Known for his decades of experience and “lovable growl,” Dr. John, or the “Night Tripper,” is a formidable figure in New Orleans-style blues and R&B. In 2012 he teamed up with the Black Keys’ Dan Auerbach to produce his latest album “Locked Down,” which was met with a whirlwind of praise.
Even with so many new folk artists on the scene, it’s no wonder Lancaster natives The Stray Birds are making a name for themselves with outstanding songwriting that soars in three-part harmony. Their debut album received high praise from NPR, and XPN’s The Key Studio Session captured their traditional-yet-unique music and intimate performance style.
Between Matt Vantine’s vocals, Matt Amadio’s harmonies, and Rusty Langley’s melodic bass lines, Fleeting Ends never fails to produce catchy, upbeat anthems. Their latest full-length album “Our Eyes Are Peeled” has caught the attention of music bloggers everywhere and proven that Fleeting Ends is a band to keep your eyes on.
This seven piece ensemble from Chesapeake, Virginia boasts a unique blend of southern folk and classical influence, self categorized as “mountain-top chamber.” The Last Bison played for XPN listeners on World Cafe back in January and remain a staple on the airwaves.
Singer-songwriter Erin McKeown has spent an average of 200 nights a year onstage over the last decade, and just released her seventh full-length studio album back in January – the very first to her own label – to rave reviews from both XPN and NPR, among others. She has collaborated with the likes of Anais Mitchell, David Wax Museum, and Sean Hayes, and comes to the festival with a repertoire spanning her 12 year career and multiple albums that is sure to blow listeners away.
With the new album, "The Lives Inside the Lines in Your Hand," Matt Pond is stepping forward with striking honesty and humbling optimism and delivers his strongest work to date. And with this transformative record comes some distinct changes- removing the 'PA' that has accompanied his name for nearly a decade, his first official 'solo' release, and partnering with new label and longtime publishing partner, BMG Rights Management.
Lord Huron’s unique style of indie pop shines through on the group’s most recent release, Lonesome Dreams. The group started as a solo-project by lead singer Ben Schneider, and was featured on World Cafe and as the Artist to Watch in October of 2012.
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.”
Touring with the likes of Corinne Bailey Rae, Sheryl Crow, and John Mayer, Brett Dennen has come a long way from his days convincing venue owners to let him play despite his inexperience. His magical lo-fi sound has been recognized by NPR and Rolling Stone and will be dazzling audiences at this year’s festival.
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.
The buzz on Seattle's chamber-indie outfit, Hey Marseilles, started in their hometown where they quickly earned praise for their 2008 debut To Travels & Trunks. Now their new one, Lines We Trace, release in March, has taken the buzz national. This band has mastered the art of making songs that are both catchy and meaningful. Check out the video for their latest single, "Heart Beats" below.
Dr. Dog are probably XPN's favorite hometown heros- their music is a timeless mixture of catchy hooks and feel-good lyrics. The Free At Noon and Wold Cafe veterans are back for a second round at the SBC Stage this summer.
Honorary Artist to Watch in July 2012, Polica no doubt captured the hearts of XPN listeners with their eclectic mix of media. Channy Leaneagh's heavily manipulated and psychedelic voice booming through the SBC speakers for this year's festival will shoot the audience into outer space for a stellar performance.
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.
Wake Owl's debut EP Wild Country will transport you to a tender mountain picnic landscape. It's only fitting they play for you bench and lawn dwellers at this year's SBC stage. The sweet melodies of violin, piano and acoustic guitar is made sweeter with Cameron's scratchy folk singing.