Photo by Ally Newbold |

Finally, Folkadelphia is pleased to present the premiere of our session with Chelsea Wolfe, recorded five months ago from today – how time flies! – but what an absolutely perfect one for Halloween. The genesis of our session with Wolfe can be tracked to the end of 2012 when we saw she was performing at the tiny and intimate First Unitarian Church Chapel. Jump forward in time through two albums (Unknown Rooms and last year’s Pain is Beauty), various tours, and a handful of emails back-and-forth, and we finally were able to welcome Wolfe and her band to the WXPN studio. Why the extra enthusiasm for this session? Why try so hard to record a single artist? Well, listen to Chelsea Wolfe and you’ll immediately find out why.

Chelsea Wolfe is basically a genre unto herself. Unclassifiable not only because she seemingly stands apart from easy stylistic boxes, but also because she integrates so much into her sound. On the one hand, a minimalist and achingly somber ballad where silence speaks volumes and words are no consolation, like some tracks from Unknown Rooms, or a Lynchian industrial nightmare straight to the earhole, like some tracks from Pain is Beauty, on the other. What remains consistent is an expansive musical world that feeds on both darkness and light, that produces banshee wails of noise, as much as the brisk cold emptiness of silence. Yes, there is brutality there, but a tenderness too. It makes me think about a quote from Gabriel Garcia Marquez’s A Chronicle of a Death Foretold – “Hate and love are reciprocal passions.”

All of these supposed opposites co-exist in Wolfe’s music, sometimes painfully and sometimes easily, but always with beauty. I think that Wolfe has only touched the tip of the iceberg of her immense imagination and creative powers – who knows where they’ll lead her next.

Chelsea Wolfe, along with Ben Chisholm and Andrea Calderon, performed a stripped down set of music for us, one that was well worth the wait. We think you’ll agree, so please listen to Wolfe’s Folkadelphia Session.