On Folk Plus today, Saturday September 4,1999 we have something very special...

Chopper McKinnon, host of Canadian Spaces on CKCU FM in Ottawa,
Gene Swimmer, Director of the Ottawa Folk Festival,
Chris White, Artistic Director of the Ottawa Folk Festival,
Dean Verger, owner and operator of the Rasputin's Folk Café  in Ottawa

Angela: On the line we have CKCU up in Ottawa (Canada), is that the case?

Chopper::  Chopper McKinnon here...

Angela: Yeah Chopper, Are we coming through?

Chopper::  Absolutely! We're cooking with electronics here. We're happening.

Angela:  This is pretty exciting, let me explain to the listeners here in Jeffersonville.  On the phone hopefully we have, actually, four people I am hoping.  We have Chopper McKinnon who is CKCU's host of Canadian Spaces and Chopper you have been on the air, what 16, 17 years?

Chopper:  It will be 19 years next month

Angela:  19 years. Amazing!  We will talk in a minute about the prestigious award that you so rightfully earned this weekend, and hopefully we have Gene Swimmer the festival Director.

Gene:  I'm here

Angela:  Excellent.  Hi Gene, thanks for doing this.  Excellent festival.  And Chris White the musical director.

Chris:  Hi Angela.

Angela:  Hi Chris, thanks so much for doing this; and we have Dean Verger owner of Rasputins' folk cafe in Ottawa.

Dean:  Good morning Angela.

Angela:  Oh this is great.  Hopefully this is all working, I hear it in the headphones, you hear it out there Earl?  Great.  Thanks.  I came back armed with much music and many memories, more memories than music, I'm hoping I can rectify that in the next weeks.  It was truly a fabulous festival.  You are all to be commended for your piece of it.

Angela:  Dean can we start with you?  You can tell us a bit about your folk cafe where I think absolutely everyone has played.  I have cued up Terry Tufts brand new CD, taped at your cafe.  He thanks you for letting so many performers learn how to perform from your stage. 

Dean:  I get compliments all the time, and it is really good for the heart, a hug and a back pat every now and then, but this is a great community that we are in.  Musicians, people like Chopper, Arthur McGregor of the Folklore Centre, all pulling together and have over the last 19 years making it a wonderful city for folk musicians, singer-songwriters, performers of all caliber and types.

Dean Verger

 sporting a WJFF T shirt 
(Click for 234K image)

Angela:  How long have you been open?

Dean:  Well, almost as long as Chopper has been on the air - 19 years now.

Angela:  And your Mom was instrumental in beginning that?

Dean:  Yes, she was.  Everything from getting down on her knees to making sure the floor was clean, to making sure that I was doing my job, to instituting a cover charge for the musicians so that they could be taken more seriously at a time when everything was heavily populated with turn tables and DJ's.

Angela:  Can you run down your programming? You have different nights...you want to explain a little bit?

Dean:  Certainly, the Monday nights are celtic jam nights. It is a night for Scottish and Irish and Cape Britton, Appalachian tunes with people on fiddle, baron, hammered dulcimer, the music begins at 8:30.  On Tuesdays nights it is our songwriter stage where people come in to sing their own material.  It is very similar to our Wednesday night open stage which is open to everybody and any style of a performance art.  We usually have musicians of a folk nature, an acoustic nature, but it doesn't mean that you don't get jugglers, or storytellers or authors up on stage performing their own material as well.  Thursday night is a folk jam and that's a night for people just to get together sit in a circle and sing and play music together.  The Fridays Saturdays and Sundays are concerts.  In January, February and March on Sundays, we use that for storytelling concerts.

Angela:  Such variety.  It is very impressive.  Did you book anybody from the festival?

Dean:  Yes.  I'm talking to Rick Fielding now, Ray Bonneville is probably coming in.  There is a whole crew like that.  Terry Tufts obviously coming back, Jennifer Noxon and from last year's festival David Wiffin is coming to our little stage once more in October.

Angela:  Would one of you like to talk about the Helen Verger Award?  Explain it to our listeners.

Gene Swimmer and Angela Page

 sitting by their WJFF bumper stickers 
(Click for 322K image)

Gene:  It has been  -this is Gene-   The award has been given out for six years and is basically aimed at artists or people in the industry who have made an important impact on acoustic music.  Chopper is kind of the first of all of the award winners who is not a musician himself.   In past years we have given it to Murray MacLaughlan, Sylvia Tyson, Bruce Cockburn, Ian Tamblyn, Colleen Peterson, and Ferron. As I say this is the first year that it has gone to someone who is not a musician himself but who has been absolutely instrumental in almost 20 years in making the acoustic music scene work in this town.
Angela:  As he says, if there is no audience, and he is that piece in between, then none of this happens for any of us.

Gene:  Exactly.

Angela:  Well I'm sitting here with my favorite brown drink (Nabob Full City Dark Roast coffee which I bring from Canada everytime I go - after having it at Danielle's guitar shop on Bank Street a year ago)...do you say that everytime Chopper?

Angela:  Sit down with your favorite brown drink and enjoy some good music.  Do you play solely Canadians Chopper?
Chopper:  No.  There was a concept when I first took over the programme. It was called the "Arkansas Traveler".  I just didn't have that depth of a record collection of Doc Watson and all those people, but I had worked with a lot of Canadian singer-songwriters and so that became my focus.  Canadian Spaces began.  However, because it is about  music in Canada and the people from all parts of the English speaking world and the French part of the country  have such an impact on the music, that I  have a segment that is called "Canadian Space Invaders"  (laughter)  where we have all the American and British acts that will be coming to town.  We have Annie Gallup next week as a matter of fact. I have had the great opportunity to talk to Dar Williams and some British folk stars. (We include)  everything that impacts on the Canadian Folk Music scene, including WJFF! Annie Gallup

 on the Main Stage at the Ottawa Folk Festival 
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Angela:  Well, when I spoke to Richard Shindell recently he told me "Everybody I love, as a songwriter, they are Canadian!"  He is pretty impressed with the people coming out of Canada, as I am.  Can you tell me about the rules for Canadian airplay up there?

Chopper:  The rules for Canadian airplay?

Angela:  Well, do you have to play a certain percentage legally of Canadian artists?

Chopper:  Well depending upon the kind of license you hold, you have what -the FCC in the US?

Angela:  Right

Chopper:  Well we have the CRTC the Canadian Radio Television Communications...whatever...They have different regulations for different kinds of radio stations.  Commercial radio stations have been working up to about 30% over the course of the prime time hours.  We are talking 6:00 AM to midnight.  The CBC, the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, I'm sure you have those broadcasts on NPR down there, they have a 50% mandate.  We have a 30% mandate at the campus based community radio station and I of course like to pick up any slack there might be and most weeks play 100% Canadian.

Angela:  Yeah, that seemed low!  I mean,  my show would fill that requirement, I think.

Dean:  While you are on that subject Angela, what is your show's theme music and and song, who is the author.

Angela:  Oh, I have is cued up.  Wanna listen?

Dean:  Sure:

MUSIC of Lynn Miles "It's Gone"  "Who is playing contemporary folk music these days, and what is folk music?  A thoughtful line, a clever lyric, a melody that moves? The definition of folk music runs as wide as the difference in space between a living room and a stadium.  I'm Angela Page.  Join me Saturdays at 11:00 on Folk Plus as we explore together the wide variety of artists and music we call  'Folk"

Angela:  The fabulous voice of Lynn Miles.  I love Lynn.

Chopper:  That was a trick wasn't it?

Angela:  I just happened to have that cued up.  I planned to play it right at the top of the hour and "Canadian Spaced" it out I guess.  I usually start my show my show with that.  I saw her at Summerfolk 10 yrs, 8 yrs ago maybe.  Been using that.

Chopper:  I guess you caught her set at the festival.

Angela:  I know she played a lot at your place Dean.

Dean:  Yes she did over the years.  I can remember her when she would do 3 sets in an evening and by the end be looking for that water jug, just trying to find that next song.  Now she has such a depth of music, well she always did.  She always had that wonderful voice and that ability to project her personality out toward the audience and make them fall in love with her.

Angela: When I think of people playing clubs, they work so much harder.  I know Lucy and Richard from a long time ago.  They would do three hours in a club, and in the festival in an hour they got two songs in.  It is almost as if they don't have to work so hard now.  When people begin they need several hours of new stuff- not repeat- it is amazing.

Chopper:  Angela, we have going on for about 15 minutes here...Terry Tufts used to play with Lynn Miles.  I know you have one of my favorite Terry Tufts tunes cued up there, so why don't we go to it?

Angela:  That would be great!  And you'll be there on the other side I hope.

Chopper:  You bet!  We're here!

Angela:  All right.  Terry Tufts, and his brand new release which is live from Rasputin's Cafe.

1.  Terry Tufts - Marylou in Burgundy
     2 Nights Solo: Terry Tufts Live @ Rasputin's    -  info@nutshellMusic.com
     "Just an average evening, no one listening no one leaving"

Angela: Marylou in Burgundy that is Terry Tufts, 2 Nights Solo is the Cd, Live at Rasputins and on the phone we are taking with CKCU here from Jeffersonville in the Catskills, are you guys there?

Chopper:  We're here.  We are not going anywhere 'til noon.

Angela:  Excellent.  That would be great.  Lets get some more music in.  I am with you Chopper, I just wanted to lay a ground work because it is so exciting.  I did want to ask Chris how soon he starts booking people.

Chris:  Oh that is an interesting question Angela.  Actually what happened was that we had such a wonderful festival here last weekend as you know because you were here.  The Monday, the very next day after the big finale, we were huddled together talking about next year's event, so we have already started.

Angela:  Well you had all the key players (assembled) so it is only natural when you are all there.

Chris:  We are just so enthusiastic about how well everything went in every area this year and particularly it was nice to see some of the great American musicians and singer-songwriters being up here tuning into what is happening up here in the Ottawa music scene and enjoying it so much and just hitting it off.  So people like Ian Tambly and Terry Tufts, who you just played,  and Lynn Miles, you know they see each other at other festivals, but it was so nice to see them here, to see Dar Williams and Richard Shindell and Bill Morrissey who had never been to Ottawa before.

Angela:  Yeah.  Shall we move on to another group.  From a distance I thought Modabo was here as I came towards the stage and it turned out to be three young men called "Fireweed".  Do you have their cd there?  Absolutely we are all cued up here.

Chopper:  We are all cued up here.

Angela:  You are?  Well how about we air Heaven's Restaurant by a group called Fireweed.  Here they are.

2.  Fireweed  Heaven's Restaurant
     Fireweed - rasberry@educ.queensu.ca
     "I find myself in line at Heaven's door"

Angela:  There we have a group called Fireweed.  Three men from....something like.....

Chopper:     Perth I think.

Angela:  I thought it was something that sounded like a place in the state....Yarker?

Chopper:     Yeah, well that is just outside of Perth.

Angela:     Ok.  That is a beautiful area.  What can you tell me about Fireweed?

Chopper: Not a whole lot.  Chris was just talking about them, so maybe he can tell you.

Chris:  Well as everyone heard they are really noted for their excellent vocal harmonies.  It is a group that got together somewhat by accident.  One of the members, Jamie Campbell had a solo gig and one night he asked the other two to come along and sing back up.  Everyone liked the results so much that they changed their name to Fireweed, and kept on pointing out to me not Firewood.

Angela:  Yeah I thought it was as first.

Chopper:   And in the background as well, one of them played for Ruf wazine?????  in part of his band. The other one, Gary Raspberry, not the other one there is three of them, but Gary also runs his own concert series out of a little church.

Angela:  Cool.  I notice Dave Archibald on here.  Didn't James Gordon and he do a lot of kid's music?

Chopper:  That's exactly right.  Angela Page at WJFF, I just want to make sure that Space Cadets know what we are doing here.  You were talking to Chris White earlier about when the planning for the next festival is going on Space Cadets here want to know from Gene Swimmer if there's gonna be another festival.  How was it Gene?

Gene:  Oh we are still looking at the numbers.  Yeah, there is gonna be another one.  You can guarentee...in fact we had the best gate we have ever had in terms of paid attendance, but of course our expenses are up and those bills are still coming in.  But I'm sure we at least broke even and by all accounts it was our best festival artistically and maybe even financially.  We have already started booking our concerts for during the year.  This is sort of a Canadian Spaces first, we have announced Fred Eaglesmith but just so people know that in February we have an incredible double bill of Karen Savoca and Vance Gilbert.  January is Cindy Church and J.P.Cormier.  March is still not worked out.  April is Bill Morrissey and in May Laura Smith. So it is a pretty good concert series.

Angela:  Oh, I love Laura Smith.  I hope to play her this hour.  Can you talk about Rebecca Campbell a little bit.

Chopper:  Rebecca Campbell started out here as a young singer and she is still a young singer...[laughter]   She was singing around places like Rasputins here and she got into this band called Fat Man Waving.

Angela:  Yes, I've aired them.  Hmm.

Chopper:  Well....she got into it.....she was one of the founding members.  She toured with them and did a lot of backup work on the side.  One of the people that she toured with extensively was Jane Siberry.  She was with Jane several years.  You'll hear her on countless albums doing harmony singing and she recently within the last year moved down to Toronto where things are supposed to be happening in a bigger way and of course she is getting a lot of studio work there because of her fine talents.  She has recently in fact not recently in Canada yet until October, an album called TUG which basically, she is fronting this, with her partner Justin Haynes is responsible for a lot of the music and she has co-written songs with him.  It is a very interesting album people have to sit down and listen to it because it is not ambient music.

Angela:  It is very textury, I was listening to it yesterday.

Chopper:  Many many levels in it.  It is something that you will wanna turn up loud when no one else is around.

Angela:  Now are you allowed to air something that isn't actually out?

Chopper:  Oh hell yeah, we break all the rules here.

Angela:  I liken her to Lucy Kaplansky because she didn't write herself for 10 or 12 years, but she was on everybody's cd.  Is this Rebecca's first cd?

Chopper:  As Rebecca, yeah, Fat Man Waving had a couple and Rusty and Bec.  She also recorded an a cappella album with two other women in Three Sheets to the Wind.

Angela:  Well can we air Striking Like A Rose?

Chopper:  Whatever you want.  I have her cued.

3.  Rebecca Campbell Striking Like a Rose
     TUG - tug@rebeccacampbell.com
     "I step into the emphasis, I cast off doubting Toms"

Angela:  That is Rebecca Campbell.  her new CD is called TUG.  We just heard Striking like a Rose.  It is 24 minutes to noon.  My name is Angela Page, you are tuned into Folk Plus where it is 81 degrees here in Jeffersonville.  We are hydro-powered, we are volunteer-run and we are hooked today with CKCU in Ottawa talking with the movers and shakers in the folk music world in Canada.

Chopper:  ...where it is 11:36:31:32:33 like that on Canadian Spaces, we say that Angela, because we have a digital clock in the studio that's broken.  We don't have a clue what time it is.

Angela:  [Laughing] I love it!! You know, even your vendors were fascinating up there.  I bought a wind up radio!  I figured,  here we are, a hydro- powered station, I should have a wind up radio, that I can get the station when all the power goes out I can still hear WJFF

Gene:  That's a sponsor of Canadian Spaces too, that's who you bought it from

Angela:  Ohh!

Chopper:  'Arbour Environmental Products brings you Canadian Spaces each and every Saturday morning...'   What I suggest, Angela to do, in say twenty minutes, we played your opening here on Canadian Spaces, and I think it would be very cool if you play our closing.

Angela:  Oh yeah, that is cool!  Yeah we'll do that!

Chopper: Keep that in mind.

Angela: Right at the noon hour, that's cool.  We'll get some more music in.

Chopper:  So that all our Canadian and American listeners hear that we are tied tied up today and we only put this together yesterday.  So, bear with us

Angela:   We're putting it together in flight, that's what I think

Chopper:  I think as an annual event were we should get the satellite hook up...

Angela:  Yeah, we wanna talk to you about being on the net, another time we'll get those facts... I'd love to air Katherine Wheatley.  I never did hear her but I left with her CD...The song is very interesting to me, I'd like to hear your take on it. She stares at Jesus.  It is  cut 11, do you have her CD Habits and Heroes?

Chopper:  Yeah, we are all set up.  Katherine Wheatley is a geologist by trade.

Angela:  Ahhhhh

Chopper:  She takes a lot of for her songs  being out in the rough country of Georgian Bay up here.  She has a very literate background and she has been writing for a long time and I just think it comes across very professionally.

Angela:  ...and here she is, Katherine Wheatley

4.     Katherine Wheatley - She Stares at Jesus
         Habits and Heroes hoot@kwheatley.com  www.kwheatley.com
        "Oh my god I'm heartily sorry...ten hail mary's and a glass of gin..."

Angela: That was Katherine Wheatley, Habits and Heroes is her new CD.  If you are interested in anybody that I have been playing you can dial up our web site: www.wjffradio.org  click on Folk Plus and you can check setlists for the last two years and order any CD you'd like through e-mail.  It's 17 minutes until noon and you are listening to WJFF and CKCU simultaneously broadcast today.  Its pretty exciting.

Chopper:  We are thrilled to death up here in Ottawa and we hope we can do this another time.

Angela:  Yeah, this is cool.  Can we go right on.  I have about 8 things I wanna play...

Chopper:  Yeah, I wonder if we could switch the order slightly.

Angela:  Sure. Go right ahead, I'd love to do whatever you want.

Chopper:  Your notes say that you were the first one in the US to get Rick Fielding's new CD.  We in over the 19 years here at CKCU prided ourselves on playing music like Rebecca Campbell's album, long before  it is available anywhere else.  We do the Canadian Space premiers.  I think with Rick Fielding it would be hands across the border premiere...

Angela:  Oh how cool.  Can we have a drum roll please!

Angela:  Yeah, I think that when he gave it to me he looked at his  wife and said "wait a minute this is the first one we are giving out is that right?"  She said "Yeah, I think it is"  Rick has such an incredible voice.  Great guitar - he has it all down.  Love this.  Very solid performer.  A Premier...what are we going to play.  Alright with you if we play "City Boy's Dream:

Chopper:  Sure

Angela:  Here it comes, Rick Fielding

 5.   Rick Fielding -  City Boy's Dream
       This One's The Dreamer - brc@interlog.com  www.interlog.com/~brc
      "This old guitar cost more by far than a hobo has ever seen"

Angela:  Rick Fielding    This One's The Dreamer is his brand new release and we heard City Boy's Dream.

Chopper:  Chris White - artistic director of the Ottawa Folk Festival.

Chris:  ...It is so much fun being here today.  With Dean Verger from Rasputins and Gene Swimmer from the Ottawa folk festival  and of course you Chopper and talking about not only what is happening in Jeffersonville down in New York with Angela but also about what is happening here in Ottawa, being a thriving acoustic music scene.  I was just reflecting that a big part of it also is a series called Acoustic Waves that has been going on at a place called the Great Canadian Theatre Company for many many years, how many years - 15 years?  They have another great series lined up with people like the Wyrd Sisters, Rebecca Campbell, Ian Tamblyn ,when is that?

Chopper:  The 19th

Chris:  And Joe Reilly in town here who does a lot of the booking is another big part of live music is alive and well in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada.

Angela:  Thank you for doing that summary, that was really well done Chris - for the people who are just tuning in and we know that happens constantly with radio.  I'd love for you guys to pick a Beth Ferguson (tune) from Inside Talking.  I love both her cd's would you guys pick a tune.

Chopper:   Oh my god, I'm not going to do it because I play the whole thing all the time and it is too close to my heart for me to pick one child over another.
Angela:  It was so great to meet her.  She is so unpretentious and warm - somebody pick a song or I'll just.... 

Chris:  I'll go for that, Angela.  You are right, Beth has touched a lot of people with her music.  The most recent example was at the Ottawa folk festival last weekend and  a woman said that she was sitting with her 20 year old daughter and they had been somewhat estranged of late, and Beth came on and sang "It will be alright"  which is a song Beth wrote for her daughter and this woman's daughter was crying in the middle of the song.  It was a big break through and I know that is a very powerful song.

Annie watches Ellen Epstein and Chris White accompany Beth Ferguson 
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6.    Beth Ferguson   It will be alright
       Inside Talking  www.cdwhite.com  North Track Records
       "I've given up pretending I have the answers and the smiles, all I know is that we are joined in the mystery"

WJFF:  Hi, I'm Garnet Rogers and you are listening to 90.5 FM in Jeffersonville 94.5 FM in Monticello.

Angela: I had to play the Garnet Rogers tag there for a couple of reasons.  One is to regain my composure - that is  a very emotional song and I think of .. Frankie and Johnny ... the same way.  I always need a minute when it is over to not sound like the DJ on air is crying.  Very powerful tune.  Beth Ferguson.

Chopper: We only have 6 minutes left.  That means that I'd like to get in the Jennifer Noxon tune and go right from the end of that to my extro.  everybody here, Gene Swimmer, Dean Verger, Chris White and Chopper McKinnon, myself, would like to thank you very much Angela and I hope we can do this again.

Angela:  Well Chopper thank you for being so flexible, open, and I said in e-mail earlier to Chris, no wonder everyone thanks you, you are just up for everything and great ideas.  You deserve your award and that was wonderful to see you receive that.  You were pretty emotional...

Chopper:  You know what Jennifer Noxon said, "No plan is the best plan of all"

Angela:  Right, now is that called The Bottomless Cup?

Chopper:  Uhhh, yeah.

Angela:  Yeah, well, thanks so much to CKCU we're going to broadcast from you as soon as this song ends.  Thank you so much you guys.

7.    Jennifer Noxon  The Bottomless Cup
       Watch as you Walk  The Ottawa Folklore Centre jenoxon@magna.ca 1-800-385-FOLK
        "No plan is the best plan of all"

CKCU:  Canadian Spaces is sponsored by Arbour, the Ottawa valley's environmental shop.  Conveniently located at 800 Bank Street in the Glebe.  Arbour offers a wide variety of environmentally friendly products from office supplies made from recycled paper, to hemp fiber clothing  to cleaning products you feel good about using. Arbour offers hundreds of ways you can make your world a better place.  To find out more, drop by or give them a call at 567-3168.

Chopper:  Well, Chopper McKinnon hitting the post and hitting the road for another Saturday morning.  How 'bout that show, eh?  I hoped you like it.  I hope that you'll all join me again next Saturday morning when  Arbour will present another spasm of Canadian Spaces.  Until then, take time out to be good to your friends and neighbors.  Go out and support live entertainment.  Take time to be good to yourself.   Chopper McKinnon thanking Angela Page, bye.

Angela:  and it is 40 seconds after noon here at WJFF and it is 82 degrees and that was CKCU out of Ottawa and  Chopper McKinnon how he ends his radio show on a Saturday morning. We were fortunate enough to link up our radio programs this morning and we shared Canadian musicians, singer-songwriters and highlighted the Ottawa Folk Festival, which was a good one.  An American singer on the main stage one evening said she would love that festival to do a video that she could hand out to some of the American festival runners and help them run a smoother festival.  And it really was great, as a performer and as an audience member.

At this point the programme cut to a live recording of  the workshop stage (8/28/99).
Ottawa American Stage II, which I enjoyed hosting.
8.    Richard Shindell -     Fishing
9.    Lucy Kaplansky -      Scorpion
10.  Dar Williams     -     The Ballad of Mary Magdalen
11.  Chuck Brodsky    -      Radio
12.  Richard Shindell -      Next Best Western
13.  Lucy Kaplansky -      For Once in Your Life
14.  Dar Williams -           Iowa
15.  Chuck Brodsky -       Our Gods
16. Group Number -       Cry Cry Cry
Darr, Lucy and Richard

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Chuck Brodsky

(Click for 61K image)

Back in the studio,

17.   Laura Smith My Gate's Wide Open
        It's a personal thing  www.chatsubo.com/laura
        "My gate's wide open and my dreams are getting out"

View Setlists for other years or back to Folk Plus or Angela's interviews