By

Folkadelphia Session: Mischief Brew

Photo courtesy of the band.
Photo courtesy of the band.

I will bet you that the first time I heard Mischief Brew, I was sitting on a dilapidated couch in the basement level of 3210 Chestnut Street, deep within the confines of Drexel University’s non-commercial, free-format, student-run radio station WKDU. That’s where I, and so many open-minded, forward-thinking weirdos cut our teeth, got lost in the vinyl stacks, and figured out for ourselves what was good music. I thank my lucky stars for being in the right place at the right time.
Continue reading →

By

Folkadelphia Session: Brian Carpenter and the Confessions

Photo by Heather Byington.
Photo by Heather Byington.

I think it is telling that upon listening to Brian Carpenter and the Confessions, my audio engineer, Clark Conner and I starting naming a slew of diverse musicians and artists that the band reminded us of. We through out names like Willy Nelson, Leonard Cohen, Tom Waits, Nick Cave, David Lynch, Johnny Cash, and beyond. If you could take those names, those vibes, and imagine an audio landscape built by their hands, I believe you’d fall upon what the Confessions channel. It’s dusty, dark, sparse, but lovely and thoughtful – the pessimistic side of Americana, staring at the half empty beer bottle in front of you.
Continue reading →

By

Folkadelphia Session: Circuit Des Yeux

Photo by Julia Dratel, courtesy of the musician.
Photo by Julia Dratel, courtesy of the musician.

Circuit Des Yeux‘s Haley Fohr worships at the altar of sound. I personally became a convert around Overdue, her release from 2013, but her whole body of work treats sound, all sound – the beautiful, the ugly, the harsh, the serene – as transcendent and worthy of consideration and use. She has faith in what is coaxed out of her instruments, circuitry, and voice, and she leads the audience to keep faith as well, to be led to extraordinary sonic locations.
Continue reading →

By

Folkadelphia Session: Nora Jane Struthers

Photo by Jim McGuire, courtesy of the band.
Photo by Jim McGuire, courtesy of the band.

Nora Jane Struthers and her group the Party Line give me what I always want from a band: kick-ass music that straddles the boundaries between typical genres, enthralling performances, and the best damn attitude. Bonus points given for being some of the nicest people around. These are folks here for the love of the game – all about creating and sharing, and when you’ve got that, you just know good music is apt to follow.
Continue reading →

By

Folkadelphia Session: Mandolin Orange

Mandolin Orange, photo by Alex Loops
Photo by Alex Loops

We welcome back our friends Emily Frantz and Andrew Marlin, the duo Mandolin Orange, to Folkadelphia for an encore in-studio session almost a year after their first. As much things have changed in that time, so much has stayed the same. Working somewhere within their Americana, folk, and roots framework, Mandolin Orange continues to create music with an undeniable chemistry and intimacy. Continue reading →

By

Folkadelphia Session: Glenn Jones (with Laura Baird)


Guitarist Glenn Jones is a master of his craft. From his days in the post-rock outfit Cul de Sac to his more recent meditative solo albums, Jones has solidified his place in the pantheon of American Primitivism greats. Jones’ longtime label Thrill Jockey Records concisely defines American Primitive Guitar as “a style invented in the late 1950s by John Fahey, whose traditional fingerpicking techniques and wide-ranging influences were used to create modern original compositions.” Continue reading →

By

Folkadelphia Session: Margaret Glaspy


Without a doubt, Margaret Glaspy is a name you’re gong to start to hear a lot of from now on. A new signing to the illustrious ATO Records, the world will feel the impact of Glaspy’s debut album this summer. She has spent recent years cutting her teeth touring with Rachel Yamagata, Aoife O’Donovan, Jayme Stone’s Lomax Project, and even Ricky Skaggs and Tim O’Brien. It would right on to say that her musical sensibilities fit snugly with any of these acts – however, there is something intrinsically different and unique about Glaspy. Let’s call it the “Glaspy Factor,” some extra energy, some “umph,” some kinda creative maelstrom that the artist and the listener get sucked up into. A taste of that can be heard on Glaspy’s EP, a lead-in to her full length.
Continue reading →

By

Folkadelphia Session: Tom Brosseau (with Andru Bemis)

Photo by Carey Braswell.
Photo by Carey Braswell.

Simplicity doesn’t mean a lack of creativity, honesty doesn’t preclude artfulness, being plainspoken doesn’t limit wit or cleverness. You can be all of these things in one and much more too. That’s the case for North Dakotan songwriter and (**huge bias here**) one of my favorite songwriters, Tom Brosseau. Over his recorded career, which comprises over ten solo albums – nearly one a year since 2002, except for a break between 2009’s Posthumous Success and 2014’s Grass Punks, in addition to collaborations with John C. Reilly (like our Folkadelphia Session), Becky Stark, Gregory Page, and Angela Correa (as a duo called Les Shelleys), Brosseau has told simple yet wholly affecting stories. Continue reading →

By

Folkadelphia Session: The White Cheddar Boys

Courtesy of the artist.
Courtesy of the artist.

One of the great perks of living in Philadelphia is the walkability of the city. On many a sunny day and romantic whim, I’ve walked far west to river’s edge east, marveling as I did on my first trip here many years ago at ordinary things, now suddenly imbued with magical brightness, renewed freshness, and a sense of fate. Parks draw passersby into their gravity, runners and cyclists on the coastal path mirror the kinetic energy of the Schuylkill, buildings jut up and hold within them endless narratives. It’s a lot to imagine and a lot to even behold. As I’ve walked around, car horns, construction sites, the wind-tunnel whipping on the bridges have all been my natural soundtrack. When I’ve been lucky, I also get to hear a banjo plucked, a washboard struck, and an old-time tune belted, sometimes in the Rittenhouse Square area, or a train station, or where you least expect it too. This is how I met the supreme bluegrass buskers, The White Cheddar Boys, led by Huey McBanjo.
Continue reading →

By

Folkadelphia Session: The Dove And The Wolf

Courtesy of the artist.
Courtesy of the artist.

The Dove & The Wolf are ready to break your heart. As Parisians, they’re more familiar with the language of love and loss, they’re more familiar with all manner of heartbreak and actions done for the heart’s sake than us Americans. Lou and Paloma, holders of the ornithological and canine namesake, released an EP in 2012 that really struck a chord with a lot of folks. I think it has to do with space – the airiness in the song, as well as the intimacy the group creates between the listener and themselves. And the singing, the wonderful harmonies that soar – Earth angels Lou and Paloma are seasoned heartstring plucking veterans.
Continue reading →