Artist to Watch

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The premier guide for new and significant artists in rock, blues, and folk - including NPR-syndicated World Cafe ®

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24/7 Musical discovery. A unique mix of emerging and heritage blues, rock, world, folk, and alt-country artists.

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Join David Dye as he navigates the World Cafe through live performances and interviews with celebrated and emerging artists.

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Folk music radio streaming on the web; Americana, Roots Music, recordings, and stories from folk's best.
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Hear a Live Friday Free At Noon Concert at 12noon ET from WXPN and NPR Music
Broadcast Live Fridays from the stage at World Cafe Live




Rachael Yamagata Rachael Yamagata just released an intimate new EP titled, Heavyweight. With her graceful and riveting voice, she's coming to Philadelphia for a Free at Noon performance on December 7. With three studio albums and four EPs released, Yamagata is a soulful critically-acclaimed singer-songwriter who generates unforgettable emotionally-charged music.

Throughout her solo career, Yamagata received the opportunity to collaborate alongside well-known artists in the industry such as Mandy Moore, Jason Mraz and Ryan Adams. And, many of her songs have been featured on a variety of TV shows like Grey's Anatomy, The O.C., One Tree Hill and The L Word. Her last full-length album release, Chesapeake (Frankenfish Records/Megaforce Records) in 2011, received stellar reviews and helped Yamagata establish a solid presence in the industry. Additionally, her talent with music has recently landed her a coveted #1 spot on the Australian Single's chart with the smash single "You Won't Let Me."

Rachael Yamagata has been an XPN Artist To Watch, played the XPoNential Music Festival, XPN Free At Noon, Musicians on Call Benefit, had a CD of the Month and Featured Albums on WXPN, as well as several end-of-year-in-review lists. Currently participating in an extensive North American Tour, she'll play a full show at First Unitarian Church on Friday night, December 7 at 8:30pm. You can find her complete tour schedule here.

Website: rachaelyamagata.com/
Facebook: facebook.com/rachaelyamagata

Recent Release: Heavyweight EP
Release Date: 2012
Label: Frankenfish Records
Band Origin: New York, NY

A co-production of WXPN and NPR.org/music.
Made possible by support from XPN Members, and Comcast.

Hear a Live Friday Free At Noon Concert at 12noon ET from WXPN and NPR Music
Broadcast Live Fridays from the stage at World Cafe Live




photo credit:  Kevin Mazur Graham Parker & the Rumour just released their first new album in 31 years – Three Chords Good and play the TLA on Friday, November 30.

British singer-songwriter Graham Parker has made major contributions to rock music. Since 1975, his collaboration with the Rumour – consisting of founding members Bob Andrews, Brinsley Shcwarz, Martin Belmont, Andrew Bodnar, and Stehphen Goulding – has led to multiple chart singles and hit albums. After recording The Up Escalator in 1981, Parker and the Roumour officially split. Parker went on to release a score of solo albums, making the charts in both the U.S. and the U.K., as well as a number of collaborative albums with artists like Lucinda Williams, the Shot, and the Figgs. In 2011, Parker reunited with all the original members of the Rumour to record the group's first album in over thirty years. Their new album, Three Chords Good, is now available for purchase, along with their new single "Long Emotional Ride." The group will be touring the U.S. this November through December to promote the album. Parker was also contacted that year by writer/director/producer Judd Apatow to play a small role in the upcoming film This Is 40. The movie is due for theatrical release December 21, 2012 and features Parker as himself and performances by him with both Tom Freund and the Rumour.

Recent Release: Three Chords Good
Release Date: 2012


Facebook: facebook.com/GrahamParkerOfficial
Website: http://www.grahamparker.net
photo credit:  Nigel Crane Martin Harley is on tour in support of his new release, Mojo Fix

The Martin Harley Band are the UK's premier blues and roots-influenced acoustic combo. Fronted by the inimitable singer and guitarist Martin Harley (also an accomplished solo performer), and based around his sublime songwriting, the MHB (as their fans know them) truly are a band like no other. With a strong DIY ethic and a love of unusual instrumentation, from Martin's distinctive lap-slide guitar to balalaikas, double bass and tiny cocks tail drumkit, and bolstered by delectable three-part harmonies, the band have crafted a unique, timeless sound that has seen them develop a sizeable following both in the UK and abroad.

The MHB have garnered a reputation as one of the hardest-working bands around, with an almost unbroken program of gigs, tours and festival appearances at home and overseas, so you can probably expect to catch one of their legendarily energetic live shows at a venue near you. Despite their hectic schedule, however, they have still found time to record two excellent albums, with their latest offering, 'Drumrolls For Somersaults', due on 12th April, marking an even more impressive progression of their original yet accessible sound.

Marin Harley will be performing solo on November 30. The band will be back on the road again in March 2013 with the brand new album Mojo Fix.

Facebook: facebook.com/martinharleyband
Website: http://www.martinharleyband.com


Recent Release: Mojo Fix
Release Date: 2013
Label: Villainous Records
Hometown: UK

A co-production of WXPN and NPR.org/music.
Made possible by support from XPN Members, and Comcast.

Eyes On You, new album from Philly's Shark Tape Philly's Shark Tape have a new album, Eyes On You.

Shark Tape is the up-and-coming indie rock band of Philadelphia. Formed in March of 2012, the group has already made two EPs, Shark Tape and Eyes on You, the latter released on iTunes this past June. Despite Shark Tape's fairly premature existence, members Stephen Lorek, Niles Weiss, and Dylan Mulcahy are no newcomers to the music world. Their previous success with the Philadelphia band Bojibian has given them experience to create rock songs with cleverness and depth. The band is hoping to start releasing more singles this November.


Recent Release: Eyes on You EP
Release Date: June 2012
Label: unsigned
Hometown: Philadelphia, PA

Facebook: facebook.com/SharkTape
Website: http://www.sharktapemusic.com/

Hear a Live Friday Free At Noon Concert at 12noon ET from WXPN and NPR Music
Broadcast Live Fridays from the stage at World Cafe Live




One of the founding members of The Smashing Pumpkins, Guitarist and songwriter, James Iha just released his second solo album, Look To The Sky and will be here the day after Thanksgiving, Friday, November 23, for an XPN Free At Noon concert.

James Iha Since his debut, James Iha has continued to explore various realms of the music world. He is most known for co-founding the premier alternative rock group The Smashing Pumpkins in 1988 with bandmate Billy Corgan, along with being the group's rhythmic guitarist.

Since its formation, The Smashing Pumpkins have produced seven studio albums, four of which have gone platinum. The band has also received multiple nominations and awards, including Grammy Awards for "Best Hard Rock Performance" and an American Music Award for "Favorite Alternative Artist." In 2012, the band released their most recent album Oceania, which they will be promoting this December with a national tour.

In addition to his work with The Smashing Pumpkins, Iha has produced music for multiple artists, including rock artist Marilyn Manson. Currently, he co-owns both independent record label Scratchie Records and recording studio Stratosphere Sound. Iha has continued to make music as well as produce it. In 2003, he became a member of the band A Perfect Circle, which he returned to again in 2010 after the group was briefly suspended. He will perform with A Perfect Circle in Las Vegas this December and subsequently tour with the group in Australia from February to March. Iha has also released two solo albums, his most recent being Look to the Sky in September.

Facebook: facebook.com/jamesihamusic
Website: http://www.jamesiha.com


Recent Release: Look to the Sky
Release Date: September 18, 2012
Label: The End Records
Hometown: Chicago, Illinois

A co-production of WXPN and NPR.org/music.
Made possible by support from XPN Members, and Comcast.

Hear a Live Friday Free At Noon Concert at 12noon ET from WXPN and NPR Music
Broadcast Live Fridays from the stage at World Cafe Live




Led by brothers Joseph & David Dunwell, the British folk rockers, The Dunwells, released their first album this year, called Blind Sighted Faith. they are touring the states and stop in Philly for an XPN Free At Noon concert on November 16!

Formed in 2009, the Dunwells can be best classified as an English folk-rock band that has recently been making waves in the American music scene. Based in Leeds, England, the band released its highly acclaimed debut album Blind Sighted Faith (Concord/Playing In Traffic) in February 2012. The band has been named HMV’s Next Big Thing of 2012 and has opened for artists like Mumford & Sons. Recently, peaking at #19 in the Triple A radio music chart, the British band continues to flourish in the music scene.

The band consists of five members, all of whom were independently successful in the Leeds music scene before the band’s formation. Brothers Joseph Dunwell (vocals, guitar) and David Dunwell (guitar, piano, banjo), cousins Jonny Lamb (vocals, drums) and Rob Clayton (bass), and finally Dave Hanson (guitar, pedal steel) form The Dunwells. Capturing the attention of Tony Moore during a performance at The Bedford in London, the band was invited to perform at the 2011 International Folk Alliance Conference, resulting in the immediate signing to the Austin based label Playing In Traffic. Working with the legendary music producer John Porter, the band re-released Blind Sighted Faith in August and relaunched their highly successful and catchy single “I Could Be King.”

To promote the re-release of Blind Sighted Faith , the Dunwells toured across the United States playing at major music venues like Austin City Limits and Lollapalooza. In addition, the band was able to perform “Follow The Road” on The Tonight Show with Jay Leno. Essentially, The Dunwells have us convinced that they are a band to keep in your music playlist. Come enjoy a Free At Noon performance of the band on November 16, 2012 at World Cafe Live!

In addition to the XPN Free At Noon, The Dunwells play Rams Head Live in Baltimore on November 14!

Facebook: facebook.com/TheDunwells
Website: thedunwells.com/


Recent Release: Blind Sighted Faith
Release Date: August28, 2012
Label: Concord Records
Hometown: Leeds, England

A co-production of WXPN and NPR.org/music.
Made possible by support from XPN Members, and Comcast.

Hear a Live Friday Free At Noon Concert at 12noon ET from WXPN and NPR Music
Broadcast Live Fridays from the stage at World Cafe Live




XPN Artist To Watch JD McPherson returns to Philadelphia on Friday November 2 for a sold out show at Johnny Brendas, and he'll be our guest for a Free At Noon concert.
Photo credit Samantha Franklin Oklahoma artist JD McPherson and his band brought their retro-infused rock & roll sound to the XPoNential Music Festival last summer. And, his debut album, Signs and Signifiers, released in April was both an XPN Featured Album of the Week, and CD of the Month this year. The album captures his appreciation of classic rock 'n' roll; the guitarist's gift lies in his ability to repackage timeless sounds into catchy, relevant tunes. McPherson also made a stop on the World Cafe with host David Dye in August. Listen to J.D. McPherson's World Cafe session on TheKey.XPN.org, and check out the video of him performing "Farmer John" onstage at the Festival.


Recent Release: Signs and Signifiers
Release Date: April 2012
Label: Rounder
Hometown: Chicago, IL

Ten Thousand Villages Ten Thousand Villages, with 10 fair trade retail stores in the greater Philadelphia area supports XPN Artist to Watch. Stop by the Ten Thousand Villages table during the Artist to Watch Ryan Bingham Free at Noon, and learn more about the festive holiday decor items and gifts handcrafted by fairly paid artisans around the world. From shining mercury glass to whimsical ornaments to jewelry, scarves, art decor and keepsakes Ten Thousand Villages' holiday items celebrate cultures around the world.

A co-production of WXPN and NPR.org/music.
Made possible by support from XPN Members, and Comcast.

Hear a Live Friday concert at 12noon ET from WXPN and NPR Music
Broadcast Live Fridays from the stage at World Cafe Live




Danielia Cotton Daniela Cotton was an XPN Artist To Watch in 2005, and it has been four years since she released her acclaimed album Rare Child. Since then, the singer-songwriter has endured some very personal tragedies. Between the two albums, she lost the twins she was pregnant with and survived cancer. Her new album, Gun In Your Hand, was inspired by her endurance of these, very personal, losses. The album embodies her typical blend of soul-searing funk and rock. On her single, “Save me,” Cotton pleads "I’m halfway to hell and the devil knows my name. Somebody save me, I don’t want to go crazy." The album is gut wrenching and intimate while searing with the spirit of someone who nearly drowned but somehow made it to shore. Cotton uses her raspy, bluesy wail to convey the story of, as she simply puts it, "survival." She also reworks “Lighthouse Keeper,” a lighter, hopeful tune. Cotton’s Gun in Your Hand is due out October 30.

Cotton played the Sellersville Theater on September 24, and will be playing XPN's Free At Noon show on Friday, October 26, 2012.

Website: danieliacotton.com
Facebook: facebook.com/danieliacotton
Recent Release: Gun In Your Hand
Release Date: October 30, 2012
Label: Adrenaline Records/ADA
Hometown: NYC

A co-production of WXPN and NPR.org/music.
Made possible by support from XPN Members, and Comcast.

Hear a Live Friday Free At Noon Concert at 12noon ET from WXPN and NPR Music
Broadcast Live Fridays from the stage at World Cafe Live




A double-hearder, featuring Ryan Bingham and Sea Wolf

Grammy & Academy Award winning Songwriter, Ryan Bingham just released his new album, Tomorrowland, and performs, Friday night, October 19 at Union Transfer in Philly. Sea Wolf is on tour in support of their new album, Old World Romance. He plays The North Star Bar on Sunday, October 21. They're both here on Friday, October 12 for an XPN Free At Noon.

Ryan Bingham Ryan Bingham still maintains a remarkable connection to his roots. Born in New Mexico and raised on the ranches of Texas, the Americana singer-songwriter turned to music, and at 17 learned to play the guitar.

Ryan was 26 when his first album, Mescalito, hit the music scene in 2007. Backed by The Dead Horses' Matthew Smith (drums), Corby Schaub (guitar, mandolin), and Jeb Stuart (bass), Bingham's debut hearkened to his upbringing in Texas. Bingham followed up his debut album with Roadhouse Sun, released in June 2009.

Bingham was featured in the movie, Crazy Horse, which proved to be a major boon to his career. His song "The Weary Kind" garnered him both a Golden Globe and an Academy award for "best original song," as well as a Grammy.

His latest album, Tomorrowland, was released last month.

Website: binghammusic.com/
Facebook: facebook.com/RyanBingham
Recent Release: Tomorrowland
Release Date: September 18, 2012
Label: Axster Bingham Records
Hometown: Texas, New Mexico

Ten Thousand Villages Ten Thousand Villages, with 10 fair trade retail stores in the greater Philadelphia area supports XPN Artist to Watch. Stop by the Ten Thousand Villages table during the Artist to Watch Ryan Bingham Free at Noon, and learn more about the festive holiday decor items and gifts handcrafted by fairly paid artisans around the world. From shining mercury glass to whimsical ornaments to jewelry, scarves, art decor and keepsakes Ten Thousand Villages' holiday items celebrate cultures around the world.

Sea WolfTaking it’s name from the Jack London adventure novel and headed by Los Angeles based singer-songwriter Alex Brown Church, Sea Wolf began recording demos in early 2000 with producer Phil Elk who has worked with The Shins, Band of Horses, and Built to Spill. Sea Wolf was named a WXPN Artist to Watch in 2007. The band's records include Leaves in the River and White Water, White Bloom..

Sea Wolf returned with his new album Old World Romance on September 11, which combines his typical vivid, eloquent imagery and warm acoustic styling. Church chose to write, record and produce Old World Romance primarily alone from his home studio and the album is a departure from the more expansive and less intimate White Water, White Bloom. You can listen to the new album in its entirety on TheKey.XPN.org.

Sea Wolf is playing Le Poisson Rouge in NYC on October 19, and The North Star Bar in Philadelphia, on Sunday, October 21 with Hey Marseilles and Andrew Lipke.

Website: seawolfmusic.com
Facebook: facebook.com/seawolf

Recent Release: Old World Romance
Release Date: September 11, 2012
Label: Dangerbird
Hometown: Los Angeles

A co-production of WXPN and NPR.org/music.
Made possible by support from XPN Members, and Comcast.

Hear a Live Friday Free At Noon Concert at 12noon ET from WXPN and NPR Music
Broadcast Live Fridays from the stage at World Cafe Live




The Jon Spencer Blues Explosion The Jon Spencer Blues Explosion broke out into the New York City music scene in 1991 with their unique mix of alt rock, punk, and blues. Since then, the band has continued to experiment with their sound, releasing numerous albums over their 20+ year career. The band has worked with a diverse group of artists throughout their expansive career, such as Elliot Smith, Dr. John, Beck, and Ad Rock of the Beastie Boys. All three members of the group have also done various individual projects, working with artists such as Cat Power, Duran Duran, Yeah Yeah Yeahs, Tom Waits, and Yoko Ono. Following the reissues of their Matador albums, the band just released a raucous new album entitled Meat and Bone on September 18th, which is their first studio album in eight years. The band kicks off its tour in the U.S. and Canada in support of the release of Meat and Bone, plays The Abbey Bar in Harrisburg on October 4, and is in Philadelphia on Saturday, October 6th for a show at Underground Arts.

Website: thejonspencerbluesexplosion.com/
Facebook: facebook.com/thejonspencerbluesexplosion
Recent Release: Meat and Bone
Release Date: September 20, 2012
Label: Mom & Pop Music

Hometown: New York City, NY

A co-production of WXPN and NPR.org/music.
Made possible by support from XPN Members, and Comcast.

Hear a Live Friday Free At Noon Concert at 12noon ET from WXPN and NPR Music
Broadcast Live Fridays from the stage at World Cafe Live




Shemekia Copeland photo credit Sandra Lee Shemekia Copeland is no newcomer to Blues. A mere 33 years old, he has opened for the Rolling Stones and been nominated for two GRAMMYs. She has performed with legends such as Mick Jagger, B.B. King, Buddy Guy, and Eric Clapton. Her soulful, throaty voice has graced the stage at numerous music festivals the world over, including the XPoNential Music Festival. And, she has performed at the White House.

Copeland's stregnth lies in the sheer power of her voice. A melodic powerhouse, She is sometimes compared to Tina Turner - and with good reason. The music she produces combines the sounds of the city with a vocal tour-de-force. Her fans include Maya Angelou, Carlos Santana, and Robert Plant.

Born in Harlem in 1979 to Texas blues guitarist Johnny Clyde Copeland, Shemika grew up with music around every corner. She first performed (at her father's request) in Harlem's old Cotton Club when she was only eight. At fifteen, with her father's health failing, Shemika turned to music as a refuge. At nineteen, she released Turn the Heat Up! on Alligator Records. A year later, she appeared in the movie, Three to Tango. In the year following that motion picture debut, she released her second album, Wicked.

Wicked (2000) garnered Copeland three Handy awards (Song of the Year, Blues Album of the Year, and Contemporary Female Artist of the Year). It also earned her a GRAMMY nomination.

Copeland's third album, Talking to Strangers, was released in 2002 and was praised as a bold and well-crafted departure from her previous works. Three years later, in 2005, she released The Soul Truth to critical acclaim. In it, she collaborated with Stax guitar man Steve Cropper, who also produced the album.

In 2009, Copeland released Never Going Back, her fifth album, this time under the Telarc label. Her new album is due out September 26, called "33 1//3" on Telarc. Shemekia's musical backing includes Arthur Neilson on guitar, Willie Scandlyn on rhythm guitar, Kevin Jenkins on bass, and Morris Roberts on the drums.

In addition to XPN's Free At Noon, Shemekia Copeland plays a full show at World Cafe Live on Friday night, September 28, 2012!

Website: shemekiacopeland.com/
Facebook: facebook.com/shemekiacopelandband
Recent Release: 33 1/3
Release Date: 09/25/2012
Label: Telarc

Hometown: Harlem, NY

A co-production of WXPN and NPR.org/music.
Made possible by support from XPN Members, and Comcast.

Hear a Live Friday Free At Noon Concert at 12noon ET from WXPN and NPR Music
Broadcast Live Fridays from the stage at World Cafe Live at The Queen




Calexico Calexico is celebrating their recent release, Algiers, and stops in Wilmington for a special XPN Free At Noon from World Cafe Live at the Queen in Wilmington

There are constants in the shapeshifting collective known as Calexico: Calexico founders Joey Burns (Vocals/Guitar) and John Convertino (drums). Together they have lit up the indie scene for over a decade, releasing six albums and five EPs. Their music has hints of country, jazz, and indie rock, combined with a hearty dose of Latin styles. Their name reflects their mixed heritage, which is in turn reflected in their music. Another trademark of Calexico is the richly narrative aspect of their lyrics. The stories they tell, in large part reflections of their native Southwest, are moving and dramatic.

Burns and Convertino met in LA in 1990 through the band Giant Sand. They both collaborated with Giant Sand, eventually relocating when the band moved to Arizona in 1994. Their first independent work was recorded on the album Spoke in 1996, under the small Hausmusik label. At the time, Spoke was both the album and band name. Spoke caught the attention of Quarterstick Records, and the band signed under their new name. "Calexico" is the name of a town in southern California, and reflected the band's diverse musical roots. In 2007, Quarterstick re-released Spoke.

By the time Calexico released their next album, The Black Light (1998),they were a cornerstone of the Arizona music scene. The band reinforced this with Hot Rail (2000) and Scraping (2002), still keeping the Quarterstick label. In 2003, their LP Feast of Wire became a huge hit, making the Billboard Heatseekers and Independent Album charts. One song from the album, "Guero Canelo," was chosen for the soundtrack to Collateral, a blockbuster featuring Tom Cruise and Jamie Foxx.

In 2005, the band was introduced to Iron & Wine, and a collaboration was hatched. The result was an EP under the title In the Reins, a critical success. In the Reins marked the first time the band appeared in the Billboard 200. Additionally, they hit the #12 spot on the independent charts. Since then, the band released Carried to Dust in 2008 and has toured with Arcade Fire. Their new album, Algiers, was released September 11, 2012.

They are on tour in Europe and return to the states in October to play the 930 Club in D.C. on October 11, and a full show at Union Transfer in Philly on Friday night, October 12.

Website: casadecalexico.com
Facebook: facebook.com/calexico
Recent Release: Algiers
Release Date: September, 2012
Label: ANTI Records

A co-production of WXPN and NPR.org/music.
Made possible by support from XPN Members, and Comcast.

Hear a Live Friday Free At Noon Concert at 12noon ET from WXPN and NPR Music
Broadcast Live Fridays from the stage at World Cafe Live




Sun Airway Philadelphia's electronic pop band, Sun Airway, have a new album coming out on October 2 called Soft Fall and they will be here on Friday, September 21 for an XPN Free At Noon.

“Sun Airway’s music has always had a sense of audio collage to it; chamber string sections peek out like sunbursts, snippets of early electronic music swish and swirl, psychedelic rock rumbles underneath” - so writes John Vettese on The Key.

The work of songwriter and producer Jon Barthmus, Sun Airway released its debut album Nocturne of Exploded Crystal Chandelier in 2010. On October 2nd, Sun Airway releases Soft Fall through the Dead Oceans label. The album pulses with shimmering, moody, upbeat electronica reminiscent of New Order and David Bowie’s 1999 classic Low album. Soft Fall surges with washes of colorful energy in the form excellent pop songs.



Website: sunairway.com/
Facebook: facebook.com/sunairway
Recent Release: Soft Fall
Release Date: October 2, 2012
Label: Dead Oceans

Hometown: Philadelphia

A co-production of WXPN and NPR.org/music.
Made possible by support from XPN Members, and Comcast.

Hear a Live Friday Free At Noon Concert at 12noon ET from WXPN and NPR Music
Broadcast Live Fridays from the stage at World Cafe Live




Richie Sambora Bon Jovi guitarist Richie Sambora, and New Jersey native Richie Sambora has been playing the guitar since he was twelve, inspired by the likes of Jimi Hendrix, Eric Clapton, Jeff Beck, and Jimmy Page. He was the guitarist for the band Message before he was asked to join Bon Jovi in 1983. Sambora has recorded eleven studio albums with Bon Jovi and released two solo albums, 1991's Stranger in This Town and 1998's Undiscovered Soul. He has a new album, "Aftermath of the Lowdown," set for release on September 18. Now Sambora will be gracing the downstairs stage at World Cafe Live for a Free at Noon session on September 14.

Website: richiesambora.com/
Facebook: facebook.com/TheRealSambora
Recent Release: Aftermath of the Lowdown
Release Date: September 25, 2012
Label: Dangerbird

A co-production of WXPN and NPR.org/music.
Made possible by support from XPN Members, and Comcast.

Hear a Live Friday XPN Free At Noon Concert at 12noon ET from WXPN and NPR Music
Broadcast Live Fridays from the stage at World Cafe Live


Canadian Rockers The Sheepdogs were winners of Rolling Stone Magazine's "Choose the Cover" Competition in 2011! They play Johnny Brendas in Philly on September 20, and will be our guest for a special XPN Free At Noon at The Porch (30th Street Amtrak Station) in University City on September 7!

The Sheepdogs - Canadian boogie rock revivalists Canadian rock band The Sheepdogs was formed back in 2006 in their hometown of Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, Canada. Between 2007 and 2011 the band independently released three full-length albums before appearing on the cover of Rolling Stone in August 2011 after winning the magazine’s "Choose the Cover" competition. The Sheepdogs were the first unsigned band to appear on the cover of Rolling Stone and, after gaining recognition, the band was signed to the Warner Music Canada label and Atlantic Records. The band has garnered critical success in Canada, winning awards such as "Favorite New Artist," "Favorite Indie Album," and "Favorite New Album" at the CASBY Awards in 2011, "Rock Album of the Year" at the 2011 Western Canadian Music Awards, and "Rock Album of the Year," "Best New Group" and "Single of the Year" at the 2012 Juno Awards. The band just released the song "The Way it Is" in July as the first single for their new album. The self-titled album, which was produced by The Black Keys’ drummer Patrick Carney, is set to release on September 4, just in time for their XPN Free at Noon performance at The Porch (30th Street Station) in University City on September 7.



Website: thesheepdogs.com
Facebook: facebook.com/thesheepdogs
Recent Release: The Sheepdogs
Release Date: September 4, 2012
Label: Warner Music Canada
Hometown: Saskatchewan, Canada

A co-production of WXPN and NPR.org/music.
Made possible by support from XPN Members, and Comcast.

Hear a Live Friday Free At Noon Concert at 12noon ET from WXPN and NPR Music
Broadcast Live Fridays from the stage at World Cafe Live


the DB's The DB's are back with their first new album in over 25 years, Falling Off The Sky. They'll join us on August 31 for an XPN Free At Noon Concert.

A "power pop/jangle pop" band originally formed of Winston-Salem, North Carolina transplants in New York in 1978 by bass player Chris Stamey when he moved from North Carolina to NYC to attend classes at NYU. Their name is a reference to "drums and bass" as well as the abbreviation for deciBels. The band released two studio albums before Stamey left the group in '82 to pursue a career as a solo artist and producer and then switched up the line-up and released two additional records before they split in 1988. The band has since gotten back together as of 2005 and released a new album, Falling Off the Sky, in June 2012. Although they released two posthumous compilation albums in the 1990s after the break up,Falling Off the Sky was their first new studio release in 25 years and their first in 30 years with the original 1978 lineup. The band is currently playing shows in the U.S. in support of their new album.

Website: thedbs.com

Recent Release: Falling Off the Sky
Release Date: Jun 12, 2012
Label: Bar None
Hometown: New York City, New York

A co-production of WXPN and NPR.org/music.
Made possible by support from XPN Members, and Comcast.

Hear a Live Friday XPN Free At Noon Concert at 12noon ET from WXPN and NPR Music
Broadcast Live Fridays from the stage at World Cafe Live

XPN FREE AT NOON, FEATURING DISPATCH IS SOLD OUT!


Dispatch Dispatch first appeared on the indie music scene back in 1996. The band formed while members How Corrigan, Chad Stokes, and Pete Francis were attending Middlebury College in Vermont and, after achieving modest success, called it quits in 2002. After almost a decade-long hiatus, the New England jam band reunited in 2011 for a national tour and put out their first release in eleven years. Now the band is gearing up for the release of their new album, Circles Around the Sun, in stores this week. The band will be promoting the album on a U.S. tour this fall, including a stop at the Tower Theater on Tuesday, October 9 at 8pm.

Website: dispatchmusic.com/
Facebook: facebook.com/dispatch
Recent Release: Circles Around the Sun
Release Date: August 21, 2012
Label: Universal Republic

A co-production of WXPN and NPR.org/music.
Made possible by support from XPN Members, and Comcast.

Hear a Live Friday XPN Free At Noon Concert at 12noon ET from WXPN and NPR Music
Broadcast Live Fridays from the stage at World Cafe Live


Band of Horses have a new album, Mirage Rock, coming out in September. They perform at The Mann on August 17 with My Morning Jacket. Selah Sue releases her self-titled U.S. debut on August 21. Both artists will be here for an XPN Free At Noon show on Friday, August 17!

Band Of Horses Band of Horses will burst onto the Free at Noon stage August 17th. The band, which traces its origins to Washington state, has survived a tumultuous history: of the four original members, only frontman singer-songwriter Ben Bridwell remains. Bridwell is supported by Tyler Ramsey (guitar/vocals), Bill Reynolds (bass), Ryan Monroe (keyboard), and Creighton Barret (drums). Renowned as soulful rockers with a touch of country, they have garnered a faithful following and numerous awards.

Band of Horses (originally "Horses") got its start in 2004 as Ben Bridwell's pet project after the breakup of his previous band, Carissa's Wierd. Their first album, Everything All the Time, was an indie hit in their northwest corner of the United States. In 2005 they got their first real break, opening for Iron & Wine and catching the ear of the Sub Pop label. Under Sub Pop, they were able to re-release Everything All the Time in 2006 to a larger audience.

The band moved to South Carolina, Bridwell's native state, before releasing their next album. "Cease to Begin" debuted in October, 2007, peaking at 35th on the Billboard charts and exposing the band to their first critical and financial success. Three years later, the band released an even bigger album, "Infinite Arms," this time under COlumbia Records. "Infinite Arms" received the rousing support of critics and fans alike, culminating in a Grammy for the band.

The band's newest album, "Mirage Rock," was produced by recent Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductee Glyn Johns. Johns has worked with such artists as The Beatles, Bob Dylan, The Rolling Stones, The Who, Led Zeppelin, and Eric Clapton, to name only a few. "Mirage Rock" is scheduled for release on September 18.

Website: bandofhorses.com/
Facebook: facebook.com/bandofhorses
Recent Release: Mirage Rock
Release Date: September 18, 2012
Label: Columbia Records
Hometown: Seattle, Washington

Selah Sue Sporting big hair and a bigger voice, Belgian songwriter Selah Sue has gotten significant attention on both sides of the Atlantic. Her 2011 eponymous debut album sold over 400,000 copies in Europe and peaked high on many European charts. She has won two European Border Breakers awards. Selah Sue, whose real name is Sanne Putseys, taught herself acoustic guitar at age 15 in her hometown Leefdall. She was offered a record deal at age 17 by Universal but declined, preferring to write her own songs.

Selah Sue's sound might be best characterized by her song "Raggamuffin," which was the title track of an EP she released in 2010. Selah Sue delivering reggae-style vocals might come as a surprise from a young white European girl, but her control and raw soul talent prevent her from coming of as gimmicky. Her patois-inflection is not at all forced. Her rise to stardom was swift. She first attracted fans on the web with a handful of videos. In just a short while she was opening for Prince when he came to Antwerp, Belgium, recording a duet with Cee-Lo Green entitled Please, and traveling the European festival circuit.

Her soulful sound often draws comparisons to Amy Winehouse. Like Winehouse she often covers The Zutons. She considers Erykah Badu, Lauryn Hill, and of course Bob Marley to be her major influences. Sue studied psychology at Katholieke Universiteit Leuven while trying to launch her musical career. Her studies have helped her better understand human emotion, and understanding that has helped her craft a resonating live performance.

Website: selahsue.com/
Facebook: facebook.com/SelahSue
Recent Release: Selah Sue
Release Date: March 4, 2011
Label: Because Music
Hometown: Leefdaal, Belgium

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Ryan Shaw Ryan Shaw has a new album out, "Real Love." He plays the Mt. Airy Night Market on August 16th, and will be joining us for a Free At Noon Show on August 10.

Gospel and soul music has been a key part of Ryan Shaw's life from birth. The Decatur, Georgia native was born into a deeply faithful southern Pentecostal family. He began singing in church regularly at the young age of five; joining his four brothers in a family group. Shaw's musical upbringing was strictly religious – secular pop music was not part of the picture.

Shaw has thus far released two albums and has been nominated at the Grammys twice for Best Traditional R&B Vocal Performance. Shaw's powerful music showcases a blend of traditional gospel melodies and arrangements – musical elements he feels are neglected in black music today – with some more contemporary lyrical content. Shaw's most recent studio album, Real Love, was released on May 15 of this year on Dynotone Records. The album's title is quite apt; Shaw tackles the topic of love in all its forms with his exalted tenor and deep palpable emotion.

Shaw left college after successfully landing apart in the gospel musical A Good Man is Hard to Find (Part II). He later helped Tyler Perry's musical I Know I've Been Changed become a massive hit, performing sold-out shows at the Beacon in New York. After spending some more time in New York gaining exposure to other forms of music, Shaw joined the classic soul and doo-wop act The Fabulous Soul Shakers in 2004. By 2006 word of his talents reached the ear of the in-demand session percussionist Jimmy Bralower, who recorded a 4 track demo with Shaw. Columbia signed Shaw soon after. Since then Shaw has gone on to be called a "massive talent" by Billboard and open for Van Halen. The seemingly strange choice was a good one – Shaw more than proved his mettle in front of massive audiences.

Website: thisisryanshaw.com/
Facebook: facebook.com/ThisIsRyanShaw
Recent Release: Real Love
Release Date: May 15, 2012
Label: Dynotone Records
Hometown: Decatur, Georgia

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James McMurtry Texas songwriter, James McMurtry is back in town for a show this Friday night at the Tin Angel and will be here at 12noon for an XPN Free At Noon!

Folk rock Americana musician James McMurtry has been accoladed for his expressive lyrics over a 23 year professional career. Each of his songs tells an incredibly rich story that speaks with truth and emotion to his listeners. McMurtry receives less praise for his guitar work, which only stands to show just how influential his lyrics are – the man is phenomenal on the electric guitar.

McMurtry's career got a jump start due to a lucky confluence of circumstances in 1987. First, at a friend's behest, McMurtry entered and ended up winning the New Folk songwriter competition. McMurtry's father is the acclaimed author Larry McMurtry. When John Mellencamp got involved in a project written by McMurtry's father, it gave the artist a chance to get a demo tape in Mellencamp's hands. Mellencamp clearly saw McMurtry's talent from that tape; he co-produced McMurtry's debut album, Too Long in Wasteland.

McMurtry has gone on to release ten more studio albums. The latest is Live Europe, a 2009 release featuring tracks from the artist's first European tour and tremendous live show. McMurtry most successful studio effort is Childish Things, which won the 2006 Americana Music Awards Album of the Year. The song We Can't Make it Here on that album won Song of the Year. McMurtry keeps himself busy. He plays a Wednesday night show whenever he is in Austin at the Continental Club with the Heartless Bastards. McMurtry plays the Tin Angel on Friday night August 3, before heading to Birchmere in Alexandria on August 4, and Rams' Head Tavern on August 5.

Website: jamesmcmurtry.com/
Facebook: facebook.com/JamesMcMurtry
Recent Release: Childish Things
Release Date: 2011
Label: LIGHTNING ROD REC.

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The Tallest Man On Earth is playing Union Transfer on Monday July 30



Tallest Man on Earth Swedish singer-songwriter Kristian Matsson is the epitome of a modern-day troubadour. With his crooning voice and folksy acoustic tunes he could easily be compared to a stripped-down Bob Dylan. Matsson recently released his third full-length album under the moniker The Tallest Man on Earth. The album, There's No Leaving Now, is the follow-up to 2010's The Wild Hunt and, for fans of his previous work, the latest release does not disappoint.

However simple his formula may seem, The Tallest Man on Earth is much more than just a man with a guitar. Matsson's intricately crafted finger picking, thoughtful lyrics, and big voice give his work height far greater than is average stature—making the name Tallest Man on Earth quite fitting.

In support of his new album, There's No Leaving Now, released June 12 on Dead Oceans, Matsson announced a few tour dates this summer, starting in Sweden, then the U.S. and the U.K., and finishing up in Belgium. In addition to the July 27 XPN Free At Noon, he's playing the 930 Club in DC on July 26, and the Newport Folk Festival in Rhode Island on July 29, and Union Transfer at on Monday, July 30.

Website: thetallestmanonearth.se/
Facebook: facebook.com/thetallestmanonearthofficial
Recent Release: There's No Leaving Now
Release Date: July 17, 2012
Label: Dead Oceans
Hometown: Dalarna, Sweden

Tallest Man on Earth Wanderlust is a band of Philadelphian musicians you may remember from way-back-when in the '90s. The band saw recognition for the track 'I Walked' off of their studio debut Prize, which was recorded in 1995 with RCA. After a long break, in which the band members have moved as far from Philly as California, Wanderlust is back with a new in-studio live album. The record, called Record Time, is available as an online stream for now.

Wanderlust is - Scot Sax on lead vocals, guitar, piano, percussion Rob Bonfiglio on harmonies, lead guitar, lead vocals, keys, bass and drums. Mark Getten on bass and Jim Cavanaugh on drums.


Scott Sax, who has worked on Grammy winning pop songwriting teams, is an important part of the XPN family. He has collaborated with Sharon Little and played with her on tour with Robert Plant and Allison Krauss. He also played last year's XPoNential Music Festival with Queen Electric, another project of his. The play the North Star Bar on Friday night, July 27.

Website: wanderlustfans.com/site/
MySpace: myspace.com/wanderlustfans
Recent Release: Record Time
Hometown: Philadelphia, PA

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Alberta Cross As it turns out, Americans don't have a monopoly on Americana. Not in music, at least. Born in New York City bar from the minds of native Londoner Terry Wolfers and Brit-Swede Petter Ericson Stakee, Alberta Cross took the matter of American roots music into their own hands and -- God Save the Queen -- made something great. Their folky, bluesy, old-school rock sound emulates the firm foundations laid by genre greats such as The Band and Neil Young. From gritty rock n' roll numbers like "ATX" from their last album, 2009's Broken Side of Time, to the slow and sincere "Low Man" from 2007's The Thief & The Heartbreaker, Alberta Cross' proven versatility has garnered them a spot in the hearts of alt-country.

Alberta Cross has toured extensively, selling out venues across America and Europe. Now settled in Brooklyn, the band is set for the July 17 release of their their new album, Songs of Patience. They play Johnny Brenda's in Philly on Wednesday, July 11 and Rock N Roll Hotel in D.C. on July 12, before hitting Cincinnati, Nashville, St. Louis and more this summer!

Website: albertacross.net/
Facebook: facebook.com/albertacross
Recent Release: Songs of Patience
Release Date: July 17, 2012
Label: ATO
Hometown: Brooklyn, NY

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photo credit Todd-Roeth Langhorne Slim was born as Sean Scolnick, hailing from his pseudonym-sake, the borough of Langhorne, Pennsylvania. A self-professed lover of "early" music -- the roots of the genres -- Slim is well known for a sound that showcases the primitive. A gentle, rollicking mix of folk-Americana, blues, and early rock n' roll wrought with banjos and guitars weave the familiar layers beneath his earnest voice.

After graduating college, Slim moved to New York City where he began his slow climb into the nation's musical consciousness. Touring with indie art-rockers the Trachtenburg Family Slideshow Players, Slim garnered public appeal. His popularity grew as Slim took his act from festival to festival and even into an appearance on The David Letterman Show. As the folk influence continues to grow in contemporary music, Langhorne Slim is nothing short of guaranteed to stay in the hearts and minds of those who will listen.

His latest album, The Way We Move, was released this spring and Langhorne Slim is currently undergoing a US tour to promote it.

Website: langhorneslim.com/
Facebook: facebook.com/langhorneslim
Recent Release: Way We Move
Release Date: June 5, 2012
Label: Ramseur Rec.
Hometown: Langhorne, Pa

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Jukebox The Ghost "The Germans can't pronounce it," Jukebox the Ghost say of their name, which they admit "is impossible to say." The trio came together while attending George Washington University in D.C. when the drummer and keyboardist responded to a flyer the guitarist had put up in the school's music department. In their own words, "It was musical love at first sight." They initially performed under the name The Sunday Mail, but after a few years the band decided that a new identity was in order. Creating a sound full of fresh-faced indie-pop goodness, Jukebox the Ghost have found themselves often compared to the likes of They Might Be Giants and Ben Folds, with whom they toured in 2009.

After a brief post-college stint living in Philadelphia, the band moved on to bigger things in Brooklyn. Jukebox the Ghost has reaped the benefits of a their wide appeal, taking their sound around the country and through the world. Their latest album, Safe Travels, came out this month and it's got every ounce of bounce and joie de vivre that the band is known for. In the wake of Safe Travels, Jukebox the Ghost has again gathered themselves and their instruments to tour the country and spread the word -- and hopefully the love -- for their new record.

Website: jukeboxtheghost.com/
Facebook: facebook.com/jukeboxtheghost
Recent Release: Safe Travels
Release Date: June 12, 2012
Label: Yep Roc Records
Hometown: Washington D.C./Philadelphia, Pa

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Greg Laswell San Diego's Greg Laswell released his fifth studio album, Landline, this April on Vanguard. Laswell has been recording as a solo artist since 2003. His previous project, a band called Shilglen, enjoyed moderate success at the turn of the centruy. After taking a mutually agreed upon break in 2001, the band decided not to regroup. Laswell's music features an equal balance of electric and acoustic guitar; his songwriting is at times almost bluesy or mournful and at other times his sound takes a more pop direction.

You may have heard Laswell without realizing it - the songwriter has been heard on quite a few national television programs - Grey's Anatomy, House, One Tree Hill, True Blood, NCIS, and Glee. He has also contributed his songs to movies such as Danika and My Sister's Keeper.

Laswell's Free at Noon appearance is part of his summer tour in support of his new release. Following his stop in Philadelphia, he will tour as a supporting act for his wife, Ingrid Michaelson. They married in Maine last August!

In addition to XPN's Free At Noon, Laswell plays a full show, with Elizabeth and the Catapult, at World Cafe Live on Friday night June 22.

Website: greglaswell.com/
Facebook: facebook.com/greglaswellmusic
Recent Release: Landline
Release Date: April 24, 2012
Label: Vanguard
Hometown: New York, New York

A co-production of WXPN and NPR.org/music.
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Hear a Live Friday XPN Free At Noon Concert at 12noon ET from WXPN and NPR Music
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PLEASE TAKE PUBLIC TRANSPORTATION TO XPN FREE AT NOON

Drexel University's graduation ceremony is being held this weekend, which will result in limited or no parking in University City. The lot in Penn Park is expected to fill-up early. Please use public transportation, bike or walk to this SOLD OUT show.

A Member Appreciation Free At Noon Triple-Header
FEATURING - GLEN HANSARD, ARTIST TO WATCH MICHAEL KIWANUKA, AND MARY CHAPIN CARPENTER!


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Concert Archive

Mary Chapin Carpenter Five time Grammy award winner and Princeton, NJ native Mary Chapin Carpenter has been producing country/folk/rock standards for nearly 25 years. She has earned fans and accolades for her ten studio albums and countless live performances. Carpenter grew up on the likes of The Mamas & the Papas and Judy Collins. After graduating from Brown in 1981, Carpenter decided to keep music as a hobby and focus on a career. That changed quickly after a few job interviews, and was signed to a deal with Columbia a short while afterwards.

Although Carpenter initially found success when Columbia touted her as a country act, many have argued that her style is far too broad to be characterized as a strictly country or folk. Carpenter herself has long expressed her disdain for music categorization, explaining that she loves many different styles of music and draws from varied sources for inspiration. Carpenter's latest studio effort, entitled Ashes and Roses, will be released this June 12th on Zoe Records. Carpenter kicks off a North American tour in July making stops in Denver, Calgary, Alberta, Atlanta, and other cities to support her new release. You can find her tour schedule here.

Website: marychapincarpenter.com
Facebook: facebook.com/officialmarychapin
Recent Release: Ashes And Roses
Release Date: June 12, 2012
Label: Zoe/Rounder Records
Hometown: Princeton, NJ.

Glen Hansard Having already found success as the vocalist/guitarist for the Irish band The Frames and as half of the folk rock duo The Swell Season, musician Glen Hansard is venturing out as a solo artist. His debut album, Rhythm and Repose, is slated for a June 19th American release on the ANTI record label. The album, Hansard's first since The Swell Season's 2009 Strict Joy, was recorded over the past year and a half in New York City.



To promote the new album, Hansard will be touring the US in June, followed by a two month stint in Europe. In the fall Hansard will reurn to the States for a month, and then back to Europe through mid-December. Hansard a native of Dublin, is in an Irish rock band and a multi-national folk duo and recorded his solo debut in New York. It will be interesting, at the very least, to see how his different fan-bases and audiences will receive this upcoming album and tour.

Website: glenhansardmusic.com/
Facebook: facebook.com/GlenHansardMusic
Recent Release: Rhythm And Repose
Release Date: June 19, 2012
Label: ANTI Records
Hometown: Dublin, Ireland

Michael Kiwanuka Although Michael Kiwanuka, born to Ugandan parents in North London, first started out in music as a session guitarist, it is his soulful voice and emotional songwriting that have made him one of Britain's up and coming singer-songwriters. His voice and style tap into vibes reminiscent of artists like Bill Withers and Otis Redding, the later whom Kiwanuka credits along with Bob Dylan as inspiring his folk-inflected soul music. After spending time recording guitar for rap and R&B acts and doing some small jam shows, Kiwanuka realized he had much more to express in musically and decided to try his hand at songwriting. When friends fell in love with his demo tapes, Kiwanuka realized he had found his calling.

Kiwanuka is XPN's Artist To Watch this month, and has released 2 EP's with Communion Records in 2011, and gained exposure traveling with Adele on her 2011 tour. Kiwanuka's first album, Home Again, was released this March by Polydor Records. The record peaked at number 4 in Kiwanuka's native UK. This June and August, Kiwanuka will tour the United States in support of his studio debut.

Website: michaelkiwanuka.com/
Facebook: facebook.com/MichaelKiwanuka
Recent Release: Home Again
Release Date: April 3, 2012
Label: Polydor UK
Hometown: UK

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