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XPN Fest Recap: Brooklynites The National Reserve channel the spirit of southern rock and roll

The National Reserve | photo by Natalie Piserchio | nataliepiserchio.com

The National Reserve don’t sound like they’re from Brooklyn. The five-piece rock outfit took to the River stage donned in grass-stained denim and faded plaid. The hazy Philadelphia skyline rose up behind them, a breeze off the water providing relief from the pressing summer heat and their southern tinged, roots rock.

They opened with the upbeat, stomp-dancing “Don’t Be Unkind,” conjuring images of tipped cowboy hats and Texan ranches. The songs off their latest album, Motel La Grange, were heavily piano-driven, with blusey, electric keyboard solos that grew increasingly chaotic. They slowed it down for the ballad “Roll On Babe,” bearded vocalist Sean Walsh wielding a gorgeous fire-engine-red hollow body guitar. Continue reading →

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Listen to The National Reserve’s Sean Walsh play acoustic on the WXPN Folk Show

The National Reserve | photo by Emma Silverstone for WXPN

This Friday, WXPN’s July artist to watch The National Reserve will play Wiggins Park for the first day of the XPoNential Music Festival. The country-tinged New York City band has been making the rounds in public radio circles, appearing at NonCOMM the past two years, and performing on the World Cafe-curated camp stage at the Philadelphia Folk Festival last summer. In advance of the latter gig, singer-guitarist Sean Walsh performed a solo acoustic set on the WXPN Folk Show with Ian Zolitor on August 13th of 2017.

During the segment, Walsh and Zolitor discuss the intersection of roots / Americana and rock and roll, as well as travelling and performing at Folk Fest. Walsh also explains how a midwestern motel stay inspired the title track from their 2018 LP Motel La Grange, tells how “I’ll Go Blind” is a middle distance letter to his girlfriend in Reading, and shares his admiration for the lyricism of Dillard and Clarke (whose “Through the Morning, Through the Night” he performed a cover of.
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Free at Noon Flashback: The National Reserve brings the heat to World Cafe Live

The National Reserve | photo by Ashley Gellman for WXPN | agellmanphotos.com

On Friday afternoon, Brooklyn rockers The National Reserve brought a high energy set to World Cafe Live, filled with solos on the drums, keys, and guitars. The band opened on some older cuts, dropped a cover of Ronnie Lane’s “Roll on Babe,” slowed it down with “Don’t be Unkind” from their new full-length project Motel La Grange, which was released Friday. Continue reading →

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#XPNFest announces more artists, incl. Natalie Prass and The National Reserve

Natalie Prass | photo by Tonje Thilesen // Fantastic Negrito // The National Reserve | photo by Michael Cooper // Forth Wanderers | photo by Julia Leiby // all photos courtesy of the artists

77 more days, 11 weeks left, a little over two months to go – however you want to say it, you better believe XPNFest is coming up quickly! Kicking off on Friday, July 27 across the river in Wiggins Park, NJ, the annual festival is returning for its 25th rendition. Today, we’re pleased to announce four more artists set to appear at the fest.

Joining the Wiggins Park crowd on Friday is Brooklyn’s The National Reserve, who just wrapped up a Free at Noon set earlier this afternoon. The Brooklynites show off their bluesy brand of Americana rock on their latest album, Motel La Grange, which just so happens to be out today. Give the album a spin if you missed the band’s set, or relisten to some of the tracks the band played earlier on air. Continue reading →

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NonCOMM Recap: The National Reserve get things going with southern rock jams

The National Reserve | photo by Emma Silverstone for WXPN

It’s about 90 degrees in Philadelphia this evening and while it’s not too humid outside, the upstairs room at World Cafe Live is feeling a little sticky. It kind of sets the scene for The National Reserve though, a band from Brooklyn that opened the 17th annual NonCOMMvention with a set of bluesy rock ‘n’ roll straight from the steamy streets of the South.

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Listen to The National play Sleep Well Beast in its entirety at Union Transfer for NPR Music

The National | photo by John Vettese for WXPN

This Friday, The National releases its seventh album, Sleep Well Beast, a torrent of atmospheric soundscaping, propulsive rhythm and existential lyrical ennui from frontman Matt Berninger, who breaks down the dissolution of a relationship over a dozen tracks.

It’s a powerful set of songs, arguably their best work since 2007’s Boxer, and the band performed it live last night in its entirety at Philadelphia’s Union Transfer for NPR Music’s First Listen Live series.
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XPN MusicNotes: Watch Jimmy Fallon & Chris Martin sing David Bowie’s “Life on Mars?” and 25 more songs added to Library of Congress’ National Registry

Tonight! @fallontonight

A photo posted by Coldplay (@coldplay) on

Late night host Jimmy Fallon unleashed his best David Bowie impression earlier this week as he sang Bowie’s classic “Life on Mars?” accompanied by Coldplay’s Chris Martin on piano. Watch. Continue reading →

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Revisit XPNFest 2018 with a 48-song VuHaus video playlist

Blind Boys of Alabama | photo by Ashley Gellman for WXPN | agellmanphotos.com

The annual XPoNential Music Festival is the pinnacle of summer, drawing crowds of passionate music lovers and diehard festival goers. This year’s lineup was impressively diverse, including prominent, well-known artists, from Margo Price, Mondo Cozmo and Lukas Nelson & Promise of the Real to newly emerging bands like Harmony Woods, Bermuda Triangle and The National Reserve. Continue reading →

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56 scenes from the 56th Annual Philadelphia Folk Festival

Philadelphia Folk Festival | photo by Lisa Schaffer | SkylerBug.com

Music, art, creativity and community — this is the stuff that’s in the air at the annual Philadelphia Folk Festival, from the mainstage headliners to the sidestage workshops to the famed Dulcimer Grove and the bustling campground scene. This year, the festival was packed with sounds and songs from big names Graham NashOld Crow Medicine Show, and Taj Mahal; local favorites Black Horse MotelLadybird, No Good Sister, and The End of America; and Helen Leicht’s annual XPN Local Showcase featuring Jesse Hale Moore, Greg Sover Band, and Vita and the Woolf.

And then, of course, there are the pick-up players at colorfully constructed campsites, the folks strumming acoustic guitars while lounging in hammocks, the budding artists making sketchbook illustrations and watercolors of the action. Philly photographer Lisa Schaffer has been a Folk Fest fixture for as long as we’ve known her, and this year she presents us with the sights she saw; 56 images for the 56th Annual Philadelphia Folk Festival.  Continue reading →

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Wowzers! Check out the 2017 NON-COMMvention performance lineup

Photo by John Vettese

WXPN’s NON-COMMvention, the station’s annual music-industry centered conference, announced their nightly performance roster for their 17th iteration. Apart from becoming a hub for the industries’ best, the conference always brings some damn good performers. Brace yourselves: This three-day event is jam-packed with performances from The Pixies, Blondie, Real Estate, Hurray For The Riff Raff, The Districts, and a whole lot more.

NON-COMM 2017 takes place May 17th through May 19th; check out the full day-by-day lineup below. Tickets to these performances are only open to XPN Members, so head over to the pledge page to become a member and get access to this incredible show — and get acquainted with the artists in the playlist below.

Non-Comm performances will be broadcast live on WXPN with video webcasts on VuHaus.

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