Tag: Mike McKenna Jr.

Mike McKenna, Jr. – Musical Storyteller

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’.

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Peace, Love, and Music

Our neighbors for the weekend greeted us with smiles and offered any help we needed setting up.  Quickly understanding the concept, I helped our one set of neighbors get their pop-up tent in place.  When they heard that we were first-time festival goers, they’d quickly offer advice as to the best practices to get the most out of the festival.

Hearing the stories about how long some of these people had been attending the festival was absolutely amazing.  One had been coming every year since 1969, others were at their 15th, 20th or 30th festival.  One guy, now in his 30’s grew up at the festival, first attending with his parents as an infant and continuing to make the trek now as an adult.  They came from all over, near and far.  The gentleman that has been coming since 1969, Allen, flew in from Ogden, Utah and rented an RV for the weekend with a buddy.  He originally grew up in the Philly area, but said that he’d never miss a fest, regardless of the distance that he might have to travel.  When I told him that this was our festival, he said, “Man I gotta give you a hug, this is gonna change your life!  There’s nothing here but peace, love, and music.”

At this point, we were only there for about an hour, but I knew that we in a special place.  This wasn’t just a music festival; it was a community.

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