The theme for WXPN’s annual countdown this year is The Greatest Year In Music, and WXPN invites you to vote on what you think was the greatest year (or years) were in music.
Polls for XPN’s Greatest Year in Music close tomorrow – Monday, October 26th – and if you’re still on the fence about what to vote for, read through some cases we gathered from local musicians and writers. Below, check out snippets from Ben Vaughn (1964), Tara Murtha (1989), Aaron Parnell Brown (1971) and more. Then vote for your favorite year in music here and listen back to winners during the Greatest Year In Music countdown starting Monday, November 2nd.
The Canadian band Arkells kicked off today’s Free at Noon double-header, bringing their indie-pop stylings to the buzzing World Café Live crowd.
On the back of their charismatic lead singer, Max Kerman, Arkells ran quickly through an impressive set of larger-than-life indie pop jams. Kerman built a quick rapport with the audience, joking about everything from ripping off John Lennon — they have a song literally titled “John Lennon” — to the Blue Jays beating the Phillies in the World Series over 20 years ago. Continue reading →
“Sing For Gene Shay” is a new tribute song to the “Dean of Folk DJs” Gene Shay in honor of his retirement this Sunday, February 1st as the host of WXPN’s Folk Show. Written, recorded and produced under the name of “Friends Of Gene,” 25 local musicians and a team of four producers and engineers came together to pay a loving tribute to Shay, who has been on the air for 50+ years hosting folk music in Philadelphia. Continue reading →
On Sunday, November 23rd at the Ardmore Music Hall, Huffamoose will reunite, with special guests Jim Boggia, Ben Arnold and The Fractals. 100% of all the ticket sales will benefit Dan’s Voice, a memorial fund for the treatment and research of head and neck cancer. A Chapter of the Board of Associates of Fox Chase Cancer Center, Dan’s Voice was founded in memory of Dan Rich, who lost his voice and his life to laryngeal/esophageal cancer.
Huffamoose – lead singer and guitarist Craig Elkins, guitarist and singer Kevin Hanson, bassist Jim Stager and drummer Erik Johnson – formed in 1992, and were signed to Interscope Records in 1994. The band debuted in 1993 with their self-titled independent release, and had several songs, including “James” and “I Want To Buy You A Ring,” that got a lot of airplay on WXPN. After signing with Interscope, they released their major label debut, We’ve Been Had Again, in June 1997. The band, known for their mix of rock with jazz influences, had rocky times on the label. After relocating to Los Angeles to work with producer Joe Chiccarelli, unhappy with the results, they convinced their A&R representative to let them re-record the album in Ardmore at the now defunct Chill Factor studios. While the making of the record more aptly fit the band’s musical vision, it strained relations with the label even further.
“We definitely came to appreciate the uphill battle for an unknown band,” Elkins says. “At any point along the way we could have gone along with some advice we didn’t feel comfortable with. We listened to all the options, but most of the time we ended up sticking to our guns, for better or worse. Having to fight for what you believe in, that helps you grow.”
Members of the band are still active in music. After moving to California, Elkins has enjoyed a solo career. Kevin Hanson formed The Fractals in 2010, teaches guitar at the University of the Arts, and, as an in demand session player, has played on records by The Roots, Jill Scott, Usher, Trey Songz and Jay Z. Johnson and Stager also perform with Hanson in The Fractals.
Below, watch a video of the band perform “Wait,” from an appearance on Late Night with Conan O’Brien.
The folk/rock band – comprised of Arnold, Joseph Parsons, Scott Bricklin, Tom Gilliam, and Matt Muir – play a trio of tracks in a simple and intimate basement venue for the On the Hill series; an appropriate setting for their low-down grass-roots sound. Acoustically driven, the session is a personal look into this seasoned group of players in the local roots scene.
Catch everything from the session here. US Rail’s latest album Heartbreak Superstar is available now via Blue Rose Records. Watch two videos from the On The Hill Session below.
Philly acoustic folk soul project Up The Chain is celebrating the release of their anticipated new album Seeds & Thorns with a party at Ardmore Music Hall tonight. Produced by Bill Moriarty (who has recently worked with The Lawsuits and Toy Soldiers) and inspired by some of front man’s Reed Kendall’s musical heroes, such as Neil Young, Paul Simon, and Amos Lee, the sophomore release is expected to be simply intimate with an energized Americana swing. Check out the details and tickets for tonight’s show here. Get ready for the show by listening to what the whole band has to say about the new release below.
That’s So Philly, a web site that showcases the musical talents of teens, has launched a new project called “Sing With A Philly Teen,” where musicians and musical adults are paired with teens to sing a cover, an original, or play a musical instrument. The first Sing With A Teen segment features long time local favorite, singer-songwriter Ben Arnold, with singer-songwriter and guitarist Arin Edelstein. According to the That’s So Philly Facebook page:
Arin Edelstein is a sophomore in high school where she performs with the Touring Ensemble (show choir), Up the Octave (girls’ a cappella group), and Select Choir. She has been playing piano since age 5, and guitar since age 8. She plays guitar and sings with the all-girl band Melrose Q. She also enjoys acting, and she currently performs with the Anne Frank Theater Project at The Holocaust Awareness Museum, where she plays Anne Frank. She is planning a career in music and the arts.
Below, listen to Arin and Ben’s original song, “Lonesome Song.”
If you are a musician or teen interested in being matched, please contact email@example.com
Ben performs at the Tin Angel on Friday, November 1st. Go here for tickets and more information.
Oxfordian Oxonian folk / pop group Stornoway headline Kung Fu Necktie tonight. Following up their 2010 debut Beachcomber’s Windowsill, the academically-minded quartet (led by an ornithologist) released Tales from Terra Firma earlier this month. Field Report continue to tour in support of last year’s self-titled debut. Tickets and information for tonight’s 21+ show can be found here. Watch Stornoway’s video for “Knock Me On the Head” below.
Divers open for Auctioneer at Kung Fu Necktie tonight. The brainchild of local musicians Emily Ann Zeitlyn and Ross Bellenoit, Divers are a new quartet filled out by Tom Bendel (Buried Beds) and Todd Erk (The Weeds). Alternating between wailing, dynamic flourishes and upbeat rock-outs, the Philly band’s still-growing discography of three tracks is an enticing preview of what’s to come. Tickets and information for tonight’s 21+ show with Auctioneer and Anna Vogelzang can be found at the WXPN Concert Calendar. Stream “Wild Things” below and right-click here to download it for free.