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Watch a breathtaking performance by Philly instrumental ensemble Hour for Folkadelphia and The Key Studio Sessions

The seven members of Philadelphia instrumental ensemble Hour are intricately aligned, the pieces they play fitting together perfectly like a puzzle. In a recent visit to WXPN studios, the band showcased music from each of its two albums, last year’s moving Anemone Red — whose compositions are gradual bloomers, but deeply affecting, approximating the haunting film score for a naturalistic drama — and 2017’s Tiny Houses — an exercise in minimalism, and crafting sonic spaces marked by absence more than presence. Continue reading →

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Listen to Native Harrow’s full Folkadelphia session and catch them tomorrow night at Boot & Saddle

Native Harrow | photo by Gabriela Barbieri for WXPN

Last month we got a taste of Native Harrow‘s arresting Folkadelphia session with “Can’t Go On Like This” and now we finally have the full thing and an opportunity to see the duo live. Their four-track Folkadelphia and The Key session from April is now streaming. Much like in their performance of “Can’t Go On Like This”, the three other songs glisten. Devin Tuel sing with her usual impressive and moving tone. The intimacy of the session makes it feel as if she’s singing right into your ear, making the already moving songs even more gripping.  Continue reading →

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Watch Native Harrow perform “Can’t Go On Like This” in WXPN studios for Folkadelphia

Native Harrow | photo by Gabriela Barbieri for WXPN

Philly area singer-songwriter Devin Tuel founded her duo Native Harrow back in 2011 in Woodstock, New York, where she connected with drummer and multi-instrumentalist Stephen Harms; since then they’ve moved to Philly, then spent a nomadic year on the road, and as of this winter are back in the Chester County burbs with a new record called Happier Now under their belts. Continue reading →

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Folkadelphia Session: Philadelphia Women’s Slavic Ensemble

We here at Folkadelphia are very pleased to be introducing this radio performance from the Philadelphia Women’s Slavic Ensemble, who are a community of all skills and backgrounds, singers who celebrate the music and singing styles of the Slavic folk tradition, which comes mainly from eastern Europe. This session was recorded at the WXPN performance studio and features the most amount of musicians we’ve had at one time: 29 people. Each song you’ll hear will have a brief introduction by director Cassie Glinkowski to give you some fantastic context to the music. Continue reading →

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Watch Kayleigh Goldsworthy play “Jamie” on Folkadelphia

Kayleigh Goldsworthy | photo by John Vettese for WXPN

When we shared a set of stripped-down rockers by Kayleigh Goldsworthy in her Key Studio Session earlier this month, we also mentioned a set of scaled-back, more contemplative songs she performed for Folkadelphia in the same session. That set of music aired on the show last week, and is available now on Folkadelphia’s Bandcamp page.

As we hear in performances of “Red” from last year’s All These Miles, and a deep cut called “Lifelines” from her Mockingbird Farm Sessions single, Goldsworthy is an expert at using fluid electric guitar picking to draw listeners in, dancing between folk, country and indie rock. She’s also an expert at scene setting, something exceptionally evident in the song “Jamie.” I rhapsodized about that song when Goldsworthy’s Key Session debuted, and I’ll rhapsodize about it again here — and, I mean, it kind of deserves the attention. Continue reading →

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Listen to an otherworldly Folkadelphia performance from The Innocence Mission

The Innocence Mission
The Innocence Mission | photo courtesy of the artist

Lancaster folk trio The Innocence Mission released their 11th album, Sun on the Square, this past spring. In it, three decades worth of experience culminate in a vast and enchanting work, and though it’s hard to believe the band could get anymore stripped down, that’s exactly what they did in a recent Folkadelphia session. Without orchestral accompaniment, there is nothing to distract from Karen Peris’ lilting vocals, which float above an intricate puzzle of Don Peris’ fingerpicked guitars, creating an otherworldly feeling. Check out the session below. Continue reading →

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Folkadelphia Session: Roger Harvey

For someone coming from the world of amped-up punk rock,  Roger Harvey‘s music is decidedly low-key and reflective.

The singer-songwriter relocated to Philly from Pittsburgh about three years ago, following stints touring with Against Me!, Dads and The Menzingers. His debut LP, Twelve Houses, was released that October, and it set introspective lyrics to lush acoustic arrangements in the vein of Neutral Milk Hotel and Death Cab for Cutie, with his haunting and tremulous vocal taking center stage.

Almost two years later, Harvey returned with a more outer-directed perspective on the Two Coyotes LP. This time, rather than personal ruminations, he tackles bigger-picture issues; immigration is unpacked in the title track, which tells a story of love across borders, while superconnected isolation is the focus of “Love In The Digital Age.” You can hear anger and frustration, albeit in a subdued manner, on “Gold,” which opens his studio session this week — when he sings “fuck the foundation, we’re in control,” it’s one of the prettiest punk rock moments we’ve captured in the studio. Continue reading →

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Folkadelphia Sessions V shows folk’s many faces with Julie Byrne, Sammus, Harmony Woods, and more

Julie Byrne | photo by Rachel Del Sordo

Though the inherent weary restlessness of folk music can never truly be contained, local folk organization, Folkadelphia, has a home here at WXPN on the air and at The Key through Fred Knittel’s studio sessions. This past year hosted a particularly gem-filled handful of folk discoveries, which is documented in the fifth installment of the Folkadelphia Sessions compilation featured below. Continue reading →

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Watch Sammus perform “Mighty Morphin'” and “1080p” for Folkadelphia and The Key Studio Sessions

Photo by John Vettese

Earlier this summer, Enongo Lumumba-Kasongo — known to underground rap fans as SΔMMUS — wrapped up her grad school studies at Cornell University in Ithaca, New York, and relocated to West Philly, setting up a new base for her multi-pronged career as an artist, activist and educator.

SΔMMUS has been cultivating a following in the Bandcamp universe for several years now, going back to 2010’s Fly Nerd EP. Her 2016 full-length project, Pieces in Space, was picked up by the venerable New Jersey indie label Don Giovanni Records, where it caught the ears of Folkadelphia host Fred Knittel, who then passed it along to me.
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Folkadelphia Session: Sammus

At its most basic, the website Bandcamp is a publishing platform for artists, another site to share work. But in this age of micropayments-per-play on the streaming service juggernauts like Spotify, YouTube, and Apple Music, with either a shield around those tech companies’ editorial and curatorial staff, or curation via computer algorithms and trends (lame!), it’s tough to be a self-sustaining musician on the web. Bandcamp offers a different experience for both creator and fan. The platform has evolved into a streaming service, merch store, social site, expertly selected radio station, a zine, and beyond. Best of all, the artist has much more freedom and control over their presence on the site. In many instances, Bandcamp has created the opportunity for niche, independent, and DIY musicians to find their people, their fans, and truly connect. We at Folkadelphia have had success using Bandcamp as our in-studio session archive. Now Philadelphian, former Ithacan producer and rapper Sammus also connected to a huge and hugely supportive community on the site, which is where we first discovered her music.
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