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Watch April Mae and the June Bugs perform “Hear My Train” on the XPN Folk Show

April Mae and the June Bugs | still from video
April Mae and the June Bugs | still from video

The 55th Annual Philadelphia Folk Festival comes to Old Pool Farm in Schwenksville, PA next weekend – August 18th to August 21st – and to celebrate, WXPN Folk Show host Ian Zolitor dedicated his two hour episode this past Sunday to the annual event.

Joining him on the air were behind-the-scenes Fest Folks: director Lisa Schwartz, production director Andy Braunfeld and programming committee Jesse Lundy and Rich Kardon of Point Entertainment to talk about this year’s event. Also on the air were 2016 festival performers Michael Braunfeld, Hurricane Hoss and April Mae and the June Bugs.
Continue reading →

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Shelby Lynne will play the Keswick Theater come June; listen to her new single “I Can’t Imagine”

Alexandra Hedison
Photo by Alexandra Hedison | via facebook.com/shelbylynne

Soulful country crooner Shelby Lynne will take on the Keswick Theater this summer on June 21st where WXPN welcomes the artist to perform two of her albums, I Am Shelby Lynne and latest I Can’t Imagine, in their entirety. I Can’t Imagine is set to be released May 5th, but you can give a listen to her latest single release off the record, the title track “I Can’t Imagine”, below. For more information on her show this summer, head over to the XPN Concert Calendar. Continue reading →

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Moves Like Sam Herring: Future Islands gets down at Union Transfer

Future Islands | photo by Jeremy Zimmerman | Jeremy-Zim.com
Future Islands | photo by Jeremy Zimmerman | Jeremy-Zim.com

If it was 2011, I’d say that Sam Herring has the proverbial “Moves Like Jagger.” But it’s not 2011. It’s 2015. Which is the year after 2014—the year that seemingly everyone and their grandmother woke up to the fact that Future Islands frontman Samuel T. Herring has the moves like Samuel T. Herring. Saturday night, Herring and the Future Islands crew brought the grooves and moves that hallmark their wild style to Union Transfer, for the first of two very sold out shows. Continue reading →

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Preaching to the Choir: The Hold Steady rock Underground Arts

Photo by Jeremy Zimmerman | http://jeremy-zim.com/
Photo by Jeremy Zimmerman | http://jeremy-zim.com/

Craig Finn was at a solid 8 out of 10 by the time he hit the stage. If anyone knows a thing or two about Killer Parties, it’s Finn and the rest of The Hold Steady. The atmosphere in the dingy basement bar that is Underground Arts was intense, and many of the loyal fans packed into the space had followed Craig’s lead to join in the Monday-funday. Continue reading →

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You asked for more Lake Street Dive? We’re bringing it.

Lake Street Dive  | Photo by Michelle Montgomery | michellemontgomeryphotography.com
Lake Street Dive | Photo by Michelle Montgomery | michellemontgomeryphotography.com

Lake Street Dive brought their soulful sound to the XPNFest River Stage just over a week ago, but we’ve already heard Philadelphia anxiously asking about their next performance in the area. We’re thrilled to announce that Tuesday Nov. 17 and Wednesday Nov. 18, XPN Welcomes Lake Street Dive to Union Transfer. Continue reading →

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Second Strand of Oaks show added to Boot & Saddle on September 20th

Strand of Oaks | Photo by Cameron Pollack
Strand of Oaks | Photo by Cameron Pollack

With the first Strand Of Oaks show at Boot & Saddle on September 19th selling out, a second show has been added on Saturday, September 20th. Tickets go on sale this Friday, July 11th.

XPN Artist To Watch Strand Of Oaks is also performing at the XPoNenatial Music Festival presented by Subaru on Saturday, July 27th. Go here to purchase weekend passes to #xpnfest.

Below, download Strand Of Oaks’ cover Gillian Welch’s “Time (The Revelator).”

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Ray LaMontagne’s Supernova smolders at SBC

Photo by Jeremy Zimmerman | http://jeremy-zim.com/
Photo by Jeremy Zimmerman | http://jeremy-zim.com/

As visuals of fractals and swirling colorscapes floated across the large background screen Saturday night at the Susquehanna Bank Center, it became increasingly clear that Ray LaMontagne’s live performance was a whole different ball game than his last tour. We last saw Ray in 2012 on a solo acoustic jaunt which made a sold-out stop at the Tower, but this weekend’s not-quite-sold-out affair showed us just how far Ray has come in those two years.

Photo by Jeremy Zimmerman | http://jeremy-zim.com/
Photo by Jeremy Zimmerman | http://jeremy-zim.com/

Even though Ray’s signature smoky voice remains un-changed and impeccable, all but the oldest songs in his formidable library seemed to take-on just a little bit of the psychedelic influences found on Supernova. Although the new album is certainly solid, not all of the audience seemed thrilled with Ray’s setlist choosings, which leant heavily on new material. About halfway through the set during breaks between songs, one fan could be heard to loudly exclaiming “Pick it up!”

That particular fan seemed satisfied later on, after most of LaMontagne’s band exited the stage; a moment which found the songwriter stripped down and alone with bassist Zachariah Hickman (who has also toured with Josh Ritter & The Royal City Band) and performing some of his hallmark songs. As the honeyed tones of “Jolene” and especially “Trouble” rang out through SBC, the audience sat completely rapt by one of the most soulful voices of a generation.

For a short encore to wrap up the evening, LaMontagne went back to standby “Hey Me, Hey Mama” from 2008’s Gossip In the Grain, and then rolled into sprawling track “Drive-In Movies” to close out the night. Walking away from the night, the audience was certainly pleased to hear deep cuts intermixed with the new, and the interaction between the two makes for a refreshing take on both LaMontagne’s classic voice and songs.

Also joining LaMontagne on the bill were Los Angeles brother/sister pair The Belle Brigade (who also backed LaMontagne as parts of his band), and the country yet cliché-eschewing singer Jason Isbell.