Teresa and Jaron on the grass

Song Road

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Song Road is a folk/celtic/world recording produced by fiddle wizard and multi-instrumentalist Jaron Freeman-Fox the protege of Teresa’s long time producer the late Oliver Schroer. Teresa is a seasoned performer with years of vocal exploration under her belt. Jaron is a young, exciting, fearless inventor. Together they’ve created a sonic road trip for the musical adventurer.

“The songs were inspired by my travels and conversations with campesinos in Mexico, working and singing with farm women in the fields of Kenya, smoking salmon on the Yukon River and lazing on the beach in Cuba. Jaron and I share an interest in Celtic tunes, Gaelic aires, East Indian music and latin grooves. He was able to capture my curiosity about how other cultures use their voices while keeping firm footing in the songs and stories of my native Prince Edward Island, Canada.”

— Teresa

Track List
  1. Girl on The Dunes (4:05)
  2. Jimmy’s Jig (2:41)
  3. Gone Down River (3:04)
  4. Maggie Lachlin’s Last Storm (4:57)
  5. A Chuachag Nam Beann (3:55)
  6. Loka Samasta (3:26)
  7. Lazy Holiday (4:34)
  8. Un Destino Nuevo (4:48)
  9. Song Road (2:52)
  10. Song For Kate (3:52)
  11. Caoineath Mhuire (5:55)
Album Credits

Produced by Jaron Freeman-Fox
Mixed by Josh Van Tassel

Teresa Doyle: vocals, backing vocals, srutibox
Jaron Freeman-Fox: fiddle, guitar, mandolin, bass, percussion, vocals, cello
Charles James: upright bass
Josh Van Tassel: drums, percussion
October Browne: guitar
John Williams: clarinet, harmonica
Lea Kirsten: cello
Andrew MacIsaac: percussion, backing vocals, additional production

Reviews & Press

Song Road – Once upon a time, there was a singing Canadian storyteller…

Much like country music queen Dolly Parton, Teresa Doyle likes singing story songs. And is darned good at it. The stories here are drawn mostly from her native Canada and its Celtic traditions, celebrated on a couple of traditional numbers, ‘A Chuachag Nam Beann’ (a waulking song from the Outer Hebrides) and ‘Caoineath Mhuire’ (an Irish keening song). The latter effectively showcases the creativity and imagination of both Doyle and Jaron Freeman-Fox, who accompanies her on fiddle here and who arranged the entire album. The upper portion of Doyle’s vocal range shines brightly, and her breath control is admirable. The clarity of Doyle’s delivery and the catchiness of her melodies and lyrics may find you singing along on her ‘Gone Down River’, a tale of the Yukon, while ‘Maggie Lachlin’s Last Storm’ portrays, using a narrative structure evocative of fellow Canadian Leonard Cohen, a female shaman from Prince Edward Island, where Doyle resides. Her wider interests and wanderings provide story material on ‘Lazy Holiday’, about a sojourn to Cuba, and on ‘Un Destino Nuevo’, inspired by Mexican activists in Joan Baez-like fashion. There’s even an East Indian chant, ‘Loka Samasta’, with clarinet. Freeman-Fox proves himself a competent multiinstrumentalist and an evocative arranger who’s not a roots purist and yet manages to allow traditional regional elements to shine through the contemporary gloss.

Rating: 4 out of 5 Stars

— Jeff Kaliss, Songlines (Jan/Feb 2015)

Atlantic Airwaves Interview (Summer 2013)

Listen to Teresa’s interview on CBC Radio’s Atlantic Airwaves about her release of Song Road:

Memorable, Magic

“Sitting listening to a near packed house performance by Teresa was one of my most memorable Hugh’s Room concerts and I’ve attended about 2500 of them. It was like she brought the island with her in a music box and opened it up for all to share. Magic!”

— Holmes Hooke, Booking, Hugh’s Room

Brilliant; Worthy of Worldwide Acclaim!

“Teresa Doyle is deservedly becoming a Canadian Treasure! Get to know this award winning artist well! On her latest CD, Song Road, Teresa brings her worldwide experiences in songwriting and her outstanding vocals to the mix. Jaron Freeman-Fox adds his expertise as a musician and producer to make this CD one of the gems of 2013. A genuine musical journey worth exploring!! Brilliant; worthy of worldwide acclaim!”

— Jim Marino, Freewheeling Folk Show 93.3 CFMU, Hamilton, ON

A Musical Journey: Teresa Doyle’s new album, Song Road, showcases the strength of her songwriting and her broad vocal range

You never quite know what to expect from Teresa Doyle. That’s because the award-winning P.E.I. singer-songwriter has never been one to play it safe, preferring instead to explore the music of many cultures and to draw on those cultures for inspiration in creating new music of her own.

And she does so again on what may well be one of the most adventurous and most compelling records of her career, Song Road, a collection of songs inspired by Doyle’s travels to Mexico, Kenya and Cuba and by her past explorations of the traditional music of Scotland and Ireland, as well as the folk music of her Canadian homeland. Song Road contains 11 tracks, eight of which Doyle either wrote or co-wrote, including the moving Song for Kate, in which she lovingly remembers her friend Kate Poole, co-founder with Doyle of the Rock Barra Artist Retreat, who died in 2010.

A record of many colours, textures, moods and rhythms, this set was produced by gifted multi-instrumentalist Jaron Freeman-Fox, a protege of the late and much loved Oliver Schroer.

Doyle could not have made a better choice than Freeman-Fox, a brilliant young player who shares her interest in Celtic tunes, Gaelic aires, East Indian music and Latin grooves, as well as her passion for experimentation.

And there’s plenty of experimentation here, particularly in the vocal techniques employed on some tracks.

Doyle says Freeman-Fox was able to capture her curiosity about how other cultures use their voices while keeping firm footing in the songs and stories of her native P.E.I.

In addition to producing Song Road, Freeman-Fox co-wrote the album’s title track, hands down the most powerful piece of music here, and contributed fiddle, guitar, bass, cello, ukulele and percussion. He can also be heard throat singing.

Together they have crafted a record that is musically rich, lyrically interesting and sonically gorgeous.

There is a very ethereal feel to some of the tracks here, in particular Caoineath Mhuire/Mary’s Keening, an ancient Irish keening song.

In addition to the tracks already mentioned, other favourites on this set include Jimmy’s Jig, written for Island fiddler Jimmy Doyle; Maggie Lachlin’s Last Storm, which is based on a true story from 1923 about weather shaman Maggie Lachlin; A Chuachag Nam Beann, a traditional song from the Outer Hebrides; and Un Destino Nuevo, a song inspired by conversations with activists in Mexico.

Doyle should get a lot of mileage from this set, which handsomely showcases both the strength of her songwriting and her broad vocal range. In the for-what-it’s-worth department, Freeman-Fox’ latest record with his own band, The Opposite of Everything, will be featured in this space within a few weeks.

Rating: 3.5 out of 5 Stars

— Doug Gallant, The Guardian, PEI

Verges On The Brilliant

Teresa Doyle is breathing some fresh air into Canadian Celtic music. Sure, she sings a lot about hoping for the boats to come in safely from sea and about a woman who had a vision of the storm of the century in 1923 and does her share of ‘Irish scat singing’ and a song from the Outer Hebrides in Gaelic. But there’s more than the usual Celtic fare. Much more.

Doyle has travelled the world from her native Prince Edward Island, and using her voice as an instrument, has sung with Kenyan farm women, Tibetan throat singers, New York street musicians—and all those influences are on [Late Night Parlour]. She even sings in Spanish, and has a huge dynamic and range in her vocals.

This is done with fearless production and musicianship of Jaron Freeman-Fox, who has inherited the job from his mentor, the late Oliver Schroer. Freeman-Fox is following in Schroer’s footsteps as a marvellous fiddler, and some of his orchestration of both voices and instruments verges on the brilliant. The collaboration between Doyle and Freeman-Fox has created some magic.

— By Mike Sadava, Penguin Eggs Magazine

Beautiful & Life-Affirming

“‘There’s beauty and plenty for all,’ sings Teresa Doyle in her accomplished and life-affirming new album, Song Road, a line that also aptly describes the disc itself.”

— John Goddard, Toronto Star

Vibrant, Exquisite Sound

“Working with Jaron Freeman-Fox has brought a new vibrancy to the already exquisite sound that Teresa has created in previous recordings. Teresa has always had great production but the production and arranging on Song Road by Freeman-Fox is the finest to date—production that is meaningful and beautifully serves the music. Teresa is always upping her game, her songwriting is digging deeper with worldly influences that go well beyond the Celts.”

— Tom Coxworth, CKUA Folk Routes

On The Road Of Song

In 1980, when an adventurous, just-out-of-school Teresa Doyle played the Winnipeg Folk Festival, less than a handful of folk musicians were touring out of the East Coast.

At the 2013 East Coast Music Awards in Halifax, the Island singing legend and 12 other of those pioneers received a 25th Anniversary Award. “It was a really nostalgic night,” she says, not only because a “touching speech that Ron Hynes gave made everyone cry,” and because of Stompin’ Tom’s recent death, but because she was missing her friend, Raylene Rankin. “who,” she says, “really had a lot more to see and sing and write.”

Teresa recalls of her friend, “I was remembering back when she was still stuffing her own envelopes [with albums] —and I’m still stuffing my own envelopes, but I’m glad to be here to do it.”

When Teresa Doyle released her first album on vinyl in 1987, it was “the only PEI recording in crafts shops in PEI.” She and others “had to create a whole industry from the ground up. We had to invent it, one step at a time—how to get airplay, how to do distribution.”

The singer followed musical interests and intriguing collaborations, exploring PEI folk legends, touring Japan with early Elizabethan music, making three awardwinning recordings of Celtic children’s music and an all-Gaelic album, studying East Indian music and sound yoga, and even returning to singing the jazz she cut her teeth on in Montreal for the seven years between 1980 and 1987—before “it was just time to come home, grow a garden, get married, and have a baby,” she smiles.

“My career has been stumbling from one stepping stone to the next, never with a plan,” she says. “What I’ve done is to follow what interested me.”

Teresa says her new album, Song Road, takes us on her journey and “integrates who I really am” by integrating many styles, themes, and genres. “I just like singing,” she says. “I’m really proud of this record.”

With the coming year a “whirlwind” of festivals and tours, Teresa says, “My career seems to be ramping up, if anything.” However, Teresa says (for all musicians), “In order for people to continue to make music, people must buy CDs and come to shows. It’s takes more than a ‘Congratulations’ and ‘I’m proud of you’…Music has been demonetized. Musicians are living on half as much money as 15 years ago.”

Living on little is part of a philosophy at Rock Barra, the North Side artist’s retreat Teresa coordinates: “There’s no staff, no budget, no debt. We operate from one miracle to the next,” she says. One project of the retreat is to celebrate the northeast of PEI. “It’s a minor miracle,” she says, “a mix of really, really local folks and people who want to do something really outside the box.”

Supporting creativity is vital because “artists need to help revision a new society.” Teresa says, “I’m trying to figure out my role in moving a new vision of PEI forward, that’s community-based and sustainable… I want to explore ways of living communally in rural PEI.”

She recently wrote an anti-fracking song called “Let’s Ban the Foolin’ Fracking,” and says with some fire, “Personally, fracking will be my last stand. If frackers come knocking on our door on PEI…and want to destroy our water and topsoil for all time, that will be the last stand for me. And I think it will be for a lot of people.”

Whatever stands Teresa takes, she will take them with a song on her lips. “I don’t want to be a protestor. I don’t want to be a victim. I would rather be a creator and a visionary,” she says. “Playing music is not a job. It’s not a livelihood. It’s a life’s work.”

Teresa Doyle, the singer, gratefully sums up, “My life’s work has been an exploration of how people use their singing voices in many different cultures. I’m grateful for thirty years in music, and I hope this is the halfway point. I’m excited by the possibilities for us going forward as a community, as humanity, creating a kinder world for our children.

— Jane Ledwell, The Buzz

A Shimmering, Gifted Offering

Song Road, an exploration of sound through new landscape, takes us out of ourselves and into realms that invoke our curiosity to explore beyond our reach. We are more than who we think we are. Teresa Doyle and Jaron Freeman-Fox’s shimmering, gifted offering proves that.”

— Mae Moore, singer-songwriter, artist-activist

A Wonderful Sonic Adventure

“Teresa Doyle’s latest record, Song Road, provides us with a wonderful sonic adventure. Stylistically diverse it is all held together by Teresa’s interpretive vocals and world map influenced songwriting. No fast forwarding here but rather repeated listens.”

— Grady Poe, artist manager

Fan Feedback

“I have been playing a lot of tracks from your new album over the past few months.  I really like the stories, the arrangements, the melodies, and your beautiful crystalline voice.  Great album–wishing you all the best this summer and beyond.”

— Julie Miller, CFLX Sherbrooke, Quebec Ulverton Folk

“Traditional celtic, folk, jazz, country, Teresa can sing it all, with a voice pure as sunshine. I just saw Teresa’s Hugh’s Room show and she hit it out of the park!”

— Derek Andrews, globalcafe.ca

“Your performance at the Folk Alliance was inspirational, heartwarming and welcoming!”

“I always look forward a new album from Prince Edward Island singer Teresa Doyle. Her latest, Song Road, may be the best in a recording career that extends back twenty years.”

— Stan Carew, CBC Halifax, Weekend Morning

“Last night I was Gone Down River through the night, and this morning in the doctor’s waiting room I was Gone Down River for the last time, and when I went to buy groceries this afternoon, I was Gone Down River the whole time… this gosh darn tune is now stuck to my brain. What a great album! It lilts, it’s layered, it’s knee slapping, toe tapping—it’s stormy, dramatic, rhythmic, exotic, it morphs from either Celtic side of the Atlantic and soars over to India and Africa. Your lyrics are gorgeous, your voice is finely woven textures, and I LOVE all your musicians. Your lovely song for Kate is so very sad and true, but so very beautiful too.”

— Susan Sweeney-Hermon, musician, Ottawa

“What a great CD you have made Teresa. Rosie (Vaughan) and I were talking about how stunning it is and some of the songs are just out of this world. So powerful and courageous and deep and rich and WOW… I hand it to you, Doyle, this is some of your most powerful work. BRAVO!”

— Gillian Robinson, author

“Thanks for the tracks. I am uploading to Museum of Canadian Music as we speak. I have to admit, after hearing half of the album so far, I am blown away with this music—you have really outdone yourself! I love all the different styles and beautiful arrangements. I am making this album of the month for June… Congrats on this masterpiece of an album!”

— Robert, Museum of Canadian Music