Philly Folk Fest lineup

Hey there boys and girls. The 52nd annual Philadelphia Folk Fest is only a couple weeks away and I couldn’t be happier. Fest is one of my favorite times of year! Tickets are still on sale but they are going fast. It will sell out so get ’em today!

Here is this years lineup:

Richard Thompson Electric Trio – Todd Rundgren – The Mavericks– Carolina Chocolate Drops– David Bromberg – Asleep At the Wheel – Jake Shimabukuro – David Uosikkinen’s In the Pocket:  The Essential Songs of Philadelphia – Black Prairie – Luella & The Sun – Reverend Peyton’s Big Damn Band – Sierra Leone Refugee All Stars – Spirit Family Reunion – Sleepy Man Banjo Boy s – The Stray Birds – Star & Micey – Otis Taylor – Caravan of Thieves – Amy Helm – Jeffrey Gaines – Gabe Butterfield – Ellis Paul – Del Barber – The Como Mamas – Ben Arnold – Burning Bridget Cleary – Andy Statman Project – Ben Vaughn – RUNA – David Francey – Frank Fairfield – Joe Crookston & the BlueBird Jubilee – The Toy Hearts – The Amigos Band – Mark Silver & the Stonethrowers – Mike ‘Slo-Mo’ Brenner – XPN Philly Local with Helen Leicht featuring Ali Wadsworth, Juston Stens and the Get Real Gang, Modern Inventors, Ginger Coyle – Steam Powered Areo Band (w/Phil D’Agostino, Brad Hinton and more) – The Lawsuits – Toy Soldiers – Great Groove Band – Dennis Hangey – The Hula Honeys – Give and Take Jugglers – and your legendary host Gene Shay!

Recent additions to the lineup include:

David Amram – John Francis – Steve Guyger – John Flynn, Sarah Flynn, and Sean Flynn – New Sweden – Ursula Rucker & Tim Motzer – Saul Broudy – Mike Miller – Reverend TJ McGlinchey – Mike & Ruthie – HogMaw – Psych-A-Billy – Jersey Corn Pickers – Hennessey Bonfire – Bob Beach – Manatawny Creek Ramblers – Marc Silver & the Stonethrowers – Spuyten Duyvil – Ansel Barnum – Seth Holzman – Lily Mae – Dani Mari – The Karmic Repair Company – Michael Braunfeld – Allan Carr – Annie Bauerlein & Chip Mergott – The Whiskeyhickon Boys – Cathy Fink & Marcy Marxer – Charlie Miller, Scott Rovner & Friends – Eric Abraham – Jason Hahn – Matt Sowell – Jerry Hionis – Jim Albertson – John Fuhr – Lord Jacob and the Ukuladies – Lost Indian – Mark Schultz – Mist Covered Mountains – Shawn Proctor – Sid Root – Beakey w/ Special Guests – Up the Chain – Sweetbriar Rose- Tracy Degerberg


Can’t wait to let the Festivities begin! See ya there…..


2012 Year in Review (Part 3): Best Albums

This is always the toughest list to come up with.

My 5 favorite albums of 2012.

1. Alabama Shakes – Boys and Girls

You’ve really gotta love this band. Their music is rooted in 60’s blues and soul, but you could easily call them an indie rock band. They’ve build a substantial following through their rocking live shows and this debut thrust them on the scene. But its not just the fact that they are rooted in the past that makes this band and this album awesome. Its the fact that it feels like the Shakes are poised to grow into a legendary band. Boys and Girls can be played front to back without skipping a beat. There are no awkward songs to skip through. This is the best album of 2012.



2. Michael Kiwanuka – Home Again

His stripped-down acoustic folk style evokes images of Otis Redding. His soulful voice is timeless. You can’t help but get swept up in his thoughtful lyrics. Pop on this album and you’ll find yourself transported to another place. He has been compared to Curtis Mayfield and Bill Withers. I love that at its core, the sound is retro, though the music stays novel. Home again has placed itself high on the list of my favorite new albums.



3. Dr. John – Locked Down

The good doctor is back with a vengeance.  Black Keys guitar player, Dan Auerbach produced this album and the results were astounding. Their collective aim was to create a modern recording that drew on the organic, spontaneous, spooky, swampy, nite-tripper voodoo elements that we heard in Dr. John’s earliest albums. It’s not a recreation of Gris Gris. It grooves with the feeling of swamp rock, but its got many new ideas and sounds. The band is tight and at times you can definitely feel the Black Keys style. Although it is not in any way a Black Keys album. Even in this age, it can be labeled as one of Mac Rebbenack’s finest.



4. Dr. Dog – Be The Void

As soon as the opener, Lonesome, begins one can tell they are in for a treat. Dr. Dog hits a home run with this album. They seem to be having a great time as they wind through raw but poppy harmonies and  stripped down warm lyrics. I think they have wandered slightly away from their intricately crafted pop of earlier albums. But it seems to work as the sound is more loose and uninhibited. I love that the band keeps on growing, changing, and exploring new territories.



5. Jack White – Blunderbuss

Jack White is a powerhouse in todays music industry. Having showed us his producing chops with Loretta Lynn’s comeback album, Van Lear Rose, and with his other side projects also creating a significant buzz, Jack does what he wants and it almost always comes out good. It seems funny that this is his first solo album. He places an indelible stamp on every project he has been in from the Raconteurs to the Dead Weather, so much so that you would think those are his albums. But this one is his and only his. With contradictions and squelching guitars, electric piano, beautiful melodies, and even quieter polished sounds, Blunderbuss gets better as it gets played more.


Honorable Mentions:

Edward Sharpe & The Magnetic Zeros – Here

Bruce Springsteen – Wrecking Ball

Neil Young and Crazy Horse – Americana

The Lumineers – The Lumineers

Justin Townes Earl – Nothing’s Gonna Change the Way You Feel About Me Now

Gary Clark Jr – Blak and Blu



Tedeschi Trucks Band: Keswick Theatre 11/27-11/28

Tedeschi Trucks Band just dropped their second show in a legendary two-night stand at the historic Keswick Theatre in Glenside, PA.
This band is more that just the hottest husband wife duo in the country. They are much much more than that. The band features dynamite horns, a great rhythm section with George Porter Jr. on bass, two full drum sets, Kofi Burbridge on keys and flute, and Mike Mattison on background vocals. One thing’s for sure, this was not the Derek Trucks show; nor did Susan Tedeschi steal the show, although she can slay the guitar like the best of them. This is a big band that is as tight as a skirt on a hooker. They came to play. And play they did, taking us through some of their seasoned favorites as well as some classic covers. Their sound is a blend of cajun, soul, blues, r&b, and rock and roll. Most of the songs they played are on their most recent album, “Everybody’s Talkin'”.
One of the things I liked most about the Tedeschi Trucks Band is the fact that all of the respective artists know their place in the band. Not one outshines another. It’s pretty cool that in one of the standout tunes, the Stevie Wonder penned “Uptight (Everything’s Alright)” Derek Trucks does not even have a solo. Not that I don’t love his guitar playing and think his slide guitar work is second to none, it just shows that they put the sound first. If it feels good, play it. Sometimes less is more. I’m a big fan of low and slow and both Susan and Derek can be great even when they are playing at their quietest. Then they build the jam.
It’s great to see a band hittin’ the note  like the Tedeschi Trucks Band did these last two nights.
Night #1
Everybody’s Talkin’
Wah Wah (George Harrison)
The Sky Is Crying (Elmore James)
Midnight In Harlem
Don’t Let Me Slide
Rollin’ and Tumblin’ (
Wade In The Water (old spiritual song) >>
Funky Jam intro>>
Love Has Something Else to Say
That Did It
Old Time Lovin’ (Al Green)
Uptight (Stevie Wonder)
Drum Solo
Sweet Inspiration (Spooner Oldham)
I Know
Bound For Glory
Night #2
Don’t Let Me Slide
Wah Wah (George Harrison)
That Did It (Bobby Bland)
I Know
Ain’t No Use (The Meters)
Sweet Inspiration (Spooner Oldham)
Midnight In Harlem
The Sky Is Crying (Elmore James)
Wade In The Water >>
Funky Jam intro>>
Love Has Something Else To Say
Old Time Lovin’ (Al Green)
Uptight (Stevie Wonder)
Drum Solo
Angel From Montgomery (John Prine)
Get What You Deserve

Banjo Summit: 5 String Masters – 1 Stage, 1 Night at the Keswick


Béla Fleck * Tony Trischka * Bill Keith *Noam Pikelny * Eric Weissberg * Richie Stearns * Pete Wernick


Many of the world’s most influential banjo players are gathering for an exclusive and limited tour this month and make a once-in-a-lifetime stop at the Keswick on Thursday, October 25 at 8 PM.

Generally considered the most accomplished master of the instrument, Béla Fleck will be joined by fellow pickers Tony Trischka, Bill Keith, Eric Weissberg, Noam Pikelny, Richie Stearns, Pete Wernick and Mac Benford in concerts that will find the banjo being performed in both conventional and unexpected ways. In performances ranging from solos and duets to full-tilt banjo blowouts with all the players and an acoustic band, the stage setting will range from the traditional backdrop of bluegrass and old-time country music to the more unconventional banjo genres including jazz, classical and rock music.

Béla Fleck – a native of Manhattan – began making waves with a series of progressive banjo-centric recordings in the 1970s and as a member of the Newgrass Revival in the 1980s. As leader of the genre-busting Béla Fleck and the Flecktones since 1989, he has used the banjo to define the band’s one of a kind fusion of jazz, rock, bluegrass and world music. His collaborations with a wide diversity of artists such as jazz piano icon Chick Corea, Indian tabla master Zakir Hussain, classical bass virtuoso Edgar Meyer, and African artists Toumani Diabate and Oumou Sangare, have brought the banjo even further into unchartered territories. Béla Fleck has been nominated for Grammy awards in more categories than any artist in history, and has won 15 to date, with 30 nominations.

Tony Trischka – originally from Syracuse – took the bluegrass banjo to a whole new level in the 1970s with a series of recordings that explored rock and avant-garde jazz. He served as young Béla Fleck’s banjo teacher, and continues to explore the traditions and possibilities of the banjo through his “World Turning” concerts, his band Territory and as a record producer for artists such as Steve Martin.

Bill Keith, from Woodstock, is widely considered a trail blazer of the melodic style of banjo picking he brought forward as a member of Bill Monroe’s Bluegrass Boys. He went on to join the Jim Kweskin Jug Band and then helped pioneer the early newgrass movement with his work in bands with artists such as David Grisman, Peter Rowan and Richard Greene. He invented the “Keith tuners” that are used by banjo players around the world and which he distributes through his business Beacon Banjos.

Eric Weissberg – also a Woodstock resident – helped to bring the sound of the bluegrass banjo to mainstream America with his performance of “Dueling Banjos” on the soundtrack of the major motion picture “Deliverance”. This signature tune has gone on to become the world’s most familiar bluegrass instrumental.

Richie Stearns of Ithaca, brought the old-time clawhammer banjo style to a whole new audience with the jam bands Donna The Buffalo and The Horseflies, and has accompanied artists such as Natalie Merchant, Jim Lauderdale and Vassar Clements.

Pete Wernick – AKA “Dr. Banjo” – originally from New York City – is renowned as a hot-picking force in several trend-setting bands including Hot Rize and Country Cooking. A respected author and teacher of the instrument, Pete is a long-term President of the International Bluegrass Music Association.

Noam Pikelny, currently residing in Brooklyn, played in Leftover Salmon and the John Cowan Band before joining the Punch Brothers in 2006. The recipient of the Steve Martin Prize for Excellence in Banjo and Bluegrass in 2010, he has also recorded two albums as leader of the Noam Pikelny Band.

The banjoists will be accompanied on stage by a stellar acoustic band that features guitarist Russ Barenberg (of the Barenberg, Douglas & Meyer band), mandolinist Jesse Cobb (of the Infamous Stringdusters), violinist Alex Hargreaves (of the Sarah Jarosz band) and bassist Corey DiMario (of Crooked Still).

Tickets are $29.50 & $39.50 and can be ordered online at, via 24-hour phone charge @800-745-3000, at the Keswick box office, Monday-Saturday, noon-6PM and all Ticketmaster locations.

For additional information about upcoming Keswick Theatre attractions, visit



Thanks to Jen Muscatello at the Keswick for posting.


The Rain Is No Match For Bruce and His Fans


Bruce and the band: Citizens Bank Park

Bruce Springsteen and The E Street Band

September 3, 2012

Citizens Bank Park, Philly PA

3 hours and 30 mins


The Boss came out shredding on this rainy night in Philly. More so than usual, Bruce picked up his Telecaster and showed his electric guitar ‘chops’ as he ripped through the first 5 songs of the night. This was highlighted by a killer intro to ‘Prove It All Night’ that really set the mood of the night. He was also, at times, on a more serious note, really focusing on working in dual themes of “ghosts” and “working”. Overall a great show and a wonderful crowd. Glad to see the Boss and the E Street Band still love to perform and didn’t miss a beat without Clarence; although he is dearly missed. They are on fire right now and playing some of the best shows in years. Check em out if you can. Rock on.



1. Factory (acoustic)

2. Adam Raised A Cain

3. Streets Of Fire

4. Prove It All Night (sick intro)

5. Something In The Night

6. We Take Care of Our Own

7. Wrecking Ball

8. Death To My Hometown

9. My City Of Ruin

10. Spirit In The Night

11. Does This Bus Stop at 82nd Street

12. It’s Hard To Be A Saint In The City

13. Frankie

14. Jack Of All Trades

15. Atlantic City

16. Darlington County

17. Mona >

18. Shackled And Drawn

19. Waiting On A Sunny Day

20. The River

21. Lonesome Day

22. Badlands

23. Thunder Road



24. We Are Alive

25. Born To Run

26. Dancing In The Dark

27. Jungleland

28. Tenth Avenue Freeze-Out > Clarence Clemons Tribute (Silence by the band) > Tenth Avenue Freeze-Out

29. American Land