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Folkadelphia Session: The Ballroom Thieves

Photo by One Love Photo.
Photo by One Love Photo.

You’re going to start to hear their name a lot all around, so I’ll say it right now – The Ballroom Thieves. Just this week, they released A Wolf in the Doorway, a big leap forward after two EPs of engaging music, but songs that left the impression of a band figuring it out, finding out who they are. A Wolf in the Doorway presents a band that knows who they are. The Ballroom Thieves have arrived and their bringing one heck of a sound in tow. Continue reading →

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Folkadelphia Session: Alice Boman

Photo by Johanna Attesson
Photo by Johanna Attesson

One of my absolute favorite aspects of the live in-studio format (and if we’re being biased, our own Folkadelphia Sessions) is their ability to contrast a performance from the album version of a song. You get something raw and spontaneous, unique to this one space and time. It allows listeners to hear an artist in a different light, adding complexity and layers to the total package they bring to their songwriting or playing. These in-studio sessions also give the artist a chance to mess with the formula – to flesh out arrangements, to strip songs down to bare essentials, or to manipulate any aspect of their performance in a safe environment. What we commit to tape is often unbelievable. Continue reading →

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Folkadelphia Session: Jennifer Castle

Photo by Jeremy Jensen
Photo by Jeremy Jensen

Even after falling for her records, especially last year’s Pink City, and recording an in-studio session, Jennifer Castle remains just as mysterious to me. Suddenly you’re swept up by Castle’s songs, each full of magic, rich in color, timbre, and imagination. Then when it’s all over, you’re left, buzzing and tingling, remnants of songwriting stardust around, looking to start the journey anew. Continue reading →

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Folkadelphia Session: The cast of Lonesome Traveler


Creativity tends to manifest in multidisciplinary ways. The musicians that Folkadelphia has in for our in-studio sessions are usually not just musicians – they’re artists. They paint, draw, sculpt, curate, write, photograph. Music is not a box that bounds and satisfies their imagination, but serves as one medium of expression. There are many more.

We’ve seen and heard about many “beyond music” projects, but we’ve yet to hear from the musical theater and acting realms. That changed this March when we invited the cast of Lonesome Traveler to travel from New York City to Philly to record songs that are featured in the production.
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Folkadelphia Session: Steve Gunn


You knew it was coming, we prepared you for this moment. At the end of 2014, we pulled together a collection of some of our favorite in-studio sessions for our 2nd Folkadelphia Sessions compilation. We also previewed what was to come in 2015. That’s when you got your first taste of this week’s brand new session from Steve Gunn‘s visit to our studio. Today you hear the full thing.
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Folkadelphia Session: Cross Record

Courtesy of artist's site.
Courtesy of artist’s site.

Emily Cross is Cross Record. The only way to experience Cross Record is to listen. It’s hard to describe the sounds you’ll hear. The sonic landscape shifts and morphs from piece-to-piece, from second-to-second. The listener, at first will be lost in this wilderness of acoustics and electronics, sudden sound giving way to sudden silence, but the constant changing becomes comforting. Cross is a truly adept songwriter, but it might not be the type of songs you expect. Let’s call them sound collages. There are bright flashes of percussion, colorful static, and Cross’s effect-laden voice beckoning you forward, now to the left, right into a barrage of distorted electric guitars, but beyond there, a swell of droney acoustic instruments. Her album Be Good is an adventure record – just click play and see where it takes you.

Here Cross Record’s Folkadelphia Session below:

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Folkadelphia Session: Jess Williamson


Texas multidisciplinary artist Jess Williamson is our first Folkadelphia Session back after working on and airing our Unsung Episode on Jason Molina and Songs: Ohia, which you can listen to here. Perhaps my mind is just very stuck on Molina’s particular style and tone, but I can’t help making certain comparisons between the two artists, especially with Williamson’s most recent collection of songs, last year’s Native State.

As with Molina, Williamson has a knack for making music that seems so personal and introspective that it suddenly starts turning to become embracing to all of the listeners. Continue reading →

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Unsung Folkadelphia #1: Jason Molina and Songs: Ohia’s Didn’t It Rain

Jason Molina, courtesy of Secretly Canadian.
Jason Molina, courtesy of Secretly Canadian.
From the 'Didn't It Rain' session, Jennie Bedford's lyric work sheet to "Steve Albini's Blues"
From the ‘Didn’t It Rain’ session, Jennie Bedford’s lyric work sheet to “Steve Albini’s Blues”

Welcome to the first chapter of Folkadelphia’s new project that we’ve gotten in the habit of calling Unsung.

In the history of music, there are many unsung artists and albums that we firmly clutch close to our hearts. These artists create the kind of music that we wish other people knew more about or cared more deeply for. We wish that we could share with others our exact feelings about how we’ve been touched and affected by some musicians. We want to show them the light. We want to sing these musicians’ unsung song for everyone to hear.

With this series, we hope we can provide a way for people to connect with music that has been influential beyond its commercial impact and, perhaps, appeal. It’s never too late to find a new favorite band and honor their legacy and discography.

For this first part, we focused on what has become one of my favorite albums: Songs: Ohia’s Didn’t It Rain, which was recorded in Philadelphia in 2002. Continue reading →

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Folkadelphia Session: Rose Windows

Photo by Lauren Rodriguez
Photo by Lauren Rodriguez

In 2015, Rose Windows, the Seattle-based, hard-to-pin-down-exactly-what-they-do, psychedelic rock band on Sub Pop Records, will release their highly anticipated second full length album. This follows their debut The Sun Dogs released a couple of years ago which made quite an impact on most all who heard it. What initially drew us to Rose Windows was their sonic connection (perceived by us) to our favorite era of experimental British folk-rock, updated for the modern era. We thought they carried that torch well. We stuck around because of their intensity, their multi-layered sound that becomes apparent with repeated listens, and, perhaps most importantly, their powerful and mesmerizing live show. If you take anything away from this session, it’s that Rose Windows is a band you need to see in action.
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Folkadelphia Session: Melaena Cadiz

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Whenever I end up writing these little introductions to Folkadelphia Sessions, I look back at how the session came about, how I initially communicated with the featured artist, and I try (and often fail) to remember the first time I heard their music. This week, I wrack my brain trying to recall the first time I became acquainted with the beautiful and tender songs of Melaena Cadiz.
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