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XPNFest adds artists incl. Darlingside, Blind Boys of Alabama, Harmony Woods, &More

clockwise from left: Darlingside | photo by Ellen Miller for WXPN // Blind Boys of Alabama | photo by Jim Herrington | courtesy of the artist // Harmony Woods | photo by Rachel Del Sordo for WXPN // &More | photo by Dejanaya Spicer | courtesy of the artist

These are exciting times, folks. As if this year’s XPoNential Music Festival lineup wasn’t already stacked enough, today we’re thrilled to announce several more artists that will be joining us this summer on the Camden Waterfront. Continue reading →

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XPN Welcomes Taj Mahal with Blind Boys of Alabama to the Keswick Theatre on June 15th

Blind Boys of Alabama photo by Cameron Witting
Blind Boys of Alabama photo by Cameron Witting

Taj Mahal and Blind Boys of Alabama are playing the Keswick Theatre on Thursday, June 19th. Tickets are on sale now. The show promises to be a fantastic roots music filled evening of gospel, country and folk blues. Below, watch Taj Mahal perform his classic “Fishin’ Blues,” and listen to the Blind Boys perform their breathtaking cover of Bob Dylan’s “Every Grain of Sand,” from their recent Bon Iver produced I’ll Find A Way.

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XPN’s Gotta Hear Song of The Week: “I’ve Been Searching” by The Blind Boys of Alabama

BlindBoysPhoto The legendary Blind Boys of Alabama have returned with a new album, I’ll Find A Way, produced by Justin Vernon (Bon Iver, Volcano Choir). With an excellent selection of covers of songs by Bob Dylan (“Every Grain of Sand”), “There Will Never Be Any Peace (Until God Is Seated at the Conference Table),” by The Chi-Lites, Ralph Stanley’s “Got Put A Rainbow in the Cloud,” and “I Am Not Waiting Anymore” by Field Report, the album features contributions from Patty Griffin, Shara Worden of My Brightest Diamond and Sam Amidon. Vernon also assembled an excellent band including bassist Mike Lewis, Phil Cook on piano, Reggie Pace on tuba and percussion, JT Bates drums and Vernon on guitar and vocals.

Below, listen to “I’ve Been Searching,” a soulful reggae featuring Merrill Garbus of tUnE-yArDs.

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Listen to The Blind Boys Of Alabama’s Non-Comm performance at World Cafe Live At The Queen in Wilmington

Via NPR Music:

Six-time Grammy-winning gospel group The Blind Boys of Alabama was first formed at Alabama’s Talladega Insitute for the Blind in 1939. It was there that the original five members came together under the moniker “The Happyland,” which was changed to The Blind Boys of Alabama in 1948.

In the group’s incredible 70-year existence, it has released more than 60 albums and been inducted into the Gospel Music Hall of Fame. Maintaining their signature four-part harmonies, the band members have experimented with various styles within the gospel tradition. The Blind Boys’ blend of traditional and contemporary gospel, soul and R&B once confined the group to small gospel venues, but after collaborating with artists such as Mavis StaplesTom PettyPrincePeter Gabriel and Taj Mahal, it’s become a global sensation.

The Blind Boys’ latest release, Take the High Road, continues this expansion into other genres: This time, the group explores the connection between traditional country and gospel. The 13-track collection has an all-star guest list, including Vince Gill, Willie Nelson, Hank Williams Jr., Lee Ann Womack and the Oak Ridge Boys. The material mixes old and new with a soulful feel.

Listen to a 25-minute celebration of country and gospel with the Blind Boys of Alabama, recorded live at The Queen in Wilmington, Del.

You can listen to last night’s entire performance here.

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Stream God Don’t Never Change: The Songs of Blind Willie Johnson featuring Lucinda Williams, Derek Trucks & Susan Tedeschi, Tom Waits, and others

Album cover courtesy of Alligator Records
Album cover courtesy of Alligator Records

God Don’t Never Change is a new tribute album to gospel blues legend Blind Willie Johnson. The album features contributions from Lucinda Williams, the Blind Boys of Alabama, Derek Trucks and Susan Tedeschi, Rickie Lee Jones, Luther Dickinson, Cowboy Junkies, two songs by Tom Waits, and others. Continue reading →

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Chance the Rapper, David Bowie top nomination list for 59th annual Grammy Awards

Chance to Rapper at Made In America | Photo by Cameron Pollack for WXPN
Chance the Rapper at Made In America | Photo by Cameron Pollack for WXPN

Nominations for the 59th annual Grammy Awards were announced this morning, ramping up excitement for the February 12th ceremony.

As expected Adele has received several nominations including Record of the Year and Song of the Year for “Hello,” while her third LP 25 is up for Album of the Year and Best Pop Vocal Album.

Chance the Rapper and Anderson.Paak will vie for Best New Artist, with the former appearing again on both the Best Rap Performance shortlist for “No Problem” and the Best Rap Album shortlist for Coloring Book, while the latter’s Malibu appears in the Best Urban Contemporary group against Firefly Music Festival stand out Gallant and his Ology.

Continue reading →

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XPN’s Gotta Hear Song of the Week: “Jesus Is Coming Soon” by Cowboy Junkies

Album cover courtesy of Alligator Records
Album cover courtesy of Alligator Records

XPN’s Gotta Hear Song of the Week is a cover of “Jesus Is Coming Soon” from God Don’t Never Change, a new tribute album to gospel blues legend Blind Willie Johnson. The album also features contributions from Lucinda Williams, the Blind Boys of Alabama, Derek Trucks and Susan Tedeschi, Rickie Lee Jones, Luther Dickinson, Maria McKee, Sinead O’Connor, and two songs by Tom Waits. Continue reading →