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Free at Noon Flashback: Warren Haynes and Railroad Earth jam for the sold-out crowd

Warren Haynes and Railroad Earth | Photo by Cameron Pollack | cameronpollack.500px.com
Warren Haynes and Railroad Earth | Photo by Cameron Pollack | cameronpollack.500px.com

The cheers and applause were deafening in World Cafe Downstairs today as Warren Haynes and Railroad Earth took the stage. Haynes (The Allman Brothers Band, Gov’t Mule, The Dead) teamed up with bluegrass outfit Railroad Earth to record his new solo record, Ashes and Dust. They played songs from that record for a sold-out Free at Noon crowd.

Even during his time in his main bands, Haynes wrote folksy Americana songs that he kept to himself for the last 30 years. Now, on Ashes and Dust, he believes this is the right time to release them into the world. Together, he and Railroad Earth recorded over 30 songs, but managed to whittle it down to just 13 for the release. Continue reading →

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The Week’s Best Free MP3s, incl. Rodrigo y Gabriela, Elegant Animals, Railroad Earth and more

 

Photo via facebook.com/rodgab
Photo via facebook.com/rodgab

On Thursday WXPN announced the 25 acts that will take part in this year’s XPoNential Music Festival – among the list of artists are “dueling Spanish guitarists” Rodrigo y Gabriela.  Get a preview of the duo’s forthcoming LP 9 Dead Alive by downloading “The Soundmaker” below.

Railroad Earth bounded into the Folkadelphia studios for this week’s session, bringing an arsenal of songs that prove their musical sum is greater than any labeled parts.  The New Jersey band has released seven full-lengths, including a new one called Last of the Outlaws.  Stream and download the acoustic session below.

Philly band Elegant Animals are this week’s featured Key Studio Session subject, a five-piece that blurs the lines between electronica, R&B and rock.  They performed two songs from a 2012 debut Spectrum Nocturnal and a pair from this month’s Carnivora.  Take a listen to “Carnivora” below and get the full set here.

New York outfit Spottiswoode & His Enemies released a new album called English Dream, touching on pop and rock with a piano foundation.  You can stream and download “No Time for Love” off of the record below, and catch the band live at World Cafe Live at The Queen on May 1st.

Pulling work by beatmakers from all over the country for their compilation Oddiology, Philadelphia production pair ILL Clinton and John E Cab (Us Natives) have put together an instrumental work of art.  Stream “War Chant” by New Jersey’s Expo below and get the full album here.

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Folkadelphia Session: Railroad Earth

A lot of what you read about Railroad Earth vibes with what we’re preaching here with Folkadelphia. We live in an era of music-making beyond traditional genre indentifiers, or alternatively, where “big” genres like “hip-hop” and “folk” have been exploded and splintered into near limitless gradations of “urban folk,” “Appalachian folk,” “country blues,” “cajun,” “nu-grass,” and so on and so forth until the end of time. There are also genre-inflected styles, like “electro-folk” or “folk-metal,” or any style that draws from the capitalized FOLK TRADITION. There is music that is incomparable, indiscernable, unrecognizable – sometimes you want to call it “folk” and sometimes you want to call it “hip hop,” and perhaps sometimes it’s not like either, a singular circumstance of creative collaboration and construction. Only an outdated, outmoded purist or traditionalist would bemoan the fate of the “big” genres. Come on now, we’re living in the post-post-post “Dylan goes electric” era (or whatever), beyond good and evil and classification, and we’re loving it. Diversity (in sound) is the spice of life anyhow, right?

Part of what we try and do with Folkadelphia, dear readers and listeners, is to introduce you to and refresh you on stellar songwriters and the highest caliber musicians. It’s as basic as that. These are people that are consciously keeping the rich history and legacy of folk music in mind when considering their artistic path, yet may draw upon it in vastly different ways. Taking a look at a few of our most recent Folkadelphia Sessions, we see Chris Kasper, CocoRosie, Quilt, Joe Kille, and Denison Witmer. I’m not sure that these ladies and gentlemen would ever share a bill outside of our radio show, but the fact is that they’re all incorporating folk elements in varying degrees into their music. In each case, the results are similar – people with something to say, stories to tell, and sounds to make.

That brings us back to our focus feature session of this week with Railroad Earth, who visited our studio in between playing back-to-back concerts at Union Transfer this February. On Last of the Outlaws, their new album and seventh overall, the recordings showcase a simple truth about the band –  that they are helluva good musicians and that they not only love playing together, but there’s darn fine chemistry happening there too. Beyond that, if we’re trying to classify the band’s sound, we’d be better suited using our time spinning the album again than wasting it on that fool’s errand. I read a review that described the band as “folk-pop-Celtic-bluegrass-roots-and-rock jam band from New Jersey.” They are stronger than that storm of oversimplified description. At that point, aren’t you basically saying that the band members are competent and skillful enough to navigate the waters of any style that might interest them? That they can integrate these stylistic elements into their unique Railroad Earth sound? I think so and their music, especially on Last of the Outlaws is the proof. There is really something for everyone within. At the core, stellar songwriting and high caliber musicianship.

We welcomed Railroad Earth, along with a battery of acoustic instruments in road cases, to our studio for a very special completely acoustic on February 25th, 2014.

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Forget trying to classify them and just listen: Railroad Earth’s Session, and “Katie Cruel’s” importance in music, tonight on Folkadelphia Radio

Photo by Laura Jane Brubaker | http://laurajanebrubaker.tumblr.com/
Photo by Laura Jane Brubaker | http://laurajanebrubaker.tumblr.com/

For the last handful of weeks on Folkadelphia Radio, we’ve been focusing on a featured song, digging a little into its history, context, and importance in music and art, and listening to a few selected renditions, usually of diverse style. This week, we’ll put a spotlight on “Katie Cruel,” a ballad that appears to have often drawn its verses, themes, and melodies from other older songs. In most contemporary versions, the narrative generally revolves around the titular narrator that despite hardship and adversity (for instance, the townspeople call her “Katie Cruel,” which seems, you know, unfriendly) remains steadfast in her journey to follow her heart’s desire.

“Katie Cruel” is said to have originated during the American Revolutionary War, but its pieces are related to Scottish ballads and broadsides, such as “Licht Bob’s Lassie,” which tells the story of a woman following infantrymen (Lichtbobs), and “Leaboy’s Lassie,” which changes the infantrymen to migrant farmers. The thematic elements are also related to “The Hexhamshire Lass,” best known from Fairport Convention. The melody and more thematic elements of “Katie Cruel” are pulled from “I Know Where I’m Going,” which continues to be a popular song and became the title of Michael Powell & Emeric Pressburger’s 1945 film of the same name.

However it is interpreted or performed, Katie Cruel remains a central character in the folk song canon.

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Tonight’s Concert Picks: Anjuli Josephine at The Fire for Northern Liberties Winter Music Fest, Railroad Earth at Union Transfer,The Autumn Defense at Boot and Saddle and more

Photo by Rachel Del Sordo
Photo by Rachel Del Sordo

Day four of the Northern Liberties Winter Music Festival ends with the soulful sounds of Anjuli Josephine tonight at The Fire. Shades of pop and blues color the Philadelphia-based singer-songwriter’s catalog. Check out her Key Studio Session from last year and “New Love” below. Get tickets here.

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Celebrate Ardmore Music Hall’s 5th anniversary with Ted Leo, The Dead Milkmen and more

Ted Leo | photo by John Vettese for WXPN

Ardmore Music Hall has hosted so many memorable shows that it’s hard to believe the venue has only been around for five years. This fall, they’ll celebrate in true Ardmore Music Hall style — with nine birthday shows throughout the month of September featuring an eclectic sampling of artists.

The artists in the mix range from familiar Ardmore Music Hall faces to those who will be playing the venue for the first time, with genres spanning punk, jazz, folk, reggae and more. Local indie rock favorite Ted Leo will play a solo show, pianist Holly Bowling will perform classical renditions of Grateful Dead and Phish songs, New Jersey bluegrass outfit Railroad Earth will hit the stage with a banjo in tow, local jazz virtuoso Stanley Clarke will showcase his bass skills, and Philly punk rock legends The Dead Milkmen will tear things up — and those are just a few of the performers scheduled to help Ardmore celebrate. Continue reading →

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Tonight’s Concert Picks: Kamasi Washington at Union Transfer, Soraia at MilkBoy, Secret American At Johnny Brenda’s, and more

Kamasi Washington
Kamasi Washington | Photo by John Vettese for WXPN

Following the release of his latest EP Harmony of Difference in September, Los Angeles-based jazz master Kamasi Washington brings his saxophone-driven tunes to Union Transfer tonight. Philly’s own Sun Ra Arkestra opens the show. Read The Key’s interview with Washington here, listen to “Truth” off the new EP below and find tickets and more information on the XPN Concert Calendar.  Continue reading →

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Tonight’s Concert Picks: Hardwork Movement at Underground Arts, Circa Survive at Electric Factory, Deadfellow at Johnny Brenda’s, and more

Hardwork Movement | photo by Jeremy Zimmerman for WXPN

Known for their energetic performances, Philly hip-hop collective Hardwork Movement will bring the party to Underground Arts tonight; Kuf Knotz also plays. The band recently released For The People, their first recording as a full band. Hardwork Movement members Becca Imani and Dani Gershkoff recently joined The Key to perform an a cappella rendition of “Don’t Block the Sun” — listen below, and watch the full band Key Studio Sessions performance of “Walk It Off”. Find tickets and more information on tonight’s show on the XPN Concert Calendar. Continue reading →

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Tonight’s Concert Picks: Dominic at Johnny Brenda’s, Ladybird at The Barbary, David Wax Museum at Union Transfer

Dominic | photo by Josh Pelta-Heller for WXPN
Dominic | photo by Josh Pelta-Heller for WXPN

Local guy Dominic is celebrating the release of his debut solo LP Goodnight, Doggies at Johnny Brenda’s tonight, along with fellow record-releaser Norwegian Arms and No Thank You. Though this is Dom Angelella’s first outing under his own name, you’ll no doubt recognize him from his roles in DRGN King, Lithuania, and Hop Along. Tickets and information for the 21+ show can be found here. Listen to “Birthday Song” below

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