By

Tonight’s Concert Picks: Jonathan Richman at Union Transfer, Tinmouth at Johnny Brenda’s, Coal Town Rounders at Bourbon and Branch

Jonathan richman | photo courtesy of the artist
Jonathan richman | photo courtesy of the artist

Rock and roll roadrunner Jonathan Richman has released heaps of material throughout his musical career, and he plays at Union Transfer tonight to support his new record, Ishkode! Ishkode! Richman is the Modern Lovers, and his gig at UT will surely mix old classics along with new material. Read our interview with Richman here; for tickets and more information, check out the XPN Concert Calendar. Continue reading →

By

The Week’s Best Free MP3s, incl. The Interest Group, Ataloft, Psalmships and more

Local outfit The Interest Group brought a handful of new songs in for this week’s Key Studio Session to play alongside February’s “Locked On.”  The psych-pop outfit has been moving quickly since releasing a 1960s cover song that got picked up by Pitchfork a couple of years ago, and they’ll be playing more new songs at Underground Arts on May 14th.  Download “Sharing You” below and get the full set here.

Scranton, PA’s Coal Town Rounders stopped by for a Folkadelphia Session in January, which premiered this week on WXPN and online.  The stripped-down bluegrass quartet takes its music backs to the roots in a don’t-fix-what-isn’t-broken fashion.  Stream and download the session below.

Continue reading →

By

Folkadelphia Session: Coal Town Rounders

KISS – keep it simple, stupid. You’ve probably been told this or something similar your entire life. They’re saying that things function best if they’re kept simple rather than made complicated, so this should be factored into the design of whatever it is you’re working on. A similar concept is Ockham’s razor, which says that among competing hypotheses, the one with the fewest assumptions should be selected. This is all highfalutin fancy-pants talk for simplicity being the key. This is what I’m thinking about when I think about Scranton, PA’s Coal Town Rounders. They’re not particularly flashy or showy, they’re not reinventing the wheel, they’re just making goddamn salt of the earth bluegrass. For one, you’ve got your instrumental chops, two- your tight harmonies, and three- a strong catalog of songs to mine from, so what more do you need? I promise you that if you get these guys in a room together, you’ll be moved to interaction – to dance, to sing, to clap, to grin like a fool. I know that’s how we were acting in the mixing booth during this session, which was tracked live at the WXPN Studio on January 11th of this year. Now, simplicity does not equal untalented or lacking in passion. Quite the opposite, it means that the Rounders have stripped away superfluous musical baggage that does nothing except weigh them down. As a mean and lean acoustic quartet, the boys are nimble and energetic, imbuing their fairly traditional bluegrass twang with a good chunk of reckless abandon, like the crazy train might be coming off the rails at any moment. Whoever needed guitar amps anyway?

By

There’s one kind favor I’ll ask of you, that’s to listen to tonight’s episode of Folkadelphia Radio featuring Scranton’s Coal Town Rounders

Blindlemonjeffersoncirca1926Memento mori is a Latin phrase that means “remember you will die” and it is a commonly used motif in art serving to remind about the temporary nature of mortality. The motif can be seen throughout time and artistic disciplines, symbolized, for example, by skull imagery in paintings, depictions of the Grim Reaper and his danse macabre, cemetery architecture, and literary themes.

The subject of death and specifically burial instructions make up a significant portion of blues and folk songs, including “The Fatal Flower Garden,” “Country Blues,” and “The Butcher’s Boy.” None of these though is as detailed and poignant as Blind Lemon Jefferson‘s “See That My Grave Is Kept Clean,” also known as “One Kind Favor,” originally recorded in 1927 for Paramount Records and included in the massively influential Harry Smith Anthology of American Folk Music. We’re taking a close look at the song tonight on Folkadelphia Radio.

Jefferson was discovered in Dallas, Texas by Paramount Records and taken to Chicago to record throughout the 1920s, leading to commercial success and national acclaim. Jefferson’s unique style of playing and singing influenced the development of the Texas blues tradition and beyond. In 1930, Son House and Charley Patton, also recording for Paramount, were told to record their own take on the song, which led to the melody-sharing “Mississippi County Farm Blues.””See That My Grave Is Kept Clean” has been covered by artists as diverse as Lightnin’ Hopkins, Canned Heat, Diamanda Galas, The Dream Syndicate, and more. As a continually fulfilled wish, many admirers over the years have taken the pilgrimmage to the Wortham, Texas cemetary on Highway 14, due approximately 85 miles south of Dallas to keep Jefferson’s grave site clean.

Continue reading →