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XPN Fest Recap: Ben Arnold and the 48 Hour Orchestra let loose on the River Stage

Ben Arnold | photo by Noah Silvestry for WXPN | silvestography.com
Ben Arnold | photo by Noah Silvestry for WXPN | silvestography.com

Ben Arnold is a seasoned vet when it comes to performing at XPoNential Festival. This year was the local music man’s fouth appearance, but this time around things were a bit different. Thanks to the 48 Hour Orchestra, who joined Arnold on stage, his set today brought things to a new level. Together, the two sides brought life to Arnold’s 2016 record Lost Keys, an album that features much more brass than anything he’s put out in the past. Continue reading →

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XPNFest Preview: A beer with Ben Arnold at Dawson Street Pub

Ben Arnold | Photo by Matt Montella for WXPN
Ben Arnold | Photo by Matt Montella for WXPN

“I’ve learned that if you keep doing it and keep producing quality music, things happen. It’s what I am, it’s what I do.”

Ben Arnold is a lot of things: a singer, a songwriter, both a piano player and a guitar player, a super cool dude. But most of all, he’s a music man. He’s been writing, playing, and performing his whole life, and for most of his life he’s been doing it in and around Philadelphia. Arnold will be playing the XPoNential Festival next month (his 4th time!) and he played at Dawson Street Pub in Manayunk on Thursday, June 28th, which he said was both a “warm up gig” and an opportunity to play in his own neighborhood.

“Some of my family still lives in Western New York, but Philly is my adopted hometown. I love the city. I think it is one of the most culturally vibrant cities on the East coast,” said Arnold when I met with him earlier that day. “I think the music scene is killer, and its growing rapidly. This is where I really say where my family is. My base is here.” 

Arnold has been playing in various bands since he was a kid, when he went to a performing arts high school in Center City. As he has gotten older, his sound has matured with him. His most recent record, Lost Keys, was released earlier this year and features Motown and Stax influenced rhythm and soul. Continue reading →

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2nd Annual Heartwood Music Festival begins this Sunday

Ben Arnold
Photo by Breanna Keohane

Following the success of its inaugural year, Heartwood Music Festival is returning this Sunday, June 12th with a sweet selection of local talents and serene surroundings. Taking place at the Awbury Arboretum from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m., the single day fest features the perfect natural backdrop for a day filled with live music, food, crafts and more.

This year’s lineup includes local musician Ben Arnold, who notably did a Free at Noon performance at World Cafe Live with us back in February, as well as a Key Studio Session – he’ll be on the XPoNential Music Festival lineup as well. Also on the bill, you’ll find Bethlehem and Sad PatrickDe Tierra CalienteDriftwood SoldierJoe Crookston and Meghan Cary: Sing Louder.  Continue reading →

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Catch Tommy Conwell, Ben Arnold, Rosemary Fiki and more at the Roxborough Solstice Music Festival

Ben Arnold
Ben Arnold | Photo by Jeremy Zimmerman | http://jeremy-zim.com/

With the summer solstice less than a month away, our days are about as lengthy and bright as they get. And there’s no better way to spend the extra sunlight than with some grub, drinks, and live music. On Saturday, June 11th, the Roxborough Solstice Music Festival will provide just that. Starting at noon, they’ll have 10 musical acts, food trucks, a beer garden, craft vendors, and local businesses at Gorgas Park on Ridge Ave in Philly. Continue reading →

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Just Announced: White Denim, Kississippi, Songhoy Blues, Colvin & Earle, and many more added to XPN Fest

White Denim| Photo by Drew Anthony Smith, courtesy of Downtown Records
White Denim| Photo by Drew Anthony Smith, courtesy of Downtown Records

XPoNential Festival, happening this July at the Camden Waterfront, already contains a stacked line-up of Alabama Shakes, Kurt Vile, The Districts, and so many more, but we are more than happy to announce the next 11 artists that will be performing as well that weekend.

Back on Tuesday, we shared an amalgamated face of all the artists that we would be announcing today, and now you get to see who’s who. Here’s the list of artists being added to XPoNential Fest this year. Continue reading →

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Beyond the Bars: The Districts, Queen of Jeans and more rip it up for a good cause

The Districts | Photo by Jeremy Zimmerman | http://jeremy-zim.com/
The Districts | Photo by Jeremy Zimmerman | http://jeremy-zim.com/

I could sit here and regale you with stories and stats about the Prison-Industrial Complex all day, but is that going to do anything? Even for the most #woke among us, it’s hard to know where to start to deal with something as massively unassailable as a for-profit prison system that funnels young lives straight into jails. But—much like music—it’s best to start with stories. Sunday night at World Cafe Live, Philly organization Beyond the Bars hit home with a massive benefit show incorporating both to strike back.

By going into prisons and teaching music to incarcerated youth, Beyond the Bars staff and volunteers are able to bring hope and respite to members of society that most people have already written off as a loss. “Even though they’re in prison, they’re still people, man. Just people,” said Bars staff member Christopher Thornton. Continue reading →

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The Districts, Frances Quinlan, and more to play Beyond The Bars benefit at World Cafe Live

 

The Districts
Photo by John Vettese | for WXPN

Well this is happening: The Districts, Frances Quinlan, Ben Arnold, and Milton will be performing at World Cafe Live on Sunday, April 17th at World Cafe Live to support Beyond The Bars. In addition, Lushlife‘s Raj Haldar will be DJing in between sets.

Beyond The Bars is a program that benefits music education for incarcerated youth in Philadelphia. Their programs consist of providing instruments and music lessons to “empower young men and women as they navigate the criminal justice system.” Beyond The Bars was founded by Matthew Kerr, Eric Ammon, Brian Thomas, and Christopher Thornton. The organization has been gaining momentum and was recently featured on WHYY. Continue reading →

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Tonight’s Concert Picks: Two Piece Fest IX at First Unitarian Church, Ben Arnold at Underground Arts, Winter Doldrums Fest at World Cafe Live and more…

two piece fest
Joint Chiefs of Math | Photo by Kate McCann | katemccannphotography.com

The ninth annual Two Piece Fest takes place at the First Unitarian Church today. As we previously reported, the day-long event is “an exercise in mayhem and minimalism that brings the DIY scene together, one duo at a time.” This year’s line-up includes Joint Chiefs of Math, Brown Rainbow, Empty Vessels and a dozen more. Tickets and information for the all-ages show can be found here; listen to Joint Chiefs’ “Get Rich or Try Dyin'” below.

Continue reading →