"tracing the development of folk music"

Host: Tom Coxworth
10am-Noon MT Sundays
Midnight-2am MT Wednesdays (rebroadcast)

Folk Routes is a friendly, two-hour pleasure cruise through the full spectrum of folk and folk-oriented music. Each week, Tom Coxworth traces the development of folk music from its European traditions to the blended influences of modern North American folk stylings. “It’s a real challenge to cover the full spectrum of folk because it’s such an open genre,” he says, citing his quest to look for the folk in all music, whether it’s Woodie Guthrie, the Everly Brothers, the Beatles, Sandy Denny, Justin Rutledge, Bright Eyes, Serena Ryder, Joe Strummer or other artists.

For Tom, the magic of folk music is that it’s indefinable, that it recreates itself every single day, and that it connects an enthusiastic community of artists, listeners, clubs, festivals and sponsors. While honouring the traditions of the genre, Folk Routes also aims to challenge listeners to ask themselves, “Is that really folk music?” As well, the program proudly supports the folk-music community by promoting events and artists in Alberta and beyond.


Tom Coxworth

I have had a love affair with folk music for a very long time. It’s hard to say exactly when I met my true love, but the bond is strong and the feelings run deep. I hope that this passion is evident in every show, in my knowledge of folk and in the connection that I feel to this wide range of music. I love turning a Celtic corner in a bluegrass tune and then playing some early blues ballad, and then going back to an English traditional song. I even named my daughter Tam-Lynn from a 16th-century folk song that I first heard in 1970!

I have been recording and producing Folk Routes from my home studio since 1998. Unlike most of my colleagues who use materials from CKUA’s wonderful in-house library, I have a collection of my own to draw from. I’ve been collecting music since I was a young chap, and my inventory of LPs and CDs towers over the average library branch at 10,000 items.

Radio has always been a big part of my life. I started at the University of Alberta’s CJSR in 1986, when I took over the Celtic program called In the Tradition. Almost by accident, I met a man named Andy Donnelly and together, we argued and laughed our way through eight years of Celtic programming. Who knew that years later we would both become keen members of the CKUA family?

Why do I love CKUA so much? For me, CKUA is a lifestyle statement. The station is very reflective of who I am as a person. I am not one-dimensional, and the music feeds my need for new ideas.