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Folkadelphia Session: Ryley Walker

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Throughout the year, you’ll be inundated by bloggers, curators, and personalities telling you that “so-and-so” musician is going to have a big 2015, keep your eyes and ears opened. Hype slingers. What separates Folkadelphia from them? Well, maybe conviction, maybe nothing. But check this out – I want to tell you about a guy, I want to tell you about Ryley Walker. Maybe my conviction, but definitely his music, can convince you.
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Folkadelphia Session: Bumper Jacksons


As opposed to recording a full length album, where you frequently have multiple tracking sessions, overdub sessions, a window for mixing and master, and a lot more too, most radio sessions, including our Folkadelphia Sessions, are recorded live in the studio without much “studio magic” during or after the fact. They’re a live representation of an artist – a musical snapshot, if you will. We basically are afforded one or two shots at a song, maybe an hour or so to get it right, to commit it to tape. Obviously musicianship, how adept the players are at performing in a live setting, and chemistry between band members is important and easily recognizable listening back. Less obvious is nitty gritty human stuff like how is the band feeling today, what mood is the group in, how long was the drive from their last location to the studio, and how rushed are they to get to soundcheck, for example. We love and appreciate the time every artist gives to us when they come in for a Folkadelphia Session, but sometimes folks have a rough day, ya hear?
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Folkadelphia Session: Ember Schrag (with Susan Alcorn)

Photo by Cameron Pollack
Photo by Cameron Pollack

As a few people close to me will tell you, I have an awful capacity for remembering detail, which may be the worst quality of a person interested in the history and traditions of folk music. One way I mitigate my lack of memory is to write everything down on countless legal pads strewn across my room, work spaces, and backpacks. I’m particularly thankful for human achievements like email archives, where, for instance, I’m able to pinpoint the exact moment where I’ve been “e-introduced” to someone. While listening to this week’s Folkadelphia Session featuring now New York-based songwriter Ember Schrag, I was attempting to recall how exactly we first became acquainted. Continue reading →

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Folkadelphia Session: Jim & Lynna Woolsey


As we enter the new year, Folkadelphia returns to the airwaves on WXPN. We’ll be getting back to discovering, sharing, and talking about folk music past, present, and future! I cannot wait to see what 2015 has in store for us all. Stay tuned…
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Folkadelphia Session: Andrew Jackson Jihad

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In my mind and for at least a good chunk of years now, Andrew Jackson Jihad have occupied a musical sector between sweaty basement punk rock and outspoken brash folk (I picture Billy Bragg or even Woody Guthrie) and I guess, the two are not so very different after all. Lyrically driven, songs with meaning, songs with humor, songs with a message, songs about life and living it and being a part of the world. They can be action oriented, acidic in delivery, absurd and totally irreverent in narrative, and sometimes very sweet. Many have done it before AJJ and many will do it after – to speak openly, to sing loudly, to share widely, but AJJ does it with a certain style unique to them. I became a fan late in the game and it’s with their new record, Christmas Island, that the band has totally made me a through and through devotee (I’m having a blast digging into the back catalogue), but even before this point, the band held a weighty stature for me in my imagined hierarcy of music. I always pictured AJJ live performances to be on par with religious congregations, with people chanting, waving their hands and moving wildly, maybe even violently. I see the room as blur of bodies and raw sensory stimuli where my own senses can’t quite get a solid read on anything. But it’s the unknowingness, the uncertainty, the fever pitch of it all, that makes the performance relevatory. I think folks would agree with that scene and I know I’ve heard many dazzled accounts by attendees of AJJ concerts.
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Folkadelphia Session: Caroline Reese and the Drifting Fifth


Reading, PA’s Caroline Reese and the Drifting Fifth – for our recording session, the Fifth was just one, Mark Watter – help to remind me why we’re here doing this whole Folkadelphia thing. All of this music we take in and care about isn’t just about virtuosity, pedigree, accolades, and next steps, it’s also, and maybe mostly, about having fun and spreading that infectious joy around. The duo was able to coax out that joy that exists, but is sometimes dormant, in the studio during an evening in late May. I think that speaks a volumes about Reese’s future as a performer.
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Folkadelphia Session: Mark Mandeville & Raianne Richards


Before we hear from this week’s Folkadelphia Session, let me tell you about Kettle Pot Tracks, who produce On The Hill Sessions, bringing mostly local-ish as well as some touring acts into their home studio to capture pristine video and audio. Nicole and Michael who run the whole operation have become friends of Folkadelphia and we often shoot messages back-and-forth about music. I consider them a great source of musical discovery – y’all should too, check out their site! Continue reading →

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Folkadelphia Session: Mandolin Orange


Over the past handful of years, the North Carolinian duo Mandolin Orange, comprised of Emily Frantz and Andrew Marlin, have been building and growing on their extreme talent and chemistry together, on the road and on record. Last year they released their most accomplished record yet, This Side of Jordan, via the Yep Roc Records label, a perfect home for this brand of genuine and emotional Americana. Continue reading →

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Folkadelphia Session: Slowey and the Boats

As we make the seemingly abrupt change from the muggy warm weather months to the brisk autumnal chill, let’s reminisce. As you break out the long-sleeves, the flannel, the sweaters, let’s remember how good Summer was to us. Perhaps you had a beach vacation or a leisurely stroll in the forest that’ll keep you going through the cold that’s coming. For us here at Folkadelphia, we’ll think on our recording session with Philadelphia local’s Slowey and the Boats. Continue reading →

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Folkadelphia Session: Dom Flemons

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I had more than one fan-boy moment during our recording session with Dom Flemons back in June of this year. Sometimes I can’t help it, my excitement disrupts my normally cool professional exterior. It’s just that I love Flemon’s music a lot – from his work with his former group the Carolina Chocolate Drops to his solo material, like this year’s absolutely phenomenal Prospect Hill – so, it was a bit of a coup on our part to snag him into the studio. Continue reading →