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New Year’s Eve is a month away. What concert are you going to?

Kurt Vile at #XPNFest | photo by Noah Silvestry for WXPN

We’re drawing to the close of 2016, and as always, we here at The Key recommend you give 2016 the boot with live music. Spending that special moment that brings us into our annual chance for a new start at a concert with hundreds or even thousands of people who are all on the same page as you — for those few hours, the feeling is exhilarating and even a little magical. Compare this to the cycle of looking at your phone, standing in circles trying to connect with people that you know primarily through Facebook and most times drinking way too much in your quest to achieve that perfect New Year’s Eve moment that movies like When Harry Met Sally have elevated just out of reality’s reach.

Given, I’ve been going the latter route for the majority of my adult life and some of my fondest memories are searching for lost phones or helping my friend figure out the name of the cute guy with the green hat the morning after. BUT I knew that after happening upon a house show on New Year’s Eve a few years back, no party could ever fill me with the same ecstasy as the music and all the people in that basement did in 2013. So, if you’re looking to try something new, check out your Philly-area options for musical New Year’s celebrations. Continue reading →

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“Folk N’ Roll” ensemble Free Range Folk return to Mauch Chunk Opera House Easter weekend

Free Range Folk | Photo by Amanda Bombico

A year ago, Free Range Folk celebrated the release of its second album, 444, at Mauch Chunk Opera House in Jim Thorpe, Pa. On April 19, the bluegrass meets Americana rock band will return to MCOH, promising new material (both songs and arrangements) as well as some homegrown grub provided by 14 Acre Farm.

Free Range Folk released some high quality videos earlier in the year from their performance at Mauch Chunk Opera last March, including the Neil Young-esque “Shit Show”, “Blue Skies” and the ode to family tune “Father’s Day”. The entire concert is available as a free download via Free Range Folk’s Bandcamp page, appropriately dubbed Farm to Turntable as the immensely talented sextet are also farmers up in Jim Thorpe.

Get tickets and info for the April 19 show at Mauch Chunk Opera House with guest band The Manatawny Creek Ramblers here. Watch the videos for “Shit Show” and “Father’s Day” below. Click here for the free download of the full performance from last year at MCOH.

Free Range Folk – Shit Show (Live) from Hallman Productions on Vimeo.

Free Range Folk – Father’s Day from Hallman Productions on Vimeo.

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Tonight’s Concert Picks: XPN Welcomes Amos Lee at Tower Theater, Oh! Pears at Ortliebs, Slackwater News at Chameleon Club and more

Amos Lee | Photo by John Vettese
Amos Lee | Photo by John Vettese

Philly’s own Amos Lee will take to the Tower Theater stage for a night of soulful folk tunes. Lee released his fifth album Mountains Of Sorrow, Rivers Of Song on Blue Note Records last month and treated fans at World Cafe Live to a live set of new material at his Free at Noon concert. Get tickets to tonight’s show here and watch him peform “Chill In The Air” below.

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Tonight’s Concert Picks: Red Baraat at The Blockley, Minor Alps at World Cafe Live, Mazzy Star at Union Transfer

Red Baraat | Photo by Eric Ashleigh | www.showtographe.com

Brooklyn’s Red Baraat will bring its jazz and brass funk-fused Indian rhythms to The Blockley stage tonight. The eight-piece ensemble released their Shruggy Ji LP earlier this year via Sinj Records. Back in 2011, the band’s performance at globalFest made Bob Boilen of NPR’s list of favorite shows of the year. Watch their dynamic performance of “Shruggy Ji” below, listen to their XPN Fest set here and get tickets here.

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Tonight’s Concert Picks: Steve Gunn at Johnny Brenda’s, The Felice Brothers at Mauch Chunk Opera House, Cough Cool at Kung Fu Necktie

Steve Gunn

Indie singer-songwriter/guitar virtuoso Steve Gunn is playing a record release show at Johnny Brenda’s tonight. The New York musician and his band are releasing Time Off on June 25th, not long after finishing up a tour with Kurt Vile. Gunn has a classic, old-soul sound to his music, along with a lot of solo acoustic jamming out – all of which you can hear in his recent studio session with The Key. Below, check out Gunn performing in Philly earlier this year. Tonight’s show will also include performances by Endless Boogie and Psalmships. Tickets and information can be found here.

Americana/Folk-rock outfit The Felice Brothers will be performing at the Mauch Chunk Opera House in Jim Thorpe. Their last album, God Bless You Amigo, is available only online. It is an effort to raise some money after the band’s home and equipment were almost destroyed in a hurricane, among other unfortunate events you can read about on the album page. Below, you can listen to a song off of the new album called “Lincoln Continental.” Tickets and information can be found here.

Another album release party – local poppy fuzz rock outfit Cough Cool is dropping their album 29 this weekend and is celebrating with a show at the Kung Fu Necktie! The album is already streaming on soundcloud, which you can check out below. Tickets are to be purchased at the door, but you can find some more information here.

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Tonight’s Concert Picks: The Spring Standards at Mauch Chunk Opera House, Hands at Kung Fu Necktie, Burning Brigdget Cleary at World Cafe Live

the-spring-standardsThe Spring Standards are bringing their acoustic indie sound to the Mauch Chunk Opera House in Jim Thorpe tonight. Along side of their summer tour, the spontaneous trio has also found a few cozier venues to play in. Having a love for playing in living rooms, they opened up dates for a Live From A Living Room tour. Check out open dates and find more information about the doubled tour here. Find tickets and information about tonight’s show here. Below, watch The Spring Standards’ new music video for “Nightmare.”

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The Key Studio Sessions: Free Range Folk

FRFYou can quickly spot the things that are important to Jim Thorpe-ara six-piece Free Range Folk. Two married couples make up the band, and their love of family comes across in the song “Father’s Day.” They farm as well, and their love of the Northeast Pennsylvania land and all its potential shines through in “Bubblin'” and “Lehigh.” Then there’s “Seraphim Moonbeam” and its majestic groove – that one’s just about love in general. When the band appeared on the Folk Show with Chuck Elliot last fall, it mixed up traditional instrumentation (dig the acoustic guitar – banjo – mandolin interplay) with the rock drumming you hear later in the set. Three of these performances are songs that appear on their second album, 444, and the band celebrates its CD release in two upcoming shows – Thursday, March 14th at Sellersville Theater and Saturday, March 23rd at the Mauch Chunk Opera House. Listen and download the set below.

Support for The Key Studio Sessions, from Dogfish Head
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New Music: “Seraphim Moonbeam” by Free Range Folk (playing Mauch Chunk Opera House tonight)

This past Sunday night, rootsy Jim Thorpe collective Free Range Folk made the trip down from the mountains to WXPN for a live set on the Folk Show. If you missed their performance, don’t worry – we’ll be releasing it as a Key Studio Session later on this year. The occasion was the band’s latest full-length, which can be streamed now on their website and will be available physically later this year. The band is appearing tonight at the Mauch Chunk Opera House for its inaugural Harvest Jam that promises to be chock full of music, crafts and local organic food. For more information, check out the venue’s website here; below, listen to “Seraphim Moonbeam,” a very catchy and harmony-happy song from the new record.