The 58th Annual Philadelphia Folk Festival is a 4 day-long celebration of the phenomenal folk music scene that thrives in our own backyard. PFF showcases up and coming artists alongside household names to celebrate the rich history and roots of folk music here in Montgomery County. Arts Montco is proud to play a part in this epic weekend-long adventure through supporting local and touring groups playing at this year's festival! Check out a handful of incredible artists in town this weekend, below:
Thursday, August 15th
7:30 - 11:00 pm
“We wanted to make something simple and honest and raw,” says Chris Turpin, one half of the breakout British duo Ida Mae. “We wanted to make a record our way, with no compromises.” That brand of fiercely unconditional commitment—to the songs, to the sound, to each other—has defined Ida Mae from the start, and it courses through the veins of the band’s brilliant debut, ‘Chasing Lights.’ Blending elements of vintage Delta blues and gritty rock and roll with boldly modern arrangements and fearless punk swagger, the record captures Ida Mae in its purest form, with Turpin and his longtime musical partner Stephanie Jean performing nearly everything live in the studio under the guidance of legendary producer Ethan Johns (Ray LaMontagne, Laura Marling, Kings of Leon). It’s an electrifying collection, the kind of record that feels both familiar and groundbreaking all at once, fueled by dazzling musicianship, breathtaking harmonies, and the sort of versatile, timeless songwriting that’s earned the band tour dates with everyone from Greta Van Fleet and Blackberry Smoke to Marcus King and The Lone Bellow. As long as Steph and I have known each other, this is what we’ve done,” reflects Turpin, who recently relocated from London to Nashville with Jean. “‘Chasing Lights’ is a metaphor for everything we’ve been after, for tracing the footsteps of our heroes, for making a life and a living on our own terms.”
The East Pointers
7:30 - 11:00 pm
There’s a reason, beyond their dazzling musicianship and wildly entertaining live shows, that The East Pointers have connected with audiences right across the globe, making new, original roots music the hippest, most vibrant thing going. The reason? The East Pointers - fiddler/singer Tim Chaisson, banjoist Koady Chaisson and guitarist Jake Charron – write about real life, sketching out its joys and sorrows in vivid strokes. That palpable authenticity makes their instrumental tunes practically cartwheel and infuses their lyric-driven songs with poignancy. And it’s why listening to their brilliant second album, What We Leave Behind, nominated for ‘Traditional Roots Recording of the Year’ at the 2018 JUNO Awards – is akin to meeting up with an old friend. As a follow-up to 2015’s internationally acclaimed, JUNO Award-winning debut Secret Victory, What We Leave Behind shares stories previously unheard but framed by a familiar context. The album reflects on the traditions of Canadian Celtic music, where it comes from, and what it means to the people, but also strides in new directions. With a captivating balance between their traditional-sounding instrumental tunes, and catchy radio-ready songs, The East Pointers reach out with open arms to a wide range of listeners, inviting them to discover a new love of folk music.
7:30 - 11:00 pm
AJ Ghent [ j-ent ] fuses the sounds of his Singing Guitar with rock, blues, funk and pop into what he likes to call Neo Blues. The musical art produced has been classified as witty, energetic, soulful and funky, with messages of positivity, love and overcoming hardships. He has had a colorful career thus far playing and opening for such legendary acts like Zac Brown, The Allman Brothers Band, Derek Trucks, Robert Cray, and Gov’t Mule. AJ was handpicked as an ambassador for the Southern Region of the US music and tourism divisions, performing at events in Canada and the UK.
Midnight Special With Shirley Gnome
Front Porch Stage
Shirley Gnome, “the Queen troubadour of intelligent black comic sex balladry” (Edmonton Journal) is a performer whose all-original music about human nature is hilarious, uncensored, honest, subversive, raunchy, irreverent, witty, empowering, taboo, satirical and not for the faint of heart. Her cleverly carnal lyrics go down smooth with her inappropriately gorgeous vocals, and her charm will disarm you through even the most provocative notions.
Friday, August 16th
SHOOK TWINS & FRIENDS: 50TH ANNIVERSARY OF THE BEATLES' ABBEY ROAD
Everybody in your life will write his or her own chapter in your story. Take a step back, and you’ll see the influence of your loved ones, mentors, and friends in your decisions. Shook Twins refer to these folks in the title of their fourth album, Some Good Lives. Throughout fourteen tracks, the duo—identical twin sisters Katelyn Shook [vocals, guitar] and Laurie Shook [banjo, vocals]—pay homage to everyone from a late grandpa and godfather to Bernie Sanders. “We realized there was a theme,” Katelyn reveals. “Even though our minds are mostly on the women of today and wanting the monarchy to rise up, we have several men in our lives who have been such positive forces. We wanted to thank them and honor the good guys who showed us the beauty in this crazy world we live in. So, it’s an album for Some Good Lives that have crossed paths with ours—and to them, we are grateful.” Laurie agrees, “It’s also an acknowledgment of our thankfulness of the good life that we get to live.” However, the pair derived their own strength from these relationships. Over the course of three full-length releases and a handful of EPs since 2008, acclaim would come by way of everyone from USA Today and Baeble Music to Langhorne Slim, The Lumineers, Mason Jennings, and iconic best-selling author Neil Gaiman who enthusiastically decreed, “They make music that twines through your soul the way vines cover an abandoned shack in the woods.”
Meghan Cary with Analog Gypsys
Critically-acclaimed artist Meghan Cary earned Billboard Magazine’s esteemed Critic’s Choice Award, and the title track of her latest album, “Sing Louder”, debuted at #2 on the US/International Folk DJ Radio Charts.
Cary is known for her raw honesty and ability to connect with audiences through high-energy tunes, masterful storytelling, and deeply personal lyrics. Her message of unity and the power of raising our voices together infuses every show, and Cary’s “Sing Louder” has become an anthem for the music-loving community.
Front Porch Stage
Known for their memorable melodies and haunting honest lyrics Homestead Collective is Caitlyn Deviney & Ben Morris - an indie-folk duo based just outside Philadelphia. Formed in 2017, they've crafted a unique sound influenced by artists such as Nickel Creek, Josh Garrels and Gregory Alan Isakov. Having shared stages with artists as established as Jess Ray, The Sea The Sea, Jared & the Mill and The Hunts, Homestead Collective plays in venues and houses all over the greater Philadelphia region.
Mwenso & The Shakes
Mwenso and the Shakes are a unique troupe of global artists who present music that merges the highest form of entertainment and artistry while commanding a formidable timeline of jazz and blues expression through African and Afro American music. Immigrating from Sierra Leone, London, South Africa, Greenwich Village, Madagascar, France, Jamaica, and Hawaii the Shakes all now call Harlem their home. Taking from the stylings of Fats Waller, Muddy Waters, James Brown and many other American musical legends - Michael Mwenso leads an electrifying show the New York Times calls “intense, prowling, and ebullient.”
FRIDAY EVENING CONCERT FEATURING JOAN OSBORNE PERFORMING THE SONGS OF BOB DYLAN
Martin Guitar Stage
* IN ORDER OF APPEARANCE *
The East Pointers, YOLA, Joan Osborne Sings the Songs of Bob Dylan, Cha Wa, Preservation Hall Jazz Band
Friday evening's main stage is packed with critically acclaimed Folk artists who are ready to bring the music to Montco!
Saturday, August 17th
There is something truly extraordinary about Juno Award–nominee Kellie Loder. It’s there in her immensely poignant lyrics, which are set against dazzling, melodic folk/pop. And it’s there in the singer/songwriter’s electrifying live shows which simultaneously inspire profound emotion in listeners while cracking them up with sparkling anecdotes. If Loder isn’t breaking your heart, she’s splitting your sides. Those contrasting yet somehow complementary sensibilities doubtless stem from Loder’s native Newfoundland and Labrador, a rugged and remote place steeped in storytelling tradition and where comedy and tragedy are twin markers for successfully navigating life, a point documented by legions of legendary artists from the region.
Son of Town Hall
Welcome to the mythic world of Son of Town Hall, the unusual union of Ben Parker of London, England, and David Berkeley of Santa Fe, New Mexico. Parker, a highly sought-after London-based songwriter/producer/multi-instrumentalist, and Berkeley, a celebrated singer/songwriter/author have imagined a world that transcends time and space, complete with Victorian-era outfits, meditations about the sea and songs that beg you to sing along. The show is three-parts concert, one-part theater. It will leave you transformed, with your heart full of laughter and tears, drunk on adventure and the tragic beauty of the human condition
Members from two Long Island bands, comprised of siblings and long-time friends, came together to form Quarter Horse in 2013. Described as Americana, the group’s sound is further characterized by a wide range of influences including folk, rock, alternative, and jazz. The songwriting employs unique arrangements and lyrics that come with a powerful delivery. Some will say the band’s large three-part vocal harmonies have come to define them, but other signatures of their sound include tandem lead guitar, sections of improvisation that showcase the band’s musicianship, and a fondness for utilizing various instrumentations. “Quarter Horse,” the band’s self-titled debut album was produced by Grammy Award winning artist Andy Falco of the Infamous Stringdusters and released in December of 2016
Saturday Evening Concert Featuring Langhorne Slim & The Lost at Last Band
Martin Guitar Stage
- The Lee Boys 4:00 PM – 4:40 PM
- Kim So Ra 4:50 PM – 5:20 PM
- Dave Gunning 5:30 PM – 6:10 PM
- Jeffrey Foucault 6:20 PM – 7:05 PM
- Steve Poltz 7:15 PM – 7:55 PM
- Kathy Mattea 8:05 PM – 8:50 PM
- Talisk 9:00 PM – 9:45 PM
- Langhorne Slim & The Lost at Last Band 9:55 PM – 10:45 PM
- The Mavericks 11:00PM – 12:00PM
Oshima Brothers' magnetic sibling sound and contagious joy result from a lifetime of making music together. Raised in a musical family in rural Maine, the brothers have honed a harmony-rich blend of contemporary folk and acoustic pop. On stage, Sean and Jamie create a surprisingly full sound with dynamic vocals, electric and acoustic guitars, octave bass, loops, and percussion. Their debut album, "Oshima Brothers," released in 2016, is a collection of 11 original songs written by Sean, and arranged and recorded by Jamie. The brothers live in Maine but are often on the road performing, producing music videos, and dancing.
Barely four years since their formation, Talisk have already stacked up several major awards for their pyrotechnic yet artfully woven sound - including Folk Band of the Year 2017 at the BBC Alba Scots Trad Music Awards, and a 2015 BBC Radio 2 Folk Award. Mohsen Amini - the BBC Radio 2 Folk Awards’ Musician of the Year 2018, Hayley Keenan and Graeme Armstrong meld concertina, fiddle and guitar seamlessly together, to produce a unique force that has taken them to many corners of Europe, throughout the UK on headline tours, to the USA, Canada and Australia.
Driftwood Soldier isn’t your average gutter-folk duo. Growling and crooning, muttering about lost love, brimstone, and the glorious view from the underside of a rusty world-order, Owen holds the rhythm on mandolin and foot percussion while Bobby stretches bass notes into lyrical vines that vibrate somewhere north of your liver and flower unexpectedly at night. Their new album, Stay Ahead of the Wolf, is the fulfillment of a promise, and a howling prelude of what’s yet to come.
SUNDAY EVENING CONCERT FEATURING STEVEN CROSBY & FRIENDS
Martin Guitar Stage
- Great Groove Band 4:00 PM – 4:20 PM
- Kruger Brothers 4:30 PM – 5:15 PM
- Dom Flemons 5:30 PM – 6:15 PM
- Amanda Shires 6:30 PM – 7:20 PM
- Margo Price 7:35 PM – 8:35 PM
- David Crosby & Friends -- 8:50PM – 9:50PM