Say it ain’t so: XPN Sleepy Hollow host Keith Brand retiring after 27 years behind the mic

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Photo by Tom Gralish http://articles.philly.com/2013-04-08/news/38348689_1_ned-eckhardt-rowan-university-documentaries
Photo by Tom Gralish http://articles.philly.com/2013-04-08/news/38348689_1_ned-eckhardt-rowan-university-documentaries

Every Sunday Morning for the last 27 years, XPN Sleepy Hollow host and producer Keith Brand has been sharing his love for the “eclectic, quiet sounds of Sleepy Hollow” with loyal XPN and Sleepy Hollow listeners. Brand’s extensive depth of musical knowledge, passion, and ability to hand craft an engaging listening experience on Sunday mornings is what makes easing into Sundays so wonderful. From Nina Simone, soundtrack music and French pop gems to Massive Attack, ambient singer-sopngwriters and traditional jazz, Brand created a unique vibe each week with attention to musical detail and musical segues that made connections between genres and songs and musicians where you wouldn’t expect and made it sound seamless. So, it’s with sadness (as Keith writes below) that he’s decided to retire from Sleepy Hollow. We wish Keith all the best down the road. We’re sure he’s happy to get his weekends back. His final Sleepy Hollow shift will be on Sunday, May 5th from 8AM-11AM. Tune in and wish him well. But before he goes, we’ve asked him to put together a Spotify playlist of Sleepy Hollow tunes that you can listen to below. Keith, thanks for the great music and we wish you all the best. And now, a letter from Keith Brand:

Dear Sleepy Hollow listeners,

It is with both sadness and anticipation that I announce that I will be retiring from Sleepy Hollow after 27 years. My last show will be May 5th. When I began broadcasting at WXPN, it was still a community radio station with a small but dedicated listenership. Today, WXPN is a force to be reckoned with. I have been fortunate to quietly watch that transition over the past three decades.

I stayed at WXPN all these years because I believe that what Chuck Elliot and I created, along with a number of supplementary hosts, was unique. I often said that in my travels I never heard radio quite like Sleepy Hollow. That is as true today as it was 27 years ago. It seems like an appropriate time to go as Sleepy Hollow celebrates its 40th anniversary.

What I am most proud of has been presenting music that I found interesting to an eager weekend audience. Often, that music found its Philadelphia premier on Sleepy Hollow. Musicians like Sigur Ros, Damien Rice, Grizzly Bear, and Pink Martini found an early and welcome home on Sleepy Hollow. And I am just as proud to play lesser-known musicians like Jherek Bischoff, Anias Mitchell, Sam Amidon, and The Clogs. I never thought I was a great radio DJ, but I was passionate about different kinds of music and had a desire to find the connections between them.

The main reason I am retiring is that after 27 years it is time to do something else with my weekends. Hosting Sleepy Hollow required a lot of my time and I want that time back. I’ve recently been elected the Chair of the Radio Television and Film Department at Rowan University and that will require a lot more of my time and energy. The time devoted to producing Sleepy Hollow will be diverted to other creative outlets, including hopefully producing more stories for NPR programs. So I don’t feel like I’m giving up on radio.

It’s been a pleasure to wake up with you for so many Sunday mornings. Your phone calls of encouragement were always welcome. But it’s time to sign off one last time. Keep that dial tuned to 88.5.

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  • Tori

    Farewell; and thank you for many wonderful, peace-filled lazy mornings spent before the radio. Best to you in the future.

  • http://www.facebook.com/beth.schultz.129 Beth Schultz

    Best wishes in all your future endeavors and weekends left to your own devices! Thanks for a great run, you will be missed! There was NOTHING else out there like your program and I LOVED it. Many thanks!

  • http://www.facebook.com/jaylassiter Jay Lassiter

    NOOOOOOOOOO!

  • hmchugh430

    your voice was as much a treasure to listen to as the music

  • http://www.facebook.com/daniel.v.mayan Daniel Vincent Mayan

    Best of luck and I can’t figger Sunday morning without all the crazy good stuff you play – I’ll keep an ear out for your next project!!!

  • http://www.facebook.com/cindy.w.marvin Cindy Wilmarth Marvin

    Keith, you have made that ride to work on a Saturday morning more tolerable. You will be missed. Best of luck in your new endeavor with Rowan University.

  • Tina

    Oh noooooooooooooooo I will miss you !!! My favorite part of Sunday mornings! Good luck , enjoy your retirement !

  • Audrey

    My favorite part of Sunday morning. Thank you.

  • Robin B

    My favorite radio show…ever. Will miss you!

  • Elaine ferry

    Oh! I will miss you soooo much!!! Your sensibility about music, segueways, covers is unique. I had the feeling change was in the offing when they began bringing Deliberto in, but, he is not in your league and I will miss you truly! You have enriched my sundays for 20 years and I thank you.

  • Paul Mick

    Hearing Keith Brand twice today – as Sunday Sleepy Hollow Host & filling-in for Gene Shay has been a huge gift :-D also looking forward to your next NPR project. It’s your humility showing saying that you’ve never considered yourself a great radio DJ – looking forward to your bittersweet final Sunday morning @ May 5th – putting it into my Android phone’s calendar so I can prepare to not miss a beat! And back in 3-weeks on ‘The Folk Show’ – hooray! TY for all of the Richie Havens memorial music on both programs today – cool how you followed the ‘Mountain Stage’1995 rebroadcast from Richie segued right into more Richie! Trust Gene’s Ok, heard a few minor but no less painful on-air gaffs recently but hey, everyone makes ‘em! Been a wonderful 27 years, been listening almost that entire time – where did the time go? Will leave that to others to solve but the music’s been a ctahrctic, illuminating blast and three quarters! To paraphrase, what WXPN makes, Rowan University takes. TTFN

    • Paul Mick

      *cathartic [ Re: 'The Folk Show': Going out on yet another Richie Havens take on The Beatles - pure class!]

  • http://twitter.com/tompryor1 tom pryor

    Dear Keith,

    You have been an extraordinary influence in shaping my musical sensibilities over the last couple of decades. My favorite playlist begins w your standby track from the “A Man And A Woman” soundtrack, from a Japanese issued CD I was able to find a few years ago. The majority of the music is listen to was either introduced to me through your irreplaceable Sunday Sleepy Hollow my own exploration, having been set on a path of discovery by you.

    You have consistently gifted us with obscure treasures and breathed new life into the timeless beauty of familiar “standards.” Your quiet reassuring presence, your musings, and your seamless blending of exquisite works is truly unique. I can only hope that in the midst of pursuing a well deserved foray into new adventures, you will carve out a small place to favor us still with your heartfelt observations on the artists and their work who have touched you, and, by extension, all of us…

    I suspect you will never fully appreciate the influence you have had through the magic of the airwaves.

    Be well, our dear friend… and thank you

  • http://www.facebook.com/vince.moffa.3 Vince Moffa

    Been a listener since day one ….. Sunday mornings will never be the same….good luck !!

  • Patricia Bucek

    Thank you Keith for so many years of wonderfully smooth jazz Sunday mornings. Best wishes to you in your new journey. You will be missed.

  • http://www.facebook.com/robert.ryan.79219 Robert Ryan

    Keith – Thank you so much for wonderful, relaxing music on Sunday mornings, and best wishes in the next phase of your life!

  • Deb

    Where will I get my “fix” of Nina Simone and silly French songs now? Sunday morning will not be the same. Thank you so much for the years of listening enjoyment! All the best to you.

  • Michael Mabry

    Thank you for all the quiet Sunday mornings, Keith. All the best.

  • Mary

    Thank you so much for so many years of playing relaxing music worthy of our listening time. I will miss your resonant voice as much as the music. Best wishes for your future path. At least you’ll “. . .always have Paris” and your weekends.

  • Margaret

    Wondering what your guilty pleasure pick will be. You will be greatly missed Keith. Sunday mornings just won’t be the same. Best wishes and enjoy Paris!

  • http://www.facebook.com/suzie.saltiel Suzie Saltiel

    Now who will give me so very willingly the Jacques,Edith and other Frenchies…..who will let my Soul be so very contented at the Holidays,esp.with Squirrel Hill and George
    Winston….who now will show my heart the shows I shall never see?…..such respect,
    carings and delights….magical memories I thought were lost in my thoughts….where oh where….Blessings and Best ever all of your Journeys….glad glad we’re buddies…MERCÌ, Salty and Muffin

  • Helen Arvin

    I must hear more music from you! You have created wonderful listening for your fans. Sure hope you will again find a spot on the air to share your music selections – so many that I came to love. Your theme, “A man and a woman” doesn’t get any better. Enjoy!

  • http://www.facebook.com/suzie.saltiel Suzie Saltiel

    Just a footie note….the first tyme I heard the Flirtations singing “The Love You Leave
    Behind”….well,it was your show….I teach every one of my classes this very deep song…you see,Keith,your Ripple continues as long as I’m around,fer sure! :) Blessings,Salty and Muffin

  • Ginger Nobles

    I love so many things about public radio, but Keith Brand and Sleepy Hollow are at the top of my list. Keith has broadened my musical world with so many new songs (and genres) along with his in-depth knowledge of performers and the history behind the songs. I feel like Keith has been a Sunday morning friend for many years and I will miss him very much. Best of luck with your next adventure, Keith!! You are one talented guy.

  • David from King of Prussia

    I’ll miss you Keith. I can’t begin to count all of the artists and songs you introduced me to over the last 20 years. Thank you – you have enriched my life. You were the main reason I became a member of xpn. Now, I wish you all the best in your endeavors at Rowan. “Sunday Will Never Be The Same”.

  • LRL

    Will truly miss you and the wonder you have created for so many Sunday mornings! Best of luck.