By

Grandchildren and Vessna Scheff benefit shows to support Big Picture Alliance and Aspiring Young Artists

Grandchildren | photo courtesy of the artist
Grandchildren | photo courtesy of the artist

Grandchildren‘s Aleks Martray has teamed up with fellow Philly musician Vessna Scheff to put together a short series of benefit shows. In a fundraising effort for local youth film and music programs, the two artists have assembled a variety of local musicians to perform at Boot & Saddle on November 16. The second show, November 17 at Warehouse on Watts, will feature youth films and musical performances. Continue reading →

By

Sonja Sofya talks pop studiousness, Steely Dan and feminism on the 25 O’Clock podcast

Sonja Sofya | photo by Lisa Schaffer | skylerbug.com | via facebook.com/sonjasofya

The new installment of the 25 O’Clock Podcast features Philly keyboardist, vocalist, songwriter and collaborator Sonja Sofya, who has a lively and wide-ranging 90-minute conversation with host Dan Drago.

Of course her great Patterns We Know LP, released in the fall, is discussed, as well as the work with fellow Philly artists like Ross Bellenoit that went into completing it. Sonja shares her background in studying music at a rigorous academic level during high school and college  — she admits she did not have stage parents but kinda wishes she had. She and Drago contrast classical and pop approaches to writing, and how the ideal lies somewhere in between, balancing studiousness and accessibility. Steely Dan is brought up as an example of this middle ground, and they share a laugh over the divide: people are either Steely Dan lovers or haters (they’re both lovers, I’m not). The same can also be said, they note, for Lady Gaga (which, vice versa).

But the conversation gets super interesting when Drago makes an offhand comment about the “amount of quality female-fronted music coming out of the city the past few years.” Sonja returns to that phrase, “female-fronted,” a little bit later in the show. “You feel like that’s a recent phenomenon?” she asks, turning the tables on her host, and there’s a very uncertain pause that follows. Continue reading →

By

Tonight’s Concert Picks: Three Man Cannon at Boot and Saddle, Kississippi at Chameleon Club, Cuddle Magic at World Cafe Live and more

Three Man Cannon
Three Man Cannon | photo by Rachel Del Sordo for WXPN

Lame-O Record’s annual residency at Boot and Saddle ends with a bang, leaving with a headlining set by Three Man Cannon. Their relaxed indie rock is quintessential to Lame-O’s roster, and Katie Ellen and The Afterglows as support makes this a stacked local bill not to be missed. The gig is 21+, and all proceeds will be donated to the Philly ACLU; more information and tickets can be found here. Continue reading →

By

Stream Sonja Sofya’s new record Patterns We Know

sonja sofya
Sonja Sofya | artwork by Sarah Thielke | photo via Facebook

When we’ve met Sonja Sofya in the past, she was often accompanying one of several different local projects – Ryan Tennis’ Clubhouse Band or Ross Bellenoit, for example – on piano and backing vocals. But on the few occasions where she was front and center (like this Kettle Pot Tracks session), she stole the show. Now the Philadelphia musician is stealing the show again with her new Patterns We Know record, released today.

Continue reading →

By

Liberty Bell Sessions takes Philly artists outside of city limits (kicking off at Studio 34 tonight)

So many times, great song writers get stuck in their hometown or the city where they started performing. Many times, it’s because they don’t have the funds or support needed to showcase anywhere else. Some have day jobs. Others have families to support. But you always notice them when they open for a band you like, or catch them at your favorite venue. These artists always have dedication, animation, and passion to pull off a great performance with carefully crafted talents.

Liberty Bell Sessions is a project created to get Philadelphia artists out of their locality and in front of a wider audience. “I am constantly amazed by the quality and power of songs that come out of Philadelphia. I think it’s something in the water,” says creator of the project, Ross Bellenoit. “Even when I moved to Philadelphia back in 2003, I was in awe of how many great songwriters there were in this fair city of ours.”

The idea came naturally through a conversation with Club Passim’s (in Cambridge, MA) owner, Matt Smith. Originally Bellenoit was being asked to come back and play a set after being featured on one of Peter Mulvey’s Lamplighter Sessions last November. It was his suggestion to get other Philadelphia artists on the bill with him that got the wheels turning. “After being on the road for several years, I was always pining to bring these great contemporary songs out to the rest of the world.” Bellenoit ran with the idea after Smith coined the term “Liberty Bell Sessions”.

“We want to present each other’s songs in ways that are new to each of us. Since we all have our own projects and people that we play with, this new environment lends to more spontaneous and fresh collaborative ideas for each other’s songs.” Continue reading →

By

The Week So Far: 12 must-read stories on The Key (incl. The Districts, Mavis Staples, Birdie Busch and more)

miles-davis

Miles Davis would have celebrated his 87th birthday on Sunday.  Check out some live footage of the legendary trumpet player’s 1970 show at the old Electric Factory [link]

Diplo curated a summer playlist featuring James Blake, Daft Punk, Laura Mvula and more for Vulture [link]

XPN’s Gotta Hear Song of the Week is Mavis Staples‘ cover of the Funkadelic track “Can You Get to That” [link]

Singer-songwriter / fiddler Sara Watkins recorded a session for Folkadelphia [link]

Birdie Busch will be releasing her recent PledgeMusic-funded album on vinyl and donating proceeds to the IHM Literacy Center in West Philadelphia [link]

Dock Street Beer Run announces the line-up for their June 9th 5k / music festival event, including On the Water, Norwegian Arms and Post Sun Times [link]

Sonja Sofia is profiled in the latest installment of Kettle Pot Tracks’ On the Hill series [link]

Local power rockers Lantern unveiled a new song called “Evil Eye” and the cover art for their upcoming LP Rock ‘N’ Roll Rorschach [link]

Watch a video of The Districts performing at The Porch at 30th Street Station yesterday for XPN’s Philly Local Busker series [link]

Folk duo Arborea shared a new video for their song “Pale Horse Phantasm”; they’ll be at the Highwire Gallery on June 9th for a Folkadelphia Presents show [link]

The Photon Band is back with a new album and a show at Johnny Brenda’s on July 6th [link]

Newish Philly outfit Divers were the subject of this week’s Key Studio Session [link]

By

Tonight’s Concert Picks: Song Dogs at MilkBoy, Sonja Sofya at World Cafe Live, The Monochrome Set at PhilaMOCA

song dogs

Local Americana / rock outfit Song Dogs play MilkBoy Philly tonight.  The six-piece released their debut full-length Wild Country in January after working with Bill Moriarty at Waking Studios in East Falls.  Part Neil Young, part Jackson Browne, Wild Country is a collection of songs blending rock, folk and blues with a focus on storytelling.  Tickets and information for tonight’s show with Joshua Popejoy and Music Box Dynamo can be found here.  Listen to the title track of Wild Country below.

Continue reading →

By

Watch Sonja Sofya’s Kettle Pot Tracks Session

Screen shot 2013-05-28 at 4.27.22 PMIn their writeup, the folks at Kettle Pot Tracks’ On the Hill series mention how they met this week’s featured artist Sonja Sofya when she accompanied their Ross Bellenoit session. Funny, that; I also met Sofya this year as an accompanist, or rather as a member of Ryan Tennis’ Clubhouse Band who handed me her own CD after his Key Studio Session wrapped up. She’s got a unique voice – robust and soulful, yet light and playful, and she’s an ace pianist to boot. In this week’s On the Hill session, she performs two songs, this time with Bellenoit as the accompaniest. Watch a video for “Que Sera” below, read an interview with Sofya here and download her performance via Kettle Pot Tracks’ Bandcamp.