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Watch a breathtaking performance by Philly instrumental ensemble Hour for Folkadelphia and The Key Studio Sessions

The seven members of Philadelphia instrumental ensemble Hour are intricately aligned, the pieces they play fitting together perfectly like a puzzle. In a recent visit to WXPN studios, the band showcased music from each of its two albums, last year’s moving Anemone Red — whose compositions are gradual bloomers, but deeply affecting, approximating the haunting film score for a naturalistic drama — and 2017’s Tiny Houses — an exercise in minimalism, and crafting sonic spaces marked by absence more than presence. Continue reading →

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Listen to Native Harrow’s full Folkadelphia session and catch them tomorrow night at Boot & Saddle

Native Harrow | photo by Gabriela Barbieri for WXPN

Last month we got a taste of Native Harrow‘s arresting Folkadelphia session with “Can’t Go On Like This” and now we finally have the full thing and an opportunity to see the duo live. Their four-track Folkadelphia and The Key session from April is now streaming. Much like in their performance of “Can’t Go On Like This”, the three other songs glisten. Devin Tuel sing with her usual impressive and moving tone. The intimacy of the session makes it feel as if she’s singing right into your ear, making the already moving songs even more gripping.  Continue reading →

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Watch Native Harrow perform “Can’t Go On Like This” in WXPN studios for Folkadelphia

Native Harrow | photo by Gabriela Barbieri for WXPN

Philly area singer-songwriter Devin Tuel founded her duo Native Harrow back in 2011 in Woodstock, New York, where she connected with drummer and multi-instrumentalist Stephen Harms; since then they’ve moved to Philly, then spent a nomadic year on the road, and as of this winter are back in the Chester County burbs with a new record called Happier Now under their belts. Continue reading →

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Watch Kayleigh Goldsworthy play “Jamie” on Folkadelphia

Kayleigh Goldsworthy | photo by John Vettese for WXPN

When we shared a set of stripped-down rockers by Kayleigh Goldsworthy in her Key Studio Session earlier this month, we also mentioned a set of scaled-back, more contemplative songs she performed for Folkadelphia in the same session. That set of music aired on the show last week, and is available now on Folkadelphia’s Bandcamp page.

As we hear in performances of “Red” from last year’s All These Miles, and a deep cut called “Lifelines” from her Mockingbird Farm Sessions single, Goldsworthy is an expert at using fluid electric guitar picking to draw listeners in, dancing between folk, country and indie rock. She’s also an expert at scene setting, something exceptionally evident in the song “Jamie.” I rhapsodized about that song when Goldsworthy’s Key Session debuted, and I’ll rhapsodize about it again here — and, I mean, it kind of deserves the attention. Continue reading →

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Folkadelphia Sessions V shows folk’s many faces with Julie Byrne, Sammus, Harmony Woods, and more

Julie Byrne | photo by Rachel Del Sordo

Though the inherent weary restlessness of folk music can never truly be contained, local folk organization, Folkadelphia, has a home here at WXPN on the air and at The Key through Fred Knittel’s studio sessions. This past year hosted a particularly gem-filled handful of folk discoveries, which is documented in the fifth installment of the Folkadelphia Sessions compilation featured below. Continue reading →

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Folkadelphia Session: Sammus

At its most basic, the website Bandcamp is a publishing platform for artists, another site to share work. But in this age of micropayments-per-play on the streaming service juggernauts like Spotify, YouTube, and Apple Music, with either a shield around those tech companies’ editorial and curatorial staff, or curation via computer algorithms and trends (lame!), it’s tough to be a self-sustaining musician on the web. Bandcamp offers a different experience for both creator and fan. The platform has evolved into a streaming service, merch store, social site, expertly selected radio station, a zine, and beyond. Best of all, the artist has much more freedom and control over their presence on the site. In many instances, Bandcamp has created the opportunity for niche, independent, and DIY musicians to find their people, their fans, and truly connect. We at Folkadelphia have had success using Bandcamp as our in-studio session archive. Now Philadelphian, former Ithacan producer and rapper Sammus also connected to a huge and hugely supportive community on the site, which is where we first discovered her music.
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Folkadelphia Session: Lizzie No

Photo by Sydney Lowe

With this year’s debut album Hard Won, Lizzie No graciously provides a bright spot in the all-too-crowded Americana landscape. Soundalike bands and songwriters of all genres nowadays give off the impression that they create music algorithmically and not organically, probably thinking about playlist placements on Spotify than dreaming up great art. Rather than by rote, Lizzie No creates by gut, by experience, by feeling, by imagination, by inspiration, and through tremendous musical ability and collaboration. It leaves her “Americana” album often not sounding much like your standard issue roots and twang band; look no further than the fact she busts out a harp, which she dazzles on. It’s just the exciting beginning for Lizzie No, but she’s already giving me hope that I may never have to hear another “hey-ho,” millennial whoop again.
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Folkadelphia Session: Sam Moss (with Honeysuckle)

Photo by Emily Haviland Baker

In the time since his last visit to us in 2014, Sam Moss moved to a new city (Boston), released a beautiful, intricate album (2016’s Fable), and logged countless hours on the road performing. That’s a good amount of change for few years. What has stayed the same is Moss’ deep attention to songcraft, whether he is operating within or without the folk music idiom.
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Folkadelphia Session: Emperor X

Emperor X is Chad Metheny and he’s been releasing music out under that moniker since 1998. I’ve been listening to Emperor X for far less time than that, but in a short while, his songs, especially from his latest album Oversleepers International have made a tremendous impact on me and everyone I know that has heard a song, bought a record, or seen him play a show. Whether the music tends towards straight-up folk-punk acoustic strumming, skittering electronics, or even ambient minimalism, there is an inherent passion, energy, and DIY-ness to what Emperor X is bringing to the table.
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Folkadelphia Radio: Adam Torres

Photo by Rambo

I would follow Adam Torres‘ voice to the ends of the earth. There is a magical, slinking, serpentine quality to his falsetto and the interplay between it and his music that, as a listener, I’m trying to figure out why it is so utterly affecting. After years without a proper full length, Torres released Pearls to Swine last year, a proper follow-up album that makes good on the promise he exhibited on the 2006 indie cult classic Nostra Nova. On Pearls and this year’s EP I Came to Sing the Song, that songwriting spellwork is as potent and refined as ever, in a quietly rousing way like the warm, bright morning light on the sleepy world. You’d follow him too.
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