XPN MusicNotes: Watch Chris Stapleton’s heartfelt tribute to Aretha Franklin

Chris Stapleton | photo by Will Lester, Inland Valley Daily Bulletin | via Orange County Register

“I would never presume to sing an Aretha Franklin song but in tribute to her tonight, I’ll give it my best shot. She is the greatest singer that ever lived” -Chris Stapleton

Calling her the “greatest singer who ever lived,” Chris Stapleton paid tribute to the late, great Aretha Franklin Saturday night at the Forum in Los Angeles, performing a cover of the Queen of Soul’s “Do Right Woman, Do Right Man.”  Continue reading →


Watch #XPNFest headliner Sturgill Simpson perform with Chris Stapleton on SNL

Sturgill Simpson and Chris Stapleton | still from video

Call it a meeting of metamodern country greats. Last night on Saturday Night Live, Nashville’s Chris Stapleton was the musical guest, in support of last year’s two-volume From A Room project. As a surprise for fans, Stapleton’s lead guitarist was his Kentucky neighbor Sturgill Simpson, who co-headlines this year’s Saturday night concert at the XPoNential Music Festival alongside The War on Drugs. Continue reading →


XPN MusicNotes: Remembering Philly’s own Billy Paul, watch Chris Stapleton pay tribute to Prince

A photo posted by Pete Rock (@agentcbw7) on

Philadelphia R&B/Soul Singer Billy Paul has died.  He passed away on Sunday at his home in Blackwood, NJ.  He was 81.

Billy Paul started getting attention at age 11 while attending the West Philadelphia Music School and the Granoff School of Music. He was was one of the many, many artists who had success with Kenny Gamble and Leon Huff at Philadelphia International Records.  Billy Paul hit it big in 1972 with his No. 1 hit “Me and Mrs. Jones,” for which he won a Grammy Award for best rhythm ‘n blues male vocal performance. Continue reading →


Just Announced: Chris Stapleton added to Jason Isbell / Frank Turner show at Festival Pier


Outlaw state of mind: Country rock fugitive Chris Stapleton, who just snagged a bunch of Grammys last month for his terrific album Traveller, has just been added to the Jason Isbell gig at Festival Pier on June 17th.

What had already looked to be a solid night of singer-songwriter madness (Frank Turner & The Sleeping Souls had already been announced as support) has morphed into what is most likely to be mini-festival of epic acoustic-rock proportions. Continue reading →


Bruce Springsteen is releasing a new album called Western Stars

Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band | photo by Joe Del Tufo for WXPN |
Bruce Springsteen | photo by Joe Del Tufo for WXPN |

After a couple days of teasing the news on Twitter with prismic photos of Western landscapes, Bruce Springsteen has announced his 19th studio album will be called Western Stars, and it comes out June 14th on Columbia Records.

On one level, it appears The Boss is hopping on the super-prevalent cowboy trend in pop culture that runs from Kacey Musgraves to Lil Nas X to Orville Peck and Chris Stapleton; that title, the photo of a galloping stallion on the cover (see below), song titles like “Tuscon Train” and “Chasin’ Wild Horses.” Then again, wasn’t Bruce doing Americana like 40 years ago? So maybe it’s just the trends coming back around to him. Continue reading →


The Week Ahead: Rickie Lee Jones, Sunflower Bean, Citizen Cope, The Beths and more

The Beths | photo by Mason Fairey | courtesy of the artist

Starting tomorrow night with a performance by Latin Grammy Winner and continuing through Sunday with a gig from a New Zealand pop-punk outfit, there’s lots of variety — geographic and otherwise — in this week’s gig roundup. Here are 16 concerts to see in the next seven days in and around Philly. Continue reading →


“A Concert for Charlottesville” featuring Dave Matthews Band, The Roots and more will be live-streamed on Tumblr

Dave Matthews Band | photo by Doug Interrante

On Sunday September 24th at 6 PM ET, there will be “an evening of music and unity” led by Dave Matthews Band in response to the recent events in their hometown of Charlottesville, Virginia. Other artists set to perform at A Concert For Charlottesville include Pharrell Williams, Justin Timberlake, Chris Stapleton, Ariana Grande, The Roots, Brittany Howard, Cage the Elephant, and more. Continue reading →


Caroline Reese goes full country on new EP Two Horses

Caroline Reese | photo by Morgan Smith |

Reading  native Caroline Reese has just released her newest EP, Two Horses, a quick collection following her earlier 2017 album Tenderfoot. Reese has quite the expansive repertoire of alternative/indie songs under her belt, but she’s a country artist at heart, and these four new tracks really show us her roots.  Continue reading →


The Roots, Pharrell, Dave Matthews Band, Brittany Howard and more will play a free concert to benefit Charlottesville

The Roots and Pharrell at The Roots Picnic | Photo by John Vettese for WXPN

Philadelphia hip-hop heroes The Roots are on the eclectic lineup of A Concert for Charlottesville: An Evening of Music and Unity, a free event set to happen on September 24th at UVA Scott Stadium to raise money for first responders, victims, and their families affected by the violence that took place in the Virginia college town on August 11th and 12th of this year. Continue reading →