Philadelphia’s Rosali Middleman debuted this year with an excellent collection of earnest, roots-tinged songwriting and contemporary folk. Released simply under her first name via local imprint Siltbreeze Records, Rosali‘s Out of Love hearkens back to the 70s singer-songwriter era of Joan Baez and Neil Young as much as it recalls more recent parallels — Lucinda Williams, or R.E.M. circa Out of Time. At the core of the music is Rosali’s engaging voice: confident, sublime, delivering observational stories of the fast-paced world around her and going inward for self-reflection.
This month, Rosali caps 2016 with a residency at Northern Liberties venue Ortlieb’s. She performs every Wednesday night with her band, The Middlemen — a lush six-piece that includes members of like-minded outfit Oldermost, as well as Purling Hiss, Tin Horses and The Writhing Squares. The entire series is free, and continues tonight at 9 p.m. with Oldermost playing an opening set. Next Wednesday, December 21st, Keil Everett opens; and the series concludes on December 28th with The Writhing Squares opening. More information on all three shows can be found at the XPN Concert Calendar.
This week, we welcomed Rosali and the Middlemen in the studio to perform live for us, and it’s a wonderful distillation of their live set into a bite-size, four-song session. At the center is a driving performance of “Blind Bird,” which you can watch below via VuHaus. There’s also a moving opening performance of “The Good Life,” the very poppy “Hangin'” and a blissed-out jam on “Black As Ashes” that transforms the lo-fi minimalism of the album version into a spectral train ride into the night. Listen to the entire set below, and grab a free download here.Rosali, The Key Studio Sessions