XPN Fest Recap: Esme Patterson takes care of the crowd on the Marina Stage

Esme Patterson | photo by Cameron Pollack for WXPN
Esmé Patterson | photo by Cameron Pollack for WXPN

Esmé Patterson commanded the Marina Stage with her personality, music, and smile, playing songs from this year’s We Were Wild during the midday set.

Opening up with “Find It,” Patterson made it clear from the get go that she and her band were here to have fun. Classic 90s singer-songwriter sensibilities rippled under the high-energy indie rock arrangements, letting us know that this band’s music defies easy classification.

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The Key Presents: Esme Patterson

Esmé Patterson | photo by Jeremy Zimmerman |
Esmé Patterson | photo by Jeremy Zimmerman |

On a sunny Friday afternoon in May, we found Esme Patterson and her band reclined under the towering railroad trestle that cuts across the 31st Street side of WXPN. They’d driven up from a gig the previous night in D.C., were scheduled to play NonCOMM in a few short hours, and decided to take advantage of the agreeable weather to get some R&R on a blanket of green grass under the expanse of rust-orange steel, a curious intersection of post-industrial urbanism and the more verdant natural world.

Patterson’s music functions in a similar way. Continue reading →


I’m Shakin’: World Cafe Live was rocked by Shakey Graves

photo by Jeremy Zimmerman |
photo by Jeremy Zimmerman |

I’m not gonna lie: The first time I was introduced to Shakey Graves, I was more than a bit skeptical. A fellow music nerd showed me a video of Graves jangling away on his arch-top guitar, stomping like mad on a suitcase-turned-kick-drum, yowling away about God knows what, and I instantly reacted with the obligatory “UGH. Yet another Mumford-esque, insipid, nu-folkster poseur.”

In the interstitial year or so, I’ve come around to Graves. And after seeing him perform live at a very sold-out World Café on Wednesday night, I must say: If it is all just an act, then it’s a pretty damn good one. Graves—the stage name of one Alejandro Rose-Garcia—brought his deeply rooted brand of stomp-folk to Philly in support of his brilliant, just-released album, And The War Came. Continue reading →


Esmé Patterson’s perspective shifting EP and an intimate recording session with Dension Witmer, tonight on Folkadelphia


Esmé Patterson cut her teeth playing with the sprawling indie folk-pop 7-piece Paper Bird. She’s currently prepping the release of Woman to Woman, a brand new solo EP that takes the point of view of many titular women characters in classic love songs like Townes Van Zandt’s “Loretta,” the Beach Boys’ “Caroline No,” and Elvis Costello’s “Alison.” By turning the perspective around, Patterson sheds new light on songs we’ve heard a million times and probably never truly absorbed their meaning. For deeper investigation, read Jon Solomon’s interview with Patterson. Look for the release of this great set of songs in mid-April.

Watch a video for “Swimmer,” a song from her 2012 release:

Esmé Patterson – Swimmer from Isaac Ravishankara on Vimeo.

On this episode of Folkadelphia, we invite you to sit back, relax, and enjoy the intimate songs of Philadelphia’s Denison Witmer, performing as a duo with local guitarhand Ross Bellenoit, and sharing a number of songs from his latest eponymous album, released last year via Sufjan Steven’s Asthmatic Kitty label. On a personal note, Denison has been one of my favorite songwriters for a decade and it has long been a dream to host him for a session. In October of 2013, we made it happen.

Watch a live video of Witmer performing “Hold On”


My Morning Download: “My Young Man” by Esme Patterson

Photo by Todd Roeth

In the latest edition of NPR Music’s Heavy Rotation: 5 Songs Public Radio Can’t Stop Playing, the wonderful Denver singer-songwriter Esme Patterson is featured. Patterson, who is a member of the band Paperbird steps out on her own with her debut album, All Princes, I. Patterson’s solo work draws on Paperbird’s folk and roots musical sound yet on her own, her songs take on more broader influences. In a recent article in American Songwriter Patterson cites Van Morrison’s Astral Weeks and Metals by Feist as having impact on her work. Below, download “My Young Man” (featuring Nathaniel Rateliff) from Patterson’s album and stream her album. Listen to the session she did at Daytrotter here. You can purchase All Princes, I here.

Support for My Morning Download, from Flying Fish Brewing Company