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Folkadelphia Session: Chris Kasper


Philadelphia is a true hotbed of musical activity. Cheap rent, collaborative vibes, an abundance of musically-minded people, and a solid support system for developing acts are just a few of the factors that help to make this city into a real deal music town. My favorite aspect of the greater musical community is, well, just that – that it’s a community. Philly feels tight-knit, but it isn’t exclusive or closed off to newcomers. It’s a support thing. Folks here play in lots of bands, they pop into each others’ recording sessions, and are always seeking ways to include one another in projects. Recently, I was thinking about the WXPN Performance Studio, the space where Folkadelphia, as well as Gene Shay’s Folk Show, World Cafe, The Key Studio Sessions, and most other WXPN-related in-studio sessions are tracked, and what musicians come through to record. I got to thinking that there is a contingent of local musicians that have spent a significant amount of hours in the room, that returning to WXPN is like coming home in a way. For these musicians and since the building’s construction, the space perhaps represents a safe zone for collaboration, experimentation, and uninhibited performance.

Chris Kasper is a Philadelphia local songwriter that we have looked for opportunities to include in what Folkadelphia does. We’ve seen how amazing he’s been working with WXPN on various events and we’ve listened to his four albums, especially his most recent Bagabones, with attentive ears, feeling considerable excitement at his impressive lyricism and turns of phrase. What has always drew us closer to Kasper is his collaborative spirit; many of our favorite Philly musicians play with or alongside Kasper, to name a few: Kiley Ryan (the two also work together with Foxhound), Phil D’Agostino, and Daniel Bower. For fun, you should construct a diagram where each of these musicians were connected to other bands they have collaborated with in some way, then expand from there, then expand from there, and so on. You’d need a lot of paper. What you’d get is a spider web of musical community goodness and that’s what Philadelphia is all about.

Towards the final days of 2013, Chris Kasper, along with Kiley Ryan on fiddle and Phil D’Agostino on bass, spent an evening recording with Team Folkadelphia. It’s a case of total chemistry, where the musicians are tight locked-in with each other, existing only in the present moment, and playing with a sense of joy. You didn’t need to give them a tour of the recording space, they’ve been here before.

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Tonight’s Concert Picks: 90s tribute with Ali Wadsworth, Hezekiah Jones, Foxhound at Boot & Saddle, Amy Correia at Steel City Coffee House, Into It. Over It. at Union Transfer and more

Ali Wadsworth photo by Matthew Shaver | matthewshaver.com
Ali Wadsworth photo by Matthew Shaver | matthewshaver.com

Flannel shirts and ripped jeans are making a comeback tonight at Boot & Saddle’s 90s tribute with Philly folk artists Ali WadsworthHezekiah Jones and Foxhound. Wadsworth, who released her soulful, twangy 10-piece self-debuted album in October, will tap into her inner-90s child to perform her renditions off of Pearl Jam’s Ten. Jones, who’s self-described as sounding like “post-apocalyptic White Album, as covered by Sufjan Stevens” will put his folky spin on Lemonhead’s It’s a Shame About Ray, while Foxhound will transition their usual Americana-folk sound into songs from Nirvana’s Unplugged, two days after Kurt Cobain’s birthday. Tonight’s homage starts at 8:30 p.m. Tickets are $10 and can be purchased here; check out some vintage recordings of each of these artists performing locally in the 90s below.

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Ali Wadsworth, Hezekiah Jones and Foxhound perform albums from the 90s at Boot & Saddle on 2/22

Hezekiah Jones | photo by Lisa Schaffer
Hezekiah Jones | photo by Lisa Schaffer

Members of the Philly folk scene will pay tribute to a few essential 90s records at Boot & Saddle on February 22nd.  Ali Wadsworth, who just released her own debut LP in 2013, will put her spin on Pearl Jam’s 1992 debut Ten.  Hezekiah Jones will take a crack at The Lemonheads’ seminole It’s a Shame About Ray, while Foxhound (Chris Kasper and Kiley Ryan) will perform Nirvana’s Unplugged.  Tickets and information for the 21+ event can be found here.  Check out songs from each album below.

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Tonight’s Concert Picks: Sandy Benefit Showcase at the Tin Angel, The Spring Standards at Arden Guild Hall

It’s still the season of giving and what could be better than giving back with the gift of music? Tonight the Tin Angel is hosting a showcase to benefit the Hurricane Sandy victims of Union Beach. The line-up features a myriad of local performers like Foxhound, The Doublewides, Suzie Brown, Joey Sweeney as well as other surprise acts. Performances tonight kick off at 8; tickets for the 21+ show can be found on our concert calendar here. Below, watch a video of Foxhound performing at Studio 34 recently.

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