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

Lily Mae | via

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 →


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 →


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.

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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 →


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 →


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 →


Philly Local artist Cole Redding covers “God Only Knows” by The Beach Boys for a good cause

Cole Redding
Cole Redding | photo courtesy of the artist

A few weeks ago, Philly Local artist Cole Redding joined us for our Musicians on Call afternoon of music. He’s been in the studio recording and shared with me his cover of The Beach Boys’ song “God Only Knows.” This Beach Boys song came in at #22 in our 885 Greatest Songs Countdown that was voted on by our listeners, so I thought I’d talk with Cole about his cover of the song and his forthcoming album. Cole will also be one of the Philly Local artists joining me for the 6th Annual Philly Local Home for the Holidays show to be aired on XPN in December.

Continue reading →


Orchestras, busking and Led Zeppelin: Andrew Lipke reflects on ten years at World Cafe Live and beyond

Andrew Lipke
Andrew Lipke | Photo by Chris Sikich

As we begin to celebrate our 10 year anniversary of our new home at 3025 Walnut Street I wanted to talk with a few of the local artists that performed around here.  I remember like it was yesterday – I heard their voices echo throughout the building, thinking to myself this is really happening! We built a building and they have come!  This week I spoke with Andrew Lipke about the ten years we’ve spent in this XPN home.   Continue reading →


Liz Longley preps for new album, returns to Philadelphia next month

Liz Longley | Photo by Shervin Lainez | courtesy of the artist
Liz Longley | Photo by Shervin Lainez | courtesy of the artist

Liz Longley will return to her native Philadelphia next month for a pair of shows in support of her upcoming self-titled release.  I spoke with Liz recently about her new record, her move to Nashville and her experience working with the musicians on the album.  You can see her perform at Tellus 360 in Lancaster on August 29th and at Burlap and Bean on September 4th.

Helen Leicht: You grew up in the Philadelphia area – where are you from?

Liz Longley: I’m originally from West Chester, PA but grew up in Downingtown, PA.

HL: And you are now living in Nashville. Why did you decide to move and how long have you been living there?

LL: In 2011, I moved from my college town of Boston to Nashville, TN. While I’m far from home, I feel part of an incredible music community. The focus on the craft of songwriting here is inspiring and the caliber of musicians here is unbelievable. There’s nothing like it.

HL: Tell me about the making of your new album and who you worked with on this new music?

LL: The upcoming album, Liz Longley, is a collection of songs I have written about experiences I’ve had over the past couple of years.  Good and bad! The exceptions are “Crazy Little Thing Called Love,” a cover of one of my favorite Queen songs, and “This Is Not the End” which I cowrote with three great songwriters for the season 6 finale of Army Wives.
I’m extremely lucky to have a supportive and enthusiastic fan base who funded the making of this record through Kickstarter. Continue reading →