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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: Slaughter Beach, Dog’s set mixes sliding and shredding guitar

Slaughter Beach, Dog | photo by Liz Waldie for WXPN

I love when crunchy bands play Free at Noon. Especially local crunchy bands — that’s just the Cherry on top. Haaaa. You know, those bands that are more thought of in context of packing sweaty basements or DIY venues than playing WCL at an hour when coffee is still vital. And that’s exactly the musical forecast today’s early afternoon set called for, which saw Philly’s Slaughter Beach, Dog closing out the day’s rare local-favorite double-header .

Not only did this change of pace showcase well-deserving, insanely talented artists, it also brought about a refreshingly interesting collection of folks — where a crowd of longtime Free at Noon regulars became speckled with beanie-clad college students.

Just to be clear though, as previous co-frontman of a little mega band called Modern Baseball, Jake Ewald is no stranger to playing big venues. But his new project Slaughter Beach, Dog is an entirely different monster; particularly SB,D’s recently released record Birdie, where acoustic stillness and subtle twang serve as the go-to vehicles of Ewald’s casually intricate narratives. Continue reading →

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Free at Noon Flashback: The Lone Bellow exudes togetherness in an exuberant World Cafe Live set

The Lone Bellow | photo by Liz Waldie for WXPN

Fall — at least for me — is time for sad folk music. As leaves are painted warmer, and breezes are swept colder, that somber sweet-spot of brittle-strummed melancholy whispers endlessly from my earbuds. And as these songs are often paired with hopeless, dismal lyrics, this seasonal soundtrack tends to be more than a little depressing.

Enter: The Lone Bellow’s exuberantly optimistic vein of folk, which will have none of this dispirited business. Though in no way strangers to feelings of pain and devastation, members Zach Williams, Brian Elmquist, and Kanene Donehy Pipkin have an infectious ability to channel their wounds into earnest hopefulness.

The result is a sound that lets you wallow — but only if we’re all wallowing together in unison. A sound that says yes, life is very often the absolute worst, and don’t worry, we are going to croak out the intense heartache of it all. But we are also going to yell and shout and stomp and clap up a storm of unbridled joy.

All of which these moods were summed up immediately at today’s sold out Free at Noon, as the trio opened their acoustic set by belting the bluesy prayer, “Is It Ever Gonna Be Easy,” off their newest album, Walk Into a Storm. Continue reading →

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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 →