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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XPN2 - XPoNential Radio

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

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World Cafe Archives

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

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Folk Alley

Folk music radio streaming on the web; Americana, Roots Music, recordings, and stories from folk's best.

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Out of the many artists coming out of the folk revival woodwork, Trampled By Turtles stands out with true bluegrass worship, alternative hooks and four-part harmonies that wake up your eardrums. The Duluth, MN band’s sixth album no doubt an incredible compilation of which Paste Magazine most astutely writes has “rambling jams that exceed the speed limit to show the members’ white-knuckle picking skills.”

Listen to the Performance

XPN listeners heard the John Butler Trio when the band was our Artist to Watch March 2005, and their 2007 album Grand National from Atlantic Records was featured by XPN’s Dan Reed. The trio was formed in Freemantle, Australia in 1998, and after more than ten years of gold and platinum albums, the Trio will be rocking audiences with its bluegrass-inspired alternative rock at this year’s festival.
In 2012, XPN listeners heard Michael Kiwanuka on World Cafe in April, as the June Artist to Watch, as July’s CD of the Month, at a Free at Noon, and at a show at the Trocadero. His first album showcases his voice, a voice that he describes as “hitting straight to the core,” and his “real, raw, and achingly beautiful” lyricism.

Listen to the Performance

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Artist to Watch in April 2012 and an instant hit at last year's festival, this Denver five-piece has rocketed from playing small venues to being a co-headliner at the SBC Stage this year. Their music features an eclectic mix of acoustic rock, classic pop, and folk styles all rolled into one intriguing sound, creating a listening experience that is both familiar and completely unique.

Read the Review and Check Out Saturday's Photos

Check out photos from their sets, as well as openers Hey Marseilles and Polica, in the gallery on TheKey.XPN.org.

One of the most electrifying performers in all of SXSW this year was hands down Charles Bradley, the "Screaming Eagle of Soul" and an all-star of the Daptone Records label.







Echoing the music of the 1960s and 1970s, singer Charles Bradley performs in the styles of funk, soul, and R&B that are consistent with the revivalist approach of his label, Daptone Records. Bradley, often referred to as “The Screaming Eagle of Soul,” began working with Daptone in 2002. After writing with the label for several years, he released his debut album, No Time for Dreaming, in 2011. The following year, Bradley appeared in the documentary Soul of America, which debuted at the SXSW Film Festival in Austin.

Bradley released his sophomore studio album, Victim of Love on April 2. Rolling Stone describes the album as a mixture of heartbreak and hope, full of the buoyant grooves and croons notable to Bradley’s musical style.

Bradley played an outstanding set during the Public Radio Rocks showcase at the SXSW day stage – see him and his band perform "Why Is It So Hard" in the video produced by WFUV on The Key, and listen to his performance in its entirety on The Key. Then join us Friday, April 12, for an XPN Free At Noon concert featuring Charles Bradley & His Extraordinaires!

Charles Bradley & The Extraordinaires are touring this spring, playing Union Transfer on May 17.

Show Your XPN MemberCard

XPN Members! If you are on this week's Free At Noon reservation list, get there early and show your MemberCard for priority entry to the show from 11:30 – 11:40am!

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Recent Release: Charles Bradley Victim of Love
Release Date: April 2, 2013
Label: Dunham/Daptone Records
Band Origin: Brooklyn, NY


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

XPN presents a SOLD OUT double-header concert with scottish rockers, Frightened Rabbit, and They Might Be Giants on Friday, April 5, 2013! Listen on your radio or online...

Scottish indie-folk band Frightened Rabbit made their major label debut last month on Atlantic Records with Pedestrian Verse, and have already made it into the UK top ten. It's their fourth LP, and features production by English musician and composer Leo Abrahams. Led by Scott Hutchinson, Frightened Rabbit has embarked on a worldwide tour to promote the album, which brings them to Union Transfer on Saturday, April 6 for a sold-out show. They will be playing Free At Noon on Friday, April 5. Enjoy the riveting sounds of Scott and Grant Hutchison, Billy Kennedy, Andy Monaghan and Gordon Skene at the performance, and watch their Conan performance of "The Woodpile" on The Key.

This event is sold out.




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Recent Release: Pedestrian Verse
Release Date: February 5, 2013
Label: Atlantic


Hailing from Brooklyn, the alternative rock band They Might Be Giants has won two Grammy Awards, one in 2002 for the "Malcolm in the Middle" theme song "Boss of Me," and one in 2009 for their album "Here Comes the 123s." Their newest release, "Nanobots," is the band's 16th and newest studio album. In promotion of the album, TMBG has launched a North American tour, plus stops in Australia, and New Zealand up through mid June and will play the TLA Friday night, April 5 at 7pm.





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Recent Release: Nanobots
Release Date: March 5th, 2013
Label: Idlewild Recordings
Band Origin: Brooklyn, NY

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

As one of the most acclaimed jazz singer-songwriters of the past decade and a half, Madeleine Peyroux has made a career of interpreting others' songs in a melodically rich way that makes the material her own.

Attention: This Free At Noon is at the Kimmel Center




Peyroux is back at it with her new album The Blue Room, which began as an homage to Ray Charles's classic record Modern Sounds in Country and Western Music but eventually extended to covers of John Hartford, Warren Zevon, Leonard Cohen and more. Peyroux has long been noted for similar vocal style that of Billie Holiday, and she learned her own vocal mannerisms by listening to Holiday's. But Peyroux has always played out her career on her own terms. After the release of her debut album Dreamland in 1996, Peyroux went back to busking for several years, not putting out another record until 2004's Got You On My Mind with collaborator William Galison. She's also known for her intense privacy as well as her memorable live vocal performances and jazz/blues guitar work.

This special performance is live from The Kimmel Center as Madeleine Peyroux helps kick off the start of the Philadelphia International Festival of the Arts (PIFA), and performs songs from her new album.


Special Note there is no priority entry for XPN Members at this event.

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Recent Release: The Blue Room
Release Date: March 5, 2013
Label: Decca


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

It's the return of Dawes to XPN Free At Noon.





Dawes is sold out but you can still Listen & WATCH the performance LIVE on Friday at 12noon ET!


Last summer Dawes lit up the night with their bright Americana rock n' roll at the XPoNential Music Festival. Their performance was one of the festival's highlights. Listen to the full performance here and check out the photo gallery too.

Dawes' new album, Stories Don't End, is set for release on April 9 and XPN's Free At Noon audience is one of the first to hear some of their new music live. The album is the band's first release on its own label, HUB Records, and features the already hit single, "From A Window Seat."

Dawes played SXSW in Austin last week, then heads to Dallas and Nashville, before hitting the east coast, with a stop in Baltimore. Then on to Maine and Vermont. They will be back in the tri-state area on April 12, at the Bob Carpenter Center (tix), opening for Bob Dylan. You can find all of their tour dates here: Dawes Tour Dates

LISTEN TO Dawes 2012 XPoNential Music Festival Performance

Watch Dawes performance from SXSW 2013 on The Key.

XPN Members! If you are on this week's Free At Noon reservation list, get there early and show your MemberCard for priority entry to the show from 11:30 – 11:40am!

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Recent Release: Stories Don't End
Release Date: April 9, 2013
Label: HUB Records
Band Origin: Los Angeles, California


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


From the church, to the studio, to the stage, don't miss The Slide Brothers at this Friday's Free At Noon.

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





Thanks to Robert Randolph, their biggest fan, these four legendary sacred steel players just released their debut album. True masters of their music, The Slide Brothers open for George Thorogood & The Destroyers at the Keswick Theatre on Thursday, March 14, and join us for a free at noon concert on March 15.

Revitalizing the Sacred Steel tradition in the modern era, The Slide Brothers have created a musical story that is 80 years in the making. The style, driven by the pedal steel guitar, was born in The House of God Church back in the 1930's and had never been heard outside of religious services. This new form of slide guitar began attracting a wide variety of blues fans. Carrying the genre to mainstream success, The Slide Brothers have helped cultivate a unique, American art form undisturbed by the commercialism that surrounds so many other types of music.

The band consists of Calvin Cooke, Chuck Campbell, Darick Campbell, and Aubrey Ghent. The quartet has traveled from Nashville to Chicago to Newark, developing their musical skills all along the way. Born in 1944 in Cleveland, Ohio, Cooke has been dubbed by Nashville steel guitarists as the "B.B. King of gospel steel guitar." Today, he is recognized as the most influential living pedal steel master in the Sacred Steel tradition.

The Slide Brothers released their debut album, Robert Randolph Presents: The Slide Brothers, on February 19. The band does a successful job of shifting between genres, incorporating both traditional gospel and secular repertoire. In addition, the group has been touring the U.S., which included a very special stop on the Tonight Show with Jay Leno this past February.

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Recent Release: Robert Randolph Presents: The Slide Brothers
Release Date: February 19, 2013
Label: Concord Records


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

XPN Artist to Watch

David Berkeley

David Berkeley

Imagine a road trip in Nick Drake's old car, give Ryan Adams a seat, Grant Lee Phillips is there, maybe Beck has the wheel and Joni Mitchell is giving directions. The music they'd listen to would be pretty close to the music of David Berkeley, this young, charismatic singer from Georgia. His voice is warm like a tumbler of bourbon. He believes in the lyrics he writes, and he sings them from the marrow of his bones.
Website: davidberkeley.com

Jamie Cullum

Jamie Cullum

British pianist/vocalist Jamie Cullum mixes jazz with melodic pop and rock into a crossover style that calls to mind such artists as Harry Connick, Jr. and Norah Jones. In that vein, Cullum will just as often cover a swinging jazz standard as a modern rock song, and his original compositions deftly move from earnest ballads to songs of sardonic wit.
Website: jamiecullum.com

Keane

Keane

Tom Chaplin (vocals), Richard Hughes (drums), and Tim Oxley-Rice (piano) are childhood friends from Battle, East Sussex, England who make up the merry pop sounds of Keane. Formed in 1997 while each were attending college, Keane initially started out as a cover band. The shtick would only last so long, for Keane got tired of playing everyone else's songs and yearned to do things on their own. They signed to Island UK in Fall 2003 and released their fourth single, "This Is The Last Time." The band's full-length debut, Hopes and Fears, appeared the following spring.
Website: keanemusic.com

Charlotte Martin

Charlotte Martin

If In Parentheses served notice of Charlotte's arrival, then the stunning new full-length record On Your Shore confirms that she's here to stay. The album delivers on the promise of its predecessor with achingly beautiful meditations on faith, hope and love. On the surface, On Your Shore is catchy and compelling and swims in lush, piano-drenched balladry. But those who remember how to really listen to an album will also discover an artist determined to broaden her range by digging deeper. By taking a fearless and open-hearted approach to songwriting, Charlotte transforms the personal to the universal, making On Your Shore a shared and moving catharsis.
Website:charlottemartin.com

Ray LaMontagne

Ray LaMontagne

Ray LaMontagne is a tall, lanky, bearded guy, with a penchant for rumpled denim shirts and homemade haircuts. Which makes sense, seeing as he lives in a house he built himself on an old farm plot in Hartford. And he has no phone or electricity. Ray's voice has been compared to a dusty cabernet. He plays his guitar like it wronged him, and has more songs full of love and desperation than he knows what to do with. When he plays live, he writhes around on the stage like he had ants in his pants and sings from the depths of his soul and the soles of his shoes. He played the Tin Angel in Philadelphia in May. You can check out Ray's website for sample music cuts - "Trouble", "Shelter", and "Jolene".
Website: raylamontagne.com

Mutlu

Mutlu

Philly Local favorite. Whether it's the Soul, Funk, Jazz or Hip-Hop, there is something in Mutlu's music that will resonate in your heart, mind and soul. Mutlu is a singer, songwriter and musician of uncommon caliber and soul. He can often be seen playing solo or with a back-up band in and around the city of Philadelphia. His soulful vibe draws comparisons to such legendary performers as Stevie Wonder, Al Green and Prince.

Mutlu's new EP is available at all of his shows and at CD Baby.

Website: mutlusounds.com

Johnathan Rice

Johnathan Rice

When he was 16, singer/songwriter Johnathan Rice opened his mouth and let out a weathered, rustic sound that caught him by surprise. Like most teenagers obsessed with music try to do, Rice just wanted to see what his voice sounded like when imitating his heroes - Joni Mitchell, The Band, Neil Young, Bob Dylan. As consequence would have it, Rice decided to make his songwriting hobby a serious affair and returned to his native Virginia after spending most of his life growing up in Glasgow.
Website: johnathanrice.com

Simple Kid

Simple Kid

Irish-born Ciaran McFeely (aka Simple Kid) was about 10-years-old when he strolled home with a copy of Bon Jovi's Slippery When Wet to the great shock of his brother. McFeely's hipper, older sibling immediately took him upstairs, tossed the disc out the window and said, "Here's Led Zeppelin." So began McFeely's love affair with the classics - Zeppelin, Neil Young, Bowie. As Jon and the boys hit the pavement and Zeppelin skins' man John Bonham pumped out his monstrous low-end march, the roots of Simple Kid were planted.
Website: simplekid.com

Jesse Sykes

Jesse Sykes and the Sweet Hereafter

Singer/songwriter Jesse Sykes and guitarist Phil Wandscher have come together to unearth their own spooky brand of American music. The couple met in the smokey, charming confines of Seattle's Hattie's Hat bar in 1998 and began a naturally evolving collaboration, initially performing as a duo. Their effective partnership soon drew the attention of violinist Anne Marie Ruljancich, upright bass player Bill Herzog, and drummer Kevin Warner. Sykes' delicately bewitching alto and Wandscher's darkly spacious guitar melded warmly with their new band mates, and the collective was christened Jesse Sykes and the Sweet Hereafter.
Website: jessesykes.com

Pyeng Threadgill

Pyeng Threadgill

Pyeng Threadgill is the daughter of free jazz artist and composer Henry Threadgill and dancer & choreographer Christina Jones, who was also a founding member of the Urban Bushwomen. As an exciting and innovative new vocalist Pyeng is continuing the family's creative traditions.
Website: pyeng.com

Rachael Yamagata

Rachael Yamagata

Singer/songwriter Rachael Yamagata grew up listening to Carole King, Roberta Flack, James Taylor, and the like, for music was the one thing in Yamagata's life that remained consistent. By the time she reached college in the mid-'90s, Yamagata had one year of piano lessons and a spiral notebook full of songs under her belt. In September 2002, Yamagata landed a deal with Arista's Private Music and her self-titled EP was pulished in October. On sale everywhere in June, is Rachael's debut Album Happenstance.
Website: rachaelyamagata.com

Adrienne Young

Adrienne Young

Adrienne Young believes that, in the past, music was more of a communal activity than it is today. "Ideally, music is something you play with people, not just for them," she says. Young and her band, Little Sadie, trust that by sharing what moves them, people who attend their performances will walk away feeling that they were part of a creative exchange.
Website: adrienneyoung.com

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