With the release of their second record Boycott Classics, the rock-pop duo have forcefully made their way to the forefront of Philly local bands after opening for the Meat Puppets and Jay Reatard. A dynamic collaboration between core members Adam Garbinski and Dave Peterson with talented musicians Kirk Henderson, Brian Newell and Lois Volta, the Bloodline's sound may appear influenced by a vast array of styles. However, they cleverly create structured rock tracks sprinkled with the occasional and eclectic harpsichord, trumpet and xylophone.
The first singer-songwriter ever signed to the independent record label Ropeadope, Ben Arnold continues to dedicate every ounce of his talent to his musical craft. With an undeniable knack for placing candid lyrics over sweetly manipulated melodies, Arnold brings undying thought to his work. This persistent dedication has captured the minds of thousands as he toured across the US and Europe with artists such as Ryan Adams, Ben Folds, Lucinda Williams and more. Arnold's new effort, entitled Nevermind My Blues will be available this October.
Though Birdie Busch's music sounds like a simple and nearly effortless stab at songwriting, her delicately interweaving of country, blues and psychedelic is far more complex than meets the eye. With a primary focus on the nuances of storytelling, Busch bounces narrative against instruments to create a familiar yet completely new experience for the listener. Following the release of her debut album The Ways We Try (2005), she released Penny Arcade. Her latest CD, Pattern of Saturn is shows off her insightful and delicate voice.
Hailing from Moorestown, New Jersey, Frank Cervantes is the lead singer and songwriter of The Once Was, an eclectic four-piece indie rock band descending from the creative zealot that is the home recording studio. Collaborating existential lyrical themes with progressive indie-pop rhythms, the band brings an energetic and surprising live show to audiences and enthusiasts alike. Recently the band released their debut full length album Post War Parade. Based on a shoestring budget leftover from local gigging, the band independently produced their album at Studio 4 in Philadelphia, followed by a cd release at the World Cafe Live. They are set to release their new album The Saga of Rusty Jame in October
As a singer/songwriter, John Conahan follows the tradition of thoughtful, piano-rooted songwriting. With bombastic vocals and dynamic piano playing, he is capable of introspective, sincere yet angular ballads, as well as the danceable and festive rockers. He's shared the stage with the likes of Jeffrey Gaines, Dispatch, Los Lobos and Rachael Sage and performs regularly at the Kimmel Center, World Café Live, and the Tin Angel in his hometown of Philadelphia. John is well known for his witty stage banter and amiable, festive persona.
Indie-rock band, East Hundred began in 2004 when brothers Brooke and Will Blair invited Brooke's then-girlfriend Beryl Guceri to start a recording project. After recording two EP's, the trio welcomed Dave Sunderland (bass) and Susan Gager (keys) to solidify the sound and began to tour regionally. Brian McTear (Philly based Miner Street Studios) produced and recorded the new songs on Passenger, the bands first full-length album. They officially released Passenger on iTunes February 2009.
Harrisburg based indie-group Farewell Flight has been declared by fans and critics alike as one of the hardest working acts in PA. In 2008, the band independently released their debut album Sound.Color.Motion. and has been touring relentlessly from coast to coast in support of it. The band's tight musicianship is evident in their live shows, where these four talented guys pour their hearts into their music. Currently, Farewell Flight continues to tour and is working on a new album slated for a late 2009 release.
A Temple University graduate in Political Science intended to become a lawyer, but after finding success writing country music in Nashville, Tennessee for major recording artists his life took a turn. Luckily, in the early 90s this fantastic artist decided to step away from the country music scene and come back to Philadelphia where he eagerly began a career in Folk/Americana music. He is a social activist who recently joined Arlo Guthrie and Willie Nelson on tour to benefit victims of Katrina. He is also an award-winning children's recording artist and heard frequently on WXPN's Kids Corner. John has made several performances at the XPoNential Music Festival, and other festivals and venues across the country. You may have heard him sing as a special guest at the Phillies games too!!
With or without microphones, the whole band is singing. Songs about skyscrapers, ending droughts, literary characters, and everyday struggle separate this band from others who link themselves to only a few standard topics. The Great Unknown approaches its themes like a traditional American band nodding to Guthrie, Dylan and The Band but still developing a sound that is modern. The Philadelphia Inquirer said about The Great Unknown, "These truck-stop cowboys from West Philly bring more snap and vehemence to their songs than this genre (think Wilco, for purposes of orientation) usually offers."
Dan DeLuca of the Philadelphia Inquirer wrote this about the John Train Band, "Though between John Train and the Donuts, he's released 10 albums in the last decade, [Jon] Houlon calls himself an 'amateur musician.' There's nothing amateurish about Mesopotamia Blues, however. The production by Mike 'Slo-Mo' Brenner of the album recorded at Fishtown's Miner Street studio brings a skilled and versatile roots ensemble to life, and Houlon succeeds at writing story songs, not screeds."
Sean Hoots and Andrew "Hellmouth" Gray became a partnership in early 2005 and joined forces with Rob Berliner on mandolin to form their own brand of "bleeding soul." The band takes its cues from mountain musicians like Roscoe Holcomb and Doc Watson, integrated with a dynamic gospel sound reminiscent of artists like Rev. Gary Davis. The wild intensity of their live performances, caught the attention of both audiences and critics. Regarding the group's talent and potential, the editors of Paste magazine wrote, "Hoots & Hellmouth have things going for them that most deliberate bands only dream of." They will head out in the fall on a "harvest tour" of community-supported agricultural farms.
Theotis Joe, also known as Dirty Reddd, is a Philly-based MC, producer, and songwriter. He also owns and operates a company called Dirt Network Music Group.
On May 17, Philly folk staple Chris Kasper released Chasing Another Sundown, his first fully-produced studio full-length. The album, which features backup from Devon Sproule, Ben Arnold, and others, maintains Kasper's signature ethereal folky sound while also allowing for more development and complexity that a fully-produced LP can afford.
Singer-songwriter Lizanne Knott works both behind the scenes and on the mainstage of the local music scene; in addition to providing Philadelphia with fantastic folk-rock, she serves as the liaison for the New York Songwriter's Circle, works with the Musicians on Call program, and is affiliated with many other groups such including ASCAP (American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers). She released the outstanding South of Graceland last October.
Philly-based rockers Latebloom adopted the theme of an "analog mind in a digital world" for their latest release, The Hovercraft Diaries. Written, recorded, produced, and performed by singer/songwriter/producer Lance Davis (formerly of Sheltondavis) and guitarist Chris Horne, Latebloom possesses a raw, pure energy with an edgy, sometimes psychedelic and sometimes rootsy, sound.
As WXPN's Artist to Watch for February 2009, Little's latest release Perfect Time for a Breakdown received impressive critiques across the country. In the last year alone, Little opened for the legendary Robert Plant and Alison Krauss, Al Green, Chris Isaak, and Jonny Lang. In addition, her music has been featured on multiple television shows ("CSI: NY", "NCIS", and "NUMB3RS"), and was a guest on World Cafe with David Dye. Currently, Little is in the studio working on a new album.
A musician from a young age, James Maddock gained notoriety in the late 90s in the band Wood. Wood's debut Songs from Stamford Hill gained Maddock a legion of loyal fans, but not widespread success. Right when it seemed he was destined for stardom, his marriage crumbled and his label dropped him. After his departure with Columbia, Maddock focused on a comeback and has been performing under his own name. His upcoming album Sunrise on Avenue C is picking up critical acclaim and hype as Maddock is relying on pure talent to regain his footing in the music world.
Cynthia G. Mason's haunting voice, razor-sharp insight, and delicate guitar-work create a mood not unlike that of Philadelphia itself - a mix of melancholy and hope. Her unique songwriting and captivating live performances have earned her both local and national praise. Performing Songwriter Magazine called her self-titled CD "startlingly intimate, confessional, indicting, personal and fierce." Time Out New York wrote that "her graceful, understated songs frequently awed clubs full of noisy chatterers into silence." The Philadelphia City Paper once nominated Cynthia as the Best Female Vocalist in the city. Her album Quitter's Claim, recorded with the help of friend and musical partner Larry D. Brown (a.k.a. Grey Reverend), is out now on the High Two label.
Dan May has been everything from a grave digger to a nuclear missile security guard and even a professional opera singer, touring across the country with numerous companies. Unfortunately, May underwent a vocal chord operation that disabled him from singing professional opera. However, this operation was a blessing in disguise as he is now a successful singer/songwriter, greatly contributing to the Philadelphia music scene. His most recent release, The Long Road Home, incorporates the talents of many renown local artists, such as Tin Bird Choir's Heather Hurlock, Antje Duvekot, and even Mike "Slo-Mo" Brenner on the guitar synthesizer.
Though Jim McGorman may not be an international household name, millions of people worldwide have undoubtedly heard or seen the Philadelphia native play. He been in the house band for CBS shows "Rockstar: INXS" and "Rockstar: Supernova", toured with Cher, played with Aaron Neville, Poison, and Avril Lavigne, performed on "The Tonight Show", and worked as musical director for Michelle Branch. Jim also works with his own band, Jamestown Ltd, which released The World Is Falling Down in 2006.
Missing Palmer West formed in Spring 2006 from the remains of two previous West Chester groups: The Wise & Foolish Builders and The Bigger Lovers. The piano-centric band fuses sounds and influences to create what the Philadelphia Weekly calls "an open-hearted indie pop sound with a touch of baroque fussiness, and rich, full harmonies fueled by power pop melodies."
Newcomers to the Philadelphia music community, The Mural and the Mint just released their first full-length album, Private Pockets. Created in prolific Philadelphia hit factory Miner Street Studios with Brian McTear, you can buy the album for a small donation on the band's website.
Philly six-piece The Nasty Habits is a diverse group of musicians who have come together to cover five decades worth of classic rock. Singer and frontman Dave J. is also a member of the founding staff of Ruffhouse Records (Lauryn Hill, The Fugees). From The Temptations to the Grateful Dead, The Nasty Habits have made the American classic rock oeuvre their own.
The Rigbees hail from Willow Grove, PA, a small suburb 15 miles due north of Philadelphia where 3 of the 4 members live within one block of each other. Physical proximity aside, the band members have diverse musical influences, backgrounds and credits to their name including: recording a CD for MCA/Refuge with Don Gehman (R.E.M., Hootie & the Blowfish, John Mellencamp), opening for bands as varied as Train, Live, Better Than Ezra, G Love & Special Sauce, Fuel, Blue Oyster Cult, Tenacious D and Conway Twitty, and playing on a song that went Top 10 in Portugal.
Hailing from Lancaster, PA, Hiram Ring has been mastering the art of making music from an early age. Born in a small village in Africa, Ring learned to understand rhythms and harmonies, how to sing melody, how to understand rhythm and feel it in the depths of one's soul, from his local community. Ring is as real a person and musician as they come. His self-promoted four track EP, Go From Here sold over 500 copies in only three weeks and recently, he created his own label, Ring Records, where he creates his own music and works with talented musicians to help them understand the recording process and industry.
Phil Roy was discovered on Sunset Boulevard by Ted Templeman, a music executive also responsible for discovering Van Halen, Little Feat, and the Doobie Brothers. Roy, after initial disappointment as a recording artist, decided to focus on songwriting and eventually relocated to Philadelphia. For fifteen years, he worked for numerous publishers with legends such as Ray Charles, Joe Cocker, The Neville Brothers, and Pops Staples. In January 2000, Roy released his surprise breakthrough debut Grouchyfriendly on his own Ear Pictures label. His song "Melt" won in The 2nd Annual Independent Music Awards for best Folk/Singer-Songwriter Song. In 2004, Roy performed at the Lincoln Center to a sold-out crowd as part of the "America Songbook" series. Yet the same year, Roy's record label terminated his contract and his marriage collapsed. In response to these setbacks, Roy began his "I'm Not Leaving the House" tour in November 2005. Operating out of his townhouse with a table for sixteen, Roy provides home-cooked food and original songs for his diners on a monthly basis. Phil Roy's latest album In the Weird Small Hours will be released September 29.
Tom Hamilton is still only in his mid-20's but is being praised for possessing the talent of songwriters twice his age. Hamilton joined forces with Brooklyn based musicians, guitarist Scott Metzger, bassist Jim Hamilton, vibraphone virtuoso Kevin Kendrick, and the highly praised drummer Joe Russo. With a less is more approach to their songs, American Babies released their self-titled full-length album in 2007. They are currently at work on their sophomore release, which will be released this fall.
Since her first self-released album in the early 1990s, Susan Werner has continuously reinvented herself. From jazz to folk to gospel and opera, Werner glides between genres while exploring issues others dare not to undertake. While living in Philadelphia, she put her opera plans aside after a Nanci Griffith concert inspired the Temple alumnae to become a singer-songwriter. Along the way she's recorded seven compilations including her 1995 breakout album with BMG/Private Music and My Strange Nation, her 2005 "alternative national anthem" released on the internet satellite radio. The March 2007 release of The Gospel Truth, her latest album, captures Werner's spiritual questions through an agnostic gospel record.
A vibrant 31-year-old pianist/songstress, Rachael Yamagata is a professional and emotional songwriter. Her start began as a vocalist for the funk band Bumpus, under which she toured extensively and recorded three albums. As she shifted into a solo career in 2001, Yamagata's rich vocals, tinged with jazz influences, landed her a record deal with Arista and in 2002 she released her epononymous EP. It wasn't until the release of her first full album Happenstance that she distinguished herself from a blending group of female artists. Her newest two-part album Elephants… Teeth Sinking Into Heart is an interesting combination of soft vulnerability and gritty skepticism. Along with emotionally candid piano playing, the album demonstrates a new edgier guitar infused side to Yamagata.