Recent Philly transplants Literature previewed four new tracks in this week’s Key Studio Session. With a sound made for indie dance club nights, Literature are a surf-y, high energy bunch of polished musicians with well-coiffed songs. Stream and download “Court Date” below and check out the full session here.Continue reading
Morning River Band
XPN welcomes Charles Bradley to Union Transfer tonight. The “Screaming Eagle of Soul” entertained the crowd during a recent Free at Noon performance with his exuberant showmanship and knock-out funk / R&B songs. Following up his 2011 full-length debut, the 64-year-old crooner released Victim of Love earlier this year. Tickets and information for tonight’s show with Paul & the Tall Trees can be found here. Watch the former James Brown impersonator perform “Why Is It So Hard?” live on the Public Radio Rocks stage at SXSW below.
I always thought Philly to be more of a bluegrass town, what, with its West Philly front porch jam sessions and train terminal busking, but that sweet-and-sour country style is alive and well in our fair city and giving us cause to celebrate. We have here a session from local twang connoisseurs Morning River Band, who came to us on the verge of releasing their brand new LP To Suzie.
For me, Morning River Band serve up just what the doctor told you not to order, but goddamn, you’re gonna order it anyway — songs of hard luck, hard times, and harder liquor. You may be sent goin’ down the road feelin’ bad, but you’ll have some fine tunes to whistle courtesy of the Morning River Band.
Head over to Milkboy Philly tomorrow, Friday, May 17th for the Morning River Band’s record release show for their new album To Suzie. The bill features fellow homebodies The Miners and John Train. Don’t forget to tip your bartender.
Building up the anticipation for their forthcoming record To Suzie, local country outfit Morning River Band have made lead single “Lefty’s Last Blues” available for streaming. With sauntering, strummy acoustic guitars and twangy pedal steel guitars backing up some down-home, porch-swinging vocals, the initial summery sound of the track hides the seriousness of its message, namely the consequences of alcoholism. Morning River Band will release To Suzie on May 21st and will celebrate with a show at MilkBoy Philly on May 17th with John Train and The Miners. Tickets and information for the 21+ show can be found here. Stream “Lefty’s Last Blues” below.
Experience the Key Studio Sessions live tonight at Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts. The free event will showcase three of the Philadelphia area’s top acts: folk-rockers and two-time Tri-State Indie Award winners New Sweden, vocal powerhouse and in-demand collaborator Ali Wadsworth and local man-about-town Joey Sweeney with his new band The Long Hair Arkestra. Admission for the show is free but space is limited; RSVP on the XPN website and get more information here. Below, watch New Sweden perform “Mama” and download their Key Studio Session from March 2012 here.
Local indie group Turning Violet Violet play Kung Fu Necktie tonight. The Key Studio Session alums carve out chamber alt-rock songs on the fringe of art-rock that seem bathed in a purple glow, though that might just be residual effects of their band name. Either way, the songs on Turning Violet Violet’s debut full-length Double Cure are swathe-y, sweeping compositions that strike all the right feelings chords. Tickets and information for tonight’s 21+ show with TeamMate and Donora can be found here. Revisit Turning Violet Violet’s Key Session here and watch their video for “Cold Bread” below.
When we were swapping e-mails this week, singer Jeffrey Fields of Morning River Band shared a simple musical truth: “It’s tough being a country band in Philly.”
It got me thinking about how overlooked of a style it can be. You’ll still hear people talking about country in terms of “Oh, I like everything except…” Or maybe they’ll say they like Johnny Cash, but nothing new. Or whatever the excuse happens to be. I’d urge those folks to open their ears and their minds a bit, because there is a lot of talent in this distinctly American style of music right in our own backyard. Include, for certain, Fields’ own group of players.
A couple months back, Morning River Band made an appearance on XPN2′s Folkadelphia in a four-piece ensemble configuration, and man did they sound sweet. Dennis Bonfiglio’s pedal steel playing was warm and nimble, the rhythm section of Denny Barron and Philip Kunkle was taut and snappy, and Fields’ vocals were yearning. The vibe of the room hinted at the big touchstones – Willie Nelson, Gram Parsons, The Louvin Brothers – but in a reverential way, not something that attempted to falsely recast the style for city folk.
You can download two performances (both part of their “Drinking Blues” suite) from that appearance below. And, if you’re up for sharing your own drinking blues with them, Morning River Band appears tonight over at The Fire – one of Philadelphia’s havens for rustic overtones, for sure. Morning River Band plays with The Miners, Great Elk and Old Rival Hope at The Fire, 412 W. Girard Ave., tonight at 8 p.m. Admission to the 21+ show is $5