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Load-In to Load-Out: Behind the scenes of Birdie Busch’s Philly Opry at Johnny Brenda’s

Birdie Busch’s Philly Opry | Photo by: Ellen Miller | www.ellencm.com
Birdie Busch’s Philly Opry | Photo by: Ellen Miller | www.ellencm.com

On a Saturday evening in early October, Fishtown institution Johnny Brenda‘s is bustling with hungry and thirsty customers, out for a fun night. Patrons are enjoying drinks and conversation, challenging friends and strangers to numerous games of pool. While everyone is chatting away downstairs, Emily “Birdie” Busch spends the afternoon and evening transforming the upstairs venue space in preparation for her big show later that night. Continue reading →

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Tonight’s Concert Picks: Sigur Ros at the Academy of Music, Hop Along at the Electric Factory, Birdie Busch’s Philly Opry at Johnny Brenda’s and more…

sigur ros
Sigur Ros | Photo by Noah Silvestry | silvestography.tumblr.com

Orchestral Icelandic outfit Sigur Ros are at the Academy of Music tonight. Led by Jónsi, the post-rockers will perform two sets, pulling from their expansive catalog that includes standout records ( ) and Takk…. along with 2013’s Kveikur. Tickets and information for the all-ages concert can be found here. Watch “Óveður” below, released this summer.

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Birdie Busch announces 5th Philly Opry at Johnny Brenda’s on October 8th

Birdie Busch | Photo by Josh Pelta-Heller for WXPN | hellerhound.com
Birdie Busch | Photo by Josh Pelta-Heller for WXPN | hellerhound.com

Though some details are still being withheld, we now happily know for a fact that Birdie Busch‘s 5th Philly Opry will happen at Johnny Brenda’s on October 8th. The evening of special guests, collaborations and general musical merriment took a year off in 2015 but promises a return to its mid-20th century variety performances, inspired by the classic shows of Dick Cavett and Johnny Cash.

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Download Birdie Busch’s Thunder Bridge release show in its entirety

Photo by Liz Baronofsky | etsy.com/shop/bphillyphotography

Philly singer-songwriter Birdie Busch just released the sweet and subtle new LP Thunder Bridge, a collection of songs inspired by Sun Ra and Nick Drake that started out as a project for a friend and her newborn child that evolved into something more.

A couple weeks ago, Busch celebrated the new record with a headlining performance at South Philly’s Boot & Saddle; every song on the new album made it into the setlist, along with tunes from 2013’s Birdie Busch and the Greatest Night, several from 2007’s Penny Arcade and one reaching all the way back to 2005’s The Ways We Try. Continue reading →

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The High Key Portrait Series: Birdie Busch

Birdie Busch | Photo by Josh Pelta-Heller for WXPN | hellerhound.com
Birdie Busch | Photo by Josh Pelta-Heller for WXPN | hellerhound.com

High Key” is a series of profiles conceived with the intent to tell the story of Philly’s diverse musical legacy by spotlighting individual artists in portrait photography, as well as with an interview focusing on the artist’s experience living, creating, and performing in this city. “High Key” will be featured in biweekly installments, as the series seeks to spotlight artists both individually and within the context of his or her respective group or artistic collective.

Birdie Busch’s new record Thunder Bridge is beautiful, meditative, with an attention to production details and sonic textures that would make Yankee Hotel Foxtrot-era Jeff Tweedy envious. Recorded in Germantown, Busch’s sixth LP sees the introduction of longtime friend Jaron Olevsky as keyboardist, as well as co-producer along with her partner, bassist Todd Erk. It’s a pensive, reflective collection of eight tracks that might remind you of Lucinda, Feist, or the moods of Beth Orton, and you’ll be comforted to know that Busch is a local Philly girl too.

What’s more, on June 18th, the Philly songstress will host a record release party at Boot & Saddle in celebration of the new work (get tickets and more info here). She’ll also be around town with a handful of show dates this summer, and come Fall, Johnny Brenda’s will host her seventh annual Philly Opry, a night of music cultivated by Busch, and conceived to mix-and-match local and traveling acts.

In her interview with us, Busch related her eclectic influences, her love for the city and its arts community. She speaks thoughtfully, poised with deliberation and without calculation, and throughout shares her contagious outlook of renewal and rejuvenation, whether it’s with reference to her relationship with live performance or just walking or biking the city’s streets and neighborhoods. Continue reading →

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Birdie Busch celebrates life and friendship on new Thunder Bridge LP

Birdie Busch
Birdie Busch | photo courtesy of the artist

If there’s one thing we’ve learned about Birdie Busch over the years, it’s that she cherishes friendships and community and actively works to turn one into the other, often through music. From curating her annual Philly Opry showcase to writing an ode for a close friend who passed away to being involved in neighborhood meetings, the West Philly-turned-Germantown musician has an uncanny ability of bringing people together – so it’s no surprise that her newest album was inspired by a friend as well.

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Tonight’s Concert Picks: MH the Verb at Milkboy, Ty Segall at The Trocadero, James Hunter Six at Sellersville

MH The Verb | Photo courtesy of the artist
MH The Verb | Photo courtesy of the artist

Local DJ / producer / MC MH the Verb brings his live band to MilkBoy tonight. Verb’s performance is a multi-media experience, pulling together influences from many genres and time periods to create a fusion of art. The band spent 2015 working on a documentary series of their live shows in support of 2014’s The Balloon Guide. Check out “Blistered” below and get tickets and more information for the 21+ show at the WXPN Concert Calendar.

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Tonight’s Concert Picks: Birdie Busch at Philadelphia City Institute, Grayscale at Ortlieb’s

Birdie Busch | via twitter.com/birdadoo
Birdie Busch | via twitter.com/birdadoo

Birdie Busch has kept a bit on the quiet side since relocating uptown from West Philly (where she lived for almost a decade) to Germantown. But she emerges every now and again, like a slot opening for Israel Nash at Johnny Brenda’s earlier this year, and tonight’s free show at the Philadelphia City Institute – the Rittenhouse Square branch of the Free Library. Last we heard from Bird, she was enjoying the trees up in the northwest, getting involved in some pretty right-on neighborhood activism and beginning to write her next album – which she told her email list was going to have a Nick Drake vibe to it. We are like 1,000,000,000% okay with that. Tonight’s free show starts at 6:30 p.m. at 1905 Locust Street, more information can be found hereContinue reading →

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That Dream Was Our Life shares latest in monthly series of EPs

James Cuartero | via thatdreamwasourlife.tumblr.com
James Cuartero | via thatdreamwasourlife.tumblr.com

South Philly folk singer-songwriter James Cuartero, aka That Dream Was Our Life, has released the 11th of 12 releases in his monthly series of EPs.

“It’s Not Too Late” holds four new songs, as well as a bonus track (a cover of Miguel’s “Sure Thing”).

The tracks were all written after Cuartero took part in the “Adventures In Songwriting” workshop at the Kelly Writers House, led by Philly’s own Birdie Busch. Continue reading →

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Philly Music 101: The basics everyone needs to know about the Philadelphia scene right now

Photo by Jeremy Zimmerman | Jeremy-Zim.com
The Districts | Photo by Jeremy Zimmerman | Jeremy-Zim.com

Philadelphia is a city of many wonders: a buzzing food scene, an established craft beer culture, and a parade of historical landmarks. But one aspect of our city that we are particularly passionate about is our magnificent local music community and all that is has to offer. Here at The Key, we often focus on the particulars of our scene – where artists will be playing each night, brand new local releases, etc. – so much so that we can forget how overwhelming it can be for newcomers to get their bearings.

So for those of you having trouble finding where to start, we are introducing this new Philly Music 101 series as your guide through the wonderful world of the Philadelphia music scene: all of its passionate, loving members, from artists to venues to studios and more. It’s meant to help new fans navigate the scene as much as emerging musicians looking to break in and behind-the-scenes folks trying to get their start. We hope it will illuminate just what makes it so damn exciting for music lovers to live here. To kick it off, here is a by-no-means-complete overview of the different pieces of the Philadelphia music scene that have come together to make up its sturdy foundation. Continue reading →