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Folkadelphia Session: Nora Jane Struthers

Photo by Jim McGuire, courtesy of the band.
Photo by Jim McGuire, courtesy of the band.

Nora Jane Struthers and her group the Party Line give me what I always want from a band: kick-ass music that straddles the boundaries between typical genres, enthralling performances, and the best damn attitude. Bonus points given for being some of the nicest people around. These are folks here for the love of the game – all about creating and sharing, and when you’ve got that, you just know good music is apt to follow.
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Folkadelphia Session: Mandolin Orange

Mandolin Orange, photo by Alex Loops
Photo by Alex Loops

We welcome back our friends Emily Frantz and Andrew Marlin, the duo Mandolin Orange, to Folkadelphia for an encore in-studio session almost a year after their first. As much things have changed in that time, so much has stayed the same. Working somewhere within their Americana, folk, and roots framework, Mandolin Orange continues to create music with an undeniable chemistry and intimacy. Continue reading →

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Folkadelphia Session: Glenn Jones (with Laura Baird)


Guitarist Glenn Jones is a master of his craft. From his days in the post-rock outfit Cul de Sac to his more recent meditative solo albums, Jones has solidified his place in the pantheon of American Primitivism greats. Jones’ longtime label Thrill Jockey Records concisely defines American Primitive Guitar as “a style invented in the late 1950s by John Fahey, whose traditional fingerpicking techniques and wide-ranging influences were used to create modern original compositions.” Continue reading →

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Folkadelphia Session: Margaret Glaspy


Without a doubt, Margaret Glaspy is a name you’re gong to start to hear a lot of from now on. A new signing to the illustrious ATO Records, the world will feel the impact of Glaspy’s debut album this summer. She has spent recent years cutting her teeth touring with Rachel Yamagata, Aoife O’Donovan, Jayme Stone’s Lomax Project, and even Ricky Skaggs and Tim O’Brien. It would right on to say that her musical sensibilities fit snugly with any of these acts – however, there is something intrinsically different and unique about Glaspy. Let’s call it the “Glaspy Factor,” some extra energy, some “umph,” some kinda creative maelstrom that the artist and the listener get sucked up into. A taste of that can be heard on Glaspy’s EP, a lead-in to her full length.
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Folkadelphia Session: Tom Brosseau (with Andru Bemis)

Photo by Carey Braswell.
Photo by Carey Braswell.

Simplicity doesn’t mean a lack of creativity, honesty doesn’t preclude artfulness, being plainspoken doesn’t limit wit or cleverness. You can be all of these things in one and much more too. That’s the case for North Dakotan songwriter and (**huge bias here**) one of my favorite songwriters, Tom Brosseau. Over his recorded career, which comprises over ten solo albums – nearly one a year since 2002, except for a break between 2009’s Posthumous Success and 2014’s Grass Punks, in addition to collaborations with John C. Reilly (like our Folkadelphia Session), Becky Stark, Gregory Page, and Angela Correa (as a duo called Les Shelleys), Brosseau has told simple yet wholly affecting stories. Continue reading →

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Folkadelphia Session: The White Cheddar Boys

Courtesy of the artist.
Courtesy of the artist.

One of the great perks of living in Philadelphia is the walkability of the city. On many a sunny day and romantic whim, I’ve walked far west to river’s edge east, marveling as I did on my first trip here many years ago at ordinary things, now suddenly imbued with magical brightness, renewed freshness, and a sense of fate. Parks draw passersby into their gravity, runners and cyclists on the coastal path mirror the kinetic energy of the Schuylkill, buildings jut up and hold within them endless narratives. It’s a lot to imagine and a lot to even behold. As I’ve walked around, car horns, construction sites, the wind-tunnel whipping on the bridges have all been my natural soundtrack. When I’ve been lucky, I also get to hear a banjo plucked, a washboard struck, and an old-time tune belted, sometimes in the Rittenhouse Square area, or a train station, or where you least expect it too. This is how I met the supreme bluegrass buskers, The White Cheddar Boys, led by Huey McBanjo.
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Folkadelphia Session: The Dove And The Wolf

Courtesy of the artist.
Courtesy of the artist.

The Dove & The Wolf are ready to break your heart. As Parisians, they’re more familiar with the language of love and loss, they’re more familiar with all manner of heartbreak and actions done for the heart’s sake than us Americans. Lou and Paloma, holders of the ornithological and canine namesake, released an EP in 2012 that really struck a chord with a lot of folks. I think it has to do with space – the airiness in the song, as well as the intimacy the group creates between the listener and themselves. And the singing, the wonderful harmonies that soar – Earth angels Lou and Paloma are seasoned heartstring plucking veterans.
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Folkadelphia Session: The Chapin Sisters

The Chapin Sisters | Photo courtesy of the artist
The Chapin Sisters | Photo courtesy of the artist

Music flows in their veins, innate chemistry flows from their relationship. We’re proud to present an in-studio session with Abigail and Lily Chapin, performing together as the Chapin Sisters. Let’s quickly gloss over their amazing family legacy in music (and that their lovely parents happened to also be on tour and were fortuitously able to come out to attend the recording) and dive right into the consistently masterful albums the duo has been releasing. Continue reading →

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Folkadelphia Session: Fred Thomas


On musician Fred Thomas‘s Bandcamp page, a collection is building. Thomas, in preparation for a future release, has been compiling a library of organic and synthesized sounds he has been creating. Most are very short, perhaps meant as an audio diary of sorts, but I mention it because it gives us, everyone who isn’t Fred Thomas, a chance to see through his eyes, listen through his ears, think his thoughts. And man, it’s a colorfully active world in his brain – buzzing, humming, shining, twitching, spinning, convulsing, swaying, and throbbing along. It’s really no wonder that Thomas’s musical output has been varied and prolific – Saturday Looks Good To Me, City Center, Flashpapr, Mighty Clouds, Lovesick, just to name a few in addition to his solo work. One could even say that Thomas has a compulsion to create and collaborate on music – you’ve got to admire that ambition.
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