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Storytelling with Shannen Moser

Shannen Moser
Shannen Moser | photo by Emily Dubin | courtesy of the artist

Some people move to places like Philadelphia for the appeal of city life — to leave the rural or suburban communities they came from far behind. That’s not the case for Shannen Moser. When the songwriter talks about growing up in the mountains of Berks County, Pennsylvania, her words spill out of her. Both her love for her hometown and the influence it’s had on her music are immediately evident; she speaks as passionately about the details of her rural former home as she does about her career as a musician. So if Moser’s songs make you think of back country roads, looming mountain ranges, and crisp fall days, then you’re on the right track.

After five years in the city — years spent becoming a key figure in a music scene that is full of heavier, louder music than her own — Moser still returns to the kind of music that has always come the most naturally to her. She’s back with her latest record, I’ll Sing, out now. It’s 15 tracks of what you could call folk, even country (though Moser herself prefers to just call it storytelling), but either way, it’s music that transports you to a different time, a different place. And yet it’s incredibly real — and proof that Philly music doesn’t have to sound like it comes from Philly. Continue reading →

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Shannen Moser explores her country roots on the rustic new single “Haircut Song”

 

Shannen Moser
Shannen Moser | photo by Emily Dubin | courtesy of the artist

Berks Co. native Shannen Moser released the second single to her sophomore album. The track, “Haircut Song” follows up the previously released “Arizona (I Wanna Be Your Man),” a continues to draw on her folk and country influences.

“Haircut Song” paints a painstakingly beautiful narrative split into two parts, “before i cut your hair, and when I gave you haircuts,” from the song’s opening lines. Distant, trodding drums anchor the song through its two minutes and change, while twangy guitars accompany Moser in her register. The space between is filled with atmospheric, emotional keys, care of guest Cameron Konner on the track. The vignette painted on this single, along with the previously released “Arizona,” highlights Moser’s penchant for narrative-style songwriting and builds anticipation for the upcoming album even further. Continue reading →

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Just Announced: Thin Lips and Shannen Moser are teaming up for a dual record release show

Thin Lips | photo by Scott Troyan | courtesy of the artist // Shannen Moser | photo by Emily Dubin | courtesy of the artist

Fixtures of the Philly scene Thin Lips and Shannen Moser have a few things in common — not only are they Lame-O Records labelmates, but they both have new records either just-released or forthcoming.

To celebrate the new tunes, the two bands have joined forces for a double record release show at the First Unitarian Church on September 22, with fellow Philadelphians So Totally and Cheer Up lined up as support. Continue reading →

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Shannen Moser escapes to the southwest in “Arizona (I Wanna Be Your Man),” the first single from I’ll Sing

Shannen Moser
Shannen Moser | photo by Emily Dubin | courtesy of the artist

Philadelphia-based singer-songwriter Shannen Moser will release her sophomore album, I’ll Sing, this September on Lame-O Records, and today released the first single off the record, “Arizona (I Wanna Be Your Man).”

Diverging from her typically acoustic-based format, this song takes on a sharper edge with the addition of an electric guitar and bass, while Moser expresses an interest in the Southwest, breaking out from the typical confines of navigating relationships. Continue reading →

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The High Key Portrait Series: Shannen Moser and Julia Peters

Shannen Moser and Julia Peters | 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.

A little over a year ago, Philly folk singer Shannen Moser released a debut studio full-length, Oh My Heart, on Philly-based indie record label Lame-O.

Moser is open about how emotional attachment  affected everything from the approach to recording it to stagecraft. While her first tour in support of the material last summer was with a full band, her set at last fall’s Philly Music Fest — where we conducted this interview — was stripped down to herself and cellist Julia Peters, who’s worked closely with Moser since Peters moved to the area a few years ago. Continue reading →

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The Week Ahead: Shannen Moser, Dream Syndicate, Stratus Quartet, Greg Sover and more

Shannen Moser | photo by Rachel Del Sordo for WXPN | racheldelsordophotography.com

Welcome to 2018, and welcome to our new concert picks! To aid in your advance planning, we’ll be coming at you weekly with a roundup of shows not to miss for the next seven days — hence, The Week Ahead. This week, indie folksinger Shannen Moser kicks off the Lame-O Records residency at Boot & Saddle, while string-laden new music ensemble Stratus Quartet plays World Cafe Live, bluesman Greg Sover hits The Twisted Tail, plus six other shows. Dig in below. Continue reading →

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Slomo Sapiens to Skull Eclipses, Shannen Moser to Strand of Oaks: Scenes from the inaugural Philly Music Fest

Ceramic Animal | photo by Rachel Del Sordo for WXPN | racheldelsordophotography.com

This past weekend, the inaugural Philly Music Fest touched down at World Cafe Live, filling the venue’s upstairs and downstairs stages with two nights of performances by local artists. Highlights included dazzling late-night performances by headliners Cayetana and Strand of Oaks, packed-floor upstairs sets by Harmony Woods and Ivy Sole, the live debut of Skull Eclipses — the experimental hiphop project of Lushlife and Botany — and much more.

In the mix were foodies, artists and crafters, musicians in the audience watching the musicians onstage, and a couple top-secret stripped down performances for VIP ticket holders. 26 artists performed in total, money was raised for LiveConnections, and you can take a look at scenes from the weekend care of ace Key photographer Rachel Del Sordo.To see more of her work, check out her website, and give her Instagram a follow.  Continue reading →

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Strand of Oaks will be joined by Shannen Moser, Hemming and more at this year’s Boot & Saddle Winter Classic

Strand of Oaks | photo by Tom Beck for WXPN

Local favorites Strand of Oaks blew us away at Philly Music Fest this weekend, but if you missed the show or just couldn’t get enough, we have some good news. Tim Showalter just announced this year’s Winter Classic, an annual year-end event that’s become a tradition for the band and fans alike. It’s all happening over three nights this December at Boot & Saddle, and Oaks have enlisted a terrific roster of locals to open the stripped-down shows. Continue reading →

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Tonight’s Concert Picks: Shannen Moser at PhilaMOCA, Aldous Harding at Johnny Brenda’s

Shannen Moser | photo by Rachel Del Sordo for WXPN | racheldelsordophotography.com
Shannen Moser | photo by Rachel Del Sordo for WXPN | racheldelsordophotography.com

Since releasing the excellent Oh, My Heart record this winter, Philly’s Shannen Moser has been playing a lot of gigs regionally and nationally — including a tour with Sorority Noise — and filming a lot of videos. Rather than go the traditional music video promo route, Moser teamed up with Good Boy Audiovisual to shoot site-specific performances of several of the album’s songs all around Philly, from Penn’s Landing to Grey’s Philly, parks to post-industrial asphalt. Tonight, Moser can be found in the cozy enclosure of PhilaMOCA, opening the show for Clique and Peaer. Tickets for the all-ages show are available now, more information can be found at the show’s Facebook event page.
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PREMIERE: Shannen Moser closes video series with “Dirt and Water” at City Hall

Shannen Moser | photo by John Vettese

The concrete median just south of City Hall is a popular spot for photos. Wedding, tourist, selfies – they all look great with the ornate building standing behind and the lights glowing up Broad St. It’s also the spot Shannen Moser chose for the final installment of a live video series she’s been doing this summer, filming Oh, My Heart closer “Dirt and Water” well past sundown as cars fly by.

Continue reading →