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Two to Tango: Steve Gunn and Meg Baird

Steve Gunn (l) and Meg Baird (r) | photos courtesy of the artists

Steve Gunn may live in New York. Meg Baird may live in San Francisco. Mary Lattimore may live in Marin County.  No one, however considers the guitarist, vocalist and harpist — respectively — as anything but dyed-in-the-wool forever Philadelphians. Therefore, their shared bill Union Transfer showcase on Saturday February 2 isn’t a homecoming. It’s a block party. Gunn and Baird phoned in from their respective homes to discuss their new albums (Gunn’s The Unseen In between, Baird and Lattimore’s Ghost Forests) and their friendly harp slinging pal. Continue reading →

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Meg Baird hops on board the Lee Ranaldo / Steve Gunn acoustic tour

Meg Baird | courtesy of the artist
Meg Baird | courtesy of the artist

San Francisco by way of Philadelphia songwriter Meg Baird is hopping on the already stacked co-headlining tour of Lee Ranaldo and Steve Gunn this January. Aside from her solo career, Baird is also known a lead vocalist in psychedelic folk rock band Espers. Her latest solo effort, Don’t Weigh Down the Light, was released last summer. For tickets and more information on her PhilaMOCA set, head over to XPN’s Concert Calendar. Continue reading →

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The High Key Portrait Series: Meg Baird and Mary Lattimore

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

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 →

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Listen to Meg Baird’s new Heron Oblivion project via NPR Music

heron oblivion
Heron Oblivion | photo by Alissa Anderson | courtesy of the artist

Former Philadelphia musician Meg Baird has settled into San Francisco life pretty nicely. She released her third solo record last year and formed a new band, the “dark acid-folk supergroup” of Heron Oblivion. The four-piece will release its self-titled debut via Sub Pop on March 4th, but NPR Music picked it up for a First Listen feature this week so you can get into it early.

Continue reading →

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Tonight’s Concert Picks: Kamasi Washington at World Cafe Live, Meg Baird at Johnny Brenda’s, Set and Setting at Kung Fu Necktie

Kamasi Washington | Photo by Mike Park | courtesy of the artist
Kamasi Washington | Photo by Mike Park | courtesy of the artist

Tonight, LA saxophonist and acclaimed band leader Kamasi Washington brings his aptly-titled debut LP The Epic to World Cafe Live with an eight-piece band. In an interview earlier this week with The Key’s Shaun Brady, Washington talked about breaking down the boundaries of genre:

The word ‘jazz’ and the word ‘hip-hop’ have a separation, but the music doesn’t really have that same separation. You can’t talk about hip-hop without talking about A Tribe Called Quest, and their music is inundated with jazz. You can’t talk about west coast hip-hop without talking about James Brown and Parliament.

Read the whole interview here, listen to “Miss Understanding” below and get tickets and more information on the show via the XPN Concert Calendar. Continue reading →

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Interview: Meg Baird on stage fright, recording Light and holding on to her Phillies hat

Meg Baird | Photo by Akshay Sawhney | akshaysawhney.com
Meg Baird | Photo by Akshay Sawhney | akshaysawhney.com

There’s a type of folk music that’s difficult to listen to in an abstract way, a type that’s difficult to extricate from the rich context of its history. A type that seems to always evoke a sort of timelessness, along with its most prominent practitioners and all of the artists who have carried it into the modern era. Nick Drake. Fairport Convention. Pentangle.

Oh, and “The Battle Of Evermore. “ Obviously.

Toward the end of her until-then lifelong residency in the Philadelphia area, in December of 2010, Meg Baird opened for the late great folk singer and guitarist Bert Jansch at Johnny Brenda’s, at what would be his last appearance here. Shortly following that show – in retrospect, an evening on which the proverbial torch of this tradition and this artistry was arguably passed, metaphorically speaking, between its masters in two generations – Jansch would pass away, sadly, and Baird would uproot, and relocate to the West Coast. Continue reading →

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Exit Interview: Meg Baird on her 10+ years in the Philly folk scene

Photo by Aaron Igler | www.igler.net

“One thing that I love about Philly is that people aren’t very careerist here,” says Philly songwriter Meg Baird, Saturday afternoon over coffee at South Street’s OFC. “In cities like New York or L.A., I feel like there’s a greater pressure to present highly complete work. But here people are happy to hang out with your cocktail napkin work. They enjoy your sketch-y stuff, and I think they like being in on the process a little, where they see you play something that maybe you don’t really have worked out quite yet. It’s something people say is true in San Francisco too, so I’m kinda hoping that will be a nice segue, to help me feel comfortable.”

She pauses to sip her coffee. Almost two decades after moving to Philly from South Jersey, Philly’s honey-tongued songstress will be leaving the City of Brotherly Love for San Francisco, where her boyfriend lives. It’s an exciting but bittersweet time—while she’s eager to delve into the city’s long folk history (“there’s this band from San Francisco called Icky Boyfriends that really played a big role in my formative musical years,” she says. “I actually got to play with them last week in New York City which was incredible”), she knows for sure she’ll miss her family and friends, not to mention the community of musicians and music-lovers. Continue reading →