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Free at Noon Flashback: Warren Haynes and Railroad Earth jam for the sold-out crowd

Warren Haynes and Railroad Earth | Photo by Cameron Pollack | cameronpollack.500px.com
Warren Haynes and Railroad Earth | Photo by Cameron Pollack | cameronpollack.500px.com

The cheers and applause were deafening in World Cafe Downstairs today as Warren Haynes and Railroad Earth took the stage. Haynes (The Allman Brothers Band, Gov’t Mule, The Dead) teamed up with bluegrass outfit Railroad Earth to record his new solo record, Ashes and Dust. They played songs from that record for a sold-out Free at Noon crowd.

Even during his time in his main bands, Haynes wrote folksy Americana songs that he kept to himself for the last 30 years. Now, on Ashes and Dust, he believes this is the right time to release them into the world. Together, he and Railroad Earth recorded over 30 songs, but managed to whittle it down to just 13 for the release. Continue reading →

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David Gray played an emotional, intimate set for Free at Noon

David Gray Photo by Megan Lynch | meganlynchart.squarespace.com
David Gray Photo by Megan Lynch | meganlynchart.squarespace.com

English singer-songwriter David Gray returned to Free at Noon today in support of his tenth studio album Mutineers.  For twenty plus years, Gray has been making touching and heartfelt music including the phenomenal success of his fourth album, 2000′s White Ladder, which spawned the singles “Sail Away”, and “Babylon.” Known for the personal aspect of his songwriting and use of small-scale recording methods, Gray easily carved a name for himself during the turn-of-the-century indie rock movement. Continue reading →

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June Rich makes a heartfelt return to Free at Noon

June Rich live at WXPN's Free at Noon | Photo by Cameron Pollack | cameronpollack.500px.com
June Rich live at WXPN’s Free at Noon | Photo by Cameron Pollack | cameronpollack.500px.com

If you were heavy into the Philly music scene in the late 90′s, chances are you knew about June Rich. They emerged from Manayunk’s Grape Street Pub in 1995 and took Philadelphia by storm in just a few months.

They performed on National Public Radio’s Mountain Stage, they played the opening night of the Electric Factory, and they were the only local band that performed on the main stage at the 1996 Philadelphia Folk Festival. They were even voted Philadelphia magazine’s “Best Band in Philadelphia”. Continue reading →

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Free At Noon Flashback: DMA’s fill World Cafe Live with energy

DMAs | Photo by Megan Lynch |meganlynchart.squarespace.com
DMAs | Photo by Megan Lynch |meganlynchart.squarespace.com

Sydney trio DMA’s may have released their debut well over a year ago, landing them on the Australian top ten albums chart on iTunes according to the Sydney Morning Herald, but they are just starting to catch on here in the states.

Free at Noon concert-goers were treated to a short set from the band as they tour in support of their self-titled EP. Continue reading →

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Free At Noon Flashback: Martin Sexton filled the room with charming sounds

Martin Sexton | Photo by Megan Lynch
Martin Sexton | Photo by Megan Lynch

Singer-songwriter Martin Sexton stopped by World Cafe Live today, on tour in support of his new Mixtape of the Open Road, out now on his own Kitchen Table Records. He headlines World Cafe Live at the Queen tonight, but for Free at Noon today, he gave the audience a taste of what’s in store at the show, playing a few songs from the new record, as well as old tracks spanning the length of his career since 1991. Continue reading →

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Free At Noon Flashback: The Figgs kicked off an exciting Memorial Day weekend

The Figgs | Photo by Megan Lynch
The Figgs | Photo by Megan Lynch

Audience members for this week’s Free at Noon were treated to a special Memorial Day Weekend gift, as The Figgs rocked the downstairs stage at the World Cafe Live. The band was in Philly to promote their new album, Other Planes of Here, their latest release in a long string of releases dating back to 1992. It was a relaxed, yet still rock and roll atmosphere, as lead singer/guitarist Mike Gent ordered a vodka martini in the middle of the set. Songs on the band’s set list for today were “Late Nights and Early Flights,” “Paper Knives” and “Something’s Wrong.” After the radio show, members of the audience got to hear the band do a cover of The Who’s “Happy Jack,” a nice surprise before heading out for Memorial Day Weekend. If you were there or listened on the radio, make sure to check out the band’s performance tonight at Dawson St. Pub. Information for the concert can be found here. Listen back to the set and check out a gallery of photos below. Continue reading →

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Recap: Brandi Carlile plays an emotional Free at Noon set at NonCOMM

Brandi Carlile | Photo by Joe Del Tufo | joedeltufo.com
Brandi Carlile | Photo by Joe Del Tufo | joedeltufo.com

“You made me cry at quarter to one in the afternoon,” an audience member said as Brandi Carlile finished singing “Beginning To Feel The Years” at NonCOMM today. Looking around the room, it seemed there were many not-dry eyes in the house, Carlile’s included. “I made myself cry! It’s so hard to be away from my little daughter, she’s about to be one and her mama sent me a video of her walking.”

There was a lot of emotion in the room as Carlile played a short set of songs from her 2015 LP The Firewatcher’s Daughter with her bandmates Tim and Phil Hanseroth. “We’re a band and we have been for years,” Carlile said. “We just happen to have some chick’s name.” Continue reading →

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Recap: Zella Day wakes up NonCOMM with a powerful Free at Noon performance

Zella Day | Photo by Cameron Pollack | cameronpollack.500px.com
Zella Day | Photo by Cameron Pollack | cameronpollack.500px.com

Around nine months ago, I was standing in Bruce Warren’s office, having just shot my last Free at Noon for The Key before embarking on my first year of college up north. We were sitting and discussing my plans for my freshman year when Bruce got notified that a friend had just signed an up- and-coming songwriter named Zella Day. Intrigued, I opened up her page on Spotify and checked out “East of Eden,” her most recently released track. Flash forward to NonCOMM 2015, and I’m still an avid listener.

Ahead of her debut record Kicker’s release, Zella Day brought immense amounts of energy to an (at first) sleepy Free at Noon Crowd. Opening up with her popular song “Sweet Ophelia,” she instantly proved through her belting and stage presence that she’s equally as powerful a force onstage as she is in the studio. Continue reading →

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Free At Noon Flashback: Jonatha Brooke immerses us in her world through beautiful storytelling

Jonatha Brooke | Photo by Rocco Peditto | roccopeditto.com
Jonatha Brooke | Photo by Rocco Peditto | roccopeditto.com

Folk singer-songwriter Jonatha Brooke played downstairs at World Cafe Live for this week’s Free At Noon concert and took the crowd on an emotional journey with her magnificent musical stories.

Brooke explained that she would be playing music from her recent one-woman play My Mother Has Four Noses, a reflection on her relationship with her recently passed mother who she became caretaker of after she became ill with Alzheimer’s. Without missing a beat, she faced the heaviness of the topic head-on with light-hearted quips, explaining that sometimes when you’re in times of pain, you can step back and see the humor in the situations that life places you in. Continue reading →

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Free At Noon Flashback: The Chris Kasper Band filled World Cafe Live with positive vibes and American Beauty

 

Chris Kasper Band | Photo by John Vettese
Chris Kasper Band | Photo by John Vettese

The Chris Kasper Band followed Mason Porter for today’s doubleheader Free At Noon and did not disappoint a packed and eager crowd. Celebrating WXPN’s Day Of The Dead, the fivesome resolved to play the entirety of the Grateful Dead’s sixth studio album American Beauty. They eased into the performance with the first track “Box of Rain” and after delicate harmonies and on-point instrumentals, it seemed they had certainly gained one man’s approval after he bellowed “Hey! You’re good!”, the crowd chuckling in response. The band’s sound was full and precise and emanated feel-good vibes. Solos speckled the performance, with violinist Kiley Ryan owning her instrument and front man Chris Kasper tearing it up on guitar. Continue reading →