WXPN's annual XPonential Music Festival is a 3 day-long celebration of the phenomenal music scene that thrives in our own backyard. Featuring over 30+ on 3 stages, XPonential Fest showcases up and coming artists alongside household names. Arts Montco is proud to play a part in this epic weekend-long adventure through supporting local and touring groups playing the Marina Stage at this year's festival! Check out every artist playing the Marina Stage this year below:
FRIDAY JULY 26TH
Foxtrot & the Get Down
Foxtrot & the Get Down began at West Chester University through mutual musical interests between singer/songwriter Colin Budny and bassist Ken Bianco. Bonding overacts like G. Love & Special Sauce and A Tribe Called Quest, Budny, and Bianco began creating music and playing sets around Philadelphia and the surrounding areas. After adding vocalist Erica Ruiz, the band released their debut EP "Sold the Soul" in 2014.
After signing to Nashville based indie label American Echo Records, and adding their permanent fixture at drums Jimmy Iovine, the band began toured extensively, and on February 2017, the band released its debut LP, "Roots too Deep". With the positive critical response, a strong social media following, raucous live shows, and a growing fan base, the band re-entered the studio in the fall of 2017.
In October 2017, Foxtrot released "Shine", the first in a series of singles that showcases the band's growing sound. Showcasing both Budny and Ruiz's vocal strengths, hooky songwriting, and a horn section, Foxtrot blends the ideals of Bruce Springsteen, The Killers, Alabama Shakes, while staying true to their rock, soul, pop, and blues roots.
Rayland Baxter is a gentleman, a singer of the song, a teller of the tale, a picker of strings, a thinker of things. Born in the untamed hills of Bon Aqua, Tennessee, he tells a story unlike any other, a story that is true and full of unraveling emotion.
Thoreau had Walden Pond. Kerouac had Big Sur. Rayland Baxter? He had an old rubber band factory in Franklin, Kentucky, and it suited him just fine. As one of the hardest-touring artists on the road today, Baxter’s spent most of his professional life in transit, but ever since he was a kid, he dreamed of creative seclusion someplace lonely and isolated, somewhere he could sit still and devote his every waking hour to writing without interruption or distraction. When the opportunity finally presented itself in late 2016, the Nashville native pounced
Christone "Kingfish" Ingram
Once a generation, a blues artist comes along who not only reminds mainstream audiences how deeply satisfying and emotionally moving the best blues music can be, but shakes the genre to its core. With both eyes on the future and the blues in his blood, 20-year-old guitarist, vocalist and songwriter Christone "Kingfish" Ingram is set to take the music world by storm with the long-awaited release of his debut album, KINGFISH, on Alligator Records. Sprung from the same earth as so many of the Delta blues masters, Kingfish comes bursting out of Clarksdale, Mississippi, just ten miles from the legendary crossroads of Highways 61 and 49. A student of the Delta's musical history, he is acutely aware of the musicians and the music that emerged from his corner of the world. "I do think I have an old soul, that I've been here before," he says. "I'm moving forward with one foot in the past."
"You don't see too many kids into blues music," says the nascent star. "In my town, every kid wants to be a rapper – I wanted to do something no one else was doing." And although he grew up near the crossroads where Robert Johnson allegedly cut a deal with the devil, Kingfish insists he didn't do any of that to make his guitar howl the blues. "I just practice all the time," he says, "that's the only deal I made, and it's with myself."
SATURDAY JULY 27TH
As it happens in small towns, we all kept running into each other. Anna and Ryan played on the same football team - Ryan met Tom in high school marching band - Tom mistakenly sent a photo of his guitar collection to Anna in sixth grade - Tom and Dave met while working at an ice cream shop - Anna and Dave competed in a talent show - and Ryan's family often ate at the very same restaurant David's family owned. In the fateful year of 2014 we each found ourselves within the four blue walls of Ryan's garage, and well, here we are today - meeting you via the bio section of our FB account! Welcome to The Vaughns family
Y LA BAMBA
Y La Bamba has been many things, but at the heart of it is singer-songwriter Luz Elena Mendoza’s inquisitive sense of self. Their fifth record, Mujeres, carries on the Portland-based band’s affinity for spiritual contemplation, but goes a step further in telling a story with a full emotional spectrum. Coming off Ojos Del Sol, one of NPR’s Top 50 Albums of 2016, Mujeres exhibits the scope of Mendoza’s artistic voice like never before. “Soy como soy,” Mendoza says, and that declaration is the bold— even political— statement that positions Mujeres to be Y La Bamba’s most unbridled offering yet.
The record exists in the post-2016 landscape of a national identity crisis, and Mendoza explores what it means to be a Mexican American woman by leading us through places we are afraid to go. Mujeres ventures in to the discomfort of the stories we tell ourselves. Those of our past, our futures. We all have these stories somewhere inside of us, but with Y La Bamba, Mendoza forges new narratives from old stories of heritage and family, tracing history while forging modern chicana feminism.
An obsession with money, a lover sleeping with someone else, a friend accidentally getting pregnant, misogyny, loneliness, death... This is just some of the lighthearted subject matter that make up LONER -- the whimsical, darkly comedic second album from songwriter/producer Caroline Rose. Armed with an arsenal of new instruments and equipment, an ever-growing sense of "ahhh screw it", two years of exploration, and a wicked sense of humor, Rose delivers a set of serious songs wrapped in a sprightly, angsty pop burrito. Because, as Rose puts it, "Sometimes sad songs just need a cocktail."
I wrote my first song when I was eight years old. It was about a puppy named Ramona. The second one was about Hannah, my elementary school deskmate. I lost track of the songs after that as I wrote quite regularly throughout primary school. The songs were mostly terrible but as I got into high school they started getting better, or so I thought. They had characters and consistent themes and slowly I found myself getting attached to the songs and the stories they told. I wrote a lot during this period, it was my reinforcement for studying. If I knew I had to study for a test and wasn’t in my most academic spirits, I would promise myself that if I got through a number of chapters I would get to write a song. It was a fun game that helped me excel at my exams.
My taste in music at the time was rooted in rock. I listened to rock radio growing up; bands like Nirvana, Radiohead, Oasis and Death cab for cutie, were some of my favorites. My songwriting at the time also leaned towards arrangements synonymous with rock music. I didn't play any instruments though; not at all for any lack of interest but because no instruments were accessible to me at the time. It was a matter of priority; either my mother would buy us food for the next month or starve us and buy me a guitar and some lessons. Most battles, rock and roll would win, not this one. Playing instruments was always associated with affluence. Only the rich kids could afford such a luxury. In retrospect, this feels like a sad reality, since music is a language that should transcend all barriers.
The McCrary Sisters
Dynamic, powerful and thrilling are just a few words to describe The McCrary Sisters live performances. Steeped in tight soulful harmonies, the Sisters will have the audience dancing in the aisles celebrating life with words of hope and love.
The McCrary Sisters (Ann, Deborah, Regina and Alfreda) are the daughters of the late Rev. Samuel McCrary — one of the original members of the legendary gospel quartet The Fairfield Four. The daughters were raised in harmony, singing at home and at their father’s church, but word soon spread of their individual accomplished voices and each began sharing the family vocal legacy as solo artists with a wide range of performers to include Bob Dylan, Elvis, Isaac Hayes and Stevie Wonder.
In 2011, the Sisters officially formed their own group, The McCrary Sisters, and have since recorded or performed with notable artists Delbert McClinton, Black Keys, Martina McBride, Eric Church, Patty Griffin, Buddy Miller, Jonny Lang, Robert Randolph, The Winans, Donnie McClurkin, Rosanne Cash, Carrie Underwood, Hank Williams Jr., Dr. John, Widespread Panic, Sheryl Crow, Maren Morris, Gregg Allman and many more.
SUNDAY JULY 28TH
With a voice that captivates and can draw stirring emotions while weaving through multiple genres of music, Zeek, previously known as “The Experience” for just that reason, brings a fierce artistic dynamic to music. Honing a unique style that encompasses rock and soul, Zeek has spent the last year performing across the United States and in London, UK. He is also the voice of the theme song "We Need Hope" on Italy's hit TV show "Carpool Karaoke." His latest album "XXII" is a soulful rocker's heartfelt, yet provocative expression of a personal journey. Aside from heading up his own band, Zeek is also one of the lead vocalists for the Worldtown Sound System, an eclectic house band. Zeek has a spark that lights up the stage and the hearts of his listeners wherever he goes. Seeing him perform live is definitely an experience not to be missed!
THE WAR & TREATY
The War and Treaty: the name itself represents the pull between trauma and tranquility, music inspired by darkness and despair that ultimately finds a higher spiritual purpose. It’s a sound manifest on the group’s upcoming EP, Down to the River.
For Michael Trotter Jr., the journey began in 2004, when he arrived in Iraq, an untested soldier struck by fear and self-doubt. His captain made it his personal mission to see to Trotter’s survival. The unit was encamped in one of Saddam Hussein’s private palaces, and in a forgotten corner in its basement, they found a black upright piano that once belonged to the dictator himself. When Trotter shared the fact he could sing, he was encouraged to teach himself to play piano on that confiscated keyboard. “I wrote my first song after that captain was killed,” Trotter recalls. “I sang it for his memorial in Iraq.” Soon after it became his mission to sing at the memorial services for those that had fallen. For the next three years, he sang songs that brought solace and comfort to the members of his unit. His efforts eventually garnered wider recognition as well. He came in first place in “Military Idol,” the army’s version of “American Idol,” during a competition held in Baumholder, Germany. Following his discharge, he was featured on the Hope Channel program “My Story, My Song.”
Then he met Tanya Blount. Blount's musically influences include Mahalia Jackson, Sister Odette and Aretha Franklin. The two fell in love, got married and used the experiences they had gained to create a new musical collaboration.
GREGORY ALAN ISAKOV
Born in Johannesburg, South Africa, and calling Colorado home, Gregory Alan Isakov has been traveling all his life. Songs that hone a masterful quality tell a story of miles and landscapes, and the search for a sense of place. His song-craft lends to deep lyrical masterpieces, with hints of his influences, Leonard Cohen and Bruce Springsteen. He has been described as “strong, subtle, a lyrical genius.” Isakov released his newest album, Evening Machines, on October 5th, 2018.
Ruston Kelly writes and performs the kinds of songs that inspire novels and movies. You could call him a bastard disciple of Kurt Cobain and Townes Van Zandt, and he’d be totally cool with that. He’s just as comfortable wearing a cowboy hat as he is in a Slayer t-shirt. His story so far twists and turns through heartbreak and triumph, an overdose and rehab, empty dive bars and packed venues, living everywhere from South Carolina to Brussels, and as he puts it, “finally getting my shit together and proposing to the love of my life.” It’s this unbelievable experience that informs his singular style—a gravelly patchwork of folk lyricism, grunge attitude, country heart, Americana spirit, and rock energy. Not only has he penned songs for Tim McGraw (“Nashville Without You”), Josh Abbott Band (“Front Row Seat”), and more, but his independent solo debut EP Halloween earned acclaim from KCRW, Consequence of Sound, RELIX, Apple Music, and more. “Poison” racked up over 516K Spotify streams, while “Black Magic” soundtracked the Season Finale of the CBS series Scorpion. He logged countless miles on the road sharing the stage with the likes of The Lumineers and Robert Earl Keen in addition to performing at Bonnaroo and Wakarusa. Signing to Washington Square Music / Razor & Tie and gearing up to record his full-length debut in 2017, Ruston holds nothing back.
The two-time Grammy Nominee's legacy started with legendary Creole musician Amedee’ Ardoin, the first Louisiana Cajun or Creole accordionist to record; followed by Bois Sec Ardoin, one of the best-known practitioners of the state's rural Creole sound for six decades, to Sean's father, Lawrence "Black" Ardoin and the Ardoin Brothers, then to Sean.
He co-lead the critically-acclaimed Zydeco outfit Double Clutchin' for 10 years, then started Sean Ardoin-N-Zydekool in 1999. He has performed at Carnegie Hall, festivals worldwide and stateside, performed live on BET’s Comic View, been featured in commercials, had his music in movies and on MTV's Road Rules, Real World, Fraternity Life, Sorority Life. Sean was recently the featured artist in episodes of CBS Primetime's investigative drama, NCIS New Orleans, Queen Sugar on Oprah Winfrey's OWN Network, and Southern Charm New Orleans, a Bravo TV reality show. Sean represents both the rural roots and progressive future of Louisiana's Creole-Zydeco sound like no other artist. He's truly one of Zydeco's "triple threats." He's a rare combination of tradition, talent and creativity. He also works hard to keep the tradition alive with his super group Creole United and founded the Creole Hall of Fame in order to recognize the Creole contribution to the world.
Sean is finishing up his new cd "Kreole Rock and Soul." The cd has the same name as the genre he created. Sean sees it as a way to escape the confines of the traditional Zydeco idiom. He's always been a cutting edge creative force, but this new genre will enable him to fly free and explore this new genre's bright future. The response from industry media and music lovers has been tremendous, garnering him two Grammy nominations! Sean is ready to bring the Kreole Rock and Soul experience to world!!!