It’s time once again for our annual 12 Days Of Local Christmas, our holiday gift of song from artists in the local music scene. XPN mid-day and Philly Local host Helen Leicht reached out to a number of local musicians to write original holiday songs. Each weekday through Christmas we’ll be offering these songs to you for free, compliments of the bands to download (and we’ll have some bonus tracks, too!). We’ll be playing them on WXPN for our My Morning Download feature with XPN’s Morning Show host Michaela Majoun in the 9AM ET hour and on Helen’s Philly Local pick of the day in the 1PM ET hour. Some of the artists include Ryan Tennis, Good Old War, Ben Smith, Deb Callahan and others. The first song in our series is from the very soulful singer-songwriter Aaron Brown, Brown is one of our favorite new voices on the local music scene. He released an excellent album this past summer with his band The Spell called Sing. For this song, “Christmas Eve With You,” Brown records with his soul revue, the York Street Hustle featuring Allison Polans. The song was recorded for Helen Leicht’s 4th Annual Philly Local Home for the Holidays show that airs December 18th at 10pm. This Friday, December 7th Aaron Brown & the York Street Hustle have their 2nd Annual Holiday Spectacular at World Café Live. Go here for tickets to the show. Below, download “Christmas Eve With You.” Go here for the complete track listing for the 12 Days of Local Christmas and to download the full compilation. In case you missed it, go here to download The Key Studio Session with Aaron and The Spell.
Every year, the Saturday concerts at Philadelphia Folk Fest get moving with Helen Leicht’s Philly Local Showcase on the festival’s Camp Stage. This year’s lineup spans styles from soul to chamber rock, kicking off with Aaron and the Spell at 11:00, continuing with Carsie Blanton at 11:45, Harper Blynn at 12:30 and Andrew Lipke at 1:15. Today, Helen gives us a look at the homegrown talent she has in store.
Aaron and the Spell is the impressive acoustic soul project of Harrisburg’s Aaron Brown, an emerging songwriter who in the past has dabbled in punk rock and (in high school) jazz music. His songs are neither punk nor jazz and that’s totally fine, since his singing voice is warm and welcoming, styled after Otis Redding and Sam Cooke. “As soon as I heard him sing, I said ‘wow!’” says Helen. “At our Philly Local showcase, I try to feature different styles of music, and he’s a great representation of soul music, the soul sound of Philly. Plus, his cover of ‘Purple Rain’ blew me away. When I heard him do it, I said ‘seriously, this guy is for real.’” Aaron and the Spell will be featured in tomorrow’s Key Studio Session, and you’ll be able to hear the tracks debut on tonight on the Philly Local Hour on 88.5 FM. Below, check out a recording of Brown singing “God Bless America” at Citizens’ Bank Park for a Phillies game.