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Under the ground and the skin: a song feature on The Springhill Mining Disaster and a session with Psalmships, tonight on Folkadelphia Radio

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Folksingers often act as the voice of the people, creating a memorial, protest, speech, opinion piece, or treatise in verse and music. Peggy Seeger along with Ewan MacColl took up the mantle to tell the tale of the industrial accident at Springhill, Nova Scotia. The Springhill mining disaster can refer to any of three Canadian mining disasters which happened in 1891, 1956, and 1958 within the Springhill coalfield, near Springhill, Cumberland County, Nova Scotia. Seeger wrote a vivid song to comemorate the 1958 tragedy. What occurred on October 23rd, 1958 is referred to as a “bump,” or an underground earthquake caused by increased tensions in the earth due to the removal of coal without support replacement. Smaller bumps had been felt that day, but at 8:06 a bump large enough to register on seismic monitoring caused the floor and ceiling of the mine to abruptly crush together, while releasing debris and gasses. Of the 174 men working in the mine at the time, a total of 75 died, with 74 being killed either instantaneously or soon after due to suffocation. As rescue operations strove to free any remaining survivors trapped underground, Canadian and international news media went to Springhill, notable for being the first major international event to appear in live television broascasts (on the CBC). On the sixth and seventh day after the bump, two groups of trapped miners were freed and brought to the surface. The intensity of the event, its widescale media coverage, and the vividness of Peggy Seeger and Ewan MacColl’s “The Ballad of Springhill” have continued to captivate musicians, especially those wishing to honor those who were trapped and lost. Tonight, we’ll hear a few renditions of the song.

We’ll also premiere a Folkadelphia Session with our longtime friend and supporter, Joshua Britton and his musical project Psalmships. Wildly prolific and a new set of songs always in the works, Psalmships has just completed and released I Sleep Alone, a brand new album that keeps haunting long after the final note rings out. Back in April, Britton, along with local greats Brad Hinton and Chelsea Sue Allen, stopped by the studio to share a few of the new cuts with us. I Sleep Alone is now available and Psalmships will be celebrating the release this Friday, July 11th at Bourbon & Branch with Chelsea Sue Allen and Nathan Edwin. A previous Psalmships + Folkadelphia collaboration, known now as My Endless Black, can be heard here.

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Tonight’s Concert Picks: Kishi Bashi at TLA, Divers at Boot and Saddle, Jack Johnson and Amos Lee at The Mann and more

via facebook.com/mrkishibashi
via facebook.com/mrkishibashi

Multi-instrumentalist, singer and songwriter Kishi Bashi just released his latest album Lightght (pronounced “Light”) this month. The latest album, named after a controversial one word poem by Aram Saroyan, features uplifting indie pop with chaotic yet beautiful mix of violin and technology. K. Ishibashi also is an utility player in of Montreal as well as a founding member of Jupiter One. Watch him perform live at the TLA; get more information at the XPN Concert Calender.

Kishi Bashi – Philosophize in It! Chemicalize with It! from Geoff Hoskinson on Vimeo.

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Listen to I Sleep Alone, a haunting new Psalmships album

Psalmships | photo via www.facebook.com/psalmships
Psalmships | photo via www.facebook.com/psalmships

Pslamships, the project of singer songwriter Josh Britton, produces music that he describes as “ghost folk”. The music is slow, melancholy and pensive. Following the 6 track live set recorded with Folkadelphia, My Endless Black, the new album is deeply personal, as Britton explained in an interview with Big School Records.

Overall, I Sleep Alone tackles the difficult subject of loneliness, whether internal or between friends. Tracks like “I’m Never in Love” look at relationships, coming to a bitter conclusion. Others, like “You’ll Never See the Morning” chronicle the dark depths of depression. The accompanying, sparse use of guitar and piano highlights the tragic nature of the music. Listen to “You’ll Never See the Morning” below.

Earlier this year, Britton did a goosebump-raising On the Hill Session at Kettle Pot Tracks. The band will be performing at Ortlieb’s on Friday. Get more information here.

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Tonight’s Concert Picks: The Both at Union Transfer, Ataloft at the Ardmore Music Hall, Jessy Lanza at North Star Bar and more

The Both | via facebook.com/theboth
Tonight, audiences will get the best of both worlds. After touring together in 2012, singer / songwriter Aimee Mann and punk / indie guitarist Ted Leo have teamed together for a new project, The Both. On April 15, the two released their first and self-titled album via Mann’s Super Ego Records. (Fun Fact: The Both was the first band to play at the newly opened Boot & Saddle.) Check them out tonight at Union Transfer. The show starts at 9 p.m. and tickets are $24.

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The Week’s Best Free MP3s, incl. The Interest Group, Ataloft, Psalmships and more

Local outfit The Interest Group brought a handful of new songs in for this week’s Key Studio Session to play alongside February’s “Locked On.”  The psych-pop outfit has been moving quickly since releasing a 1960s cover song that got picked up by Pitchfork a couple of years ago, and they’ll be playing more new songs at Underground Arts on May 14th.  Download “Sharing You” below and get the full set here.

Scranton, PA’s Coal Town Rounders stopped by for a Folkadelphia Session in January, which premiered this week on WXPN and online.  The stripped-down bluegrass quartet takes its music backs to the roots in a don’t-fix-what-isn’t-broken fashion.  Stream and download the session below.

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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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Psalmships soars with somber new single “Flesh Turn” from upcoming album I Sleep Alone

Psalmships | photo via www.facebook.com/psalmships
Psalmships | photo via facebook.com/psalmships

Philly’ Psalmships is known for sending shivers down spines through his hauntingly pensive “ghost folk” and he achieves this yet again on new single “Flesh Turn”. Set to appear on his forthcoming LP I Sleep Alone, the new track is quietly compressed both lyrically and sonically. Britton’s vocals are low in the mix and barely a whisper over the slow sounds of the lone acoustic guitar. As he sings “I see your flesh turn”, it’s as if he sees the listener for all that he/she is; their flaws, sorrow, heartaches and triumphs are easily read. In a way it’s cathartic, as Britton takes on the pain himself. Download “Flesh Turn” for free below.

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