SACKVILLE, N.B. – R.A. Lautenschlager is passionate about folk music. Simple songs with meaning and feeling, ones that stand the test of time. It doesn’t get better than that for the Sackville singer-songwriter.
So, as he became increasingly frustrated over a marked absence of that type of music on the radio, Lautenschlager took matters into his own hands.
With the hope of inspiring others to enjoy folk music as much as he does, or reviving their own past love of the genre, Lautenschlager started his own weekly radio show that is shared with listeners throughout Tantramar and Cumberland regions.
“I started doing the show because I was disappointed in the music I was hearing on the radio and thought the only way to ensure there was what I would consider good music on the radio was to do a weekly radio show playing what I believed qualified,” says Lautenschlager.
Called Simply Folk, the weekly one-hour show is partly inspired by a song he wrote many years ago called Simple Song. With a chorus that reads “Sing a song that’s simple and true, with meaning for me and you – with feeling, and words so clear. Something simple that will last for years,” Lautenschlager says the music he plays on his program is mainly based on that premise.
“I play stuff from around the folk revival of the 1960s, and those that influenced that music, to songs like that still being written and played these days.”
From the likes of Bob Dylan, Joan Baez, Kingston Trio and Peter, Paul and Mary, Lautenschlager says the folk music from those years brings listeners back to a simpler time when songs had more significance and sentiment behind them, when the artists were making music that meant something.
He says that contrasts hugely to the music played on commercial radio today, which is “all throwaway stuff cause it has no meaning.”
Put together at his home-based studio, Simply Folk is created through Adobe Audition software and shared to Dropbox where stations can pick it up for the weekly time slots. He says he mainly focuses on folk artists from throughout North America, with at least a third of the content being strictly Canadian.
He says he enjoys searching for new material for his show and has come across some classic folk artists he hadn’t heard of before ,but also newer ones who are continuing to keep the genre going strong. He is particularly struck by The Once, a band he’s been listening to out of Newfoundland making a name for themselves in Canadian music, “who are playing some wonderful stuff.”
“It has been a wonderful learning experience, especially finding high-quality musicians I never heard before as I go looking for songs to fill an hour show every week.”
The show has been airing for about two years now and Lautenschlager says his show has been gaining a wide range of listeners, from die-hard folk music enthusiasts to new audiences of all ages.
“I’m amazed actually at how many people stop me in the grocery store and say they listen to my show every week. They just love it.”
Simply Folk airs on Friday mornings at 8 a.m. on CMHA 106.9, a campus/community radio station based at Mount Allison University, and Wednesday nights at 9 p.m. and Sunday afternoons at 4 p.m. on CFTA 107.9, a community-operated station with studios based out of Amherst but serving both Cumberland and Westmorland counties.