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Tonight’s Concert Picks: Son Little at Boot and Saddle, Kid Cudi at Mann Center Skyline Stage, and Two Door Cinema Club at Electric Factory

Son Little | photo by Marc Lemoine | courtesy of the artist
Son Little | photo by Marc Lemoine | courtesy of the artist

XPN favorite singer-songwriter and guitarist Son Little plays his second of two Boot & Saddle headlining shows tonight. On tour for his acclaimed new album New Magic, the Philly native takes influences from gospel,  R&B, and  neo soul artists like D’Angelo and Musiq Soulchild, with a smoky voice to match tight songwriting and soothing melodies. Get tickets and more information on the show at the XPN Concert Calendar. Continue reading →

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Free at Noon Flashback: Son Little gives the Philly crowd an early taste of New Magic

Son Little | photo by Liz Waldie for WXPN

A hometown crowd packed World Cafe Live late this morning for a hometown hero of sorts. Son Little, the project of singer and guitarist Aaron Livingston, is a local favorite for Philly audiences, and the artist himself seemed right at home during today’s Free at Noon. After opening the set with a few new songs from his forthcoming album New Magic, Son Little welcomed the crowd, which had lined up outside well before doors opened and flocked closer and closer to the stage as the show went on, clapping and dancing along. Continue reading →

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Son Little Plays Ball

Son Little | photo by Marc Lemoine | courtesy of the artist
Son Little | photo by Marc Lemoine | courtesy of the artist

When Son Little sings “I got the blue magic / And I rock you so savage” on his upcoming New Magic album, there’s a grit and a swaggering gamesmanship to his voice that wasn’t apparent in past such as 2014s Things I Forgot EP and his eponymously-titled 2015 album. That strut may not even have been there when Aaron Livingston (Little’s birth name) recorded with The Roots or with RJD2 as Icebird.

Did the multi-hyphenate neo-bluesman and seemingly professional lodger (LA to NYC to Philly to somewhere in New Jersey) get that ‘”oomph” producing an EP for legendary gospel goddess Mavis Staples (Your Good Fortune)? Or writing for electro-R&B saxophonist / DJ GRiZ? Does his newfound love (or display of affection) for baseball have anything to do with this soulful gloat as he’s taken to singing the “Star Spangled Banner” before National League games?

Before Livingston heads into a busy autumn — beginning at this week’s Afropunk festival in Brooklyn, extending to the September 15th New Magic release and a two-night stand at Boot and Saddle at the month’s end — we caught up with him via phone so he could address some of these burning questions. Continue reading →

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Listen to Son Little call for guidance in “Demon to the Dark”

son little
Son Little | photo courtesy of the artist

Earlier this week, Philly’s Son Little released a new track called “Demon to the Dark,” and it’s an honest, ambient plea that cuts straight to the heart.

Moving, repentant lyrics call on a “Deacon Phillips” for help and forgiveness, who in a statement with NPR, is identified as the Gospel singer, and Little’s idol, Washington Phillips. With broken yet hopeful lines such as “Can I somehow be put together / sometime today ’cause life is short,” the song feels like you’re listening in on an intimate conversation or a prayer behind closed doors. Continue reading →

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Portugal. The Man’s new album features…Son Little?

Son Little | photo by Joe Del Tufo for WXPN

The hype was very real when Portugal. The Man made their return after four long years without an album. Lead single “Feel It Still” has been crushing the alternative charts, and we learned why during a Free At Noon a few months back. But another single off the band’s brand new Woodstock has a familiar voice on it. Just a few seconds into track one, aptly titled “Number One,” you’ll hear Philly’s soulful Son Little. Continue reading →

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The Districts, Son Little, Good Girl, The Dove and The Wolf and more to play #AmplifyPhilly SXSW showcase

The Districts | photo by Jeremy Zimmerman | jeremy-zim.com

For the third year running, the Philly music scene has its own SXSW showcase on 6th Street in Austin. This year’s #AmplifyPhilly party, co-sponsored by the City as well as the folks from RecPhilly, takes place March 14th, 2017 — the second night of SXSW — at Buffalo Billiards, with a headlining performance from rock and roll force of nature The Districts.

Also on the lineup is electro-rock / soul soundscaper Son Little, eclectic pop visionary Bilal and dynamic R&B four-piece Good Girl. Philly / LA artist Julian King joins the lineup as well, along with breezy indie poppers Queen of Jeans and spacey folk duo The Dove and The Wolf; between sets, DJ Aktive spins.  Continue reading →

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Listen to Son Little cover Bruce Springsteen’s “State Trooper”

Son Little | photo by Joe Del Tufo for WXPN
Son Little | photo by Joe Del Tufo for WXPN

Philly rocker Son Little has been taking things quiet since wrapping up his early summer run with Leon Bridges (and playing a handful of festivals around the country). But if that gives him time and space to get another album out into the world, all the better.

In the meantime, he shared this cover of “State Trooper” from Bruce Springsteen’s Nebraska. The original is harrowing and howling, with the tone reportedly inspired by the Boss’ love of NYC experimental synthpoppers Suicide. Son Little keeps it minimal, but takes it out of that acoustic zone, adding back some of those electronic textures he’s so good at. It’s his own nervy interpretation of a desperate man on the lam and his fear of encountering the authorities…something that, given recent (and not-so-recent) events, takes on an added layer of poignancy. Continue reading →

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Listen to Son Little’s new studio recording of “All Wet,” sing along at Firefly today!

Son Little | photo by Joe Del Tufo for WXPN
Son Little | photo by Joe Del Tufo for WXPN

Those who have seen Son Little perform in person are probably familiar with his latest track, “All Wet.” The Philly musician says he plays the song often, but this newly released studio version differs from what’s played live. In this stand-alone single, Son Little is said to combine blues, folk and psychedelia, but It’s hard to really peg what this song could be definitively labeled as. However, it’s equally tough to get this chorus out of your head. It’s a catchy one. Continue reading →