Beginnings.

Their forthcoming release, Falling Through, will be drawn from the concert we'll hear on this week's edition of the Performance Hour.

"If any two people represent the past, present and future of Canadian jazz, it has to be the inspired duo of clarinetist Phil Nimmons and his former pupil, David Braid." - Jazzfest International, Victoria

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Nimmons is a legend of the Canadian jazz scene. Braid, 52 years his junior, is one of the great young piano players in the country.

We'll hear them making-it-up-as-they-go in a concert recorded in St. John's.

They'll also take questions from the audience about the joys and pitfalls of improv music.

(Photo credit: Xu Jian)

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Canadian Jazz: The Next Generation

taradavidson.jpgThe first time Tara Davidson played in St. John's, she came with a pair of Canadian jazz heavyweights, Mike Murley and David Braid.

They called that band the Davidson Murley Braid Quintet, and among jazz fans her name would have been the least recognizable of the three.

But Mike Murley knew that wouldn't be the case for very long. He predicted that the next time she came through town she'd likely be leading a band of her own.

Fast forward to 2011. A few weeks ago, Tara Davidson released her third CD, and came to St. John's to begin a Canadian tour with the Tara Davidson Group.

The new album is called "View," and her current band represents a new generation of Canadian jazz players, with a renewed emphasis on melody and harmony.

This Saturday we'll hear their concert from the Petro Canada Hall on the campus of Memorial University,

Patrick Boyle's Ode to Confederation

patrick boyle and band.jpgMarking the 62nd anniversary of Newfoundland's union with Canada, the Performance Hour features new music by Patrick Boyle.

Well Enough Alone: The Confederation Suite was composed by Patrick in a special commission for CBC Radio.

You'll hear the debut broadcast, recorded during a concert at the LSPU Hall in St. John's.

It features an all-star lineup of Newfoundland jazz alumni:

  • Patrick Boyle, trumpet and flugelhorn.
  • John Nugent, saxophone.
  • Bill Brennan, piano.
  • Jim Vivian, bass.
  • Michael Billard, drums.

The second set from this concert featured another Patrick Boyle composition: Same Here, along with Charlie Parker's Confirmation and the Gershwin classic Embraceable You.  

 

Tom's All-Bluegrass Shindig

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Guest host Tom Power, local musician, folklorist and host of "Deep Roots" on CBC Radio 2, shares his passion for the music that shaped him as a person, player and broadcaster.

Growing up in suburban St. John's, Tom stumbled upon bluegrass music when he heard the award-winning movie soundtrack "Oh Brother Where Art Thou." It changed his life.

He began taking banjo lessons with the renowned academic and bluegrass aficionado Neil Rosenberg, and soon formed his own band in the basement of his parents' house in Cowan Heights.

Ten years later, Tom has a folklore degree from Memorial University, a national CBC Radio Show, and he tours North America with his Newfoundland trad band The Dardanelles.

On this week's show he plays many of his bluegrass favourites, including classics from the great Bill Monroe and early innovators Lester Flatt and Earl Scruggs (pictured), as well as tunes by Ricky Skaggs and Kentucky Thunder, Bela Fleck, and Chris Thile and the Punch Brothers.

Web Video: Tim Baker, Sherman Downey, and Jody Richardson Perform in Studio F

As I mentioned in the previous post, we're beginning a new occasional series this week: "Sessions in F."

Thanks to our friends at CBC Television, here's a look at the making of the show, with Tim Baker, Sherman Downey and Jody Richardson performing live off the floor in Studio F at CBC St. John's.

Tim Baker

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Sherman Downey

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Jody Richardson

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"Sessions in F" with Tim Baker, Jody Richardson, Sherman Downey, and Maggie Meyer

This Saturday, the Performance Hour presents a "Session in F."

That would be Studio F, at our CBC production center in St. John's.

We invited four artists to take a break from the bars, concert halls, and festival stages. By gathering them in the more intimate studio environment, we get an inside look at the Newfoundland and Labrador music scene.

Our first "Sessions in F" show features Sherman Downey, Jody Richardson of the Pathological Lovers, Tim Baker of Hey Rosetta!, and Maggie Meyer.

They dropped by the studio one night to play a few songs and share their thoughts on the struggles and rewards of making music.

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The Singer and the Player

Every vocalist needs an accompaniest, a trusted partner who can help the singer hit just the right note, in every sense.

jenny and sandy.jpgThe accompaniest is usually found playing guitar or piano, supporting and cajoling the singer, drawing back and pushing forward again.

When the partnership works, it truly illuminates the music.

This Saturday (March 12), we feature three successful collaborations in Newfoundland music, recorded in a concert called "Two by Two by Two."

You'll hear Jeff Dyer accompanied by Bill Brennan, Jenny Gear with Sandy Morris and his guitar at her side, and Julia Halfyard joined by her piano man, Brian Way.

It's an eclectic hour of music ranging from jazz standards to cabaret show-stoppers and covers of pop classics like "Purple Rain."

Duane and Dwayne: Tunes Across the Cabot Strait

duane-and-dwayne.jpgSince the release of his debut album in 2004, Duane Andrews has staked a claim as one of the great entertainers in Newfoundland and Labrador with his dazzling guitar style.

Duane is also an enthusiastic collaborator, always on the lookout for new and inspiring partnerships.

Not long ago, that search brought him to Cape Breton Island. That's the home of Dwayne Cote, a fiddler who has been described as the best kept secret in Celtic music.

Their collaboration explores a shared love of jigs, reels, and swinging jazz.

From a concert tour marking the release of their debut CD, we'll hear Dwayne and Duane recorded live in St. John's.

Tom Petty in Leather Pants?

novaks.jpgThe Novaks are Mick Davis, Mark Neary, and Elliot Dicks. They are a Rock and Roll band from St. John's, NL, Canada. - TheNovaks.ca

Does this hard-riffing band rock? What would Tom Petty in leather pants sound like? Wonder no more. - Globe and Mail

The band from St. John's is also the top rock and roll outfit in eastern Canada, according to the 2010 East Coast Music Awards.

This Saturday's show features the Novaks recorded live, from a concert at the Rock House in downtown St. John's.

The band performs songs from its self-titled debut album, released in 2005, and the latest CD, Things Fall Apart, named "Sirius Satellite Radio Rock Recording of the Year" at last year's ECMAs.

Early Favourites and Life-Changing Music

 

Jill-Freeman.jpgIf you've seen the movie The Commitments, you might recall that the main character, Jimmy Rabbitte, selects members for his band by asking one question: "Who're your influences?"

Jimmy believes that a favourite band or favourite song tells him all he needs to know about a musician.

Of course, things don't work out too well for The Commitments, as the band disintegrates into brawling and bitterness.

But Jimmy was right about one thing: influences reveal a lot, offering a glimpse inside an artist's working world.

This Saturday (Jan. 15), the Performance Hour asks three Newfoundland songwriters to talk about their early favourites, recalling great songs that gripped their imaginations and stoked a passion for music.

The guests include Jillian Freeman of Bird and Bear (pictured), Joe Belly, and Matthew Hornell. They'll talk about influences ranging from George Jones to Nick Drake to Ani DiFranco.

The Living Legacy

saturday-night-jamboree.jpgThis Saturday (Jan. 1) we'll hear voices from Ramea to Lance au Clare, as well as Mi'k Maq music, and radio programs dating back half a century.

It's all available on compact disc, thanks to Memorial University's Research Centre for Music, Media and Place, also known as MMaP.

Newfoundland and Labrador music and heritage is an ongoing conversation at MMaP. To stimulate that conversation, the Centre produces an ongoing series of CDs drawing from our rich archive of traditional music.

Beverly Diamond is the producer of that archival series and she joins me to talk about the music and explore the collection.

Featured CDs include:

  • It's Time for Another One: Folk Songs from the South Coast of Newfoundland 
  • Newfoundland and Labrador Folklore: A Sampler of Songs, Narrations, and Tunes
  • Saturday Night Jamboree on CBC Newfoundland (pictured)

The Making of Christmas Music

 

Simani Mummers.jpgIt usually begins at the height of summer, with the artist in the recording studio trying to conjure up a little Yuletide spirit.

I's just one of the challenges that go into the making of a Christmas album: most of them are recorded during the summer, so they can be finished and packaged in time for the holiday shopping rush.

Another challenge: many of the songs are beloved classics, recorded many times over by performers great and small. So how will your version stand out from the crowd?

This Saturday (December 18) on the Performance Hour, we look at the art of the Christmas album with three acts from Newfoundland and Labrador.

The 8-Track Favourites discuss their collection of Christmas tunes from the country-and-western catalogue.

Jerry Stamp talks about how he approached the seasonal repertoire on his award-winning CDs I, Noel and This Noel.

And Bud Davidge recalls how Simani created the most popular Newfoundland Christmas song ever.

25 Years of Fiddle and Guitar

hewson and smith.jpgCreative partnerships are volatile. Keeping one together requires diplomacy, humility, an open mind, and an appreciation of the big picture. 

Genuine friendship doesn't hurt, either. Which brings us to Jean Hewson and Christina Smith, friends and musical soul mates.

2010 marks their 25th year as a fiddle-and-guitar duo and institution on the Newfoundland and Labrador folk music scene.

"The Ducks," as they occasionally call themselves, celebrated with a pair of rousing anniversary concerts in November, and you'll hear the highlights this Saturday (Dec. 11) on the Performance Hour.

Jean and Christina play many of their most popular songs and tunes. They're joined by special guest Daniel Payne, and a packed house of trad music fans who take the show home with a series of standing ovations.

Night Music for Weekend Shut-Ins

jetset.jpgThe night owls rule the live music scene in St. John's.

In most downtown bars, a band rarely starts before 10:30. If there's more than one act on the bill, it's usually around 12:30 or 1:00 AM before the headliner takes the stage.

All well and good if you're the sort of person who keeps those hours.

But where does it leave the early-to-bed music lover?

If that person has a taste for rock, pop, and celtic music - the sort of stuff that thrives in bars - it's almost impossible to stay up to speed with the latest and greatest.

That's where this Saturday's (December 4) edition of the Performance Hour comes in.

We'll prowl the latest CDs and downloads from Newfoundland artists, playing you the best tracks at a decent hour of the day.

You might even get a Christmas gift idea or two by the time the show is over.

Photo: Jetset Motel are a band of Newfoundlanders making music in Toronto.

Newfoundland and Labrador Musicians and Their Roots

 

sherry ryan-4.jpgWhat Nfld blues singer was changed forever by a concert he saw on television?

Which artist still credits a children's song as one of the best she's ever heard?

What classic voices still capture the imagination of one of St. John's most promising young folk singers?

We'll find out this Saturday (Nov. 20) as the Performance Hour continues its occasional series on Newfoundland musicians and their early influences.

The guests are Chris Kirby, Sherry Ryan (pictured), and Matthew Byrne. They join me to talk about favourite singers and memorable songs.

Amelia Curran and Friends in the Songwriters' Circle

Amelia Curran ran the table at last month's Music Newfoundland and Labrador Awards: four nominations, four awards.

That gives her a quartet of Music NL trophies to flank the Juno Award she won last spring.

The hottest name in Newfoundland music did more than collect an armload of awards during the Music NL weekend in Rocky Harbour.

She also hosted the 2010 CBC-MusicNL Songwriters' Circle, episode two.

Taking the stage at the Fishermen's Landing Inn, Amelia performed songs from her acclaimed album, Hunter Hunter.

She was joined by Teresa EnnisRick Lambe, and Andrew O'Brien, all of them sharing songs and stories before a packed house of west coast music fans.

Our CBC radio recording crew was on hand to capture it all, and you'll hear that show this Saturday (November 13) on the Performance Hour. 

The Circle of Payne: Jim, Charlie, Daniel, and Roy

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It was an occasion for endless punning: what a Payne... a Payne-ful experience... and so on.

It was also an occasion for great music from a quartet of consummate Newfoundland entertainers, and you'll hear it this Saturday (Nov. 6) on the Performance Hour.

The "Circle of Payne" took place last month in Rocky Harbour, during the 2010 Music Newfoundland and Labrador Awards Weekend.

Jim Payne, Charlie Payne, Daniel Payne, and Roy Payne gathered on stage at the Fisherman's Landing Inn, where they shared songs, tunes, and stories from their diverse musical backgrounds.

The session also includes my interview with Roy Payne, the man behind classic songs like "The Little Boats of Newfoundland" and "No Price Tags on the Doors of Newfoundland."

The weekend was a homecoming for Roy Payne, who was born and raised in Trout River, not far from Rocky Harbour. A few hours after this show was recorded, he was honoured with Music Newfoundland and Labrador's Lifetime Achievement Award.

Photo: Roy joins the Circle of Payne at the Fishermen's Landing Inn.

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Chris Kirby and the Marquee

If your music is the blues, you need to know Chris Kirby. The singer and songwriter from Norris Arm is the new standard-bearer for blues music in Newfoundland and Labrador.

Chris arrived on the scene in 2006, with a debut album called "Chris Kirby on Rum and Religion." His latest album, Vampire Hotel, has just been nominated for four East Coast Music Awards, including blues recording of the year.

This week's show is an exclusive live performance by Chris Kirby and the Marquee, joined by their special guests, the Horns of Justice.

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