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Listen to Gene Shay and Michaela Majoun’s tribute to Pete Seeger

600x600Countless people can say Pete Seeger influenced them – as musicians, or as songwriters, or as folks with an empathetic view of the world around them.

Few can say that Pete Seeger was their friend.

Gene Shay of WXPN’s Folk Show is one of those few, and this morning he phoned into the XPN airwaves to share his memories of Seeger – who died yesterday at 94 years old – with Morning Show host Michaela Majoun. Listen to their tribute to Seeger below.

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The Week So Far: 10 must-read stories on The Key (incl. Jessica Pratt, Northern Arms, Gene Shay)

Father John Misty | Photo by Noah Silvestry | silvestography.tumblr.com
Father John Misty | Photo by Noah Silvestry | silvestography.tumblr.com

Get caught up on the week’s shows with reviews and photos from appearances by Miguel, Pearl Jam and more [link]

Congratulations to XPN Folk Show host Gene Shay, who will be inducted into the Philadelphia Walk of Fame today [link]

Read XPN host Mike Vasilikos’s review of Dr. Dog‘s B-Room, this week’s featured album [link]

San Francisco’s Jessica Pratt performed unreleased songs for this week’s Folkadelphia Session [link]

The Wonder Years’ Nick Steinborn will release a solo EP next month; listen to a new song now [link]

Blayer Pointdujour & The Rockers Galore are throwing a Kompa party at The TLA with T-Vice in December [link]

Delco Pacers will celebrate the release of Stereo Streets at Milkboy on 11/14 [link]

Reef the Lost Cauze has announced a free show at Hard Rock Cafe tonight and a free song called “92 Flow” [link]

Northern Arms stopped by for a mysterious and powerful Key Studio Session [link]

Local rock band Rob, Lately has released a new EP called The Liar [link]

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Gene Shay, to be inducted into the Philadelphia Walk Of Fame tomorrow, talks with XPN’s Morning Show host Michaela Majoun

Gene Tomorrow, Thursday, October 24th, WXPN’s Folk Show host Gene Shay is being inducted into the Philadelphia Music Alliance Walk of Fame. The ceremonies, free and open to the public, are scheduled at Noon on 10/24 in front of the Doubletree Hotel along the Avenue of the Arts. Other inductees include producer and label executive Joel Dorn (“Killing Me Softly”); songwriting team Madara & White (“At the Hop”); producer-songwriter-publisher Jerry Ross (“I’m Gonna Make You Love Me” with Gamble & Huff; “Venus”); producer-arranger-conductor Vince Montana Jr., (whose work with TSOP and the Salsoul Orchestra is legendary) John Davis & The Monster Band (who had the 1976 disco hit with a cover of Cole Porter’s “Night and Day,”) and Macy’s Grand Court organist Peter Richard Conte. Gene had a chance to talk with WXPN Morning Show host Michaela Majoun about his career and told stories about his early years in the folk music scene, copywriting radio spots for Woodstock and an important phone call he made to Bob Dylan in the early Sixties.

Go here for more information about the events and awards luncheon.

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WXPN’s Gene Shay to be inducted in the Philadelphia Walk of Fame this Thursday, October 24th

Gene Shay and his wife Gloria
Gene Shay and his wife Gloria

This Thursday, October 24th, The Philadelphia Music Alliance Walk of Fame, along the Avenue of the Arts, will induct seven new Philly musical movers and shakers, including WXPN’s Gene Shay. A big congratulations goes out to Gene. We’re thrilled and honored to have Gene host The Folk Show on Sunday nights at XPN. Other inductees include producer and label executive Joel Dorn (“Killing Me Softly”); songwriting team Madara & White (“At the Hop”); producer-songwriter-publisher Jerry Ross (“I’m Gonna Make You Love Me” with Gamble & Huff; “Venus”); producer-arranger-conductor Vince Montana Jr., (whose work with TSOP and the Salsoul Orchestra is legendary) John Davis & The Monster Band (who had the 1976 disco hit with a cover of Cole Porter’s “Night and Day,”) and Macy’s Grand Court organist Peter Richard Conte. The ceremonies, free and open to the public, are scheduled at Noon on 10/24 in front of the Doubletree Hotel along the Avenue of the Arts. Philadelphia Walk of Fame Alumni, including Bobby Rydell, Kenneth Gamble & Leon Huff, Kal Rudman, Earl Young (Baker, Harris & Young); Jerry Gross (The Dovells); Joe Tarsia; Dave Appel (of Cameo-Parkway) will also be there. Jerry Blavat, The Geator With The Heator is the MC and host for the events.

Gene, known as the “Grandfather of Philadelphia Folk Music,” and “the Dean of American folk DJs,” has been playing folk music on the radio since 1962 and was the co-founder of the Philadelphia Folk Festival. Shay’s early interviews with Joni Mitchell, Jackson Browne, John Denver, Tom Waits, Phil Ochs, Bonnie Raitt and Judy Collins are legendary. He was the first to bring Bob Dylan to Philadelphia in 1963 for his debut concert. As an advertising writer and producer, he wrote the original radio commercials for Woodstock. He helped design the famous “smiling banjo” logo for the Philadelphia Folk Festival and came up with the name World Cafe for the show.

For more information about the ceremony and the PMA here.

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Philadelphia Music Alliance to honor the MFSB Orchestra, XPN’s Gene Shay, Joel Dorn, Salsoul Orchestra and others on 10/24

Yes, that's the legendary Gene Shay with his wife Gloria.
Yes, that’s the legendary Gene Shay with his wife Gloria.
The Philadelphia Music Alliance Walk of Fame, along the Avenue of the Arts, will welcome seven new inductees on Thursday, October 24th. In addition to the induction of the “Dean of American Folk DJs” – XPN’s Gene Shay – other inductees include producer and label executive Joel Dorn (“Killing Me Softly”); songwriting team Madara & White (“At the Hop”); producer-songwriter-publisher Jerry Ross (“I’m Gonna Make You Love Me” with Gamble & Huff; “Venus”); producer-arranger-conductor Vince Montana Jr., (whose work with TSOP and the Salsoul Orchestra is legendary) John Davis & The Monster Band (who had the 1976 disco hit with a cover of Cole Porter’s “Night and Day,”) and Macy’s Grand Court organist Peter Richard Conte. The ceremonies, free and open to the public, are scheduled at Noon on 10/24 in front of the Doubletree Hotel along the Avenue of the Arts.

The Philadelphia Music Alliance is using this ceremony as a means to renew the organization’s activity in the city. Founded in June, 1986 as a “community based, not-for-profit organization dedicated to the preservation of Philadelphia as a vital contributor to the international music landscape,” the PMA has created a musical instrument donation program in partnership with the Mr. Holland’s Opus Foundation, an annual piano competition, the Philadelphia International Airport Music Project, Music In The Schools, music education scholarships and grants, a speakers bureau, as well as music business seminars and workshops. The PMA’s Walk Of Fame has been on of the organization’s most high profile programs.

For more information about the ceremony and the PMA here.

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The Key’s Week of Folk: Gene Shay on what it’s like to be an MC

GeneThe Key’s Week of Folk is our series of interviews, reviews, artist spotlights, playlistings and general ephemera to get you ready for the 52nd Annual Philadelphia Folk Festival, happening August 16th to August 18th at Old Pool Farm in Schwenksville. In this installment, we talk with festival host Gene Shay about the art of MCing.

Gene Shay has always had his wittiness about him. His wits might be another story, especially presented with images like the one above – an actual calling card from his days as an advertising exec.

But having a clever and irreverent persona comes in handy for the founding MC of Philadelphia Folk Fest – and longtime host of The Folk Show on WXPN – especially when you’re the anchor onstage, guiding a field of thousands through a bustling concert. It might look seamless from the audience, but it’s actually wildly unpredictable.

“That’s where I came up with the idea of telling jokes,” Shay says, talking about one of his trademark devices to ease the transitions onstage. “Cornball jokes, getting groans, anything to lighten up the moment. Sometimes the crowd is out there in the cold, sometimes in the rain, sometimes waiting much too long for a stage set to get changed up.”

So Shay, 78, resorts to something that’s always been a passion – humor. Continue reading →

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Gene Shay takes us through the Philadelphia Folk Festival photo album

Photo courtesy of the Philadelphia Folksong Society

Five decades can contain a lot of history, especially in the world of folk music. Thankfully, Gene Shay has an incredible memory. With the 51st Philadelphia Folk Festival descending on Schwenksville this weekend, we sat down with Shay and a collection of photos from the Folksong Society archives to get a picture of where the festival began and how far it has come.
The scene you see above is Wilson Farm in Paoli, the location of the very first Philadelphia Folk Festival in 1962, and the three subsequent festivals through 1965. Shay remembers the owner of the land, C. Colket “Collie” Wilson, as a patron of the arts in the Philadelphia region. “The Pennsylvania Ballet needed a place to rehearse during the summer, and he said ‘I’ll build a stage.’ There was no canopy, no sides, just an open platform on cinderblocks. The dancers would come and rehearse, swim in the swimming pool when they were exhausted. And that was the stage he offered us. He thought it would be nice to have somebody out there other than the ballet. There was an old barn, that was built in the 1700s; it was in ruins when we were there, but people used to play guitar along its wall.” Continue reading →

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