XPN Fest: Amy Ray closes the weekend sans Sailers in stellar solo performance

Amy Ray Band | photo by Ashley Gellman for WXPN

The Indigo Girls are incredibly prolific. The duo of Amy Ray and Emily Sailers have been around for nearly 35 years, making politically driven folk-rock. So when a pair is that well known, it can be hard for each member’s solo project to find success. However,  Amy Ray is an anomaly. She has found the time to release six solo studio albums while continuing to make music with Sailers. On Sunday night, Amy Ray played a stellar festival-closing performance at the XPNFest waterfront stage.  Continue reading →


XPN Fest Recap: Guster relaxes in a borrowed lawn chair, bring Barenaked Ladies to the River Stage

Guster | photo by Ashley Gellman for WXPN

When I interviewed Ryan Miller, Guster’s lead singer and guitarist, earlier this month about the band’s new Labi Siffre cover, he told me that he might get a new suit for XPN Fest. I don’t know if it was new, but his Sunday evening suit was most definitely notable. Stepping out onto the River Stage in a head-to-toe pineapple pattern, Miller led Guster through an eventful set consisting of a balanced array of new and old songs from their 25-year-long repertoire. Continue reading →


XPN Fest Recap: Ruston Kelly delivers a set more beautiful than the slowly setting sun

Ruston Kelly | photo by Emily DeHart for WXPN

Ruston Kelly played at the perfect time. The sun was in the process of setting and cast a golden glow over Wiggins Park, the air cooled a bit, and everyone was in the mood for country. Not only did Kelly’s soaring ballads fit the scene perfectly, they surpassed it in beauty. With his gorgeously raw and earnest voice, a harmonica, a guitar, and a band that included his father, Kelly eased the crowd into XPN Fest’s final hours.

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XPN Fest Recap: Kathleen Edwards makes a grand return on the River Stage

Kathleen Edwards | photo by Ashley Gellman for WXPN

Singer-songwriter Kathleen Edwards is an XPN fest veteran. She’s also been on hiatus since 2012, and appeared very eager to be back and in action today. Upon jumping on the River Stage, she told a story about her many times performing, even before we were situated at Camden waterfront. “Change The Sheets” was a fantastic way to begin her set, as it set the mood that Edwards was going for. Continue reading →


XPN Fest Recap: Gregory Alan Isakov creates an atmosphere around captivated audience

Gregory Alan Isakov | photo by Makena Duffy for WXPN

Gregory Alan Isakov and his band didn’t just play their songs at XPN Fest; they created an atmosphere with their music — an entire feeling that grew stronger the closer you came to the Marina Stage. Standing right up front, it was as if I was in the center of their world, and I think the rest of the devoted GAI fans surrounding me felt the same. Continue reading →


XPN Fest Recap: Lucy Dacus breaks through the simulation on the River Stage

Lucy Dacus | photo by Ashley Gellman for WXPN

Lucy Dacus had a big day at Newport Folk Fest yesterday, and was coping not only with losing her voice, but with whatever the mental state is that comes from meeting Dolly Parton. But even though she was existing in what she called an “alternate thread of the simulation,” and didn’t feel like any of this was real, she kept the energy high throughout her River Stage set, winning over a crowd of old and new fans with her thoughtful indie rock. Continue reading →


XPN Fest Recap: The War and Treaty wash over the Marina stage with love

    The War and Treaty | photo by Emily DeHart for WXPN

If you haven’t already noticed, it is very hot out today. However, if you got the chance to watch The War and Treaty on the Marina stage this afternoon, you might have forgotten about that for a while. The husband and wife duo put on a show that beamed with love, joy, and the healing power of music. With a large and incredibly proficient band behind them, Michael and Tanya Trotter forced their crowd to dance and clap, even if they felt as if they were on the verge of heatstroke.

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XPN Fest Recap: Dave Hause & The Mermaid perform a powerful, heartwarming set at the River Stage

Dave Hause | photo by Ashley Gellman for WXPN

Roxborough punk rocker Dave Hause & The Mermaid riveted the waterfront stage at XPN Fest this afternoon, providing healthy amounts of heartfelt moments and a dose of surprise. Switching between acoustic and electric guitar, Hause never let the heat bother him, and encouraged the crowd to do so also. Continue reading →


XPN Fest Recap: Zeek Burse brings unity to the Marina Stage

Zeek Burse | photo by Makena Duffy for WXPN

The Marina Stage crowd was still filtering in when Zeek Burse took the stage this afternoon, but as his powerful sound filled the park, the audience showed up — and even though it’s early in the day, they came ready to dance.

The charismatic performer engaged the audience throughout his personality-packed rock and soul set — there’s a reason he used to perform under the name “The Experience.” Continue reading →