76 episodes

We all remember the moment we discovered that secret song on one of our favourite albums. Often, those hidden gems provide a revealing peek behind-the-curtain, leading us to new insights about the artists and recordings we thought we knew.

CKUA’s Hidden Track podcast aims to do the same, by bringing you stories that change the way you experience music. Any given week, we’ll get to the heart of the song with the musician who wrote it, reflect on a landmark recording with the producer and engineer who helped shape it, or examine the legacy of a musical icon with the critic, biographer or industry player who knows them best. Whoever the guest may be, each episode will provide a moment of discovery you won’t soon forget.

Hidden Track CKUA Radio

    • Music
    • 4.9 • 25 Ratings

We all remember the moment we discovered that secret song on one of our favourite albums. Often, those hidden gems provide a revealing peek behind-the-curtain, leading us to new insights about the artists and recordings we thought we knew.

CKUA’s Hidden Track podcast aims to do the same, by bringing you stories that change the way you experience music. Any given week, we’ll get to the heart of the song with the musician who wrote it, reflect on a landmark recording with the producer and engineer who helped shape it, or examine the legacy of a musical icon with the critic, biographer or industry player who knows them best. Whoever the guest may be, each episode will provide a moment of discovery you won’t soon forget.

    Corb Lund | A Country Past and a Speed Metal Future

    Corb Lund | A Country Past and a Speed Metal Future

    Ever the masterful crafter of musical stories, Corb Lund has just released his eleventh album El Viejo — a new collection that weaves together inventive narratives and introduces us to some compelling characters. On this record we encounter: a veteran card sharp dealing out hard-won wisdom, a down-on-his-luck journeyman MMA fighter, a speed addict trying to kick the habit on the family farm, and on the album’s title track, a true-life heartfelt tribute to the recently departed country great Ian Tyson, known to some friends as “El Viejo” — or “The Old Man”. 

    Listen closely, and you’ll hear lots of Corb’s own story, too — there are a few tales of adventures and misadventures on the road, and the song “I Had It All” in which he muses about having a “cowboy past and a speed metal future”. 

    Corb’s professional life in music began with a stint in jazz college, followed by a dozen years in a celebrated band who played a blend of psychedelic rock, hardcore punk, and speed metal -- not exactly a textbook beginning to a fruitful career in roots country music. 

    Corb Lund initially embarked upon his career as a singer-songwriter as an acoustic side project - one that stood out in sharp contrast to the decidedly heavier stylings of his internationally renowned rock band, The Smalls. It allowed Corb to develop his personal sense of expression and storytelling, while also connecting with the roots music that he heard growing up in the rural foothills country of Southern Alberta. 

    Eventually, The Smalls broke up and Corb's solo project became his primary focus. True DIY success would soon follow with a series of gold records, international tours and meeting personal heroes like Ian Tyson. Throughout it all, he’s been determined to walk his own path and to keep his roots at the center of everything he does. 

    El Viejo takes Corb’s homespun philosophy to a whole new level. The first Corb Lund album since the 1990s to feature exclusively acoustic instruments, it was recorded in his own Southern Alberta living room, performed live off the floor in a circle with his bandmates. 

    The international El Viejo tour saw Corb Lund and the Hurtin’ Albertans take a spin through Corb’s home province, and he shared an intimate backstage conversation just ahead of soundcheck at his Edmonton show. He reflected on his journey, how he’s still bridging the metal/country divide, being outspoken in his advocacy for preserving the Rocky Mountain foothills, the long shadow of his friend and mentor Ian Tyson and finding new ways to be as personal as he can with the art that he creates.  

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    Host: Grant Stovel | Producer: Scott Zielsdorf | Graphics: Craig Taffs | Music: Doug Hoyer 

    The Hidden Track podcast is a CKUA production made possible by the generosity of our donors. Thank you for your continued support!

    • 36 min
    The Bros. Landreth | Years Passing By

    The Bros. Landreth | Years Passing By

    The Bros. Landreth return to Hidden Track for a Season 5 Session! 
    When they started their band, it was just an excuse to spend time together, given that the brothers David and Joey Landreth were often embroiled in their careers as top–call players in the Winnipeg music scene.  

    The brothers came together to write some original songs and their first album as The Bros. Landreth was born. Released independently without much fanfare, Let It Lie soon drew them an audience from across the world. 

    It's somewhat ironic that the album is titled “Let It Lie”, as it did anything but lay down - especially where the Bro’s musical careers are concerned! Ten years on, this beautiful album continues to resonate and do astonishing things in the world. For instance – it would have seemed impossible for David and Joey to believe in 2013 that a decade later, they could say that a song on this album has been recorded by one of their all-time heroes, Bonnie Raitt – and that it won a Grammy Award! 

    It says a lot about the work ethic of the Bros. Landreth that their way of celebrating the debut record's 10th anniversary was no mere victory lap. Instead, they created a whole new version of the album – featuring acoustic re-interpretations of all the songs on Let It Lie – and took it on the road for a gigantic tour. It was during that tour that the band found themselves with a couple days off in Alberta! Between their sold-out concerts, the Bros. Landreth elected to play a free Saturday covers set at a local pub and took a trip down to CKUA's Edmonton Performance Space for this beautiful Hidden Track Session. 

    Something of an intergenerational affair, this Session features David Landreth on bass (and some harmonica). Then, on acoustic guitars, we have: Joey Landreth, long-time collaborator Murray Pulver, (from hitmaking Winnipeg bands like Crash Test Dummies and Doc Walker); and the band's drummer, Roman Clarke, a great young multi-instrumentalist, who like everyone else in this session, is an absolute monster singer and musician – as well as a kind-hearted, down-to-earth, sincere, and hilarious human being. 

    This episode is a candid visit with the Bros. Landreth – in conversation, plus live performances of three songs from Let It Lie: "Nothing", "Where Were We", and that Grammy-winning song of theirs, "Made Up Mind". 

    Host: Grant Stovel | Producer: Scott Zielsdorf | Graphics: Craig Taffs | Music: Doug Hoyer 
    Session recording: Scott Zielsdorf | Mixing: Duke Paetz | Video Editor: Jasmine Vickaryous.  

    The Hidden Track podcast is a CKUA production made possible by the generosity of our donors. Thank you for your support! 

    Subscribe to the Hidden Track podcast on Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, and Spotify. 

    • 43 min
    The Rural Alberta Advantage | Found a Home Here

    The Rural Alberta Advantage | Found a Home Here

    The Rural Alberta Advantage's much-anticipated October 2023 album The Rise & the Fall - their first in a half-dozen years - is once again chock full of Albertan references. However, it has also managed to connect with fans from around the world! Renowned UK newspaper The Independent named it one of their Best Albums of 2023, alongside albums by Olivia Rodrigo and Lana Del Rey. Perhaps the most exciting part of this new album, and its subsequent world tour – is that it sees all three original members – and longtime great friends – back in action together. 

    They are Nils Edenloff (the Alberta expatriate who's the chief singer, songwriter and guitarist in the band), drummer extraordinaire Paul Banwatt and Amy Cole, who does pretty much everything else! Keyboards, bass pedals, harmony vocals – she's an orchestra unto herself! She took a break from the band back in 2016 and returned to the fold just in time for the new album and ensuing tour. Appropriately enough, the tour saw the band take a swing through Alberta, which included a visit to CKUA’s studios for this episode of Hidden Track Stories - and what stories they are!
    In this episode, we hear all about the band's rich history, the Alberta folklore that's fascinated them and their fans for so long, how they keep themselves grounded with family and careers outside of being internationally-celebrated musicians, what it's like to play for 50,000 fans and several dozen NHL hockey players at this season's Edmonton Oilers/Calgary Flames Heritage Classic and - more than anything – the shared love, respect, and chemistry that's gotten them to this point. 
    Host: Grant Stovel | Producer: Scott Zielsdorf | Graphics: Craig Taffs | Music: Doug Hoyer 
    Recording and mixing provided by Brendan Cross. 

    The Hidden Track podcast is a CKUA production and made possible by the generosity of our donors. Thank you for your support! 

    • 27 min
    Haley Blais | Cracking Wise

    Haley Blais | Cracking Wise

    When you think about it, being a YouTuber isn't so different from being a singer-songwriter. 

    In each case, you need to dig deep, be original, authentic and often get incredibly vulnerable – all while the world is looking on. 

    Canadian singer/songwriter Haley Blais has proven truly brilliant in both fields! This hit-YouTuber-turned-award-winning-musician shows us exactly why that is on her new album Wisecrack, and furthermore with the performance she shared with CKUA in this beautifully candid Hidden Track Session. 

    Haley has experienced a unique artistic evolution, to say the very least. Originally from Kelowna, BC, she started off her involvement in the arts as a classically trained opera singer, eventually making the move to Vancouver and cultivating a fruitful career as a content creator. But music has always been with her, and homespun musical performances proved to be hugely successful on her YouTube channel, including one ukulele-accompanied performance of an old pop song from the 1920s - which has received millions of views in the 2020s! 

    She has continued branching out into new adventures in music and her career as a singer, songwriter and recording artist kicked into high gear with her debut EP in 2016. In late 2023, she released her sophomore full-length album Wisecrack on Arts & Crafts. The album release tour saw her take a spin through Alberta in early 2024 and brought her to CKUA’s live performance space for an intimate, funny, heartbreaking and occasionally expletive-laden session on the Hidden Track Podcast. 
    Hidden Track is a CKUA production made possible by the generosity of our donor community. Thank you for your support! 
     

    • 26 min
    This Is The Kit | Be Okay

    This Is The Kit | Be Okay

    Careful of Your Keepers, the sixth full-length album by This Is the Kit, ends with the mantra-like benediction of "Be Okay". It's a beautifully delicate place to land, after ten songs that navigate their way through a world full of actions, their equal and opposite reactions, and the inextricably linked, overwhelmingly human dance between beauty and pain. 

    It's an album that starts with a goodbye. Or more precisely, it starts with a track called "Goodbye Bite", which carries on with plenty of bite throughout. The lyrics and imagery are are full of teeth and clawing and chewing. As Kate Stables sings on the chorus to the song "Inside Outside" – quoting Ralph Wiggum's celebrated Valentine note to Lisa on an episode of The Simpsons – "Bite off as much as you can chew/ I chew chew choose you."  

    Kate Stables is the singer/ songwriter/ multi-instrumentalist/ banjo enthusiast at the heart of this project. She grew up and fell in love with music in Winchester, one of Old England's oldest cities. She then moved on to the magical music city of Bristol, also the birthplace of groundbreaking acts like Portishead and Massive Attack. It's been a couple of decades since she moved to the artists' mecca of Paris, along with her husband (and fellow musician/bandleader) Jesse Vernon. 

    She and her musical collaborators have quietly built a body of work that's seen This Is the Kit become one of the most revered and distinctive creative forces in folk music. Their much-acclaimed 2023 album builds on 20 years of creative evolution, and finds them collaborating with a hero of Kate's from back in her teenage years – Gruff Rhys, who came to fame as the frontperson for Welsh '90s indie rock deities Super Furry Animals. 

    During the course of a wintertime 2024 tour through Alberta, Kate Stables stopped off at CKUA's Calgary studios to share an illuminating conversation about the elliptical nature of reality, her musical beginnings and creative evolution, drawing inspiration from a century-old banjo discovered in someone's attic, her surprisingly robust connections with Canada and/or Canadian music, working with one of her heroes, and what she always carries in her handbag. 

    • 35 min
    Sunny War | Punk Rock is a Gateway Drug

    Sunny War | Punk Rock is a Gateway Drug

    She's truly a study in contrasts – right from her chosen moniker, Sunny War. 

    Her story is an utterly extraordinary one, in terms of both her brilliant musical arc and her often-tumultuous life journey. She spent much of her teens and early 20s as an itinerant busker, living where she could, sometimes hopping trains around the States, experiencing trouble with the law, and battling drug and alcohol addiction. All along, Sunny War's lone constant companion – her true lifeline – has been her guitar. 

    The folk/ punk/ gospel/ blues artist was born Sydney Ward into a musical family in Nashville, steeped in rock, folk, and classical music, and started playing guitar as a child. Moving to L.A., she discovered punk rock in her early teens, which led her to a true DIY musical apprenticeship busking on the streets of Venice Beach. It was there that she began to develop her unique artistic voice, one that utterly transcends genre and era. She cites the influence of everyone from 1930s blues greats like Robert Johnson and Skip James, to 1980s reggae/punk firebrands Bad Brains and current experimental rap artist JPEGMafia. 

    Her 2022 album Anarchist Gospel was mainly written in the wake of a devastating breakup, in the loneliest depths of the pandemic, just before she decided to pull up stakes and move back to Tennessee. There, she made this album with producer Adrija Tokic (who has worked on albums by folks like Alabama Shakes and Hurray for the Riff Raff) and with collaborators like roots music heavyweights Allison Russell and David Rawlings. 

    Anarchist Gospel draws on the sense of duality that's at the heart of her work – these are heart-rending songs about romantic pain, family strife, and doomy environmental woes, yet the album overall is somehow strangely uplifting. 

    We hear that in the songs she shares with us in this episode of Hidden Track: "New Day", "Whole", and "No Reason". She performed them solo in a breathtakingly intimate session, as she travelled through Alberta playing a pair of wintertime music festivals. Travelling solo, of course! 
    Hidden Track Sessions are produced by CKUA Radio and is made possible by the generous contributions of our donors. Find out how you can get involved at ckua.com/donate! 

    • 33 min

Customer Reviews

4.9 out of 5
25 Ratings

25 Ratings

Eloc Dyob ,

Insightful music podcast that’s a delight to listen to

Such a great podcast to have on and learn about all decades and genres of music. Very well done!

GKMC24 ,

How Does Trump appear?

I quite enjoyed the 3 podcasts I listened to, specifically Charlie Pride, Willie Dunn and Richard Thompson. These could be better with a selection of music related to the subject artist.
The Charlie Pride interview became ridiculous with a leap of logic by one of the interviewees that had Trump responsible for the death of Charlie Pride. I know the leftist brigade will rise up in support of such a suggestion.
Keep up the good work. I love the affiliated station CKUA.

Crazypetnames ,

Charley Pride

I only ever knew Charley Pride by his music. Nice job revealing his real life journey! It helped me see this unique, talented & pioneering musician within his historical context. What an incredible man and story! Thanks.

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