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MusicNotes from the XPN Morning Show: “Buy This Fracking Album!” w/ Bonnie Raitt, Indigo Girls & Steve Earle, and Ex-Nirvana member joins Modest Mouse on next album.

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Two dozen artists including Bonnie Raitt, Indigo Girls, Steve Earle, John Butler Trio and Michael Franti have contributed songs to a two-disc compilation intended to educate listeners about the controversial method of “hydro-fracking:” The contentious process of extracting natural gas from the earth’s shale. Continue reading →

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Download a World Cafe performance of “Big Time Nashville Star” by Shakey Graves

Shakey Graves | Photo  by Kelsey Stanger
Shakey Graves | Photo by Kelsey Stanger

Singer and songwriter Shakey Graves is back on the road, with a stop in Philly tonight for a sold out show at Union Transfer. Graves – whose real name is Alejandro Rose-Garcia – has been out touring in support of his recent album, And The War Came. Continue reading →

Support for My Morning Download, from Flying Fish Brewing Company
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Writing, Touring, Art and Life: A conversation with Courtney Barnett

Courtney Barnett | Photo by John Vettese
Courtney Barnett | Photo by John Vettese

Last week, Courtney Barnett took the South By Southwest festival by storm, playing a whirlwind eight shows in three days. Lest anybody miss the reason why, it was because she had a record immediately on the way, and she wanted to stamp those songs in the consciousness of the music industry folks making the rounds in Austin.

Luckily, we didn’t need a ton of convincing. Sometimes I Sit and Think and Sometimes I Just Sit is out today on Mom and Pop Music, and it sounds tremendous. It’s technically her debut LP; even though many look at 2013’s The Double EP: A Sea of Split Peas as a full-length in its own right – and it certainly had the impact of one – that album combined two previously-released EPs, I’ve got a friend called Emily Ferris (2012) and How to Carve a Carrot Into a Rose (2013). It also has a breezier, homespun vibe, even on the rock-out moments like “Lance Jr.” and “History Eraser.”

By comparison, Sometimes I Sit is a freaking arrival, a big rock record with catchy hooks and fierce playing from Barnett and her bandmates – Dan Luscombe on guitar, Bones Sloane on bass, and Dave Mudie on drums.

Earlier this winter, I caught up with Barnett by phone while she was still back in Millbourne. She had just finished a run of dates at the multi-city Laneway Festival in New Zealand and Australia, and we talked about touring, writing, the new album and art. Continue reading →

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Check out Roses’ soul-searching Space Jam Session performance of “Boys”

Roses | Photo by John Vettese
Roses | Photo by John Vettese

Matt Scheuermann’s acoustic project Roses is a guitar-driven soul search. Formerly of indie rockers The Sidekicks, Scheuermann sat down to record a Space Jam Session of “Boys,” from his debut EP. “My past, my atmosphere / I can’t go back to change it all.” His soft vocals speak volumes to his lyrical dexterity. Balanced by simple acoustic chords and winsome melodies, this track and the two others off the EP are worth a heartwarming listen. Roses will be playing at Girard Hall with Field Guides, Chimney, Girl Dog, and Matt Holden (Legs Like Tree Trunks) on April 3; ore information on the event can be found on Facebook. Check out Roses’ Space Jam Session below. Continue reading →