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Q&A: Get to know Julian Booker, the new host of Sleepy Hollow

Sleepy Hollow host Julian Booker
Sleepy Hollow host Julian Booker

Last April, Sleepy Hollow host Keith Brand announced that he would be retiring from his Sunday morning post of 27 years to spend time working on other creative outlets.  Now just about one year later, the “eclectic, quiet sounds of Sleepy Hollow” have a new voice to carry the show into its next several decades.

Julian Booker took over the mic at the end of February and has already shown a great ability to curate interesting and surprising playlists that fit the Sleepy Hollow mood while exploring new directions and introducing new artists to the rotation.  We thought it would be a good idea to get to know the newest addition to the XPN DJ line-up so we sent a few questions Julian’s way.  Check out his thoughts on the heritage of Sleepy Hollow, avoiding preconceptions and what he does in his time off below while listening to some of the songs he played on his first few Sleepy Hollow broadcasts.

The Key: How did you get started DJing?

Julian Booker: I got my first radio show towards the end of college. I had worked for my father (who has been in radio for over forty years) at Delmarva Broadcasting Company in Wilmington, DE throughout high school.  Later he asked me if I would help develop their HD-affiliate Graffiti Radio, whom I’ve worked with ever since. I started DJing live around the same time and was the house DJ at The Blockley until it closed last December.

TK: How did you spend your Sunday mornings before becoming the host of Sleepy Hollow?

JB: In addition to my new position at XPN, I work as a live sound engineer, so I spent a lot of Sunday mornings sleeping after late nights at shows. My schedule is kind of inverting now, so far I enjoy actually seeing the sunrise.

TK: What drew you to the eclectic Sleepy Hollow format?

JB: I’ve always loved a wide spectrum of music – I grew up listening to everything from The Spinners to Steely Dan to Carole King and music that was popular on the radio at the time – things like Semisonic or New Radicals. So when I began to get older, that eclecticism really started to grow. I try to find elements that I like in everything that I hear – I think it helps to become a more well-rounded listener.

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The Week So Far: 11 must-read stories on The Key (incl. Sleepy Hollow, The National, Peter Murphy)

market east

Market East shared a new song called “To Walk With You” ahead of the release of Children of Summer, out May 27th [link]

The 52nd annual Philadelphia Folk Festival line-up is jam packed with sets by Richard Thompson, Toy Soldiers, Black Prairie and more [link]

Alo Brasil brought tropical sounds and rhythms to their Key Studio Session earlier this week [link]

The National debuted the first video for their upcoming LP with the song “Sea of Love” [link]

XPN’s Gotta Hear Song of the Week featured San Francisco’s John Murry and his deeply personal song “Southern Sky” [link]

Get ready for tonight’s Peter Murphy show at The Trocadero with a video-playlist of five songs we hope he plays [link]

The Swollen Fox and WXPN have announced a show with The Districts, Goodnight, Texas and Satellite Hearts on 7/19 [link]

Sunday morning marked Keith Brand’s final Sleepy Hollow show on XPN; listen back to the full broadcast [link] and check out the song he chose to close out his 27-year run [link]

In a special Folkadelphia Session, we meet Nadia Sirota and Valgeir Sigurdsson and a mix of reinterpretations and original material [link]

Download a 44-track mixtape from 100 Years of Solid Dudes featuring samples of Elvis Costello, Bowie and more [link]

Get a glimpse inside The Breeders‘ Sunday night show at The Trocadero with a photo recap and set list [link]

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Never can say goodbye: Listen to Keith Brand’s final Sleepy Hollow show

Photo by Tom Gralish http://articles.philly.com/2013-04-08/news/38348689_1_ned-eckhardt-rowan-university-documentaries
Photo by Tom Gralish http://articles.philly.com/2013-04-08/news/38348689_1_ned-eckhardt-rowan-university-documentaries
Yesterday, XPN Sleepy Hollow host Keith Brand did his final three hour Sunday morning Sleepy Hollow from 8AM-11AM. Listen to the show below, and in descending order (his last song to the first), check out Keith’s final playlist from the show.

10 am
The Hix – Is that all there is – Sweet Sunny South
Lilvingston Taylor – Never can say goodbye – Ink
Bob Dylan – It’s all over now baby blue – No Direction Home
Vera Lynn – Well meet again – The Very Best of Vera Lynn
George Jones – A picture of me (without you) – George Jones Super Hits
Pink Martini – Que sera sera – Sympathique
Spanky and our Gang – Sunday will never be the same – Spanky’s Greatest Hits
Colin Hay – I just don’t think I’ll ever get over you – Garden State
Harry Nilsson – Living without you – Nilsson Sings Newman
Judy Holliday – The Party’s Over – Ultimate Broadway
Steve Earle – Goodbye – Train a Comin
Nina Simone – Who knows where the time goes – Just Like a Woman
Annie Lennox – Ev’ry time we say goodbye – Red Hot and Blue
Scott Walker – If you go away – Scott Walker Sings Jacques Brel
The Red Clay Ramblers – Will you miss me – Merchant’s Lunch

9 am
Tom Rush – No regrets – The Circle Game
Rufus Wainwright – Leaving for Paris No. 2 – Release the Stars
Shirley Horn – Here’s to Life – Here’s to Life
Jeff Buckley – Je n’en connais pas le fin – Live at Sin E
Judy Garland – The man that got away – Judy Garland goes to Hollywood
Marianne Faithful – The hawk – Trouble in Mind
Caetano Veloso – Cucurrucucu Paloma – Talk to Her
Javetta Steele – Calling you – Bagdad Cafe
Jacques Brel – Ne me quitte pas – Jacques Brel
Antonio Carlos Jobim – Corcovado – The man from Ipanema

8 am
Anias Mitchell & Jefferson Hamer – Willie of Winsbury – Child Ballads
Paul Brady – Lakes of Pontchartrain – The Liberty Tapes
Joni Mitchell – Both Sides Now – Both Sides Now
Michel Legrand – Les moulin de mon coeur – Paris, mon amour
Frank Sinatra – Good-bye – Frank Sinatra Sings for Only the Lonely
Jane Siberry & k d Lang – Calling All Angels – Until the End of the World
Craig Armstrong & Paul Buchanan – Let’s go out tonight – The Space Between Us
Mary Chapin Carpenter – 10,000 Miles – Party Doll and other Favorites
Dawn Upshaw – Perfectly still this solstice morning – Winter Morning Walks
Nico Muhly – The only tune – Mothertongue

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Listen: the last song Keith Brand played on Sleepy Hollow

Brand2As many of you know, today was Keith Brand’s last show as the host of Sunday Sleepy Hollow. After 27 years, he’s retiring; it’s not too late to send him your comments – you can go to our Facebook page here, or leave your comments below. Brand went out in classic Sleepy Hollow form this morning, playing some of his favorite songs and artists as well as a number of contemplative songs about “leaving.” You can check out the playlist of the songs he played from 8AM-11AM here. There was a lot of speculation as to what Keith’s last song was going to be. After a set of songs that included “We’ll Meet Again” by Vera Lynn, “It’s All Over Now Baby Blue” by Bob Dyland and Livingston Taylor’s cover of “Never Can Say Goodbye,” Brand claimed “the last word” and played a song called “Is That All There Is?” by his former band, The Hix, from their 1998 album, Sweet Sunny South. Listen to it below.

Update: NPR’s Weekend Edition Sunday paid tribute to Keith today. Listen to it here.

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Say it ain’t so: XPN Sleepy Hollow host Keith Brand retiring after 27 years behind the mic

Photo by Tom Gralish http://articles.philly.com/2013-04-08/news/38348689_1_ned-eckhardt-rowan-university-documentaries
Photo by Tom Gralish http://articles.philly.com/2013-04-08/news/38348689_1_ned-eckhardt-rowan-university-documentaries

Every Sunday Morning for the last 27 years, XPN Sleepy Hollow host and producer Keith Brand has been sharing his love for the “eclectic, quiet sounds of Sleepy Hollow” with loyal XPN and Sleepy Hollow listeners. Brand’s extensive depth of musical knowledge, passion, and ability to hand craft an engaging listening experience on Sunday mornings is what makes easing into Sundays so wonderful. From Nina Simone, soundtrack music and French pop gems to Massive Attack, ambient singer-sopngwriters and traditional jazz, Brand created a unique vibe each week with attention to musical detail and musical segues that made connections between genres and songs and musicians where you wouldn’t expect and made it sound seamless. So, it’s with sadness (as Keith writes below) that he’s decided to retire from Sleepy Hollow. We wish Keith all the best down the road. We’re sure he’s happy to get his weekends back. His final Sleepy Hollow shift will be on Sunday, May 5th from 8AM-11AM. Tune in and wish him well. But before he goes, we’ve asked him to put together a Spotify playlist of Sleepy Hollow tunes that you can listen to below. Keith, thanks for the great music and we wish you all the best. And now, a letter from Keith Brand:

Dear Sleepy Hollow listeners,

It is with both sadness and anticipation that I announce that I will be retiring from Sleepy Hollow after 27 years. My last show will be May 5th. When I began broadcasting at WXPN, it was still a community radio station with a small but dedicated listenership. Today, WXPN is a force to be reckoned with. I have been fortunate to quietly watch that transition over the past three decades.

I stayed at WXPN all these years because I believe that what Chuck Elliot and I created, along with a number of supplementary hosts, was unique. I often said that in my travels I never heard radio quite like Sleepy Hollow. That is as true today as it was 27 years ago. It seems like an appropriate time to go as Sleepy Hollow celebrates its 40th anniversary.

What I am most proud of has been presenting music that I found interesting to an eager weekend audience. Often, that music found its Philadelphia premier on Sleepy Hollow. Musicians like Sigur Ros, Damien Rice, Grizzly Bear, and Pink Martini found an early and welcome home on Sleepy Hollow. And I am just as proud to play lesser-known musicians like Jherek Bischoff, Anias Mitchell, Sam Amidon, and The Clogs. I never thought I was a great radio DJ, but I was passionate about different kinds of music and had a desire to find the connections between them.

The main reason I am retiring is that after 27 years it is time to do something else with my weekends. Hosting Sleepy Hollow required a lot of my time and I want that time back. I’ve recently been elected the Chair of the Radio Television and Film Department at Rowan University and that will require a lot more of my time and energy. The time devoted to producing Sleepy Hollow will be diverted to other creative outlets, including hopefully producing more stories for NPR programs. So I don’t feel like I’m giving up on radio.

It’s been a pleasure to wake up with you for so many Sunday mornings. Your phone calls of encouragement were always welcome. But it’s time to sign off one last time. Keep that dial tuned to 88.5.

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