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Free At Noon Flashback: Jeffrey Gaines brings his new album Alright to the midday crowd

Jeffrey Gaines | photo by Dylan Eddinger for WXPN |

Harrisburg singer-songwriter Jeffrey Gaines is fresh off the success of his latest self-released LP, Alright, and his set was bright and soulful and even reminded me a little bit of Bruce Springsteen. The cool thing about Gaines is that his music, and the order in which he plays his songs, feels a lot like a conversation with the crowd. He’s able to easily transition from big movement-like songs, to slow, crooning lullabies to really keep the audience on their toes. As he said several times, he typically plays to the individual, and he values crowd connection and the human experience. Continue reading →

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Tonight’s Concert Picks: Iron Maiden, Japandroids, Jeffrey Gaines, Umphrey’s McGee/G Love, and Vintage Kicks

Tonight, two legendary acts come together for one performance; Iron Maiden is playing with Alice Cooper at the Susquehanna Bank Center. Expect lots of head banging and moshing at this performance. You can purchase tickets here.

Also playing tonight:

R5 Productions presents Japandroids, who recently released their sophomore album Celebration Rockplay at Johnny Brenda’s with rapper Cadence Weapon opening. The 21+ show begins at 9 PM, this show is SOLD OUT!

Jeffrey Gaines CD Release Party at the Tin Angel. Gaines will be celebrating his recent album Live in Europe, from his 2010 tour with Joe Jackson. Tickets to the 21+ show are $22, the show begins at 10 PM.

Umphrey’s McGee plays with G. Love for a special outdoors performance at the Electric Factory at 8 PM. You can purchase tickets to the all ages show here.

Vintage Kicks play Upstairs at World Cafe Live. We just did a Key Studio session with them that you can check out here. Show at 8 PM; tickets are $7 plus processing fees.

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Growing Up Folk: Michael Braunfeld on the road from Spring Gulch to Driver

Michael Braunfeld | photo courtesy of the artist

This weekend, Spring Gulch Folk Festival enters its 33rd year of kicking off the summer festival season for the singer-songwriter community, and one artist in particular is taking the stage in a sort of homecoming.

Tomorrow, Michael Braunfeld will perform Spring Gulch with his band The Boneyard Hounds. He’s intimately involved in the event — his family has been going for three decades, his father Andy is a former MC, and he and his dad have been booking and managing the event for the past 18 years.

Braunfeld, 44, made his live debut at the festival in 1990 at age 15, and recorded his debut album the following year at age 16. He spent the 90s and very early thousands as a touring artist in the folk circuit, releasing live albums and paying gigs around the country. After taking a decade-plus break, he re-emerged on the scene at the 50th annual Philadelphia Folk Festival (another event he grew up at) and this year released his first studio album since the 90s, Driver. It’s a stirring selection of contemplative roots and Americana songwriting, some of a more of a delicate John Prine style of observational folk, some (like the powerful “Washed Away” and the rousing “Breathe”) of anthemic, Springsteen-esque quality.

We caught up with Braunfeld over the phone to talk about growing up a folkie, running Spring Gulch, taking time off, and the statements he wanted to make upon his return.  Continue reading →

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What are YOU doing New Year’s Eve? A guide to regional gigs for ringing in 2019, from Hardwork Movement to Hop Along

West Philadelphia Orchestra
West Philadelphia Orchestra will play Underground Arts to ring in 2018 | Photo by John Vettese

2018 is finally coming to an end, and I think we can all agree that’s something worth celebrating. But if you haven’t made your New Year’s Eve plans yet, you may want to act fast — concerts across town on December 31 are quickly selling out. Unless you scooped up your tickets early, you won’t be able to see Japanese Breakfast wrap up their three-night hometown run at Johnny Brenda’s or Aaron West & The Roaring Twenties, the solo project of The Wonder Years frontman Dan Campbell, play a gig at Boot & Saddle. But there’s some good news, too — as we get ready to usher in 2019, there are still plenty of shows happening across town that you can still find tickets for, including several performances by local Philly acts.

We found eight shows in Philly proper that you can still get into, plus a few more scattered throughout the region — from folk to funk to good ol’ indie rock, there’s something for everyone this New Year’s Eve. Continue reading →

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New venue The Locks will bring singer-songwriters to Manayunk this fall

The team behind The Locks | photo by Michael Bryant for philly.com

The folks who brought us live music at the Tin Angel for over 20 years are about to make their return with a new venue, and they’ve already begun to fill up their calendar of shows through the end of the year. Set to open in September, The Locks is situated on Manayunk’s vibrant Main Street over the Irish pub Sona, The Inquirer reports.

The four men behind the new venue are familiar faces in the Philly music scene: former Tin Angel owner Donal McCoy and booker Larry Goldfarb, plus Richard Kardon and Jesse Lundy of Point Entertainment. Thanks to its location and the niche brand of live music experience it will offer, The Locks seeks to set itself apart from other city and suburban music venues. Continue reading →

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The Week Ahead: The Posies, Strand of Oaks, King Britt, Inara George and more

XPoNential Music Festival | photo by Joe Del Tufo | deltufophotography.com

Let’s send out January in a big way, friends. The weather is unseasonably warm and we’ve got 24 concerts over the next week for you to choose between, centered in Philadelphia with a couple day trips to locales like Bethlehem and Ardmore. Dig in below, and happy concertgoing. Continue reading →

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

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 →

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Watch Ben Kessler’s stripped down set for In The Library

Ben Kessler
Ben Kessler | photo by Howard Pitkow | via https://www.facebook.com/benkesslermusic

Philly singer-songwriter Ben Kessler recently recorded two songs for acoustic performance series In The Library. The first of the two songs is a delicate cover of Bon Iver’s “Skinny Love.” The second song he recorded for the series is an original called “From Me.” Ben shows off his guitar prowess and incredible vocal range in these songs. His style combines early John Mayer influences and John Butler-esque chord progressions. The most impressive thing about Ben’s talent is the fact that he is only seventeen years old, and he has won numerous awards and songwriting competitions, such as winning the 2014 Philadelphia Songwriters Project and the 2014 YoungArts Foundation Award. Continue reading →