Birdie Busch’s 4th annual Philly Opry at Johnny Brenda’s features Slowey and the Boats, The Sermon! and Victory beer

Photo by Lisa Schaffer |
Photo by Lisa Schaffer |

Birdie Busch has curated a mini music and arts festival called the Philly Opry for the past 3 years, and the 4th installment will be held on June 7th at Johnny Brenda’s. Today, the lineup was announced, and it has the host performing with her band Birdie Busch & the Greatest Night; joining her will be local act Slowey and the Boats, featuring steel guitar playing from Isaac Stanford (formerly of Townhall), and The Sermon!, a jazz / soul / funk revue from West Chester. The festival will cap off Philly Beer Week featuring special brews from Victory Brewing. Tickets for the event can be found here.

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PREMIERE: Philly art-poppers Auctioneer debut the melodic “Hard to Believe It”


Auctioneer | photo by John Vettese

Motley art rock crew Auctioneer – the brain child of Philly’s Craig Hendrix – has a new track available for free via Bandcamp titled “Hard to Believe it,” and it showcases a different side to the Philly multi-instrumentalist.

The band is known for its eclectic range of genres, recalling Talking Heads with more of a brass influence, but this track ventures into pop. The deep sincerity of Hendrix’s vocals remains, but the melody has a feels not unlike a Kings of Leon track, a simple structure that remains ever-engaging. Lyrically Auctioneer is always pretty profound, and “Hard to Believe it” flows and reconciles within the mind without trying too hard.

Hendrix’s collaborators on this recording are Todd Erk on bass (Hoots & Hellmouth), the illustrious Jesse Moore on piano and organ and Tommy Bendel on percussion. You can steam and download the track below for free. Catch Auctioneer with Fenster and Hello Shark this Wednesday, March 5 at Johnny Brenda’s. Get tickets for the show here.


Family Fun: Mirah and Divers will play a “Too Many Zeitlyns are Never Enough” show at Boot and Saddle

Divers | Photo by Emily “Birdie” Busch

The vocal sweetness that is Portland indie rock icon Mirah (aka Mirah Yom Tov Zeitlyn) will be paired with the rocked-up trio Divers, the local rock band led by her sister Emily Ana. They’re calling it the “Too Many Zeitlyns are Never Enough” show, and it happens at Boot and Saddle February 1st.

The raw power and sultry vocals of Divers should contrast beautifully with Mirah’s more melodic and tempered sound; although Mirah’s work spans across a wide range of genres and really can’t be compartmentalized into any one particular style. Having collaborated with the likes of everyone from Thao Nguyen (of Thao and the Get Down Stay Down) to tUnE-yArDs to Tender Forever, Mirah has tapped into every facet of the indie music scene.

Meanwhile, Divers – featuring Zeitlyn, Ross Bellenoit, Tom Bendel (of Buried Beds) and Todd Erk – have become locale faves in their own right, combining jazz vocals, bluesy garage rock and folk to create a sound uniquely their own.

Get tickets and more info on the event here. Check out the event’s facebook page here. Watch Mirah’s video for “The Forest” and Divers’ On the Hill session performance of “Eggshells” below.

MIRAH – THE FOREST (Official Music Video) from Lauryn Siegel on Vimeo.


Stream “Summertimeless,” an epic new single from Birdie Busch and the Greatest Night

Birdie Busch and The Greatest Night | Photo by Rachel Barrish |
Birdie Busch and The Greatest Night | Photo by Rachel Barrish |
With the recent darkening days and the first frost of the fall, the passing of time and the passing of seasons is on the brain. This this week’s release of “Sumertimeless” – a nine-minute new song by Birdie Busch and the Greatest Night – undeniably apt. Busch began working on it in the summer, which she describes as a mix of carefree fun and cooped-up restlessness, the life of somebody who works service industry jobs while everybody they see is out and about on leisure time. “There is a simultaneous freeness and tenseness here, migrations both inward and outward into the heart of the beast,” Busch writes. As “Summertimeless” builds, it lapses into a stirring ambient section heavily informed by the improvisatory instrumental work Busch has been doing with guitaral Cheeseman. Ultimately, it’s a meditation on the passing of seasons and time that is both musical lyrical:

It’s about smells that are smellier, bike rides that are sweatier, and time that seems heavier. Childhood nostalgia can reign supreme. Were the cicadas louder then or was I just smaller, or was my hearing better and less ringing? Can I ever recapture that feeling of pure electricity of swimming with boys I liked in public pools as a teenager? How can I return to that feeling that comes in pretended sleep when you feel your parent picking you up and carrying you into the house after a long drive back from the lake? There is so much to remember. But also so much to do and so much we are moving away from or towards.

The summer sun was a burning force. Alot of light also means a lot of dust. All becomes the color of rust about this time but not before exploding into fire and then rolling closer towards the winter. What are you leaving? What have you decided? Where have you arrived? Where are you going? As also, can I come with you? I have a song we can put on the mix for that trip 🙂

Enjoy this epic song, it’s our longest yet, with a built in seasonal sonic shift ending that perhaps you should lie down for?

Listen to “Summertimeless” below: get a download of it at Bandcamp.


Birdie Busch and the Greatest Night releasing latest LP on vinyl, donating proceeds to charity

Photo by Lisa Schaffer |
Photo by Lisa Schaffer |

Local singer-songwriter Birdie Busch has announced plans to release her latest Birdie Busch and the Greatest Night LP on vinyl in a partnership with PledgeMusic.  The Philadelphian used the crowd-sourcing platform to fund the recent project, successfully reaching the goal and releasing the album earlier this year.  Now, PledgeMusic CEO Benji Rogers has chosen the album as his favorite project of the year and has teamed up with Busch and her band for a limited pressing of 300 vinyl LPS.  $1 of every vinyl record sold will be donated to IHM Literacy Center in West Philadelphia, which assists immigrants in gaining citizenship and learning English.  You can purchase Birdie Busch and the Greatest Night in its physical form here.  Below, stream and download “Part of Apart” from the record.


My Morning Download: “Part of Apart” by Birdie Busch and the Greatest Night

bird-banddiner One of our favorite local singer-songwriters Birdie Busch is featured this week as part of World Cafe host David Dye’s World Cafe: Next series on the Cafe and NPR Music. Here’s what Kate Bracaglia, contributor to The Key and Underwater Explosions blogger writes:

Philadelphia’s whimsical, verse-weaving siren, has always had a way with storytelling. Her lyrics are quirky, candid and infused with a sense of sentimentality. Busch’s latest release, Birdie Busch and the Greatest Night, is her fourth album showcasing her folk-pop fusion. She recorded it live alongside bandmates Ross Bellenoit, Thomas Bendel, Carl Cheeseman, Todd Erk and W. Craig Hendrix. The record is a tale of celebration and struggle — delving into issues like finding time for your passions, staying focused and true to yourself.

Download “Part of Apart” from Birdie Busch and the Greatest Night below via World Cafe and NPR Music.
Listen to the full World Cafe: Next podcast with Birdie Busch here.
You can subscribe to David Dye’s weekly World Cafe: Next podcasts here.

Purchase the album here.


Watch a new, homemade music video for Birdie Busch’s “These Banks”

Having wound down from a productive several months – fundraising, recording, getting ready to release their new self-titled album – Birdie Busch and The Greatest Night released a video last night as a thank you to the fans who contributed to their PledgeMusic campaign last fall. In the campaign, Busch and the band brought in enough money to fund the recording of their new album and donate to West Philly’s Music and Mentorship nonprofit. In the video, we see a crafty and colorful look at handmade, homemade trinkets done up diorama style by Angela Miles of Carpe Diem Contstruction co. with a crew of hands that included Busch, most of her band and Rob Berliner of Hoots and Hellmouth. Posting to Facebook late last night, Busch wrote “we made this in my kitchen on an iphone fueled by friendship, lentil soup, and a trashpicked bbq grill turned puppet theatre.” Watch “These Banks” below.


Unlocked: Get to know The Greatest Night in this montage of tour footage

All week, we’ve been exploring Birdie Busch and the Greatest Night on Unlocked, The Key’s regular series on new and significant releases from Philadelphia-area artists. Like we said at the beginning of the week, this is an album that’s less about Birdie the solo artist and more about – like the title says – Birdie and The Grestest Night, her band. (That’s bassist Todd Erk, guitarists Ross Bellenoit and Carl Cheeseman, keyboard player Craig Hendrix and drummer Thomas Bendel.)

In this montage of candid tour video, shot when the ban toured with Dr. Dog last year, we really get a peek at the personas among this group of friends – guitarist Ross Bellenoit, who joined them on this tour, mugs for the camera. Erk teases Busch with party masks. Busch drives the van. They whole gang settles in to share a couch and inflatable matress. It’s set to “Penny Arcade,” a fantastic track from her 2009 offering Pattern of Saturn. Watch it below, and catch Busch and band tonight at Johnny Brenda‘s for the 2013 Philly Opry. (Busch also plays an instrumental set with Greatest Night guitarist Carl Cheeseman at The Key’s Tuesday Tune-Out at PhilaMOCA on January 22.)


Unlocked: Read The Key’s review of Birdie Busch and The Greatest Night

2013 is shaping up to be a great year for Philadelphia and the musicians who craft the soundtrack for the city. One early indicator is the new album from Philly singer-songwriter Birdie Busch and her band The Greatest Night. Birdie’s fourth full-length album further embraces her charming storytelling, but amidst a sonic backdrop that is all at once more confident and dynamic.

Recorded partly in Philadelphia and partly in Brooklyn, Birdie Busch and The Greatest Night greets us the first week in January. One can only guess after spending some time opening shows for fellow Philly indie-rockers Dr. Dog, the excitement of playing with a band rubbed off on Birdie. In fact, she enlisted Nathan Sabatino to record the new album. Nathan was the engineer for Dr. Dog’s Be The Void release last year. Most of Birdie’s new album was recorded live with the band and the result is batch of songs that breathe in a lot of open space, creating a dramatic musical canvas for her to craft her stories upon. It’s easy to get as consumed in the sonic space of songs like “Far from the Tree” and “Part of Apart” as it is Birdie’s clever songwriting. There are sweet, charming moments like “This Must Be” and quirky, vibrant songs like “Body Body” that keep making hit the repeat button. Continue reading →