Folkadelphia Session: Angel Olsen

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Photo by Zach Blum (The Deli-Philly)

Welcome to the Folkadelphia Sessions, a weekly feature focusing on the in-studio performances recorded by the Folkadelphia crew. Here, folk musicians and singer-songwriters are given the opportunity to share songs that we have recorded in a live, intimate, and often stripped-down fashion at the WXPN studios. There is a real truth and beauty in the rawness of the whole set-up that we hope you’ll hear and enjoy!

As we approach the end of the year, we undoubtedly arrive at “Best of 2012” Season, where everyone and their mother finally reveal what they’ve been considering, constructing, and bottling up for the last twelve months: their favorite albums, songs, and musical discoveries of 2012. I say this with a fair amount of derision, but I’m no different, for I dutifully piece together lists upon lists upon lists without really knowing why. This takes me to my main point- let us not forget these lists’ purpose. When I talk about “Best of 2012,” I mean songs that led to watershed moments in my musical thinking and listening, artists that now hold a significant gravity in my musical prioritizing, albums that will now become an inextricable part of my personal record collecting canon. When I say “Best of 2012,” I’m really not joking around.

Now that I have waxed philosophic on the nature of “Best of” lists, let’s talk about Angel Olsen. Angel Olsen is a Chicago-based songwriter who this year released her second LP called Half Way Home through Bathetic Records. Olsen has ties to Bonnie “Prince” Billy and The Cairo Gang. These are all facts and say nothing about the way that you’ll feel emotionally devastated after your first run-through of the record. Nor do they tell you how to anticipate the shear thrilling power and intensity of Olsen’s multifaceted voice, which ranges from sotto voce to full-blown operatic. In a single word, it is amazing. Half Way Home will certainly make its place in my “Best of 2012” list, but also in my daily listening habits. I’m sure that many will emphatically agree and be acting similarly.

Before her Folkadelphia concert on November 13th, we were able to record a few songs with Angel in stripped-down fashion — electric guitar and vocals – her configuration for this past tour. Sit back and click stream (or download), and take in Angel Olsen’s Folkadelphia Session.

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