The Kalob Griffin Band will bring new tunes and holiday vibes to World Cafe Live tomorrow


Each musical genre in this city boasts its own community. It’s why creativity breeds, why collaboration is inevitable and how fans know which venues or bars to go to in order to see a show they’ll enjoy.

But there’s something a little more notable, a little more special, about the roots rock revival that’s going on in Philly, and the bands that are at the forefront. It’s bands like Toy Soldiers, The Districts and of course Dr. Dog that have reminded local fans about the advantages of good ol’ Americana — and how the genre can make hands clap and toes tap unlike anything else.

The rise of The Kalob Griffin Band is another key manifestation of this, as the band has made quite splash into the local scene since moving to Philly from State College, Pa. They cultivated a loyal local following, deemed “The KGB Family,” and hope to top last year’s 500-person turn out when they play their “4th annual Holiday Extravaganza” on Saturday at World Café Live with support from The McLovins and Dirty Dollhouse Special.

The show will undoubtedly feature one or all of the three new tracks The Kalob Griffin is poised to release some time in late January 2014. Recorded by Bill Moriarty (Dr. Dog, Man Man) and mastered by Greg Calbi of Sterling Sound (Bruce Springsteen, Gov’t Mule, Trey Anastasio, Alabama Shakes) the songs bring the tenacity and twang that live audiences have come to love from the band, but on a whole new level of songwriting and production quality.

“Full Love” is a fast-paced, hoedown-like groove that will be sure to get people dancing. “Bugle Boy Tobacco” starts with the sound of train tracks and the wailing of a harmonica before launching into an upbeat ballad about a boy who “didn’t have to look too hard, because trouble was after me,” and features a groovin’ instrumental breakdown.

But the standout track of the three would be “Fire and Time,” a love song featuring guest vocals from soulful, folksy songstress Ali Wadsworth, who recently released her own solo album. It’s a killer collaboration between long-time scene friends. Listen to two of the songs below, and click here to download a digital package with these two new KGB tracks.

The Kalob Griffin Band will play at 8:00 p.m. on Saturday, December 21 at World Cafe Live. Tickets can be found here.


Photos: Ali Wadsworth celebrated the release of her debut LP with much pageantry at RUBA

Ali Wadsworth | Photo by Matthew Shaver | All photos by Matthew Shaver |

Philly singer Ali Wadsworth celebrated the release of her self-titled debut record on Saturday night at the R.U.B.A. club with a lineup of local luminaries – Divers, Auctioneer, Thom McCarthy and an unannounced set from T.J. Kong and the Atomic Bomb. Check out photos from Wadsworth’s set in the gallery below, and catch her live at The Troc on November 30th when she performs as Emmylou Harris in the mega tribute to The Last Waltz.


Tonight’s Concert Picks: Ali Wadsworth at Ruba Club, The Deli’s 5th Anniversary Bash at PhilaMOCA, River City Festival at Penn Treaty Park and more

Screen shot 2013-08-20 at 9.30.04 PMAli Wadsworth is not a new voice in Philly by any means, but she’ll be releasing her debut solo LP at Ruba Club tonight.  The celebration will be an incredible one: a cocktail hour, sets by Auctioneer, Thom McCarthy and Divers and a “super top secret party band” will surround the centerpiece performance by Wadsworth and her band. Before striking out on her own, Wadsworth was a member of Unlikely Cowboy with Good Old War’s Dan Schwartz, Goldiebox with her sister Claire and Philly super-group Fantasy Square Garden.  The new album, recorded by Bill Moriarty (Dr. Dog, Man Man), features songs written for Wadsworth by her friends and fellow musicians.  Tickets and information for the all-night party can be found on the Facebook event page.  Watch Wadsworth perform “Still Not Over You” at the University of Pennsylvania Museum of Anthropology and Archaeology below.

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Watch Ali Wadsworth perform in a living room for SoFAR Philly (album release at RUBA on Saturday)

This Saturday night is a big one for Philly singer Ali Wadsworth. She’s celebrating her 32nd birthday, she’s celebrating the release of her long-in-the-works self-titled debut solo album and she’s performing at Northern Liberties’ Ruba Club with a band that features members of Good Old War, The Lawsuits and more. Also tapped for opening sets at the party are Divers, Auctioneer and Thom McCarthy, and the Tripledouble DJs will spin until late. Details can be found at the show’s Facebook event page, and getting psyched can be achieved in the video below. It’s from local filmmaker Bob Sweeney and it captures Wadsworth performing her song “Biding My Time” in a scaled down but no less powerful style at June’s SoFAR Philly showcase concert.


See Big Terrible and Ali Wadsworth celebrate Rotten City the North Star Bar tonight

BTPhilly blues-rock combo Big Terrible is gearing up to usher its third release into the world; the Rotten City EP gets its physical unveiling tonight at North Star Bar, and has been streamable at Bandcamp since the beginning of the month. The four-piece band has been around since 2009, and digs deep into a very classic rock fusion of powerful gospel vocals and raw Americana instrumentation. And on hand to sing backups is Philly’s premier gospel-Americana vocalist, Ali Wadsworth. While she’ll be releasing her own solo record later this year, her commanding voice can be heard harmonizing with onetime Toy Soldiers backup singer Vinchelle Woods on two of Rotten City‘s tracks. Tonight, Wadsworth contributes an opening set to Big Terrible’s album release show along with Satellite Hearts and Jamie Victor. Information on the show can be found here. Below, stream “Substance” and “The General,” the two of Rotten City‘s songs Wadsworth sang on.


Tonight’s Concert Picks: Key Studio Sessions Live at Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts, Morning River Band at Kung Fu Necktie, Ecomog at The Trocadero Balcony, Acid Mothers Temple at Johnny Brenda’s

SwedenExperience the Key Studio Sessions live tonight at Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts.  The free event will showcase three of the Philadelphia area’s top acts: folk-rockers and two-time Tri-State Indie Award winners New Sweden, vocal powerhouse and in-demand collaborator Ali Wadsworth and local man-about-town Joey Sweeney with his new band The Long Hair Arkestra.  Admission for the show is free but space is limited; RSVP on the XPN website and get more information here.  Below, watch New Sweden perform “Mama” and download their Key Studio Session from March 2012 here.

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RSVP for The Key Studio Sessions Live ft. New Sweden, Ali Wadsworth and Joey Sweeney & the Long Hair Arkestra (at PAFA on 4/18)

NewSwedenIt’s been a little while since we brought you some free live local music here at The Key, so we’re pretty psyched to announce our latest installments of The Key Studio Sessions Live, happening at Lenfest Plaza at Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts on Thursday, April 18th.

On hand we’ve got Wilmington folk-rock powerhouse New Sweden (pictured), alums of the Key Studio Sessions (download their appearance here) and two-time winners of Tri-State Indie’s Delaware Indie Band of the Year award. I caught their recently revamped lineup at South by Southwest last month, and their live set is smokin’ as ever. Expect some new material, a modest amount of fiddle and ample hooting and hollering from these folks.

Also on the bill is vocal force of nature Ali Wadsworth. You’ve seen her collaborate with many players in the roots scene – her old band Unlikely Cowboy, Toy Soldiers, Good Old War, Fantasy Square Garden, Aaron & the Spell and the list goes on – but her forthcoming solo debut is something just about all of those folks are anticipating. It is being recorded with prominent Philly producer Bill Moriarty, features Wadsworth singing music written by many of her friends in the scene, and is sure to be great.

Last but certainly not least is Joey Sweeney and the Long Hair Arkestra. Aside from his day gig running the city news and culture blog Philebrity, Sweeney has made a formidable return to the stage this year – he first performed as a teenager in the 90s, and went on to front The Trouble With Sweeney and others until about 2006. After a hiatus of about a half-dozen years, he began to make moves with his rock outfit Arctic Splash (including a Christmas Key Session), threw a 40th birthday celebration that reunited all of his old bands, and now is gearing up to release Long Hair, a long-in-the-works solo album exploring the more introspective side of his songwriting. For this show, Sweeney will perform with The Long Hair Arkestra, a band about whom we don’t know a ton, but we’re psyched to hear them play all the same.

The concert takes place from 6 to 9 p.m. at the Lenfest Plaza at the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, 118 North Broad Street. Admission is free, but space is limited, so RSVP now at the XPN website.

Below, watch an acoustic performance of New Sweden’s “Mama,” watch Ali Wadsworth covering Beck’s “Eyes that Say I Love You” at the Song Reader show, and watch a trailer for Sweeney’s “Long Hair”

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Download Ali Wadsworth’s Live at Johnny Brenda’s 2.21.13 album

WadsworthAli Wadsworth, the captivating vocalist you may have seen performing with any number of local acts over the years (Unlikely Cowboy, Fantasy Square Garden, Toy Soldiers), has stepped out on her own and recorded a solo collection of songs written by her Philadelphia friends.  While we wait for the release of the debut full-length, check out a live album of Wadsworth’s February 21st show at Johnny Brenda’s featuring songs written by Chris Kasper, Adrien Reju and a cover of Floating Action‘s “Say Goodbye.”  Below, stream “All Due Respect” written by Sean Hoots and get the full free live album here.  If you missed it, watch Ali Wadsworth rock Penn’s Museum of Archeology and Anthropology with a stunning performance of “Still Not Over You” here.


Watch Ali Wadsworth belt out “Still Not Over You” in Penn Museum

AliPhilly roots scene vocal powerhouse Ali Wadsworth recently performed a soul-stirring new song, “Still Not Over You,” inside the echoey, stone-wall confines of The University of Pennsylvania Museum of Archeology and Anthropology. Aside from a few crypts of mummies that have been dead for eons, Wadsworth’s crowd was local videographer Mike Gallagher, who captured her performance with guitar accompanist Joe Bisirri in illuminating HD. The song was written by fellow Philadelphian Adrien Reju for the new album Wadsworth is recording with local producer Bill Moriarty at Waking Studios (other folks who wrote songs for the album include Sean Hoots of Hoots and Hellmouth and Chris Kasper). Check the video out in the player below.


Tonight’s Concert Picks: DRGN King at PhilaMOCA, The Great Unknown at Johnny Brenda’s, XPN Welcomes Martin Sexton to The Landis Theater, Nightlands at Arden Gild Hall

Philly’s DRGN King are celebrating the release of Paragraph Nights tonight at PhilaMOCA.  The full-length debut from the psychedelic power pop outfit was released through Bar / None Records on January 22nd and runs the gamut of infectiously good songwriting from the slick “Holy Ghost” to the party-ready “Wild Night.”  More information for the all-ages show with Dangerous Ponies, Walking Shapes and Idle Idols can be found here.  Stream Paragraph Nights here and watch DRGN King’s Dominic Angelella perform a solo, stripped-down version of “Holy Ghost” at Sofar Sounds from last weekend below.

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