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Folkadelphia Session: Emma Ruth Rundle


On Emma Ruth Rundle‘s latest solo outing Some Heavy Ocean, she reconciles in a bold and beautiful manner her diverse musical styles and interests honed over the years while performing in groups like Marriages, Red Sparowes, and the Nocturnes. Her voice is truly the centerpiece of the album – strong, defiant, and upfront. Rundle is cast as the beacon of light in a soundscape that exists as dense fog-like endlessness. It’s a sound as attractive and with the destructive potential of a black hole. Space, outer, inner, or otherwise, plays an important role here too. The songwriter has a deep understanding of dynamics. There’s drama, there’s build, there’s tension and release. On this heavy ocean, the waves ebb and flow to create emotional peaks and valleys. All the while, Rundle gives us her monochromatic all, an infinite variety of diversity in between the black of the void and the purest white light.
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Folkadelphia Session: Mustered Courage

When I think bluegrass, I don’t immediately consider Australia, but Mustered Courage, based out of Melbourne, have changed my way of thinking. Deep into touring their second album, Powerlines, the quartet was kind enough to route their way over to WXPN where we recorded a good handful of pop-inflected Americana-esque songs. Continue reading →

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Folkadelphia Session: Sam Amidon


I could easily spend hours of your time talking about this week’s Folkadelphia Session featured artist Sam Amidon, but, as usual, I’d rather just let the music speak for itself. However I will talk briefly about how Sam Amidon became one of my favorite musicians.
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Folkadelphia Session: Heavy Blonde

Photo by Jason Riedmiller
Photo by Jason Riedmiller

I didn’t know a lot about Heavy Blonde, this week’s Folkadelphia Session band when I invited them to the studio. I still don’t know much. What I do know is that the band is probably from Scranton, PA. Mike Williams, the Heaviest Blonde of the bunch (hierachically, I think, not in weight), used to front the local-ish group And The Moneynotes. From the demise of that band came this new project and a fresh-as-heck EP, recorded and produced by Nick Krill (of the Spinto Band). Williams sold me on the project as soon as he shared the EP. It’s a fun, hook-laden, harmony-heavy affair, but real breezy and and repeatable. Williams and his crew show off some majorly adept songwriting – a thing we can all appreciate.
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Folkadelphia Session: Steelism


Steelism‘s debut album 615 to Fame and by extension our Folkadelphia in-studio session with them features some of the most catchy, hook-laden, “sing-a-longable” songs I’ve heard in quite a while. Here’s the thing – the band has no vocals. That’s right, no one is singing at all. It’s completely instrumental, heavy on the steel string and slide guitars. This fact is a testament to the awesomeness, adeptness, and imagination of the Steelism’s Spencer Cullum and Jeremy Fetzer.
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Folkadelphia Session: The Ballroom Thieves

Photo by One Love Photo.
Photo by One Love Photo.

You’re going to start to hear their name a lot all around, so I’ll say it right now – The Ballroom Thieves. Just this week, they released A Wolf in the Doorway, a big leap forward after two EPs of engaging music, but songs that left the impression of a band figuring it out, finding out who they are. A Wolf in the Doorway presents a band that knows who they are. The Ballroom Thieves have arrived and their bringing one heck of a sound in tow. Continue reading →

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Folkadelphia Session: Alice Boman

Photo by Johanna Attesson
Photo by Johanna Attesson

One of my absolute favorite aspects of the live in-studio format (and if we’re being biased, our own Folkadelphia Sessions) is their ability to contrast a performance from the album version of a song. You get something raw and spontaneous, unique to this one space and time. It allows listeners to hear an artist in a different light, adding complexity and layers to the total package they bring to their songwriting or playing. These in-studio sessions also give the artist a chance to mess with the formula – to flesh out arrangements, to strip songs down to bare essentials, or to manipulate any aspect of their performance in a safe environment. What we commit to tape is often unbelievable. Continue reading →

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The Week’s Best Free MP3s, incl. Girlpool, Blue Smiley and more

Girlpool
Girlpool | Photo by Jeremy Zimmerman | http://jeremy-zim.com/

This week’s Key Studio Session features LA born, Philly based duo Girlpool. The drum-less, guitar / bass two-piece settled in Philadelphia last fall and immediately struck a chord with the house-show scene. For this session they performed tracks taken from the forthcoming Before the World Was Big LP, set for release this June. Check out “Ideal World” below and get the full set here.

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Folkadelphia Session: Jennifer Castle

Photo by Jeremy Jensen
Photo by Jeremy Jensen

Even after falling for her records, especially last year’s Pink City, and recording an in-studio session, Jennifer Castle remains just as mysterious to me. Suddenly you’re swept up by Castle’s songs, each full of magic, rich in color, timbre, and imagination. Then when it’s all over, you’re left, buzzing and tingling, remnants of songwriting stardust around, looking to start the journey anew. Continue reading →

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Folkadelphia Session: The cast of Lonesome Traveler


Creativity tends to manifest in multidisciplinary ways. The musicians that Folkadelphia has in for our in-studio sessions are usually not just musicians – they’re artists. They paint, draw, sculpt, curate, write, photograph. Music is not a box that bounds and satisfies their imagination, but serves as one medium of expression. There are many more.

We’ve seen and heard about many “beyond music” projects, but we’ve yet to hear from the musical theater and acting realms. That changed this March when we invited the cast of Lonesome Traveler to travel from New York City to Philly to record songs that are featured in the production.
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