Philadelphia singer-songwriter Andrew Lipke dropped by XPN Studios last night for a visit on Helen Leicht’s last XPN Local Show before she takes a leave of absence.

The conversation centered around Lipke’s behind-the-scenes work with others in the Philly music community; Leicht played “Long Distance Lover” by singer-songwriter duo essie + nap, a song that Lipke produced, and he talked about meeting them at a pre-pandemic tribute to Abbey Road by The Beatles, as well as an upcoming show they’ll play together Saturday, August 7th at Fergie’s.

This led to Lipke’s own big announcement: this fall, he will be musical director of an all-Philly tribute to The Last Waltz by The Band. First staged at The Trocadero in 2013, the show is being reprised in collaboration with singer-songwriter and journalist Joey Sweeney, Fergus Carey of Fergie’s, and Kristen Thompson, in memory of the late Philly promoter Bryan Dilworth, who passed away last March. The show takes place at the Franklin Music Hall, which Dilworth booked, on November 27th — the Saturday after Thanksgiving — and will benefit Connor Barwin’s Make The World Better Foundation. As musical director, Lipke says “I’m going to try to be the Robbie Robertson character, but without the prickly personality.”

Lipke covered “Up On Cripple Creek” acoustic on the air, then went on to talk about the his work with World Cafe Live’s education program, and partnering with Philly music technology teacher Ezechial Thurman to record an album with Philadelphia students meant to affect change through music. They listened to a studio recording of “Love and Healing,” an original collaboration with principal Anthony Majewski and his students.

Lipke also performed his own song “Passing By” acoustically, and had an emotional moment as he shared from-the-heart appreciations of Leicht before they signed off. “You’re a treasure,” he said. “I can speak for so many people. We love you. I’m honored to be able to be part of [your] story.”

Listen to the full interview below, and revisit Helen Leicht’s previous conversations with Matt Santry, Mutlu, and John Flynn. Her final day on the air before taking a leave of absence happens this Friday, July 30th, when she’ll welcome Philly favorites Hoots and Hellmouth to XPN Studios for a virtual Free at Noon performance. While she’s out, local musicians and midday show fans are encouraged to show their support by registering for Team Helen Leicht at the XPN 5K website.

Andrew Lipke on XPN Local with Helen Leicht, 2021.07.27