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Folkadelphia Session: Lily & Madeleine

It’s certainly easy to stay focused on the musical accomplishments and inherent talent compared to the respective ages of Lily and Madeleine Jurkiewicz, the sisters that make up the duo Lily & Madeleine. The accomplishments are grand – an LP and EP in the bag, a fantastic sophomore album Fumes to be imminently released by Sufjan Steven’s Asthmatic Kitty Records, the talent runs deep and strong in these two, and their ages, well, let’s just say teenaged. Instead of framing it like “look what these girls have accomplished and they’re only BLAH BLAH BLAH years old,” how about we say that Lily and Madeleine have just commenced on their hopefully long and fruitful musical journey. Continue reading →

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Folkadelphia Session: The Bones of J.R. Jones

In our latest session, you’ll hear the Bones of J.R. Jones. The band is self-described as “dirty, grainy, blues-influenced” that navigates the divide between full-on sweaty face-in-the-dirt rock-and-roll and somber folk-balladeering. You’ll hear resounding drum hits, shimmering tambourines, thumping bass, beefy guitar licks, stomping boots, and some sweet harmonica playing. Continue reading →

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Folkadelphia Session: Sam Moss

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Back in February, I started emailing back and forth with Vermont songwriter Sam Moss about setting up a show in Philly. While the show didn’t pan out, a stellar Folkadelphia Session did come out of all of our efforts.

I first became aware of Moss’s music through the Tompkins Square label’s Imaginational Anthem series which feature new, up-and-coming guitarists, as well as legends and treasures of the American Primitivism movement. Continue reading →

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Folkadelphia Session: Leif Vollebekk

As with most Americans who have heard the guy, we were introduced to Montreal’s Leif Vollebekk through North Americana, his ode to his travels through the United States, released at the beginning of 2014. On the record which owes influence to mid-70s Bob Dylan and Jeff Buckley, Vollebekk creates a spacious and rich sonic landscape with “the best band in the world,” as he notes in his bio. While this type of songwriting doesn’t tread new ground per se, the singer-songwriter brings a poetry, grace, and soulfulness not often heard. And gosh darn if he ain’t a heck of a songwriter. Continue reading →

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Folkadelphia Session: Cuddle Magic


Back at the end of 2012, Folkadelphia recorded a stripped down set in the auxiliary broadcast room at WXPN with folk goddess Anais Mitchell. During this session, we met an excitable, highly passionate, and imaginative individual named Ben Davis who was playing in Mitchell’s band (alongside Rachel Reis). As they played, we were privy to just a glimpse of the insane brilliance that Davis brings with him everywhere he goes. He also told us about his own project Cuddle Magic. How could we not listen after all of what we witnessed? Continue reading →

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Folkadelphia Session: Chelsea Sue Allen

My discovery of singer-songwriter Chelsea Sue Allen is another wonderful case of Philly musicians doing right by their own. Just over a year ago, Folkadelphia was putting together a concert at the intimate Random Tea Room with our good friend and frequent collaborator Joshua Britton of Psalmships. He recommended that a take a listen to Allen’s Tiny Prizes debut album, as well as her On The Hill session. Of course, the rest is history. Continue reading →

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Folkadelphia Session: The Whiskey Gentry


Team Folkadelphia is very excited and proud to present our session with The Whiskey Gentry, recorded live back in March while the Georgians were in town. They’re a little bit country and a little bit rock-and-roll. They’re also a huge helping of bluegrass, a side dish of rustic folk, and just a smidgen of punk rock abandon.

Continue reading →

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Folkadelphia Session: Amy Ray (of the Indigo Girls)

Courtesy of the artist
Courtesy of the artist

Goodnight Tender, the new solo album from Amy Ray, is not a record to be taken lightly. It feels like a project that was mulled over, devised, and labored on for a long period of time. As such it demands our respect and undivided attention. It’s a brave and utterly successful musical step for Ray. Unquestionably different than her other solo albums, as well as her work with the Indigo Girls, it is very much a feat of pure Americana. Continue reading →

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Folkadelphia Session: Mason Porter

What continues to make West Chester, PA’s Mason Porter a force to be reckoned with in the Americana and roots community, especially regionally, is the intimacy that they bring to each song. Whether it is in live performance, on record (like their latest Home For The Harvest), or, now, with their Folkadelphia Session, the trio of Joe D’Amico, Tim Celfo, and Paul Wilkinson have an uncanny ability to draw the listener in and keep them close. I can only think that this magical power is the result of a strong and long-standing chemistry between the members. Heck, we know they can all play their instruments and yes, that’s terribly important. They harmonize like the bee’s knees too. But it’s that extra something something that only comes about after years of meshing together that pushes their”good” to “great.” Can we also talk about how tight these guys are when they perform? Beyond chemistry, Mason Porter comes prepared. Folks like to throw around the word “simplistic” to classify MP’s brand of stripped back Americana. Do not fool yourself into thinking that simplicity implies a lack of imagination, passion, energy, or playing chops. Simplicity mean preparedness; this music only works because the trio is locked in the groove, dialed in, and firing on all cylinders – but, you know, simplistically, acoustically, and intimately.

Mason Porter recorded this Folkadelphia Session back in February when they were fresh off the release of their newest album Home For The Harvest. For more Mason Porter reading and listening, check out The Key’s Unlocked coverage. Mason Porter performs at Underground Arts supporting Spirit Family Reunion on Saturday, August 9th.

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Folkadelphia Session: Charlie Parr

The description of Minnesota based musician Charlie Parr as “one man, one guitar, one foot in the grave” is pretty perfect. Stylistically, Parr plays a type of music that all but resides six feet under the ground; he’s a dying breed of self-taught musician that draws from early American roots, country blues, spirituals, and traditional. I like to think that Charlie hasn’t even heard any music from the last 50-75 years. Listening to Charlie conjures up the image of a long lost John and Alan Lomax field recording, or a hold-over from Harry Smith’s Anthology of American Folk Music. Even when you see him perform live, the audience may hear phantom clicks-and-pops, the surface noice and scratchiness of an ancient 78, little wheel spin and spin, big wheel turn around and around. That’s just the vibe of Charlie Parr. Over the course of now twelve albums, including last year’s Hollandale, an instrumental record featuring Low‘s Alan Sparhawk, Parr continues to mine the depths, certainly not rob the graves, of authentic and original folk music.

While the style is timeless, the sounds are sepia-toned, and Parr himself is rather quiet and pensive, the songs are not like a specimen under a microscope or a box of records filed away for posterity in the stacks of the Library of Congress. The music is alive and breathing. In fact, Parr’s one foot in the grave may mean he’s trying to get out of that ditch, clawing and kicking, raging against physical and mental anguish and isolation of a wall of dirt (and a wall of dirt of the mind and spirit). You can hear it in the guitar picking, in the throaty dusty singing, and the vibrantly emotional feeling of the songs. This music has a heartbeat and it ain’t dead yet as long as Parr is around.

Charlie Parr recorded this album lengthened session at the WXPN Performance Studio on February 23rd, 2014 while he was in Philadelphia for a Folkadelphia presented show at Hubbub Coffee.