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Free at Noon Flashback: Chris Kasper charms with folk traveller vibes at World Cafe Live

Chris Kasper | photo by Tiana Timmerberg for WXPN
Chris Kasper | photo by Tiana Timmerberg for WXPN

“I heard people lost their relationship with the Earth the day we started wearing shoes.”

It was sentiments such as this that local folk fave Chris Kasper speckled throughout his performance this past rainy Friday afternoon in Philly. Though Kasper has been a staple and steady figure in the local folk scene for over a decade now, it’s hard to believe that he’s not some sort of wandering vagabond — endlessly traveling across the country with nothing but good vibes and a guitar strapped to his back. Continue reading →

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Philadelphia Songwriters Project presents its Final Showcase at Ardmore Music Hall

Finalists from the 2017 Philadelphia Songwriters Project | via phillysongwriters.com

On Sunday May 21st, The Philadelphia Songwriters Project continues its 2017 Songwriting Contest by hosting the final showcase at The Ardmore Music Hall.

Hundreds of songs were sorted through to find the top ten finalists. Of these, four artists will be chosen by both the audience and a panel of judges. These four will then be placed on a regional summer tour, which makes stops at Bethlehem Musik Festival, RoseTree Summer Music Series, UPENN Concert Series, Sellersville Theater, Liberty Fest, and the big kahuna that is Firefly Music Festival. Continue reading →

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Free At Noon Flashback: Dylan LeBlanc tells his Cautionary Tale

 Dylan Le Blanc | Photo by Sydney Schaefer for WXPN | sydneyschaeferphotos.com

Dylan Le Blanc | Photo by Sydney Schaefer for WXPN | sydneyschaeferphotos.com

Dylan LeBlanc and his band walked out onto the World Cafe Live stage for Friday’s WXPN Free At Noon Concert, greeted by a thick crowd hungry for the singer-songwriter’s Louisiana-born country rock. But before a single note was played, LeBlanc ran off the stage, only to return with a few bagels in hand. He launched the breaded discs into the audience. Continue reading →

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Free At Noon Flashback: Heron Oblivion melted, shredded, and just absolutely destroyed at World Cafe Live

Heron10
Heron Oblivion | Photo by Sydney Schaefer for WXPN | sydneyschaeferphotos.com

Heron Oblivion was introduced as an “east coast meets west coast” band during today’s Free At Noon. Ethan Miller (bass) and Noel Von Harmonson (guitar), the west coasters, have been in bands for year both individually and together, most notably Comets On Fire. More recently, they’d gotten together with east coasters Meg Baird (drums, vocals), a Philly local, and Charlie Saufley (guitar). When the four started playing some informal jam sessions, the songwriting process came easily. So easily, in fact, that the self-titled debut from Heron Oblivion, released March 4th on Sub Pop, came as a result. Continue reading →

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Watch The Heavy perform “What Happened to the Love” and “The Apology” at SXSW

The Heavy | Photo by Hope Helmuth for WXPN | hopehelmuth.com
The Heavy | Photo by Hope Helmuth for WXPN | hopehelmuth.com

Flying in all the way from Bath, England, the retro soul and psychedelic funk band, The Heavy was third to hit the Public Radio Day Stage at SXSW in Austin, TX today.  You might just want to check out The band’s new album, Hurt & The Merciless, out April 1 after watching the energy in these live performances!  Cut from the live video webcast on VuHaus, watch The Heavy perform “What Happened To The Love” and “The Apology”.

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Free at Noon Flashback: Josh Ritter invigorates Philly crowd performing songs from new album Sermon on the Rocks

Josh Ritter Free At Noon Concert - Photo by Liz Waldie | lizwaldie.com
Josh Ritter Free At Noon Concert – Photo by Liz Waldie | lizwaldie.com

Josh Ritter emerged onstage at WXPN’s sold out Free At Noon Concert at World Cafe Live today to the sound of hundreds of concertgoers singing him “Happy Birthday.” It was a totally unexpected gift, and Ritter gratefully thanked the audience, saying “That is the best way to start any concert.” This set the stage for what was an extra-special Free at Noon for Ritter — it was his three-year-old daughter’s first show too — and he didn’t disappoint. Continue reading →

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Free At Noon Flashback: Blackberry Smoke play an intimate, unplugged set at World Cafe Live

Blackberry Smoke - WXPN Free At Noon - Credit: Rocco Peditto
Blackberry Smoke – WXPN Free At Noon – Credit: Rocco Peditto

Rock and roll quintet Blackberry Smoke trickled onstage to an amped up crowd at today’s Free At Noon. The Atlanta natives prepared a special set for this afternoon in Philadelphia, going unplugged and acoustic and owning their performance all the while. Laying into their track “Ain’t Got The Blues”, lead singer Charlie Starr and guitarist Paul Jackson whipped out some impressive simultaneous finger-picking while drummer Brit Turner held down the beats with his declared “sweetar”, an altered acoustic guitar he used for percussion. The artists later commented that Philadelphia has remained a special place for them, as Jackson’s family originates from our fine city. The performance was lighthearted, with excited fans clapping and hooting at the band mates throughout it’s entirety.
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Introducing Dan and Dan: Listen to WXPN’s Dan Reed and Philadelphia Inquirer’s Dan Deluca talk music criticism in this week’s segment

Photo via Dan and Dan Soundcloud page (https://soundcloud.com/ddmusicpodcast)
Photo via Dan and Dan Soundcloud page (https://soundcloud.com/ddmusicpodcast)

WXPN’s Dan Reed and The Philadelphia Inquirer‘s Dan DeLuca have teamed up to create Dan and Dan, a new podcast where the two music critics talk about current happenings in the wide world of music. The third episode came out today and it covers a range of topics, like Mumford and Sons’ new electric sound, the upcoming Firefly Music Festival and the Grateful Dead Farewell Concert. Continue reading →

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Free At Noon Flashback: Son Little keeps it moving at World Cafe Live

Son Little | Photo by Rocco Peditto | roccopeditto.virb.com
Son Little | Photo by Rocco Peditto | roccopeditto.virb.com

WXPN Artist To Watch Son Little took the stage today at World Cafe Live and put on a smashing performance. With rip-roaring guitar riffs and playful, booming synths, Son Little amped up the crowd with his unique sound and endearing interaction.

After a pause during his song “All Wet”, a toddler’s voice came blaring through the silence blurting out “Blah, blah, blah.” Little continued for a few moments then stopped, chuckled into the microphone and muttered “From the mouths of babes. I’ll try and keep it moving up here.” The crowd answering with roaring laughter. Continue reading →

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24 Hours of Christmas Music: DJs Jon Solomon and Robert Drake share their experience with holiday marathons

Marathon Holiday DJs Jon Solomon of WPRB (left) and Robert Drake of WXPN | Photo by Rachel Del Sordo | racheldelsordophotography.com
Marathon Holiday DJs Jon Solomon of WPRB (left) and Robert Drake of WXPN | Photo by Rachel Del Sordo | racheldelsordophotography.com

Holiday music is everywhere this time of year. It blares through every store in the mall and every car radio stuck in that 9 to 5 bumper-to-bumper, all in hopes of keeping the mood cheery and festive. But where does that cheer go when the same songs play in an incessant loop to the point where insanity may very well ensue? Simply turn the dial to either 103.3 or 88.5, where two marathon DJs that will be taking over the airwaves for 24 non-stop hours on Christmas Eve.

Jon Solomon and Robert Drake have been doing it for years and it seems there is no end in sight. Solomon, a radio personality for Princeton’s student-run station WPRB, began his holiday marathon twenty-six years ago when he was fifteen years old and hasn’t missed a year since. This year, he even upped the ante to a 25-hour special.

Inspired by Solomon, Robert Drake began his 12-hour holiday show at WXPN 22 years ago, and it eventually turned into a 24-hour marathon. The Key got the chance to speak with both of the DJs about the perks of the marathons, their favorite non-traditional holiday tunes, their shared love for the Dr. Who Christmas special and just how they manage to make it through all those hours without a nap. Continue reading →