Tonight’s Concert Picks: Greg Sover at World Cafe Live, Joshua Stamper and Crossing Choir at Crane Arts

Greg Sover | photo via artist’s Facebook page

Philly rocker Greg Sover will be tearing it up at World Cafe Live tonight, where he’ll debut a new song called “My City.”  Serving as a tribute to our wonderful dwelling of brotherly love, the song features a variety of Philly artists as well as vocal talent from children at the North Light Community Center. All proceeds from the event will benefit North Light, so the night just got even better. Find info on tickets at the XPN Concert Calendar, and listen to his cover of “Ain’t No Sunshine” below. Continue reading →


Greg Sover, Jesse Hale Moore, and Vita and The Woolf will play the XPN Local stage at Philly Folk Fest

Greg Sover | photo via

Although the Philadelphia Folk Fest is a couple months away, they’ve still got some artists to announce. Thankfully, our good friend Helen Leicht is in on the action, announcing her XPN Local showcase for August 19th from noon to 2 p.m. The showcase (hosted by Leicht) features some of the best up-and-coming locals in the scene, including blues rocker Greg Sover, smooth singer-songwriter Jesse Hale Moore, and electro-rock trio Vita and The Woolf.

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Listen to the 8th Annual XPN Local Home for the Holidays featuring Lizanne Knott, Greg Sover, Sharon Little and more

Every year, I round up a group of my favorite Philadelphia-area musicians and go to East Norriton’s Morning Star Studios to record the XPN Local Home for the Holidays special. This year’s show was the 8th annual edition, and was broadcast on XPN this past Tuesday, December 20th. Continue reading →


56 scenes from the 56th Annual Philadelphia Folk Festival

Philadelphia Folk Festival | photo by Lisa Schaffer |

Music, art, creativity and community — this is the stuff that’s in the air at the annual Philadelphia Folk Festival, from the mainstage headliners to the sidestage workshops to the famed Dulcimer Grove and the bustling campground scene. This year, the festival was packed with sounds and songs from big names Graham NashOld Crow Medicine Show, and Taj Mahal; local favorites Black Horse MotelLadybird, No Good Sister, and The End of America; and Helen Leicht’s annual XPN Local Showcase featuring Jesse Hale Moore, Greg Sover Band, and Vita and the Woolf.

And then, of course, there are the pick-up players at colorfully constructed campsites, the folks strumming acoustic guitars while lounging in hammocks, the budding artists making sketchbook illustrations and watercolors of the action. Philly photographer Lisa Schaffer has been a Folk Fest fixture for as long as we’ve known her, and this year she presents us with the sites she saw; 56 images for the 56th Annual Philadelphia Folk Festival.  Continue reading →


Get ready to plan your weekend: the Philly Folk Fest schedule is in!

Old Crowd Medicine Show |

Stop your waiting and start your planning, because the Philadelphia Folk Festival schedule has arrived.

Taking place in a week and a half in Upper Salford, the festival boasts an incredibly jam-packed weekend. With headliners Old Crow Medicine Show, Graham Nash, and Taj Mahal — as well as local Philly faves such as Vita and the Woolf, Greg Sover, and Jesse Hale Moore — it’s going to be a grand weekend of folky tunes. Continue reading →


Tiny Desk Philly – 2017 – Page One

Pianist Joshua Fialkoff performed his melancholy, gospel-inspired “Oh Fortunate One.”

Local blues man Greg Sover filmed a version of “Preacher” off of last year’s Songs of a Renegade live at Rittenhouse Studios.

Rapper James Weldon, who we interviewed recently on The Key, shared his minimalist “Free My Soul” track featuring C Jae.

Raven Katz sang her sublime “Inside Out” behind a stack books and candles with Aaron Liao on bass.

Backed by a looped vocal beat, singer Aisha Fukushima shared her powerful “Missing You.”

Benjamin Dasher performed “The Body Keeps the Score” next to an illuminated fish tank.

The End of America pulled “Empty Sea” from last year’s debut LP for their atmospheric video.

Americana outfit Canyon Ride surrounded themselves with desks for “Winter Drums” off of this year’s Wasting Time With Ghosts.

APHRA‘s electronic allure is undeniable in her double-desk clip for “Honey.”

Modern rockers The Bigness chose “Liars” from Time Traveler for their very tiny desk video.


Crammed into the corner of a bedroom, Justin Patrick Foley blazed through “(This Thing Called) Hope.”

Patrick Donovan and E-Hos teamed up for an acoustic version of “Gone.”

Very Bad Vibes turned in a silly-string covered version of “Masking Tape.”

Surrounded by a collection of vintage-looking knickknacks, Baby & Shylow highlight their beautiful harmonies on “Gravity.”

Folk favorites Maitland keep things simple in the video for “Mother’s Touch.”

Solo troubadour Thom McCarthy strummed his way through “Killers of the Wild” from last year’s Marvin the Giant.

West Philly’s Driftwood Soldier perform a retelling of “John Henry” behind and, magically, on a desk.

Americana quartet Black Horse Motel submitted a spirited take of “Where the Money Comes From” from their new Parable EP.

Acoustic duo Chickabiddy are joined by a crowd friends in the video for indie-folk tune “OH OHIO.”

Situated behind a makeshift desk of gear and kegs, Brittany Luna & The Tall McCartneys shared their catchy new song “Can’t Give You Love.”

Hip hop outfit Hardwork Movement took a jazzier road on this in-the-round take of “Becca’s Jam.”

Eastside Astroknots put on a commanding rap/rock/blues performance of “Old Medicine.”

That Dream Was Our Life struck his signature melancholy, intimate tones on “A Second Sight For All That Hurts You.”

Hip hop collective ILL DOOTS performed “Black Matter” with Elle.Morris at Studio NOYO.

With just a plant, paper, and pencil on her tidy desk, Emily Mineo performed her song “Wall.”

Local accountant Joe James The Wheel shared his unique guitar playing in his video for “Way:WayWard.”

Surrounded by twinkling lights, The Harrer Sisters performed their Americana-rock song “Razorback.”

Lisa Jeanette introduced us to her piano desk a mini Lego desk in the video for “Interference.”

A cat makes a cameo in Kerecz’s acoustic guitar video for “Another Day.”

The Barn Swallows filmed a version of “Why Oh Why” from their self-titled album.

Emily Drinker picked up her mini six-string for a lounge-pop performance of “Cloudy.”



Tonight’s Concert Picks: Joy Ike at World Cafe Live at the Queen, Shots Called at The Fire, Ben Arnold at World Cafe Live, and more…

Joy Ike performs at World Cafe Live for NPR Music's Tiny Desk Road Show | photo by Rachel Del Sordo for WXPN |
Joy Ike performs at World Cafe Live for NPR Music’s Tiny Desk Road Show | photo by Rachel Del Sordo for WXPN |

Singer/songwriter Joy Ike will play World Cafe Live at the Queen tonight. Last month, she performed an intimate set at Burlap and Bean, and now, she’ll support Angela Burns at her CD release show. Check out a live performance of “Nomad” from last year’s Escape To The Lake Festival below. Then, head over to XPN’s Concert Calendar for tickets and more information on the show. Continue reading →


Digging For Something: Lushlife’s Raj Haldar on sample mixing, musicology and No Dead Languages

Lushlife | photo by Megan Matuzak for WXPN
Lushlife | photo by Megan Matuzak for WXPN

For the past decade-plus, rapper / producer / DJ Raj Haldar has built up a catalog of music unlike any in of hip-hop. Working under the stage name Lushlife, Haldar has carved out a very particular sonic space in the pop cultural landscape. On full-length projects like Cassette City, Plateau Vision and 2016’s Ritualize, Lushlife has explored the seemingly improbable fusion of the flossy, stream-of-consciousness approach you hear from rap outsiders like Camp Lo and Wu-Tang’s Ghostface Killah with electronic beats and dense, ornate baroque-pop arrangements reminiscent of Beach Boys’ auteur Brian Wilson.

His latest, No Dead Languages, is a unique detour back into the artist’s musical history. Compiled of recordings made at the turn of the millennium, the EP is a suite of dense, sample-heavy instrumental hip-hop and electronica of the sort that ruled the late 90s / early 2000s.

Speaking from the road in the midst of a tour with underground rap pioneers Blackalicious, we spoke with Haldar about sample / crate-digging culture, his creative process and his formative years spent bent over a drum machine, trying to find a way to fuse the disparate sonic locus points into a whole and natural musical cosmos. We’re also stoked to bring you the premiere of the title track to No Dead Languages, which you can listen to below. Continue reading →


The High Key Portrait Series: Meg Baird and Mary Lattimore

Mary Lattimore and Meg Baird | Photo by Josh Pelta-Heller for WXPN | <A href= target="_blank"></a>
Mary Lattimore and Meg Baird | Photo by Josh Pelta-Heller for WXPN |

High Key” is a series of profiles conceived with the intent to tell the story of Philly’s diverse musical legacy by spotlighting individual artists in portrait photography, as well as with an interview focusing on the artist’s experience living, creating, and performing in this city. “High Key” will be featured in biweekly installments, as the series seeks to spotlight artists both individually and within the context of his or her respective group or artistic collective.

For fans of Philly’s local music scene, it hurts a little to have to use the word “former” to describe Meg Baird’s residential whereabouts. The singer uprooted from her longtime home here about four years ago and settled into San Francisco, a transition she reviewed briefly with The Key for an interview last August, in advance of a show at Johnny Brenda’s where she shared a stage with friend and frequent collaborator, Philly-based harpist Mary Lattimore.

Luckily for Baird’s fans, whatever coast she’s living on, she has been as prolific as ever. Last year saw the release of her third solo album, Don’t Weigh Down The Light, where she was accompanied throughout by Charlie Saufley for a return more toward the fuller sound of records made with her Philly-based band, Espers. Baird premiered a music video for the title track from that record on NPR last December.

Lattimore is celebrating the release of new music of her own as well. Her new record At The Dam hit stores on March 4th – it’s an album of experimental harp music that she improvised as a document of recent trips in California and Texas. Having recently garnered a Pew Fellowship, Lattimore is looking forward to an upcoming tour playing a number of European dates. Though she’d played throughout Europe before — as a duo along with multi-instrumentalist Jeff Zeigler, opening for Steve Gunn, or as part of Thurston Moore’s band — Lattimore looks forward to the autonomy and accolade of this tour as her first international venture as a solo headlining artist. Continue reading →


Scenes from the Center City Jazz Festival

Ernest Stuart at Center City Jazz Fest | Photo by John Vettese
Center City Jazz Fest founder Ernest Stuart performs at Time | Photo by John Vettese

The best Philadelphia music festival you haven’t checked out yet, Center City Jazz Festival took over the Sansom Street corridor on Saturday afternoon with 20 performers stationed at five different venues. In terms of bang for your buck, it’s an incredible deal: a $15 ticket lets you bounce from space to space, maximizing the music you take in.

If you know nothing about jazz, it’s a robust introduction to the scene – ultra-modern originals mixed with traditional standards and crossover covers of Sigur Ros, Aphex Twin and Nirvana. If you’re more versed in the jazz world, CCJF shines a light on the variety our community has to offer.
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