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Folkadelphia’s Year-End List of Discovery and Wonderment, Part II

Photo by Laura Jane Brubaker | http://laurajanebrubaker.tumblr.com/
Leyla McCalla’s Folkadelphia Session | Photo by Laura Jane Brubaker | http://laurajanebrubaker.tumblr.com/

With a mixture of pride about our recent accomplishments, sadness about closing the book on 2014, and a constant craving for snacks, we arrive at the penultimate episode of the year for Folkadelphia on WXPN, airing at 10 p.m. tonight. What a ride. Thinking back on the year, it’s a blur of music. Seriously, no one can hope to hear that much music, right? Does anyone have a solid system for intake, choosing what to pay attention to, how much time to devote to a particular album, and then making a succinct decision about if it’s “good” or “bad?” If you do, please email me at fred(at)folkadelphia.com and reveal to me your secrets, magician!

That’s why the end of the year is crucial for me; it’s a time for me to look to others (critics and other curating robots) for direction, to potentially discover albums that slipped through the gaping cracks in the asphalt that I call my life. I could care less about “top” lists, so we will be side-stepping that format here. I talked about this idea, using the end of the year for discovery instead of reflection at length in the previous part of this write-up. Maybe I can do the same for you.
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Tonight’s Concert Picks: Don Bikoff at Little Berlin, The Werks at Underground Arts, Jessy Lanza at Union Transfer and more

Don Bikoff | via greatsouthbaymusicfestival.com
Don Bikoff | via greatsouthbaymusicfestival.com

Psychedelic folk guitar instrumentalist Don Bikoff released his most recognized album, Celestial Explosion, back in 1968, but don’t think that that’s the end-all of his career. Bikoff re-emerged in recent years, self-releasing his album Hallowed Ground and playing a handful of live appearances around the country, including tonight at Little Berlin for the last Folkadelphia show of the 2014 season. Tickets and information can be found at the XPN Concert Calendar. Below, listen to (and download) Bikoff’s 2013 Folkadelphia session. Continue reading →

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Folkadelphia Session: Don Bikoff

In the description for the recently reissued album Celestial Explosion, the sole solo album of one Don Bikoff, the impeccable Tompkins Square Records, the issuing label, wrote that comparisons to John Fahey and Robbie Basho “are still inevitable, however they are for lazy ears.” It’s true – I would say that the comparisons should basically stop after you recognize that the only trait they have in common is the fact they are exhibiting their musicality through instrumental means, in general. Although Bikoff is a contemporary of Fahey and Basho – Bikoff originally released that album in 1968 – the time since then has done much to distance the stylistic elements of his music from the others. The way I hear it, whereas Basho often borders on the mystical, Fahey on the psychedelic, and folks like Jack Rose on the rustic, Bikoff finds inspiration in every day experiences. The rumination on a walk through town, a conversation, a romantic trip, or a pesky insect is the kickoff point for Bikoff’s playful guitaring. The mundane, imbued by the hues of memory and imagination, are made into the magical. You can hear it in his performance, which carries a certain carefree attitude and abundance of creative spirit (dare I say of a younger man?) Perhaps that’s why a concert bill featuring Bikoff and a younger player like Daniel Bachman makes sense; they feel more like contemporaries than different generations. You’re only as young (or old) as you feel and Bikoff, while performing with the technical aptitude of an longtime expert, injects an adolescent energy into each melody.

It was a blast to host Don for this Folkadelphia Session that we recorded the afternoon of June 15th before our co-presented concert with the guitarist at the Highwire Gallery (with Fire Museum Presents). If you’re able to make it out, Don will be back on tour, playing a few extremely special shows with another cult musician Mark Fosson in New York (Riverhead, Port Washington, and Patchogue). If not, let this session serve as a placeholder in time until Don’s next album and tour.