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Tonight’s Concert Picks: Mason Porter & Chris Kasper’s Grateful Dead Tribute at the Ardmore Music Hall, Tei Shi at Milkboy, Toro y Moi at Union Transfer

Mason Porter
Mason Porter | photo by Lisa Schaffer

After a stellar midday tribute to the Grateful Dead a few weeks ago, Mason Porter and Chris Kasper bring the show to the Ardmore Music Hall tonight. Kasper and his band will perform American Beauty, the 1970 record that included “Sugar Magnolia,” “Truckin’” and “Box of Rain.” For Mason Porter’s set, he’ll do versions of “Uncle John’s Band,” “Casey Jones” and others from Workingman’s Blues. Tickets and information for the 21+ tribute show can be found here. Watch Mason Porter perform “Cumberland Blues” at the Free at Noon below.

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Free At Noon Flashback: Mason Porter get the crowd riled and raucous with Workingman’s Dead

Mason Porter | Photo by John Vettese
Mason Porter | Photo by John Vettese

Meandering onstage to a packed and riled house, Mason Porter kicked off WXPN’s 50 year celebration of The Grateful Dead with energy today. The band declared that they would be playing the full fifth album of the Dead, Workingman’s Dead. Launching into the crowd favorite “Uncle John’s Band”, Mason Porter quickly got the crowd movin’, groovin’ and singing along. The group whipped out insane solos throughout the entirety of the performance – Sarah Larson shredded on the fiddle, displaying the quick fingers of a pro during fast-paced tracks like “Cumberland Blues” and “Easy Wind”.

Larsen and guitarist Paul Wilkinson even held a back-and-forth conversation through their instruments, all the while laughing and smiling. Frontman Joe D’Amico gave an impressive solo on his mandolin, fingerpicking rapidly and receiving a warm response from the crowd. The fivesome ended their performance playing the upbeat classic “Casey Jones” with an ecstatic crowd cheering them on as they trickled off stage. Continue reading →

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Chris Kasper to collaborate with Philly Dance Company, BalletX

Chris Kasper | via Facebook.com/ChrisKasperMusic
Chris Kasper | via Facebook.com/ChrisKasperMusic

Philly singer-songwriter Chris Kasper has embarked on a unique, collaborative project with Philly dance company BalletX for seven shows from July 8-12 at The Wilma Theater, where he’ll perform tracks off of 2013′s folk/soul Bagabones - tied into the residency is his Indiegogo campaign to create a music video with BalletX for the track “Raven and the Rose” and a spring tour in support of it, which kicks off tonight at Ballet X’s spring preview premiere party. Continue reading →

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Hear archival interviews with Joni Mitchell and Tom Rush on last night’s Folk Show with Gene Shay

Joni Mitchell
Joni Mitchell

Last night on WXPN, long time Folk Show host Gene Shay began his final run behind the mic with a dip into his archives as well as a showcase of the present-day folk world. The show included a live session from long-running West Chester trio Mason Porter, as well as a revisit of sessions with Tom Rush from 1994 and 2001. In addition, Shay dug into his archives for a 1967 interview with Joni Mitchell, originally broadcast on WMMR. Continue reading →

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Folkadelphia Session: Mason Porter

What continues to make West Chester, PA’s Mason Porter a force to be reckoned with in the Americana and roots community, especially regionally, is the intimacy that they bring to each song. Whether it is in live performance, on record (like their latest Home For The Harvest), or, now, with their Folkadelphia Session, the trio of Joe D’Amico, Tim Celfo, and Paul Wilkinson have an uncanny ability to draw the listener in and keep them close. I can only think that this magical power is the result of a strong and long-standing chemistry between the members. Heck, we know they can all play their instruments and yes, that’s terribly important. They harmonize like the bee’s knees too. But it’s that extra something something that only comes about after years of meshing together that pushes their”good” to “great.” Can we also talk about how tight these guys are when they perform? Beyond chemistry, Mason Porter comes prepared. Folks like to throw around the word “simplistic” to classify MP’s brand of stripped back Americana. Do not fool yourself into thinking that simplicity implies a lack of imagination, passion, energy, or playing chops. Simplicity mean preparedness; this music only works because the trio is locked in the groove, dialed in, and firing on all cylinders – but, you know, simplistically, acoustically, and intimately.

Mason Porter recorded this Folkadelphia Session back in February when they were fresh off the release of their newest album Home For The Harvest. For more Mason Porter reading and listening, check out The Key’s Unlocked coverage. Mason Porter performs at Underground Arts supporting Spirit Family Reunion on Saturday, August 9th.

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A focus on Fred Cockerham’s “Little Satchel” and a tight session with Mason Porter, tonight on Folkadelphia Radio

fredcockerham
Fred Cockerham

Nothing can stand in the way of true love or at least that’s what we’re led to believe. In fact, it seems, that many obstacles on this earth can block the meeting of two lovers. Such is the case in “Little Satchel,” a song composed by North Carolinian fiddle and banjo player Fred Cockerham. Continue reading →

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The Week’s Best Free MP3s, incl. Mason Porter, The Snails, Gedeon Luke & The People

 

Photo courtesy of the artist
Photo courtesy of the artist

Gedeon Luke & The People may be from Memphis, but Luke’s roots are in Philly.  Releasing a debut LP called Live Free and Love in April, the gospel / soul outfit has shared a free download of “The Healing” this week.  Get a copy of the uplifting soul song below.

This week in The Key’s Unlocked feature, We looked at Mason Porter‘s new record Home for the Harvest.  The West Chester trio premiered “Let Me In,” during a round-the-mic Key Studio Session from last year, and you can now download the studio version below.

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Tonight’s Concert Picks: Mason Porter at Ardmore Music Hall, Endor Endor at Johnny Brenda’s, Andrea Tomasi at Random Tea Room and more

Photo courtesy of the artist
Photo courtesy of the artist

XPN and The Key welcome Mason Porter to the Ardmore Music Hall tonight.  The West Chester folk band has been the subject of this week’s Unlocked feature for their new record Home for the Harvest, and they will be celebrating the LP’s release at tonight’s show.  The record is close-knit and intimate, with the trio and their contributing percussionists creating an escape from hectic, technology-focused city life and you can be sure the live performance will be the same.  Tickets and information for the show with Sean Hoots can be found here.

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Unlocked: Mason Porter on finding its own space with Home for the Harvest

tires-aspot“When you build the songs from the drums up, it’s hard to perform them without the drums,” explains Joe D’Amico, singer and mandolin player of Mason Porter.

He should know. Not only has his folk / bluegrass outfit Mason Porter dabbled in different degrees of musical arrangement in the past, D’Amico himself has released solo records that were lush, expansive and kind of psychedelic – like last year’s A Short Time’s a Long Time.

“I spent a long time working on that last solo record,” he says. “Major amounts of time arranging the songs and recording them.”

Which goes a long way toward explaining the close, intimate and somewhat scaled down vibe of Mason Porter’s latest record, Home For the Harvest, which we’ve explored all week on Unlocked. Fleshed-out rockers like “Fill My Cup” notwithstanding, the record sounds like the trio of players, even when there are drums and other instruments present. The band says this was a very conscious decision.

“There is a tendency when you’re have different players coming in and out of a lineup where you end up shaping the band around who’s playing with you,” D’Amico says. “So more for this record, and the time period during which it was recorded, that year, we weren’t inviting people to play with us very often. We said ‘let’s get our own space here.’”

Bassist Tim Celfo and guitarist Paul Wilkinson nod in agreement. “Other musicians should add,” Celfo says. “But we don’t want to feel a big loss when they’re not there.” Continue reading →