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Tonight’s Concert Picks: Louie Louie at PhilaMOCA, Allison Crutchfield at First Unitarian Church, Free Range Folk at Johnny Brenda’s, and more…

Louie Louie | photo by Tiana Timmerberg for WXPN
Louie Louie | photo by Tiana Timmerberg for WXPN

Retro rockers Louie Louie will headline PhilaMOCA tonight with Dark Web and Beat Jams. Their new album Friend of a Stranger dropped today via Born Losers Records, and you can hear them play songs from it live in their recent Key Studio Session. Stream video of their performance of “After Me” below. Then, head over to XPN’s Concert Calendar for tickets and more information on the show. Continue reading →

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“Folk N’ Roll” ensemble Free Range Folk return to Mauch Chunk Opera House Easter weekend

Free Range Folk | Photo by Amanda Bombico

A year ago, Free Range Folk celebrated the release of its second album, 444, at Mauch Chunk Opera House in Jim Thorpe, Pa. On April 19, the bluegrass meets Americana rock band will return to MCOH, promising new material (both songs and arrangements) as well as some homegrown grub provided by 14 Acre Farm.

Free Range Folk released some high quality videos earlier in the year from their performance at Mauch Chunk Opera last March, including the Neil Young-esque “Shit Show”, “Blue Skies” and the ode to family tune “Father’s Day”. The entire concert is available as a free download via Free Range Folk’s Bandcamp page, appropriately dubbed Farm to Turntable as the immensely talented sextet are also farmers up in Jim Thorpe.

Get tickets and info for the April 19 show at Mauch Chunk Opera House with guest band The Manatawny Creek Ramblers here. Watch the videos for “Shit Show” and “Father’s Day” below. Click here for the free download of the full performance from last year at MCOH.

Free Range Folk – Shit Show (Live) from Hallman Productions on Vimeo.

Free Range Folk – Father’s Day from Hallman Productions on Vimeo.

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Free Range Folk give a farmer’s perspective on Monsanto in their new “Roundup Ready” music video

Screen shot 2013-05-29 at 4.31.59 PMIf you spent any time with Michael Pollan’s heady culinary tome The Omnivore’s Dilemma or seen the 2008 documentary Food Inc., you’re probably heard a thing or two about controversial agricultural company Monsanto. But the folks most affected by the food production wars aren’t in the library, or the movie theater (though those folks are undeniably affected, since they eat too) – they’re the people working the farms across the United States, which gives Free Range Folk a unique perspective from which to weigh in.

They’re not just a rootsy acoustic rock six-piece, they’re also farmers in the Jim Thorpe area, and their concerns about the environment, ecology, sustainable living and sustainable harvesting play heavily into their lyrics – especially the song “Roundup Ready” from this year’s 444. In it, singer Joshua Finsel asks the listener to imagine what goes into the food our families eat, and how it might affect the next generation – and considering that they filmed a video for the song on “Anti-Monsanto Day” this past weekend, you can imagine their position on the company (which produces genetically engineered seeds and herbicides) is not a favorable one. The song and video take a playful tone – from the banjos and twangy vocals, to the horn section, to the shots of the band and friends busting open a pinata of “chemical corn.” Watch it below – it’s food for thought.

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The Key Studio Sessions: Free Range Folk

FRFYou can quickly spot the things that are important to Jim Thorpe-ara six-piece Free Range Folk. Two married couples make up the band, and their love of family comes across in the song “Father’s Day.” They farm as well, and their love of the Northeast Pennsylvania land and all its potential shines through in “Bubblin'” and “Lehigh.” Then there’s “Seraphim Moonbeam” and its majestic groove – that one’s just about love in general. When the band appeared on the Folk Show with Chuck Elliot last fall, it mixed up traditional instrumentation (dig the acoustic guitar – banjo – mandolin interplay) with the rock drumming you hear later in the set. Three of these performances are songs that appear on their second album, 444, and the band celebrates its CD release in two upcoming shows – Thursday, March 14th at Sellersville Theater and Saturday, March 23rd at the Mauch Chunk Opera House. Listen and download the set below.

Support for The Key Studio Sessions, from Dogfish Head
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New Music: “Seraphim Moonbeam” by Free Range Folk (playing Mauch Chunk Opera House tonight)

This past Sunday night, rootsy Jim Thorpe collective Free Range Folk made the trip down from the mountains to WXPN for a live set on the Folk Show. If you missed their performance, don’t worry – we’ll be releasing it as a Key Studio Session later on this year. The occasion was the band’s latest full-length, which can be streamed now on their website and will be available physically later this year. The band is appearing tonight at the Mauch Chunk Opera House for its inaugural Harvest Jam that promises to be chock full of music, crafts and local organic food. For more information, check out the venue’s website here; below, listen to “Seraphim Moonbeam,” a very catchy and harmony-happy song from the new record.

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Philly Local Philes: Free Range Folk’s “Soul Collector”

photo by Dan Hugos

Hailing from a few stops up the Northeast Extension – Jim Thorpe, PA, to be exact – Free Range Folk is the musical pursuit of a group of artists, organic farmers and friends who take an easygoing, unfussy approach to their craft. Released earlier this month on Fuzztone Records, the band’s debut long-player Soul Collector rings out with rustic instrumental tones, narratives about country characters and farm life, and warm vocal harmonies. Today’s Philly Local Phile spotlights the title track, which you can stream below – catch the band in concert when their winter tour kicks off this Sunday Dec. 18 at Tritone.

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Free at Noon Flashback: Grandaddy celebrates release of new album, Last Place

Grandaddy | photo by Tiana Timmerberg for WXPN | spotlightviews.com
Grandaddy | photo by Tiana Timmerberg for WXPN | spotlightviews.com

If you were to take a quick gander across the crowd at today’s Free At Noon, you might be confused as to what artist could possibly appeal to such a wide array of folks. That artist is 90’s indie outfit,  Grandaddy.

Completely packed in the World Cafe Live upstairs stage, fans young and old and in-between jammed along to Grandaddy’s afternoon set, which included a mix of past favorites and new tracks off their album released today, Last Place.

Wearing a neon orange flat rim hat and plaid shirt, frontman, Jason Lytle looked just as much as the prolific skater as he did twenty years ago. Opening song “Hewlett’s Daughter” immediately drew excitement and yelps from the crowd–at once commencing a sea of head nodding. This sea later grew into full out head-bang fest the moment “A.M. 180’s” familiar techno beats began. Continue reading →

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Free at Noon Flashback: Darlingside saves the day and woos the crowd with a stunning performance

Darlingside | photo by Tiana Timmerberg for WXPN
Darlingside | photo by Tiana Timmerberg for WXPN

No matter how profusely Darlingside refuses to accept that their playing a show today was a huge favor to us, don’t believe a word they say. WXPN is thankful to the Cambridge-based band for playing our Free at Noon show on such short notice after Adia Victoria got sick and was forced to back out of the show.

The four man indie-folk outfit charmed over the summer at XPN Fest and did so again today at World Cafe Live. Their set gave the audience a taste of the autumn air that we’ve been missing (especially on 70 degree days like today) with their warm performance, their grassroots brand of folk music, and nostalgia-inducing lyrics like “Apple cider signs” from their song “White Horses” — which was inspired by an apple orchard that one of the band members used to go to as a child. Continue reading →

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Free At Noon Flashback: Whitney and Hiss Golden Messenger are two sides of the same rootsy coin

Whitney | photo by Tiana Timmerberg for WXPN
Whitney | photo by Tiana Timmerberg for WXPN

In just a few short hours, Whitney will play a sold-out show at Philly’s First Unitarian Church. It’s sure to be a life-changing, self-actualizing event, but not for me, because I didn’t get tickets in time. This would normally be cause for heartbreak, but this afternoon, I got a taste of what I would be missing when the septet took to the World Cafe Live stage for an all-too-brief, half hour set.

Whitney has been touring steadily since the release of their excellent debut, Light Upon the Lake, and it shows. Thanks to songwriting duo Max Kakacek and Julien Ehrlich, they have Unknown Mortal Orchestra’s sense of groove and Smith Western’s ear for arrangement, but they’ve translated it into a sound that’s all their own. The band may have only had time for six songs, but that constraint assured that they were all highlights. From the infectious, breezy “No Matter Where We Go” to the singalong catharsis of “Golden Days”, they sounded lively and polished, even if they had admittedly “partied too hard” the night before. Continue reading →