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The Key’s Year-End Mania: Helen Leicht’s Free At Noon highlights of 2017

Jidenna at WXPN’s Free At Noon Concert on 7/7/17 | photo by Emma Silverstone for WXPN

Year-End Mania is the Key’s annual survey of the things below the surface that made 2017 incredible. Today, WXPN midday host Helen Leicht recaps her favorite #FreeAtNoon moments from 2017.

Every week I look forward to hosting the Free at Noon concerts. The most exciting shows are the artists that are surprises for our listeners. Plus I look forward to watching the artists’ response to YOU in the audience.

Here’s how the day begins – load in of instruments, sound check, then the bands sit in the backstage green room waiting for Noon. Some of the bands have driven all night to get here by 9:30 a.m. Some look wide awake and ready and others need a nap. I like to make sure they all know most of the people in the audience
are members and music lovers. That seems to get many of them ready for noon.

If the band has not done a Free at Noon they are cautiously optimistic. I understand. They just drove here for a midday concert. To a band, night time is the right time. Midday is for sleep. I’d say most bands ask me if there will be an audience. I assure them that our members put Free at Noon on their weekly to-do calendar, and we have been presenting them since 2005. That’s why I do the Free at Noon warm up before the band takes the stage — so they hear your cheering before noon. Then they know there is actually a large group of people waiting to hear their music. Continue reading →

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Listen to the XPN Local Home for the Holidays special

XPN Local Home for the Holidays | photo by Michelle Montgomery for WXPN | michellemontgomeryphotography.com

Once again, I had the opportunity to curate and host a holiday show for XPN members and listeners. Thanks to Glenn Barratt and Lizanne Knott for inviting us back to Morning Star Studios to record this session. It’s such a warm and welcoming studio and the local artists love performing there.

I’ve wanted to do an In The Round Home for the Holidays special and it finally happened at this session!! I also decided to invite a few of our wonderful local artists who have been part of the XPN Musicians On Call program. Continue reading →

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Meet Danny Black: The new solo persona of Dan Schwartz from Good Old War

Danny Black | photo by Helen Leicht for WXPN
Danny Black | photo by Helen Leicht for WXPN

Danny Black (aka Daniel Schwartz of Good Old War) joined me tonight in the 8 p.m. hour of the XPN Local Show to talk about his new solo album Adventure Soundtrack. It was just released on 2/24 on Nettwerk Records.

No, Good Old War did not break up. But Danny Black had time off from touring and he relaxes through writing and recording, particularly instrumental guitar music. While GOW is in the process of working on a new album, he decided to release this collection of songs and do a solo tour to share this new music. Continue reading →

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Cole Redding keeps his guard up in the “Smile and Say Hello” video

Cole Redding | photo via artist’s Facebook page

Cole Redding is a singer / songwriter from Philadelphia area who performed in 2015 at the XPoNential Music festival; James Adams is a photographer and videographer studying at Temple University. The two teamed up on the music video for Cole’s latest single “Smile and Say Hello.” It’s shot all over Philadelphia in black and white and was co written with Cole and Obie O’Brien; watching the video, you may relate — many of us put on the box and walk into the world, keeping our guard up and trying to do our best. Continue reading →

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The Key’s Year-End Mania: Helen Leicht’s favorite local music of 2016

Lily Mae | via facebook.com/lilymaemusic

Year-End Mania is the Key’s annual survey of the things below the surface that made 2016 incredible. Today, XPN Local’s Helen Leicht shares her favorites to emerge from the scene in 2016.

Here we are, at the end of another year of music, and it’s time to share some of my favorite songs from our amazing local artists.  Remember these are just a few songs, because there are too many to name them all. Continue reading →

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Listen to the 8th Annual XPN Local Home for the Holidays featuring Lizanne Knott, Greg Sover, Sharon Little and more

Every year, I round up a group of my favorite Philadelphia-area musicians and go to East Norriton’s Morning Star Studios to record the XPN Local Home for the Holidays special. This year’s show was the 8th annual edition, and was broadcast on XPN this past Tuesday, December 20th. Continue reading →

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Jason Reed talks about his Musicians on Call benefit concert, happening 8/6 in West Chester

jason reed
Helen Leicht with Jason Reed in the WXPN studio

Singer-songwriter Jason Reed has been supporting XPN’s Musicians On Call program as a volunteer musician for about three years, performing at the bedsides of patients in hospitals throughout the Philadelphia area. Now the Chester County native is taking his support a step further: on Saturday, August 6th, Reed will host a benefit concert for Musicians on Call at Kildare’s in West Chester PA, with all proceeds being donated directly to the program.

Last week I invited Jason onto my show to talk about his experience with the program and the benefit concert – listen back to that clip below, and get more information for the fundraiser here. Jason will also be joining us on Sunday, October 2nd for the Musician’s on Call 5k Run at Penn Park. Early bird registration is going on now – sign up here.

Continue reading →

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Fig Voices: Meet Lancaster indie pop band Tigers and Thieves

Tigers + Thieves | Photo courtesy of FIG Magazine
Tigers and Thieves | Photo courtesy of FIG Magazine

WXPN has partnered with FIG Magazine to introduce the best new artists from the Central PA area with a new series called FIG Voices.

First up is the indie-pop band from Lancaster, Tigers and Thieves. Their new EP, You Can’t Have Everything, evokes Keane, Peter, Bjorn & John and Coldplay, and is out now. Continue reading →

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The Key’s Year-End Mania: Helen Leicht’s Favorite Albums of 2014

via Rubyworks Records
via Rubyworks Records

Year-End Mania is the Key’s survey of the things below the surface that made 2014 awesome. In this installment, XPN’midday host Helen Leicht shares her favorite records of the year.

How can I possibly pick only five favorite albums of 2014?? But I must, so if you or your friends are looking to explore some new music from this past year, here is what I would suggest…. Continue reading →

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Listen to the Philly Local Home for the Holidays special ft. Vita and the Woolf, Cole Redding, Samantha Gongol of Marian Hill and more

The 6th Annual Philly Local Home for the Holidays show was recorded at Morning Star Studios in Montgomery County PA. It was a return visit to this studio and once again Glenn Barratt recorded the session. It’s always a wonderful day of music. A time for getting together with friends and making new friendships in the music community. I love hearing the artists warming up and working on arrangements. Continue reading →