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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.

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Meshell Ndegeocello brings her intimate new album Comet, Come to Me to World Cafe Live tonight

Meshell-Ndegeocello
Photo via http://innocentwords.com

Meshell Ndegeocello’s 11th album Comet, Come to Me is a gentle and beautifully-crafted effort from the influential Grammy-nominated vocalist.  Though the backdrop of many songs on the album are filled with breezy reggae rhythms, Comet, Come to Me also relies on jazz, hip-hop and even some Spanish guitar to keep you on your toes.  After you are drawn in by the soft melodies accompanied by cool drum beats and guitar riffs, you start to focus on what Ndegeocello is actually saying in each song.  She has a straightforward, blunt way about describing relationships that she is able to convey so plainly yet so accurately.  We hear it in songs like “Folie a Deux” when she sings “Call me hateful and cold, I just don’t love you no more” and in “Tom” how she opens with “There’s nothing between us but the feeling of nothing.”  The fact that these songs are not loud exclamatory ballads, but quiet unhurried intimate stories give the album a powerful and emotional quality that delve deep into the processes of human decisions.

Ndegecello is an inspiring artist because you can feel the curiosity she has about the world in all aspects of who she is.  When she was 17, she changed her last name to Ndegecello which means “free like a bird” in Swahili.  Through her music, we learn about her love and respect for all things, even her Twitter bio reads “A world made of love..”

XPN will welcome Ndegecello to World Cafe Live on Friday, June 6th to celebrate the release of Comet, Come to Me. You can find tickets and info for the show here and can listen to “Tom” below.