#XPNFest artist Ali Awan shares tender State House Session

Ali Awan | photo by Caitlin Phillips | via

It’d be weird if Ali Awan did something we didn’t love. Everything he touches seems to turn to gold. His latest gift to us all is a two-song State House Session. Backed by his band, Awan treats viewers to mellow renditions of “Be a Light” and “Butterfly.” Compared to his bombastic NON-COMM set, this session shows off Awan’s tender and soothing side.

Continue reading →


Indie Rock Hit Parade Live Session: Forth Wanderers

Forth Wanderers | Photo by Eric Schuman for XPN

Joining us for this Indie Rock Hit Parade live session is an up-and-coming New Jersey band that proves the power of friendship. Forth Wanderers formed in 2013, when singer Ava Trilling and guitarist/songwriter Ben Guterl were in high school. What began as a casual songwriting partnership quickly blossomed into a full-fledged band, rounded out by guitarist Duke Greene, bassist Noah Schifrin, and drummer Zach Lorelli. The group’s newly released self-titled album is their second overall and first for Sub Pop. The morning after their show at the First Unitarian Church, Forth Wanderers dropped by to perform some of the new songs live.

Continue reading →


#XPNFest announces more artists, incl. Natalie Prass and The National Reserve

Natalie Prass | photo by Tonje Thilesen // Fantastic Negrito // The National Reserve | photo by Michael Cooper // Forth Wanderers | photo by Julia Leiby // all photos courtesy of the artists

77 more days, 11 weeks left, a little over two months to go – however you want to say it, you better believe XPNFest is coming up quickly! Kicking off on Friday, July 27 across the river in Wiggins Park, NJ, the annual festival is returning for its 25th rendition. Today, we’re pleased to announce four more artists set to appear at the fest.

Joining the Wiggins Park crowd on Friday is Brooklyn’s The National Reserve, who just wrapped up a Free at Noon set earlier this afternoon. The Brooklynites show off their bluesy brand of Americana rock on their latest album, Motel La Grange, which just so happens to be out today. Give the album a spin if you missed the band’s set, or relisten to some of the tracks the band played earlier on air. Continue reading →


Watch Offa Rex add a psychedelic groove to the traditional folk song “Blackleg Miner”

Offa Rex | photo courtesy of the artist
Offa Rex | photo by Shervin Lainez | courtesy of the artist

New group Offa Rex is the beautiful folky brainchild between indie outfit The Decemberists and singer-songwriter  Olivia Chaney. The collaborative project, which is rooted in traditional British folk music, will debut their upcoming album Queen of Hearts on July 7th. But before then, the band has released a video for their take on the historic song, “Blackleg Miner.” Continue reading →


The Key Presents: Backstage with Brandi Carlile

Brandi Carlile | photo by Jeremy Zimmerman |

It was the 11th hour at the 2016 XPoNential Music Festival, and as Old Crow Medicine Show kicked into “Wagon Wheel,” we headed backstage at the BB&T to meet up with the star of the night — Brandi Carlile. Just before she hit the big stage, she and the Twins (that’s Phil and Tim Hanseroth) sat down for an intimate and jaw-dropping performance of “The Eye.”

It’s a song that Carlile says was a long time coming for her and the Hanseroths, who got together in Seattle “in a time when grunge was at its peak, and it was very uncool to say that you were into three part harmonies.” As Carlile later told her fans at XPNFest, “this song is about how there is no lead singer, there’s only somebody who insists that she is.” Continue reading →


XPN Fest Preview: Veteran sidewoman Eliza Hardy Jones takes center stage

Eliza Hardy Jones
Eliza Hardy Jones | Photo by Ryan Collerd | | courtesy of the artist

Eliza Hardy Jones is a seasoned side-woman. She plays keys and sings in the Grace Potter band, Strand Of Oaks and Nightlands, she’s one-half of the founding partnership in Buried Beds. She excels in maintaining a stage presence that adds to live experience, begs the audience to turn their glances to her.

“Part of your job as a side person is to be a part of the performance,” she says. “You can’t stand there like a sad lump, like you’re bored. You have to be engaged to the music because that helps other people be engaged with the music.”

Hardy Jones has performed twice at XPoNential Music Festival before – once with Grace Potter and the other with Strand Of Oaks. This year she’ll perform, on the River Stage at Wiggins Park at at noon on Sunday, July 24, for the first time as herself. As a frontwoman. Continue reading →