Experience the energy of the Philly Folk Fest in 150 photos

Old Crowd Medicine Show at Philly Folk Fest |
Old Crowd Medicine Show |

This weekend, up in northern Montgomery County, Philly Folk Fest reigned under mostly sunny weather. The 53rd annual gathering treated the crowd to its trademark mix of sounds and styles: heavy on the promising up-and-coming acts (El Caribefunk, Sturgill Simpson) and locals (Kicking Down Doors, Ryan Tennis, Katie Frank and the Pheromones), but also showcasing scene favorites (Old Crow Medicine Show, The Lone Bellow) and heritiage artists back for another set in front of familiar faces (Janis Ian, Loudon Wainwright III). Our photographer Michelle Montgomery was at the festival for all three days, and shot an immense amount of pictures capturing the scenes, the sights, the sound-makers and, most vividly, the folk folks. We whittled down her photos to our favorite 150, encompassing three days and nights of lively festivity and high spirits. Continue reading →


Six locals to catch at the 2014 Philadelphia Folk Festival

Kicking Down Doors
Kicking Down Doors live at the Mermaid Inn | Photo by Valentine Gorski | via

Every year you’re bound to catch a smattering of local music at the Philadelphia Folk Festival – from the Helen Leicht-curated WXPN Philly Local Stage (which we’ll preview tomorrow) to the Folksong Society’s Philadelphia Music Co-Op (which has given rise to Cheers Elephant and Toy Soldiers). The 2014 festival, however, is particularly strong in highlighting the music of the Southeastern and Central Pennsylvania region. Here are six local artists to make sure you catch as you’re making your way around the Folk Fest grounds this weekend. Continue reading →


Five artists to discover at the 2014 Philadelphia Folk Festival

El Caribefunk is playing Philadelphia Folk Fest
El Caribefunk | via

Anybody who’s ever attended the Philadelphia Folk Festival can attest that the best part about it is the surprises you’ll find within. Sure, Old Crow Medicine Show is going to be great in their Friday night headlining slot, and singer-songwriter icon Janis Ian will dazzle the Saturday audience, but to truly experience this half-century running celebration of global roots music, we recommend getting away from the nighttime main stage sets. Here are our picks for five artists you won’t hear discussed as much, but who should make it a point to catch. You’ll go away from the festival loving them. Continue reading →


Jason Isbell & Amanda Shires cover “Born in The U.S.A.” for Springsteen tribute album

photo via
photo via

Riding on the heels of this weekend’s patriotic festivities, singer-songwriter favorites Jason Isbell and Amanda Shires have released their cover of Bruce Springsteen’s “Born in the U.S.A.,” appearing as the title track for an upcoming song by song tribute to Springsteen’s breakout album. The style on the album, called Dead Man’s Town: A Tribute To Born In The USA hearkens back to Springsteen’s somber Nebraska, bringing a different tone to the album’s original lively spirit.

Isbell and Shires told Rolling Stone:

“Born in the U.S.A.’ is one of my favorite songs of Springsteen’s, making it one of my favorite ever…I love that the song paints a picture of struggle in the face of the American dream, and the irony in the chorus is delivered with such force that it nearly transcends irony altogether.”

Shires also cites the song as a favorite, “Because I write songs and play rock & roll shows, Springsteen is obviously a hero of mine. ‘Born in the U.S.A.’ is one of my favorites because so many people have seemingly misunderstood the lyrical content and the song’s overall tone. When you listen to the demo, the dark, minor key arrangement makes it clear that this is not strictly a song of celebration. We wanted to stay true to that version.”

Check out the track listing below, and listen to Isbell and Shires’ cover of “Born In The U.S.A.” Jason Isbell plays the Philadelphia Folk Festival on August 17th.

1. Jason Isbell & Amanda Shires, “Born in the U.S.A.”
2. Apache Relay, “Cover Me”
3. Quaker City Nighthawks, “Darlington County”
4. Blitzen Trapper, “Working on the Highway”
5. Joe Pug, “Downbound Train”
6. Low, “I’m on Fire”
7. Holly Williams, “No Surrender”
8. Ryan Culwell, “Bobby Jean”
9. Trampled by Turtles, “I’m Goin’ Down”
10. Justin Townes Earle, “Glory Days”
11. Nicole Atkins, “Dancing in the Dark”
12. North Mississippi All-Stars, “My Hometown”


Philadelphia Folk Festival announces lineup featuring Old Crow Medicine Show, Loudon Wainwright III, The Lone Bellow and more

Photo by Crackerfarm

The Philadelphia Folk Festival announced their lineup today. The 53rd annual festival is August 15-17th at Old Pool Farm in Schwenskville, Pennsylvania. Some of the highlights of this year’s lineup include Old Crow Medicine Show, The Lone Bellow, Sarah Jarosz, Loudon Wainwright III, Janis Ian, Shemekia Copeland and over 25 additional musicians including Natalie MacMaster, Tempest, the Rebirth Brass Band, The Slide Brothers and more. WXPN’s Helen Leicht will host a Philly Local stage with Kwesi K, Ryan Tennis, Mutlu, and Irene Molloy, David Dye will be doing World Cafe sessions with Caroline Rose and Parsonsfield. Go here for tickets and more information. Below, sample a few of the artists who are performing during the weekend.