Explore ancestry in Birdie Busch’s “Far From The Tree” video (playing Union Transfer 12/4)

Birdie Busch and The Greatest Night | Photo by Rachel Barrish |
Birdie Busch and The Greatest Night | Photo by Rachel Barrish |

Singer-songwriter Birdie Busch sings of rebellion and defying expectations on the whimsical “Far From The Tree,” a song from her 2013 album Birdie Busch and the Greatest Night. These themes turn visual in a new video where we see people showcasing their ancestry through photographs and other memorabilia. It illustrates the fact that they know where they came from, but are paving their own path. Busch will perform at Phase One: A Fundraiser for The Rail Park (hosted by our Michaela Majoun) this Wednesday night at Union Transfer. More details below and tickets here.

Birdie Busch :: Far From The Tree from Jesse Moore on Vimeo.

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Bridging art and the community, The Art Commons launches tonight with Birdie Busch performing in a West Philly cemetery

In a world that never stops moving while demanding that we do the same, engaging with neighbors and the community can seem as daunting as work on a Saturday (when was the last time you went next door to borrow some sugar?) Thanks to the arts and some passionately driven members of the community, that’s all about to change.

Meet The Art Commons Philadelphia: an initiative committed to creating events where art and discourse are able to meet in perfect harmony, in order to provide healthy and beautiful environments where artists and all members of the community can meet and experience and share together.

If this seems like a sentimental mouthful, allow us to elaborate: this is no hippie drum circle in the woods.

The goal is to provide practical, financial, and creative support for artists by rallying the community to support their work. At the same time, it provides providing the community with spaces to explore art and celebrate and heal with their neighbors in a safe place. This can have a healing effect on communities, explains event organizer and local musician Catherine Prewitt. (Note: Prewitt works as volunteer coordinator at WXPN. –ed.)

“I feel really strongly that works of art ask us several things: they ask us to pause, reflect, and process the things in our lives that are worth grieving or are worth celebrating,” says Prewitt. “I hope that these events are a place where people can pause and have those kinds of moments.”

The launch event, happening on Friday, November 15 at the Hamilton Mansion in the Woodlands Cemetery in West Philly, features Philadelphia musicians Birdie Busch and the Greatest Night. For Prewitt, finding the right person to perform at the pivotal launch event was a no-brainer after experiencing the Liberty Bell Sessions back in June. The sessions, featuring local musicians Birdie Busch, Ross Belanoit, Sonja Sofya and Chris Casper, was a “round robin” style folk music night at Studio 34 in West Philadelphia.

“I connected with Ross after I saw that… I saw him at the coffee shop here and just went up to him and was like, ‘I saw you at the Liberty Bell Sessions, it was amazing!’”

Although the four were unable to come together for the November 15th launch event, Ross plays in Birdie’s band when she performs as Birdie Busch and the Greatest Night, and the rest is history.

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The Walkmen, Sun Ra Arkestra, Sharon Van Etten, Spank Rock and others playing Rail Park Benefit at Union Transfer on 12/4

The Walkmen, Sun Ra Arkestra, Sharon Van Etten, Spank Rock, Light Heat, Jeff Ziegler and Mary Lattimore, Birdie Busch, and the Dufalo Brothers are playing Union Transfer on Wednesday, December 4th. The show is a benefit for Phase One of the Rail Park with all the proceeds going to the Friends of the Rail Park, a non-profit that has been advocating the planning, designing and envisioning of a continuous 3-mile linear park along the former Philadelphia & Reading Rail line corridor. Friends of the Rail Park outlined their vision and plans last Spring, outlined in this article about it in Hidden City Philadelphia. Nathaniel Popkin writes:

The proposed park meets the elevated Reading Viaduct just east of and directly below Broad Street at the section of the railway known as the SEPTA Spur. The 1/5 mile long, elevated Spur–which will undergo an $8 million transformation into a park beginning in 2014–together with the City Branch, which is also owned predominantly by SEPTA, would constitute a two mile long linear rails-to-trails park, connecting the Callowhill neighborhood to Fairmount Park. The rest of the railroad viaduct heading north from the SEPTA Spur is owned by the Reading Corporation. The firm, based in California, has demonstrated little interest in selling the Viaduct to the City of Philadelphia.

The new below-grade park would extend from two points at the east end: the connection to the SEPTA Spur, where the rail viaduct dips under Broad Street (which is a bridge over the railway) and at Broad and Buttonwood in front of the School District Administration building. A key to the plan is the planned reconstruction of the Broad Street bridge, owned by PennDOT. Planners hope to convince the agency to install see-through railings and to puncture the bridge with light towers that are to be installed in the center of North Broad (lighting the space above and below). The parking lot now in front of the School District building would be replaced with a multi-level public space leading to the park.

Take a tour of the proposed Rail Park in this video below.

Get tickets to the Friends of the Rail Park benefit with The Walkmen, Sun Ra Arkestra, Sharon Van Etten, Spank Rock, Light Heat, Jeff Ziegler, Mary Lattimore, Birdie Busch and the Dufalo Brothers here.


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.


Tonight’s Concert Picks: Noah and the Whale at the TLA, Birdie Busch at Ortlieb’s, Islands at Johnny Brenda’s and more

English rockers Noah and the Whale will rock the TLA stage tonight. The band released its fourth album, Heart of Nowhere, last month via Caroline Records (it came out in the UK back in May). Their melodic alt-rock anthems are memorable and easy to enjoy. Get a taste of what to expect at tonight’s show below and get tickets here.

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Watch Birdie Busch perform “Honey Jar Junkies” on an open top bus care of ubiquitous Philly videographer Bob Sweeney

Photo by Scott Troyan |

Philly singer-songwriter Birdie Busch has always been one to gravitate towards unique venues and settings for performing, but her show last week arguably raised the bar. On October 1st, she played the inaugural Double Decker Music Series show, put on by Philly tour guide Sebastian Petsu, a long time fixture on the local music scene. Along with experimental jazz / electronic virtuoso Charles Cohen, Busch played a short set in the open top roof of the bus – which due to transmission problems (or some sort of mechanical issue), had to be vacated and re-boarded. But we did get a sweet video of “Honey Jar Junkies” out of it, shot by ubiquitous local videographer Bob Sweeney. Check out the video below, and see a fuller documentary-style video of the tour on Sweeney’s tumblr.


Charlie Hall and Patrick Berkery of The Lindsey Buckingham Appreciation Society pick their favorite Fleetwood Mac songs (TLBAS playing Saturday 9/21 at Johnny Brenda’s)

tusk_photoshop This Saturday night, September 21st, The Lindsey Buckingham Appreciation Society – crew of musicians and Fleetwood Mac’s enthusiasts from Philly and New York – will will reunite to perform the classic Tusk in its entirety at Johnny Brenda’s. They’ll also play some other Mac classics. The current TLBS lineup includes co-founders of the band Charlie Hall (vocalist and multi-instrumentalist with Jens Lekman and The War on Drugs, and leader of the Philadelphia-based male choral ensemble The Silver Ages) and Patrick Berkery (who has played drums with The War on Drugs, Pernice Brothers and more) along with Tony Goddess, Birdie Busch, Dave Hartley (The War on Drugs, Nightlands, and writer of The Key’s Top of The Key basketball column), and Eliza Hardy Jones of Buried Beds. We asked Charlie Hall (CB) and Patrick Berkery (PB) to put a handful of their favorite Fleetwood Mac songs and to reflect on their greatness. Here’s five of their favorites.

“Sentimental Lady” from Bare Trees (1972)

PB: From the Bob Welch-era. Quite possibly ground zero for “yacht rock.” (Can I just tell you how much I despise that term?) It’s surprising they didn’t have a major hit with this – such a beautiful song. Bob DID have a hit with it on his 1977 solo album “French Kiss,” an album the uninitiated are strongly urged to check out. It also has “Ebony Eyes,” an EPIC moment in soft rock history.

CH: An absolutely gorgeous lyric. I love Mick’s drumming on this one, and how the pre-chorus really starts to chug-a-lug into that exquisite chorus. I do think Bob improved upon it on the ‘French Kiss’ version five years later, featuring not only Mick and Christine again but also Lindsey helping shape it with guitars and production. There’s complete sweetness wrapped up with a tinge of sadness, which pretty much encapsulate Bob Welch. I, too, cannot stand the term “yacht rock” and I wish it would go away, along with those stupid videos.

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See Birdie Busch and Charles Cohen perform on top of a double-decker bus on 9/12

Birdie Busch

Folksy singer-songwriter Birdie Busch is teaming up with jazz/electronic virtuoso Charles Cohen to perform a show across Philly on an open-top double decker bus on September 12th. In January, Busch released her last record, Birdie Busch and the Greatest Night, and it was XPN’s February CD of the Month. Charles Cohen, another long-time local musician, has been making jazz and experimental electronic music on his famous vintage Buchla Music Easel for decades. The two will play sets on the bus from 8 to 10 p.m. Boarding begins at 7:45 p.m. on the corner of 5th and Market Streets. Go here for more information on the event. Meanwhile, check out the stellar track “supermoon” from Birdie Busch’s new album and watch Charles Cohen mastering the music easel below.



Liberty Bell Sessions takes Philly artists outside of city limits (kicking off at Studio 34 tonight)

So many times, great song writers get stuck in their hometown or the city where they started performing. Many times, it’s because they don’t have the funds or support needed to showcase anywhere else. Some have day jobs. Others have families to support. But you always notice them when they open for a band you like, or catch them at your favorite venue. These artists always have dedication, animation, and passion to pull off a great performance with carefully crafted talents.

Liberty Bell Sessions is a project created to get Philadelphia artists out of their locality and in front of a wider audience. “I am constantly amazed by the quality and power of songs that come out of Philadelphia. I think it’s something in the water,” says creator of the project, Ross Bellenoit. “Even when I moved to Philadelphia back in 2003, I was in awe of how many great songwriters there were in this fair city of ours.”

The idea came naturally through a conversation with Club Passim’s (in Cambridge, MA) owner, Matt Smith. Originally Bellenoit was being asked to come back and play a set after being featured on one of Peter Mulvey’s Lamplighter Sessions last November. It was his suggestion to get other Philadelphia artists on the bill with him that got the wheels turning. “After being on the road for several years, I was always pining to bring these great contemporary songs out to the rest of the world.” Bellenoit ran with the idea after Smith coined the term “Liberty Bell Sessions”.

“We want to present each other’s songs in ways that are new to each of us. Since we all have our own projects and people that we play with, this new environment lends to more spontaneous and fresh collaborative ideas for each other’s songs.” Continue reading →