By

Jason Isbell covers Todd Snider for XPN’s Copy That

Jason Isbell at WXPN | Photo by Eric Schuman
Jason Isbell at WXPN | Photo by Eric Schuman

Every week, we invite an artist to our studio to play a cover tune live on the air for a little thing we call Copy That. This week, we were joined by one of our favorite singer-songwriters: Jason Isbell. Following the release of his new album, Something More Than Free, and hot off a set at the 2015 Newport Folk Festival, Jason joined me in the studio to talk about his new (chart-topping!) record, as well as the lasting impact of Bob Dylan’s performance at Newport in 1965. Jason caps off the visit with a rousing performance of Todd Snider’s “Play A Train Song” (which has also been covered in the past by Robert Earl Keen). Check out the performance and interview below, plus hear his performance at Newport via NPR Music. Continue reading →

By

Download a World Cafe performance of the classic “Sunshine” by Jonathan Edwards

Jonathan Edwards | Photo via http://www.newfrontiertouring.com/artist/jonathan-edwards/
Jonathan Edwards | Photo via http://www.newfrontiertouring.com/artist/jonathan-edwards/

The heritage singer-songwriter Jonathan Edwards, who recently visited the World Cafe studios to record a session, was driving a truck when he wrote his big hit song “Sunshine” in 1971. Edwards, who’ll be on the radio show with David Dye on Monday, August 3rd, has a new album, Tomorrow’s Child, recorded in Nashville. On his new record, Edwards partnered with Darrell Scott and the collection features contributions from Allison Krauss, Shawn Colvin, Vince Gill, and Joe Walsh. Continue reading →

Support for My Morning Download, from Flying Fish Brewing Company
By

Listen to David Dye’s Heavy Rotation pick on Morning Edition: “Devil’s Whisper” by Raury

Raury | Photo by Faisal Mohammed
Raury | Photo by Faisal Mohammed

World Cafe host David Dye was on NPR’s Morning Edition this morning, talking about a song he’s got in Heavy Rotation, “Devil’s Whisper” by Atlanta musician Raury.

About the song, Dye says “He’s part of a new group of musicians called young Atlanta, and he feels that with his music everything is equal -  hip hop is next to folk, next to some kind of funk, next to rock. It all makes sense as one music. You really hear that in this song. He talks about the church, he talks about that he’s not a reverend, but as he does that his rap gets more and more intense and you want to say Amen at some point.” Continue reading →

By

Download a World Cafe performance of “Stunner” by Milky Chance

Milky Chance | photo by James Kendall | courtesy of the artist
Milky Chance | photo by James Kendall | courtesy of the artist

The German duo Milky Chance – Clemens Rehbein and Phillip Dausch – return to Philly tonight to headline the Skyline Stage at the Mann. The duo, still riding high with their with their global hit song, “Stolen Dance,” are touring with X-Ambassadors, who themselves have a hit song, “Renegades.” Continue reading →

Support for My Morning Download, from Flying Fish Brewing Company
By

New Jersey’s YJY blends their unique brand of fuzz pop into the DIY community

YJY | photo by Jill Hendershott | courtesy of the band
YJY | photo by Jill Hendershott | courtesy of the band

Philadelphia may have an amazing music scene, but there’s an entirely different world across the pond in New Jersey. One of the megacenters of NJ’s music scene is the northern town of New Brunswick, although that’s nothing new – legendary shows have been going down there since the mid-20th century.

Countless bands, such as Thursday, Screaming Females, The Gaslight Anthem, Streetlight Manifesto, and even bigger rock acts like The Smithereens and Bon Jovi, got their start underground in crowded suburban basements. Later, they moved on to more official venues like the Court Tavern and the Starland Ballroom, which accelerated their fame. New Brunswick’s scene is apparently so well-known that it has its own Wikipedia article. You can explore that on your own time.

While those bands have risen to national prominence and beyond the tight-knit scene of New Brunswick, a new generation of underground bands is filling in the gaps at a record pace. One of these bands is fuzz pop four-piece YJY. I was lucky enough to listen to their stellar debut EP, COUCH SURFIN USA, and catch them just after the EP release show. Continue reading →

By

Get to know #XPNfest artist Gina Chavez

Gina Chavez | Judson Baker/Courtesy of Press Junkie
Gina Chavez | Judson Baker/Courtesy of Press Junkie

Of the many bands we’re excited to see this weekend at WXPN’s XPoNential Music Festival, Texas native Gina Chavez is high on the list. The bilingual Latin-folk singer/songwriter blends cumbia, bossa nova, vintage pop, reggaeton, and folk injected with social commentary and her dynamic vocal range. Continue reading →

Support for My Morning Download, from Flying Fish Brewing Company
By

Interview: Dave Hause discusses moving away from Philly and touring with family

Dave Hause. Source: hitthefloor.com
Dave Hause | Photo via hitthefloor.com

Any regular Key reader or XPN listener is familiar with Dave Hause. The Philadelphia native and Loved Ones frontman turned solo artist has been a much beloved fixture of The Key, and rightfully so. Hause pretty much embodies the spirit of the local scene, even if he now finds solace in residing on the opposite coast (we’ll forgive him).  And if his seemingly never-ending slew of tour dates and side projects popping up implies anything, it’s that he’s not planning on slowing down any time soon. His sophomore album Devour is painful, and beautifully so. A retrospective and heart-wrenching record, it is arguably one of the most raw things Hause has written, including his more punk-centric back catalog. I had the chance to chat with him about moving on after Devour, working with family, and his migration west. You can read the full interview below. Continue reading →

By

Interview: Powerdove on improvisation, academia and working with acoustic instruments

Powerdove
Powerdove | collage by John Dieterich

Outside Nashville, the “song” – with its vaudevillian and Tin Pan Alley roots – has become an increasingly irrelevant form. The dominance of crowd-sourced festival culture has pushed popular artists to work less with the “song” as a vehicle for storytelling and more toward designing functional, ambient tracks for the polo grounds, the dancefloor, the gym, the office, the bar, or the bedroom. In many ways, mainstream music increasingly resembles what many of us define as “noise.”

On the surface, Ithaca-based pianist, improviser, and Cornell lecturer Annie Lewandowski’s explorations with Powerdove seem blissfully removed from any larger musical/cultural conversations. However, on closer inspection, Lewandowski’s skeletal vocals nestled amidst house-of-cards instrumental arrangements point to a future where improvisers might be able to bridge the gap between our present thirst for novel timbres and our past predilection for narrative-driven songs.

Continue reading →