Tonight’s Concert Picks: Jesca Hoop at Boot and Saddle, Mike Doughty at World Cafe Live, JD McPherson at World Cafe Live at the Queen

Sam Beam and Jesca Hoop | Photo by Jeremy Zimmerman for WXPN |
Jesca Hoop | Photo by Jeremy Zimmerman for WXPN |

Singer/songwriter Jesca Hoop heads to Boot and Saddle for performance with Brooke Annibale. Her newest Sub Pop released record Memories Are Now finds a simplistic and intimate sound that would make Lorde jealous, posing the evening to be a wonderful anxiety-breaker. The show is 21+, and tickets/more information can be found on the XPN Concert Page. Continue reading →


Tonight’s Concert Picks: Sam Beam & Jesca Hoop at Union Transfer, Palehound at PhilaMOCA, The Milk Carton Kids at Strand Capitol

Sam Beam and Jesca Hoop | Photo by Jeremy Zimmerman for WXPN |
Sam Beam and Jesca Hoop | Photo by Jeremy Zimmerman for WXPN |

Singers and songwriters Sam Beam and Jesca Hoop bring their collaborative LP Love Letter for Hire to Philly tonight for a headlining show at Union Transfer. Last week, they dazzled the crowd at XPN’s NonCOMM-vention. Listen to their set here, and get tickets and more information on the show at the XPN Concert Calendar. Continue reading →


NonCOMM Recap: Intimate bliss from Sam Beam and Jesca Hoop

Sam Beam and Jesca Hoop | Photo by Jeremy Zimmerman for WXPN | <A href= target="_blank"></a>
Sam Beam and Jesca Hoop | Photo by Jeremy Zimmerman for WXPN |

Jesca Hoop stood left, with her worn-out suspenders, deep blue jeans, and white low-top sneakers. Sam Beam stood right, with his guitar, suit coat and luscious beard. Hoop had her water, and Beam, so fittingly had a glass of wine. For the duration of their set, nothing else seemed to matter, as an intimacy filled the room.

Beam would look into the crowd, and I can only imagine he locked eyes with the others as he did with me. He joked about the age of the audience — when Hoop said it felt like we were back in the ’70s, Beam quipped that some may never have left that decade. Continue reading →


My Morning Download: “Born To” by Jesca Hoop (playing the TLA April 24th with the Punch Brothers)

Los Angeles based singer-songwriter Jesca Hoop returns with a new album on June 25th called The House That Jack Built. Hoop is now three albums in to her acclaimed career and is currently on tour opening shows for the the Punch Brothers. Hoop plays the TLA next Tuesday, April 24th. Go here for tickets and more information about the show. Below, download “Born To” from Jesca’s forthcoming release.

Support for My Morning Download, from Flying Fish Brewing Company

The Key’s Year-End Mania: Sleepy Hollow’s favorite songs of 2016

Angel Olsen | Photo by Amanda Marsallis
Angel Olsen | Photo by Amanda Marsallis

Year-End Mania is the Key’s annual survey of the things below the surface that made 2016 incredible. Today, the hosts of WXPN’s Sleepy Hollow – Julian Booker, Keith Kelleher and Chuck Elliot – share their favorite quiet songs of 2016

We all know that 2016 was a difficult year for music fans. It will forever be remembered as the year we lost David Bowie, Prince and Leonard Cohen, among many others. But we can be thankful that it also yielded a surplus of excellent recordings (two of which were released by Bowie and Cohen themselves). From Allen Toussaint’s somber swan song American Tunes and undeniably consistent releases from David Crosby and Brian Eno to unexpected collaborations between Neko Case, k.d. Lang and Laura Veirs, Sam Beam and Jesca Hoop, and Billy Bragg and Joe Henry to potentially career-defining albums from young artists like Angel Olsen and Michael Kiwanuka, this year had a lot for which to be thankful. Take a listen to this Spotify playlist featuring all three of our hosts’ favorite songs of the year, and check out our take on a few of the releases that we thought deserved particular attention below. Enjoy! -JB. Continue reading →


Sleepy Hollow’s Best of 2016 (so far)

sleepy hollow
Paul Simon | photo by Josh Pelta-Heller for WXPN |

As we move beyond its halfway point, 2016 has proven to be filled with a wealth of new musical treasures. We’ve been treated to unexpected and rich collaborations between Dawn Landes & Piers Faccini (Heaven’s Gate EP), Sam Beam (of Iron & Wine) & Jesca Hoop (Love Letter for Fire), and the self-titled albums from Colvin & Earle and case/lang/veirs (both of whom are performing the weekend of our XPoNential Music Festival in Camden, NJ).

Well-established artists like Paul Simon (Stranger to Stranger), Bill Frisell (When You Wish Upon a Star) and Lucinda Williams (The Ghosts of Highway 20) have offered some of the best recordings of their careers, while Allen Toussaint’s swan song (American Tunes, produced by Joe Henry) serves as both a perfect coda, as well as poignant elegy to the pianist/singer/songwriter’s incredible life.

Country is alive and well with a high-profile release from Sturgill Simpson (A Sailor’s Guide to Earth) and the long overdue recognition of Karl Blau (Introducing Karl Blau). And guitar-centric releases from William Tyler (Modern Country), Steve Gunn (Eyes on the Lines) and the forthcoming release from Ryley Walker (Golden Sings That Have Been Sung) are keeping the six-string relevant in an era increasingly awash (for better and worse) with “electronic” instruments.

And as we await to hear what great music awaits us, enjoy this playlist of some of the Sleepy Hollow hosts’ favorite recordings from the first half of 2016.

Continue reading →


And now, here’s your NonCOMM daily lineup!

Joseph | photo courtesy of the artist

The annual public radio convention NonCOMM begins tomorrow, runs through Friday and is quite sold out – but that doesn’t mean that you’re going to miss out. XPN will broadcast and webcast the entire three-day event live, so you’ll be able to follow along with the music discovery from the comfort of your own home.

Coverage begins at 7 p.m. EST each night and runs roughly until midnight; you can watch live streaming video at, or listen to the concerts on the go on 88.5 FM in Philly.

To get you set for the show, dig in to our official Spotify playlist spotlighting a track from each of the bands on the bill. Continue reading →


Get to know local musician Jacob Snider

Jacob Snider | photo by Doug Seymour
Jacob Snider | photo by Doug Seymour

Jacob Snider is a singer songwriter from suburban Philadelphia. I saw Jacob when he performed his first show at World Cafe Live in Philly when he was 17 years old – I was really impressed by his performance and stage presence.  He recently graduated from college and has been working on his new music. He has a show this Thursday, July 10th, at World Cafe Live along with Elizabeth & The Catapult. I thought it was a good time to meet Jacob and find out what he’s been up to.

Helen Leicht: I know last May you graduated from college …where did you go to school and what was your major?

Jacob Snider: I went to Columbia University for college. I studied Music and American Studies there. I also played a lot of music in the city with a bunch of different people. Columbia is where I met Armand Hirsch, one of my best friends and collaborators.

HL: How long have you been writing and performing?

JS: I’ve been writing and recording…my whole life! My brother Cary and I have a band not many people know of called The Piggies. We’re a studio band.

HL: You have been in California working and recording your debut album.  Why did you head to California and who have you been working with on your new music?

JS: I left for California on somewhat of a whim. I had one or two meetings scheduled, and at one of them, I learned about a producer named Tony Berg. I met with Tony and he had many instruments in his home studio, was welcoming, and we hit it off. His brother is a biographer, and had just finished a biography of Woodrow Wilson – we talked about that. We talked about what I was listening to. I played him some songs. He told me the trick is finding a “unique sonic palette” to make the music with, and we started putting things together.

HL: Tell me about your songwriting process?

JS: Songwriting process is always hard to talk about. I’m wary about “telling a story” too much, as the stories we tell tend to simplify and make coherent the things of life that are anything but simple or coherent. But I can say that the lyrics of these songs are more clear – at least in my mind – than anything I’ve written up to now. That’s something Tony pushed me on. I would bring a sketch to Tony and he would give helpful feedback.

HL: When will you be releasing your new music?

JS: Almost all of these songs were written over the period of a few months. And they came out of a turbulent stretch of time in my life. I don’t think turbulence ever stops. And I don’t think to “get over it,” whatever it is, is the goal. I think you carry it- many things – with you, and it changes with you as you trudge along.

I’m not sure when the whole record will be released but I hope soon! I have one song from it up on my Soundcloud and I will be posting more soon.

HL: Any cool fact about the new album that you can share with me?

JS: Cool facts… The record features prominently Armand Hirsch, who is playing 70% of the instruments. It wouldn’t have been what it is without him. Drums, bass, guitar, banjo, marxophone, among others. It also features Rob Moose on violin and viola, who was the musical director for Bon Iver, and has recorded strings for Dirty Projectors and Sufjan Stevens. Rob also has his own group called yMusic. Jesca Hoop is an amazing Manchester, England based songwriter who is singing on the final song, “Get It Off My Chest.”

HL: You have a show coming up this Thursday July 10th.  Are you solo or with a band?

JS: On Thursday I will most likely be playing solo, but it’s a co-bill.  Elizabeth and the Catapult is a very interesting artist based in New York. She also made a record with Tony Berg and he put us in touch. I’m excited to share the stage with her.

Tickets and information for Jacob Snider’s show at World Cafe Live can be found here.