Dido and Philly fans have a Saturday night sing-a-long at Union Transfer

Dido | photo by Ellen Miller |
Dido | photo by Ellen Miller for WXPN |

British singer-songwriter Dido is back on the road with her new album Still on my Mind and she brought the show to the Union Transfer on Saturday night. Her longtime fans were eager to see her again, so much so that they began lining up on Spring Garden street at least three hours before doors opened. English-Italian singer songwriter, Jack Savoretti, who is on the road with Dido for a bit of the tour, opened up the night in Philadelphia. He also has a new album out this year called Singing to Strangers. Continue reading →


Philly’s &More were welcomed home in Fishtown on Friday

&More | Photo by: Ellen Miller for WXPN |
&More | photo by Ellen Miller for WXPN |

Philadelphia’s Chilly Moody and Donn T teamed up a little while back to form a hip hop collaboration duo by the name of &More. The duo just released their debut album Ethel Bobcat a few weeks ago that they are currently touring in support of, and this past weekend the tour brought them back home to Johnny Brenda’s in Fishtown where they performed to a room full of friends, family, and fans. As headliners they shared with bill with fellow local artists Dahi Divine and The Great Time for and all around high energy Philly local show. Continue reading →


Patty Griffin makes Union Transfer her living room


Patty Griffin | Photo by: Ellen Miller for WXPN |
Patty Griffin | Photo by: Ellen Miller for WXPN |

Patty Griffin has been on the road with her new, self-titled record and the tour brought her to Philadelphia on Thursday night, leading her trio at an almost packed Union Transfer. Before then though, Nashville based, singer-songwriter Ruston Kelly took the stage. Kelly is also currently touring with a new album, Dying Star, released in 2018. Continue reading →


The Key’s Year End Mania: Ellen Miller’s best commute music of 2018

Julien Baker | Photo by: Ellen Miller |
Julien Baker | Photo by Ellen Miller for WXPN |

Year-End Mania is the Key’s annual survey of the things below the surface that made 2018 incredible. Today, Key photographer Ellen Miller shares her best music for car-rides in 2018.

From early morning drives to beat the sun, to spending lunchtime on the road moving from one job to the next, to the late night drives home from a shoot — this year, I found myself drawn to particular artists or songs at various times of the day. I go everywhere all the time for jobs, and in 2018 I’ve definitely spent more time driving all over greater Philadelphia than using SEPTA, compared to years past. When in the car that much, it’s nice to have variety in what you listen to. Sometimes I’d just throw the radio on and occasionally I’d prefer silence for a bit, but often times I’d make playlists to put me in the right mindset for going to a shoot or to relax myself after a shoot. Below are my most listened to songs and artists during my commutes at various times of day in 2018. Continue reading →


Hiss Golden Messenger brings Hallelujah Anyhow back to Union Transfer

Hiss Golden Messenger | Photo by: Ellen Miller for WXPN |
Hiss Golden Messenger | photo by Ellen Miller for WXPN |

It was an evening with Hiss Golden Messenger on Wednesday night as Durham, NC singer-songwriter M.C. Taylor brought his four-piece band to Philadelphia to headline Union Transfer. The band’s most recent album, Hallalujah Anyhow, is just over a year old, and their set mixed up songs from it, as well as their recent Heart Like a Levee from 2016 and a mix of their back-catalog, including cuts from 2012’s Poor Moon and 2014’s Lateness of DancersContinue reading →


This is the Kit came back to Fishtown for an expansive Johnny Brenda’s gig

This is the Kit - Photo by- Ellen Miller for WXPN |
This is the Kit | photo by Ellen Miller for WXPN |

Exactly seven months after her last trip across the pond, This is the Kit was back in Fishtown for round two at Johnny Brenda’s. On Saturday night, Kate Stables played new and old songs with her full band to the nearly filled Johnny Brenda’s room fans.

With Kate Stables in the audience, Adam Schatz (of the band Landlady) kicked off the night with an intriguing solo set during he rotated between a tenor saxophone, keys, and vocals. Continue reading →


Stories and Songs, Humor and Heartbreak: Glen Hansard captivates at Union Transfer

Glen Hansard | Photo by: Ellen Miller for WXPN |
Glen Hansard | photo by Ellen Miller for WXPN |

Dubin balladeer Glen Hansard kicked off 2018 with his new album Between Two Shores and a tour of Europe, England, and America. That trek ended in Philadelphia Sunday night with a near three-hour set at Union Transfer and his entire band joining him for Irish folk song “The Auld Triangle.” Despite the new album he release in January, Hansard did not actually play many songs from it. The 20+ song setlist was made up of a good mix; lots of old, a few new, and some covers.

Union Transfer does not typically bring up feelings of intimacy, not compared to the smaller venues in Philly at least. Glen Hansard may have changed that (for me) on Sunday night. With small, red lamps scattered around the various instruments on stage and very minimal use of the stage lights set, the atmosphere with a feeling of closeness that could make you forget you’re not at a small club or coffeehouse. But the band played with a sound that could draw you in in any space. Continue reading →