The Philly Folk Parade took over the World Cafe Live stage earlier this afternoon for a special edition of XPN’s Free At Noon concert series. The lineup featured four groups from the local folk music collective, including The Great Unknown, Chris Kasper, Hezekiah Jones, and The Spinning Leaves. Though the artists were technically slated to perform just two songs apiece, members from each group joined one another throughout the entire show, keeping the stage alive and packed with up to 15 performers at once.
Alt-folk quartet The Great Unknown opened the show, backed by at least eight other members of the Philly Folk Parade. A prevailing first impression was simply how young and happy the assemblage was, and their energy was instantly felt throughout the room. They featured resonant electric violin and guitar on their second song, “We’ve Got Secrets,” which also included harmonies from all 12 musicians on stage.
Next up was Chris Kasper and his band. After an endearing opening song in which Kasper and fiddler Kiley Ryan harmonized “ooohs” and “aaahs,” the group fell into a serious folk groove for “Baltimore Street.” Members of the band remained on stage as they were joined by the next act, recent Shaking Through artist Hezekiah Jones. The stage was again filled, with even more members now playing harmonica, upright bass, and electric lap steel guitar. Their song “Cannonball” was a slower tune, held together tightly by incredible harmonica and electric guitar and fiddle solos.
Philly Folk Parade co-founders The Spinning Leaves were the last to perform, and by this time the stage was completely full of people singing and dancing. They began their set by leading the eager crowd in claps and stomps, and their positive energy was again infectious. The combination of their modern folk harmonies with traditional harmonica and electric guitar was unexpected and rich. All four groups from The Philly Folk Parade were a joy to watch. As long as these artists are around, there should be no doubt that folk music is alive and well in Philadelphia. —Claire Fishkow
The Great Unknown
1. Water Again
2. We’ve Got Secrets
1. Miss Augustine
2. Baltimore Street
1. Iowa Alligator
2. Cannonball (I’ve Got A Little Room)
The Spinning Leaves
1. Two Eggs
2. Bridges For Free