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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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Amy Ray pays tribute to Duane Allman on Folkadelphia, Volume II

Amy Ray | Photo by Chris Sikich | countfeed.tumblr.com
Amy Ray | Photo by Chris Sikich | countfeed.tumblr.com

Leyla McCalla, Coal Town Miners, Slowey and the Boats are just a few few of the artists that appear on the recently released Folkadelphia Volume II, a collection of in-studio performances from WXPN’s weekly Folkadelphia radio show, hosted by Fred Knittel.

Recorded last April, singer-songwriter and guitarist Amy Ray of the Indigo Girls stopped by to do a session and she and her band performed material from her recent Americana/country leaning Goodnight Tender. Continue reading →

Support for My Morning Download, from Flying Fish Brewing Company
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Download an in studio Folkadelphia version of “Milly’s Garden” by Steve Gunn

Steve Gunn | photo by Constance Mensh
Steve Gunn | photo by Constance Mensh

Yesterday saw the release of Folkadelphia Volume II, a collection of in-studio performances from WXPN’s weekly Folkadelphia radio show, hosted by Fred Knittel.

One of the many standout tracks is a version of “Milly’s Garden” by singer, songwriter and guitarist Steve Gunn. Gunn, originally from Lansdowne, released one of 2014′s best albums, Way Out Weather. Now based in Brooklyn, Gunn was a guitarist in the Violators, Kurt Vile’s band, and has been releasing solo records since 2007. Continue reading →

Support for My Morning Download, from Flying Fish Brewing Company
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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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Folkadelphia’s Year-End List of Discovery and Wonderment, Part I

Photo by Darragh Friedman
Photo by Darragh Friedman

For the last three radio episodes of 2014 (airing Wednesdays 10-11 PM ET on 12/3, 10, and 17), Folkadelphia will be recapping what we found extremely special, utterly entertaining, and downright mesmerizing from this year’s musical offering. Pulling together my thoughts and my music for the exercise, it got me thinking further…
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