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Just Announced: Courtney Marie Andrews will join Shakey Graves and The Wild Reeds at The Fillmore next month

Courtney Marie Andrews | photo by Laura E. Partain

Those who were captivated by Courtney Marie Andrews‘ XPN Fest performance need not wait long to see the artist back in town. Andrews has been touring non-stop lately in support of her recent record May Your Kindness Remain, and her lengthy fall tour now includes a stop at The Fillmore opening for Shakey Graves, part of a stacked triple-bill that will give attendees a glimpse of three distinctly different approaches to the contemporary folk/Americana genre. Continue reading →

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XPN Fest Recap: Courtney Marie Andrews brings a dose of Kindness to the Marina Stage

Courtney Marie Andrews | photo by Natalie Piserchio | nataliepiserchio.com

“Alright, I have a lot of feelings,” said someone in the crowd behind me at Courtney Marie Andrews‘ Marina Stage set as the musician finished her last song. With music rooted in classic Americana with a tinge of rock and roll shining through at times, Andrews isn’t your typical country singer. As she powered through today’s seven-song set, she gave the crowd a glimpse into the place of genuine kindness her earnest songwriting comes from. Continue reading →

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Courtney Marie Andrews’ American Dream: Get to know the nomadic singer-songwriter and storyteller, XPN’s April Artist to Watch

Courtney Marie Andrews | photo by Laura E. Partain

Courtney Marie Andrews is an observer. She’s seen the world at its best and its worst, and written a few songs about it — but observing, for Andrews, isn’t just a surface-level thing. She doesn’t hesitate to dive deep into the root of someone else’s problems, or to analyze the economic state of America through the places she’s seen and people she’s met. It probably helps that she’s a skilled storyteller with a natural knack for empathy, values kindness above all, and finds glimmers hope and optimism wherever she goes.

Andrews may write about the lives of others, but lately eyes have been on her. She is XPN’s Artist to Watch this month, and she’s been touring constantly behind her new album May Your Kindness Remain. (That tour will bring her back our way this summer for the XPoNential Music Festival.) It’s fitting that when we talked on the phone, Andrews was on the road, driving to San Francisco to play a show later that night. She’s spent a lot of time on the road — not just lately, but over the last decade or so. May Your Kindness Remain is Andrews’ fourth full-length, but it was only with her 2016 album Honest Life that she started to receive critical acclaim. Now, with a new record in tow, she’s preparing for her voice to be heard by more listeners than ever before.

In a world like ours, and with a nomadic lifestyle like Andrews’, it seems all too easy to become jaded and worn down. “When you’re trying to be tender but instead you come off cold; when your sweetness surrenders to the cruelness of this world,” Andrews sings on “Kindness of Strangers.” “All the small stuff, and the bad luck, when it all becomes too much, how do you find solace in a place so quick to judge?” She says she doesn’t have an answer to that question; there’s no easy solution. But just a moment later in the song, she does answer it, in a way: “You rely on the kindness of strangers.”

Read our conversation with Andrews below. Continue reading →

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Listen to new albums out today by XPNFest artists Sunflower Bean and Courtney Marie Andrews

Sunflower Bean | photo by John Vettese for WXPN

New Music Friday has blessed us this week, with the release of two new full-lengt albums from artists we’ll be getting better acquainted with this summer at XPNFest.

First, Sunflower Bean‘s Twentytwo In Blue – written while the band were all 22 years old – sees the New York City trio grappliing with an array of modern day topics, ranging from dealing with relationships to reacting to the current political climate. An eclectic range of sounds, the band takes inspiration from glam rock and punk, shoegaze and hints of folk. XPN hosted the trio of Brooklynites for a Fee at Noon set this past January, and the then-unreleased songs sounded sublime.

Throughout the album, frontwoman Julia Cumming displays her wide vocal range, from the angsty anthemic-punk track “Crisis Fest” to the blissfully atmospheric “I Was A Fool.” On the former, the band channels everyday anxieties, ranging from mounting student debt to seemingly-more-frequent missile tests and false alarms. Cumming shouts “Reality’s one big sick show,” a sentiment many can relate to in this day and age. Read our recap of their Free at Noon set and stream today’s World Cafe Session including a live performance and interview with contributing host, Stephen Kallao. Continue reading →

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Listen to #XPNFest artist Courtney Marie Andrews’ new album May Your Kindness Remain via NPR Music

Courtney Marie Andrews | photo by Laura E. Partain

Courtney Marie Andrews has spent a lot of time on the road — so much that she wrote an entire record about what she’s learned, about herself and about the world, along the way. The Americana singer-songwriter is taking no break from the tour life anytime soon, but before she heads our way to play the 2018 XPoNential Music Festival this July, she’s releasing that record. Continue reading →

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Tonight’s Concert Picks: Courtney Marie Andrews at Boot & Saddle, The Record Company at Chameleon Club

courtney marie andrews
Courtney Marie Andrews | photo by Susy Sundborg | via artist’s Facebook

Courtney Marie Andrews brings her latest (and breakout) album Honest Life to Boot & Saddle tonight, a record whose first songs were written while the Seattle country musician was experiencing heartbreak and homesickness in Belgium. A collaborator of many and a longtime session player, Andrews recently teamed up with Bonnie “Prince” Billy for a duet of the classic gospel tune “I Wish I Knew How It Would Feel To Be Free” – a track featured in this month’s Now Hear This installment. Watch “Put the Fire Out” below and pick up tickets for the 21+ show with The Dove & The Wolf here.

Continue reading →

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The Week Ahead: Childish Gambino, David Byrne, Thin Lips, The McCrary Sisters and more

Childish Gambino’s This Is America | still from video

We hope you’ve got your schedule cleared, because the next seven days are seriously busy on the live music front. Kicking off tonight with Childish Gambino’s long-awaited headliner at Wells Fargo Center, and running through the return of punk legends The Vibrators on Monday, here are 23 concerts you can see in and around Philly over the next seven days. Continue reading →

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Just released: Live At the World Cafe, Volume 44


Hot off the presses, Live At the World Cafe, Volume 44 is available now for a donation. The 17 song collection includes Cafe performances from Brandi Carlile, Margo Price, Moby, Natalie Prass, Mt. Joy, Nathaniel Ratefliff and the Night Sweats and many more.

You can get a copy of the new collection of World Cafe tracks by donating here. Check out the full track list below.

Live at the World Cafe, Volume 44

1. Brandi Carlile “The Joke”
2. Nathaniel Rateliff & The Night Sweats “A Little Honey”
3. Margo Price “Heart Of America”
4. Natalie Prass “Short Court Style”
5. Mt. Joy “Silver Lining”
6. Lo Moon “Loveless”
7. First Aid Kit “You Are The Problem Here”
8. Lake Street Dive “Musta Been Something”
9. Blind Boys Of Alabama “I Can See”
10. Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds “Holy Mountain”
11. Sunflower Bean “I Was A Fool”
12. Moby “The Sorrow Tree”
13. Courtney Marie Andrews “Kindness Of Strangers”
14. Darlingside “Eschaton”
15. Lizz Wright “Singing In My Soul”
16. Sunny War “If It Wasn’t Broken”
17. Jen Cloher “Analysis Paralysis”

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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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Now Hear This: New songs from Andy Jenkins, Gang Gang Dance, Gorillaz, Arp, LUMP, Wilder Maker, and more

Orquesta Akokán | via orquestaakokan.bandcamp.com

Every month, noted song expert K. Ross Hoffman presents Now Hear This, a sampling of fresh specimens for your consideration.

Aw yeah, summer. The entropy, the lethargy, the visceral extremes.  Now, summer makes all sorts of things weird anyway, but I feel like summertime in music-land has gotten especially wonky in recent years. Basically, my take is that the focus on large-scale music festivals which has ballooned over the past decade or so has taken a palpable bite out of non-festival-centric touring itineraries, and thus summer concert calendars, and even, indirectly, album release schedules. (Aside from the overwhelming hype cavalcade of Drake, Jay-Zeyonce and Kanye and Co. all dropping within a matter of weeks, the last few weeks have felt a bit thin for noteworthy new releases, and the rest of July and August, peering ahead, are looking even sparser.) Maybe I’d be less sore about all this if I felt closer to the target audience for either Firefly or Made in America, but as it stands those festivals’ biggest impact on me, personally, has been (presumably) shutting Philly out of proper local headline dates for the makers of some of my favorite music of the year: Janelle Monáe, for instance, and Amen Dunes.

Still, there’s plenty that’s worth seeing, concert-wise, in the coming weeks – it just feels like (even) more of an unpredictable hodge-podge than usual. Some of it is coming in the form of smaller, locally-targeted festivals: there’s XPN’s own XPoNential Festival, of course, and the decidedly weirder and more DIY All Mutable Summer Jam which is running the same weekend (July 27th-28th); I’m also pretty hyped about the free, Latin Roots-affiliated Nuevofest which is coming up this Sunday (read on for more about that.)

Anyhow, this being summertime, what do you say we all take a trip? Just a little musical vacation around the globe and beyond, to points both familiar and strange; real, imaginary and somewhere in between. I can’t say that it will all be straightforward or entirely uncomplicated – what is nowadays, after all – but I do promise we’ll have some fun along the way. And it’ll feel oh so nice to arrive back home at the end.

Continue reading →