Yesterday, we came across a YouTube video of a Philadelphia television newscast circa 1979, profiling The Grateful Dead and their fans during a performance at The Spectrum, and there seemed to be a common refrain. This was music that made its audiences feel good. These were songs that tugged at your heartstrings, had bittersweet moments, but ultimately uplifted listeners into a positive space. I don’t bring this up to reductively infer that the Dead and this week’s Key Studio Session featured artist, Kalob Griffin Band, necessarily sound alike – though there is an undeniably 60s influence on their very “I Shall Be Released”-esque ballad “A Song For You” that closes the set. Instead, I mention it because of the effect each band has on its audience. Continue reading →
Each musical genre in this city boasts its own community. It’s why creativity breeds, why collaboration is inevitable and how fans know which venues or bars to go to in order to see a show they’ll enjoy.
But there’s something a little more notable, a little more special, about the roots rock revival that’s going on in Philly, and the bands that are at the forefront. It’s bands like Toy Soldiers, The Districts and of course Dr. Dog that have reminded local fans about the advantages of good ol’ Americana — and how the genre can make hands clap and toes tap unlike anything else.
The rise of The Kalob Griffin Band is another key manifestation of this, as the band has made quite splash into the local scene since moving to Philly from State College, Pa. They cultivated a loyal local following, deemed “The KGB Family,” and hope to top last year’s 500-person turn out when they play their “4th annual Holiday Extravaganza” on Saturday at World Café Live with support from The McLovins and Dirty Dollhouse Special.
The show will undoubtedly feature one or all of the three new tracks The Kalob Griffin is poised to release some time in late January 2014. Recorded by Bill Moriarty (Dr. Dog, Man Man) and mastered by Greg Calbi of Sterling Sound (Bruce Springsteen, Gov’t Mule, Trey Anastasio, Alabama Shakes) the songs bring the tenacity and twang that live audiences have come to love from the band, but on a whole new level of songwriting and production quality.
“Full Love” is a fast-paced, hoedown-like groove that will be sure to get people dancing. “Bugle Boy Tobacco” starts with the sound of train tracks and the wailing of a harmonica before launching into an upbeat ballad about a boy who “didn’t have to look too hard, because trouble was after me,” and features a groovin’ instrumental breakdown.
But the standout track of the three would be “Fire and Time,” a love song featuring guest vocals from soulful, folksy songstress Ali Wadsworth, who recently released her own solo album. It’s a killer collaboration between long-time scene friends. Listen to two of the songs below, and click here to download a digital package with these two new KGB tracks.
The Kalob Griffin Band will play at 8:00 p.m. on Saturday, December 21 at World Cafe Live. Tickets can be found here.
It’s the season of giving, and Toy Soldiers‘ are giving you something big. Through the holiday season, you can download their entire discography for free on their Bandcamp. Everything from their 2010 debut sampler Whisper Down the Laneto this year’s “Been Here All My Days” single are up for grabs. It’s an opportune time to catch up on their hard wailin’ rock music, too, as the unveiling of the rootsy Americana band’s first full-length record draws nearer. Toy Soldiers have a huge show at World Cafe Live on December 22nd with The Kalob Griffin Band and Special Guests Hoots & Wadsworth. Tickets and information can be found here. If you plan on going to the WCL show, you can take advantage of The Toy Soldiers Holiday Special: $25 for a t-shirt, ticket, poster and download. Below, listen to “Been Here All My Days.”
The music portion of the day-long festival – which will also showcase local arts, crafts, and food vendors – takes place on the stage of the Piazza at Schmidt‘s, and is presented in conjunction with the Philadelphia Folksong Society. The initial lineup announced today includes:
The Great Unknown
The Spinning Leaves
Blayer Pointdujour & The Rockers Galore
The Kalob Griffin Band
DJ Matt Beck
Watch our Key Studio Video session with Blayer PointduJour and the Rockers Galore below.