In this episode of “The Journey of My Mother’s Son” podcast, I sit down to talk with Mike McKenna, Jr.

Mike is another one of the amazing artists that we were introduced to at the Philadelphia Folk Festival back in August.

As a singer-songwriter Mike McKenna Jr. has become a rising star on the Canadian music scene; with a raspy, soulful voice, his warm indie folk and Americana tones, and songs laden with captivating storytelling. Born in Glace Bay and raised along the Mira River, Mike’s songwriting aesthetic points heavily to his roots growing up in small-town industrial Cape Breton. Over the course of 3 studio albums, he’s brought us the nostalgia of his home through carefully chosen narrative, poetry, protest, and true stories about life and death in Nova Scotia’s coastal, working-class communities.

Mike’s newest record At the Edge of the World (2020) continues to be met with incredible support both in Canada and internationally. In just over a year since its release, Mike’s sophomore album has received a long list of awards and nominations; WINNER of the Rising Star Recording of the Year by the 2021 East Coast Music Awards (along with nominations for Contemporary Roots Recording of the Year and Fan’s Choice Video of the Year), nominee for Contemporary Album of the Year by the 2021 Canadian Folk Music Awards, nominee for Americana/Bluegrass Recording of the Year by the Music Nova Scotia Awards, and nominee for 2020 Album of the Year by Blues and Roots Radio. It was also listed on the Bluegrass Situation’s ‘Class of 2020 Playlist, Absolute Best of this Year’s Roots Music Releases’.

Several songs from the record have received high-profile features and recognition, including Spotify Editorial playlists Renegade Folk and Contemporary Folk, Mahogany Sessions’ Acoustic Coffeehouse and Chilled Folk Vol. 3, The Bluegrass Situation’s ‘Mixtape’, Americana UK, Exclaim!, Canadian Beats, Roots Music Canada, The East and many more. Two songs from ATEOTW finished as semi-finalists in the world’s largest songwriting contest, ISC (International Songwriting Competition); the opening song and title track At the Edge of the World in 2019 and the 7th song of the album, High Ground in 2020!

Produced by Victoria’s Quinn Bachand (Rosier, Kittel & Co, Brishen), At the Edge of the World delivers a bigger sound than Mike’s previous records, lead by his incredibly raw, confident vocals and surrounded by a beautiful mix of electric and pedal-steel guitar, electric bass, vocal harmonies, strings, piano and drums. During post-production it would then pass through the talented hands of Canada’s top analog specialists; mixing engineer Jon Anderson (Andy Shauf, Rosier, Foxwarren) and Grammy-nominated mastering engineer, Juno/Polaris winner Philip Shaw Bova (Father John Misty, Feist, Bahamas).

To find out more about Mike and his music, check out his website at

Click on either of the links below to listen to the conversation: