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Meet Chelsea Rivers: A rising R&B artist from the Philly scene

Chelsea Rivers | photo via chelseariversmusic.com
Chelsea Rivers | photo via chelseariversmusic.com

Whether it’s because of their voice, their songwriting abilities or the way they perform, Philadelphia’s singers tend to show the most potential of making it with their music. Take for instance newcomer Chelsea Rivers and her single “Coming or Going.” It’s great that the Philly vocalist displays that she has an exceptional voice, but it’s even better that she also shows a talent for crafting a solid song. Continue reading →

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Robert Drake’s Christmas Countdown: Dar Williams performs “The Christians and The Pagans” live

Dar Williams

It’s just 3 days ‘til The Night Before on XPN … and to help get us prepared for 24 hours of yours truly, I present to you a unique holiday song each day!

Another highly-requested song each year comes from an XPN-fave, Dar Williams. By now many of you already know the song “The Christians And The Pagans” – but what you might not know is how close to home that song is to Dar and her family. Here, in a 2011 recording, she explains the creation of this holiday staple before performing the song live.

Be sure to join me for my 22nd annual edition of The Night Before on XPN; 24 hours of me and my eclectic collection of seasonal sounds – midnight to midnight on the 24th day of December … only on WXPN.

Continue reading →

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The Key’s Year-End Mania: Bruce Warren’s favorite reissues of 2014

The Allman Brothers | Photo by Jim Marshall
The Allman Brothers | Photo by Jim Marshall

Year-End Mania is the Key’s survey of the things below the surface that made 2014 awesome. In this installment, XPN Program Director Bruce Warren shares his favorite reissues of the year.

Some of the best “new” music I heard this year was old music. Led Zeppelin, The Velvet Underground, Elton John’s Goodbye Yellow Brick Road and Tears For Fears all got the reissue/remaster/bonus track treatment in 2014. Dylan released The Basement Tapes Complete, and Miles Davis completists must put their hands on every second of his 1970 Fillmore concerts. Personally I think 2014 was better in the reissue department than the new music department. Here’s a list of some of the best reissues of 2014. Continue reading →

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Robert Drake’s Christmas Countdown: It’s a white trash holiday with Robert Earl Keen

Robert Earl Keen

It’s just 4 days ‘til The Night Before on XPN … and to help get us prepared for 24 hours of yours truly, I present to you a unique holiday song each day!

Nothing says Christmas than a box of tampons and some Marlboro Lights – at least that’s the story from Robert Earl Keen. This white trash Christmas tale has become a staple on The Night Before … easily one of my most-requested songs every year. So, in case you miss it next Wednesday, here ya go, complete with wishes of “Merry Christmas, From The Family.”

Be sure to join me for my 22nd annual edition of The Night Before on XPN; 24 hours of me and my eclectic collection of seasonal sounds – midnight to midnight on the 24th day of December … only on WXPN.

Continue reading →

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The Key’s Year-End Mania: David Dye’s five favorite live music moments in and out of the World Cafe studio

World Cafe's David Dye and Spoon's Jim Eno | Photo by John Vettese
World Cafe’s David Dye and Spoon’s Jim Eno | Photo by John Vettese

Year-End Mania is the Key’s survey of the things below the surface that made 2014 awesome. In this installment, World Cafe host David Dye shares his favorite music moments of the year.

1. Punk Cajun band The Lost Bayou Ramblers, featuring the Michot Brothers, recorded a session live during our Sense of Place Visit to Lafayette. Loved it when Andre switched out his accordion for the key modulation in their version of “My Generation.” Maybe in Philly this summer…? Continue reading →

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The Key’s Year-End Mania: Maureen Walsh’s Top 5 EPs of 2014

Charlotte Church | via facebook.com/charlottechurchofficial
Charlotte Church | via facebook.com/charlottechurchofficial

Year-End Mania is the Key’s survey of the things below the surface that made 2014 awesome. In this installment, Key contributor Maureen Walsh shares her favorite EPs of the year.

Within the past few years, artists have gotten more creative with how they release their music. One trend that is resurging is the EP. The EP used to be an extra set of songs that was released between albums. Lately, however, EPs are a way for artists to put out material and not be constricted to having an entire album’s worth of songs. This frees them to create short experiments and release material more frequently. Continue reading →

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Robert Drake’s Christmas Countdown: Elvis Costello joins Stephen Colbert on “There Are Much Worse Things To Believe In”

elvis costello

It’s just 7 days ‘til The Night Before on XPN … and to help get us prepared for 24 hours of yours truly, I present to you a unique holiday song each day!

Today we keep it modern with a clip from the surprisingly funny 2008 TV Christmas special hosted by Stephen Colbert. With an impressive list of special guests, my favorite has to be a visit from Elvis Costello – together they perform a song that channels the spirit of Frank & Dean, preaching their message of holiday goodwill.  Here they are performing “There Are Much Worse Things To Believe In.”

Be sure to join me for my 22nd annual edition of The Night Before on XPN; 24 hours of me and my eclectic collection of seasonal sounds – midnight to midnight on the 24th day of December … only on WXPN.

Continue reading →