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Mirah performs two haunting new tracks for On the Hill Session

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Mirah | photo by Chris Sikich | countfeed.tumblr.com

Prolific acoustic singer/songwriter and indie rock mastermind Mirah performed two new tracks for Kettle Pot Track’s On the Hill Series session last week. The songs come from her most recent album Changing Light, released May 13 via Absolute Magnitude. The Philadelphia-area native kept the studio session simple yet powerful, playing “Gold Rush” and “Fleetfoot Ghost”, with Mirah’s acoustic guitar stylings accompanied by violin and drums for added oomph. Her tempered yet heart-penetrating vocals carry the tracks all the way through. Mirah performs at Johnny Brenda’s tomorrow, May 20 at 8pm. Get tickets for the show here. The vinyl of Changing Light will be released June 24, you can pre-order it here. Watch the On the Hill Session below.

Mirah — Gold Rush from Michael Batchelor on Vimeo.

Mirah — Fleetfoot Ghost from Michael Batchelor on Vimeo.

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Get goosebumps from Psalmships’ Kettle Pot Tacks session

Psalmships, courtesy of Kettle Pot Tracks
Psalmships, courtesy of Kettle Pot Tracks

The latest On the Hill Session at Kettle Pot Tracks with Psalmships is a powerful one.

The sessions, which were founded a couple years back by local engineer Michael Batchelor “to capture an authentic performance as you would experience live in a small, intimate venue,” chose Psalmships as their 50th session by request. A long write-up Batchelor gave some insight into his friendship with Josh Britton, the singer and songwriter who performs under the Psalmships moniker.

Joshua Britton is a very special artist, musician, and friend. Anyone who has enjoyed the Kettle Pot Tracks On the Hill Sessions over the past year-plus has him to thank as much as anyone else. I think he expected me to write something silly and pseudo-deprecating, but I and we have nothing but love.

Psalmships On the Hill Session is one you’ve got to listen to with headphones in. Britton self-describes the music as “ghost folk,” and there might not be a better name for the sounds he produces. It’s eerie, but it’s sweet. The video gives you goosebumps, but more importantly, certainly makes you feel like you’re right next to Britton in that small, intimate venue Kettle Tracks strives so hard to achieve.

Psalmships — Yven from Michael Batchelor on Vimeo.

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Jersey singer-songwriter Brooke DiCaro shines in Kettle Pot Tracks’ On The Hill Session

Photo by Mark Williams via facebook.com/brookedicaro
Photo by Mark Williams via facebook.com/brookedicaro

Newcomer Brooke DiCaro‘s heartfelt piano-driven balladry made its debut on her self-titled EP back in November and Kettle Pot Tracks recently captured her in action. A cross between Regina Spektor and Sara Bareilles, DiCaro’s storytelling is simple and emotive as her vocals soar over her piano melodies. Watch her perform “Consequences” below and get the entire session here.

Brooke DiCaro — Consequences from Michael Batchelor on Vimeo.

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Ansel Barnum and Jason Hahn record an imaginative On the Hill session

Ansel Barnum | photo courtesy of Kettle Pot Tracks
Ansel Barnum | photo courtesy of Kettle Pot Tracks

Local harmonica player Ansel Barnum and guitar player Jason Hahn took their imaginative instrumental folk to the studios of Kettle Pot Tracks for an On the Hill session.  The Philadelphia Folk Festival alums played five tracks ranging in style from contemplative and slow-burning (“Berkely Springs” and “I Wish I Could Sing…” ) to inspiring and eye-opening (“Surreal Moments”).  In addition to playing in a few local bands, Barnum is a volunteer for Musicians on Call where he plays harmonica for children at St. Christopher’s Hospital in North Philadelphia.  Learn more about Musicians on Call here and listen to the session below, accompanied by a video of the duo performing “Surreal Moments.”

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Ron Gallo performs new solo tracks for an On the Hill session with Kettle Pot Tracks

Ron Gallo | photo by Robert J Opalka of Elk Rock Photography
Ron Gallo | photo by Robert J Opalka of Elk Rock Photography

Toy Soldiers frontman Ron Gallo has stepped out on his own, reportedly working on a solo LP with Reed Kendall of Up The Chain producing and, more recently, recording an On the Hill session for Lafayette Hill-based Kettle Pot Tracks.  The bluesy Americana singer / songwriter will performed songs from that work-in-progress for the stripped down outing, along with a selection from his band’s recent debut full-length The Maybe Boys.  Two of the session tracks take the form of a video, including “If You Ever Come Back,” on which Gallo displays an impressive talent for mouth trumpeting.  Stream the full session here and watch the videos for “If You Ever Come Back” and “Fine Diners and Finer Whiners” below.

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Unlocked: Watch Mason Porter play “Home For the Harvest” at bassist Tim Celfo’s home

Screen shot 2014-01-29 at 5.30.38 PMFolk trio Mason Porter have home on the brain on their new LP – self-released and available through the band’s website – so it’s fitting that they shot a live video for the title track, “Home for the Harvest,” inside the house of bassist Tim Celfo. Backed by wood bookcases and shelves filled with collections of vinyl LPs, we see Mason Porter playing in their tight trio configuration captured in a dreamy dissolve by the filmmakers at Kettle Pot Tracks studio – they of the On The Hill series. Watch it below, and see Mason Porter at Ardmore Music Hall on Saturday, February 1st for the Home for the Harvest LP release party (more information at the XPN Concert Calendar).
Home for the Harvest is the featured album in this week’s edition of Unlocked. Download the featured song “Let Me In” in Monday’s post, read yesterday’s album review and check back later in the week for an interview and more.

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US Rails performs live for On The Hill Session at Kettle Pot Tracks

US Rails @ SalaSon (Cangas do Morrazo)
Photo by Áitor Nova

Beloved local Americana supergroup US Rails, led by multi-instrumentalist Ben Arnold, performed live for the On The Hill Series at Kettle Pot Tracks on site at Steel City Coffee in Phoenixville, Pa.

The folk/rock band – comprised of Arnold, Joseph Parsons, Scott Bricklin, Tom Gilliam, and Matt Muir – play a trio of tracks in a simple and intimate basement venue for the On the Hill series; an appropriate setting for their low-down grass-roots sound. Acoustically driven, the session is a personal look into this seasoned group of players in the local roots scene.

Catch everything from the session here. US Rail’s latest album Heartbreak Superstar is available now via Blue Rose Records. Watch two videos from the On The Hill Session below.

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Sean Hoots performs “Borderlines” for Kettle Pot Tracks (playing the Brandywine Folk Fest on 8/23)

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Hat-tip to The Deli for picking up this On the Hill Series from Sean Hoots for Kettle Pot Tracks.  The local musician performed five songs at the video-session curators’ Layfayette Hill studio, all tracks Hoots says are in his current “couch repertoire.”  “Borderlines” is an emotional ride of a song that puts the lyrics out front with subtle support from an acoustic guitar.  The session is available for streaming and name-your-own-price downloading on Bandcamp here.  Catch Hoots in trio form at the Brandywine Folk Festival on August 23rd and stay tuned for record release info regarding his upcoming Raise the Dead Language Vol. 2.

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Watch Sonja Sofya’s Kettle Pot Tracks Session

Screen shot 2013-05-28 at 4.27.22 PMIn their writeup, the folks at Kettle Pot Tracks’ On the Hill series mention how they met this week’s featured artist Sonja Sofya when she accompanied their Ross Bellenoit session. Funny, that; I also met Sofya this year as an accompanist, or rather as a member of Ryan Tennis’ Clubhouse Band who handed me her own CD after his Key Studio Session wrapped up. She’s got a unique voice – robust and soulful, yet light and playful, and she’s an ace pianist to boot. In this week’s On the Hill session, she performs two songs, this time with Bellenoit as the accompaniest. Watch a video for “Que Sera” below, read an interview with Sofya here and download her performance via Kettle Pot Tracks’ Bandcamp.