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Free at Noon Flashback: Artist-to-watch Ruston Kelly soars in his Free at Noon debut

Ruston Kelly | photo by Taylor Johnson for WXPN

Ruston Kelly came onstage for today’s Free at Noon with the demeanor of a road-weary troubadour who thought it felt more like 9 a.m. than noon, but it didn’t take long for the musician to reveal the powerhouse energy that takes his songs from sleepy, whispered country tunes to soaring belted-out ballads in the span of seconds. The Nashville-based singer songwriter is touring behind his debut album Dying Star and is just in the beginning stages of becoming a familiar name in country music, but with his refreshing, raw sound that’s nothing like what you’d hear on mainstream country radio, he’s well on his way to becoming a champion of country fans who don’t necessarily want to hear about beer and pickup trucks in every song. Continue reading →

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Patty Griffin makes Union Transfer her living room

 

Patty Griffin | Photo by: Ellen Miller for WXPN | ellencm.com
Patty Griffin | Photo by: Ellen Miller for WXPN | ellencm.com

Patty Griffin has been on the road with her new, self-titled record and the tour brought her to Philadelphia on Thursday night, leading her trio at an almost packed Union Transfer. Before then though, Nashville based, singer-songwriter Ruston Kelly took the stage. Kelly is also currently touring with a new album, Dying Star, released in 2018. Continue reading →

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And now, your full #XPNFest lineup: Elvis Costello, Blondie, Guster, J.S. Ondara, Lucy Dacus, and much more

clockwise from left: Elvis Costello, Guster, J.S. Ondara, Lucy Dacus, Blondie | photos courtesy of the artists

“When is the XPoNential lineup coming?” seems to be the question of the year over here at XPN HQ, and today we finally have a good answer for you: the full lineup is here. Right now.

We got a teaser of the 2019 XPoNential Music Festival presented by Subaru last week when we announced our Friday night headlinersHozier and Japanese Breakfast — along with the Wiggins Park lineup for that day, from Foxtrot and the Get Down to Dawes.

Today, the full lineup is here, capped by a headlining double-header on Saturday, July 27th with Elvis Costello & The Imposters and Blondie at BB&T Pavilion. Sunday’s concert will take place entirely at Wiggins Park, and will feature festival-closing sets from Kathleen Edwards, Guster, and The Amy Ray Band. Continue reading →

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Philly’s Orion Sun shines on NPR Music’s Slingshot Artist To Watch list

Orion Sun at Made In America 2018 | photo by Rachel Del Sordo for WXPN | racheldelsordophotography.com

In fall 2017 NPR Music and VuHaus‘ public radio network announced Slingshot, a collective effort of public music stations to elevate emerging artists they’ve discovered and want to share with the world. Since then many of the artists it showcased have become household names in radio and streaming playlists across the country and beyond; Tash Sultana, Ruston Kelly, Phoebe Bridgers, Tierra Whack, Dermot Kennedy, J.S. Ondara to name a few.

Today, NPR Music has released a list of 20 Slingshot Artists To Watch for 2019 – including Philly singer-songwriter, producer and multi-instrumentalist, Orion Sun. WXPN’s John Vettese speaks to why she deserves a spot on the list: Continue reading →

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Your top 50 XPN songs of 2018

Brandi Carlile | photo by Alysse Gafkjen | courtesy of artist
Brandi Carlile | photo by Alysse Gafkjen | courtesy of artist

Year-End Mania is the Key’s annual survey of the things below the surface that made 2017 incredible. In this installment, WXPN’s listener-voted best songs of 2017.

We played songs, you listened. You voted, we listened. After tallying up the numbers and playing back the jams, we are delighted to bring you a recap of your top 50 XPN songs of 2018.

Continue reading →

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Here’s what’s on tap for WXPN’s Thanksgiving Programming

Kid…we realize you’ve got a busy day ahead of you on Thursday, whether you’re spending Thanksgiving cooking dinner for family and friends, or you’re stuck at work or otherwise separated from the ones you love.

Maybe you’re on an epic trip from New York to Kansas to Chicago with a gregarious co-traveler. Maybe you’re watching law enforcement take 27 eight-by-twenty seven eight-by-ten color glossy photographs with circles and arrows and a paragraph on the back of each one explaining what each one was.

Pop cultural references aside, we here at WXPN hope to make your day as stress free as possible, and we’ll do that the best way we know how: through music. Continue reading →

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XPN MusicNotes: Hear Elvis Costello perform sweeping new song with lyrics from a Johnny Cash poem

Johnny Cash and Elvis Costello | photo via Consequence of Sound

“There was one lyric that was thought to be one that might suit me. And then I was glancing through the folio and that particular lyric was there on the page, and the next thing I could hear it in a very unusual way” –  Elvis Costello in an interview w/ Rolling Stone re: a song he wrote to a Johnny Cash poem.

Next month an album called Forever Words will be released featuring well-known singers who have taken poems and letters written by Johnny Cash, and have put his words to music. Elvis Costello is one of the performers.  Continue reading →

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UK blues / folk singer Marcus Foster coming to World Cafe Live on 3/29

South London singer-songwriter Marcus Foster has announced a U.S. tour that will swing him though Philadelphia for a show at World Cafe Live upstairs on Friday, March 29th.  With his bluesy guitar lines and gravely vocals, Foster’s albums encompass a far-reaching catalog of influences including Bob Dylan, St. Vincent and D’Angelo.  Following up his well-received 2011 debut Nameless Path, this year saw the release of The Last House EP and a few treks around the states with breakthrough U.K. acts Michael Kiwanuka and Ben Howard.  Nashville’s Ruston Kelly and New York’s Sean Rowe will open the World Cafe Live show.  Tickets and information are available here; below, watch Marcus Foster perform “Worn Down By Time” live in New York City.