WHYY celebrates Philadelphia’s vibrant music scene
WHYY’s Local Music Project spotlights Philadelphia-area musicians by playing their music on radio, TV and podcast. Find out more about the artists and their music here.
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Featured: Live Wire
Steeped in the traditions of New England contra dance and Southern old-time music, Live Wire’s music makes the leap into contemporary roots music, embellished with notes from international traditions. The band members are Tom Krumm (fiddle), Ben Kennedy (keyboard), Sarah Gowan (guitar) and Bill Quern (banjo, mandolin, melodeon).
alka was formed by Bryan Michael as an outlet for his electronic compositions, after playing in bands around Philadelphia. He’s released albums both solo and collaborative, with the sound of a restless, mercurial musician unafraid of crashing together diffuse elements – faltering stop-start rhythms, glitches, drifting ambience, near-pop & crisp beats inflected with hints of early electro.
Textura magazine described alka’s music as “meticulously assembled, multi-layered tracks that are lush, strongly melodic, and equally melancholic & uplifting.”
Mori Behar is a professional musician residing near Cheltenham Township. He received a degree in Composition from Berklee College of Music and is also an accomplished performer on piano, guitar, electric bass, violin, viola, contra-bass, cello and percussion.
He maintains an active teaching schedule of adults and children, both in private instruction and at the Center School.
Black Horse Motel
Philadelphia’s Black Horse Motel crafts its city folk sound by taking traditional folk instruments and lyrics, and blending them with Americana roots, rock, blues, and country influences. In 2017, Black Horse Motel won the Country/Folk category in Philadelphia councilman David Oh’s city-wide PHL Live music competition, and also won twice at 2018’s local Homey Awards, for Best Folk Song, and EP of the Year.
North Philadelphia native Jeff Bradshaw is known as a soul-jazz and hip-hop/funk innovator. Coming up in the Philadelphia Soul Movement, he had performed along some of the music industry’s greats – Michael Jackson, Earth, Wind & Fire, and Patti LaBelle, to name a few, before releasing his own albums Bone Deep and Bone Appetit. His signature smooth sound secured his consistent spot on the festival circuit as solo act and as a guest to artists such as Jill Scott, the Roots, and Mary J. Blige.
See Jeff Bradshaw featured on WHYY’s You Oughta Know.
Chipocrite uses original Nintendo Game Boys, often accompanied by guitar, bass, drums and/or other lo-fi sequencers, to create his compositions. Since emerging from the Philadelphia chip scene just a few years ago, he has taken the stage at numerous performance spaces around the country.
Actor Josh Cooke currently serves as composer and/or music supervisor for a number of podcasts from Unqualified Media and Cloud 10 Media including: Minor Adventures with Topher Grace, Sorry Not Sorry with Alyssa Milano and Endless Honeymoon with Natasha Leggero and Moshe Kasher. For WHYY’s Local Music Project, he’s sent us some of his solo guitar work.
Paul is a prolific songwriter as well as a professional actor and stage manager. His songs emphasize heartfelt and relatable lyrics, while keeping the message simple, and delivering it with soulful intention. Paul’s music heard on WHYY is from his most recent album entitled “The Next Big Nobody”, a collection of songs inspired by life in the theater.
Greg Davis is a Philadelphia native who began playing guitar at age 8 and teaching guitar at 14. He has been a member of many Philly-based groups including In The Pocket, Beru Revue, and Crosstown Traffic.
Laura Dishong got her start in music as a vocal music and music education student, but a chance encounter with the harp changed all that. She’s won the Mid-Atlantic Irish Harp Competition, and has studied harp at the Carde Na Cruite School in Termonfeckin, Ireland. Laura maintains an active performance schedule throughout the region, and continues to teach music in Moorestown, NJ.
Bucks County-based Tim Farrell is a master of the intricacies and melodic grace of fingerstyle guitar. He performs as a solo artist and also has shared the stage with such notable artists as Les Paul, Jean Luc Ponty, Alex DeGrassi, Jake Shimabukuru, California Guitar Trio, John Sebastian and many more. In addition, Tim is teaching a new generation of musicians to develop a deeper knowledge, enjoyment, and appreciation of music through workshops, seminars, and residencies.
Jessica Graae is a folk singer-songwriter who celebrated the release of her second album “Sea Dream” with a show at World Café Live in Philadelphia. Nominated for ten WSTW Hometown Hero Homey Awards, Jessica is a 2013 Philadelphia Folk Factory contest winner and a finalist in the 2012 and 2014 Delmarva Folk Hero contests.
Hirudidae is a solo synth project based in Philadelphia. It’s ghost music: songs written for ghosts, by ghosts. With roots in Victorian séances and the 1980s underground scene, the project channels restless spirits to create a wailing morass of goth, minimal synth, drone music, and dark wave.
I Think Like Midnight
Super-melodic and original indie instrumental rock music from Philadelphia, consisting of members of The Dead Milkmen, The Trolleyvox/Wishniaks, and Heyward Howkins Band. Their music travels through quirky intelligent twists, guitar twang, and genre-spanning trips into post-punk, melodic electronica, motorik, surf twang, and folktronica.
Philadelphia’s Jasper String Quartet is the Professional Quartet in Residence at Temple University’s Center for Gifted Young Musicians. “The Jaspers… match their sounds perfectly, as if each swelling chord were coming out of a single, impossibly well-tuned organ, instead of four distinct instruments.” (New Haven Advocate)
Bassist Nicholas Krolak is a young veteran of the Philadelphia jazz scene. He has spent the last decade working as a side-man, experiencing new styles, and studying with the masters. Now, he’s applying all he’s learned to his own group. Tracing the lineage of bebop into the contemporary, his compositions celebrate the city and honor nature.
Michael Lawrence is a composer, keyboardist and field recordist in Philadelphia. As a composer, he has been published by the Organist’s Companion (Wayne Leupold Editions), among others. He is an assistant grand court organist on the Wanamaker Organ at Macy’s in Center City. He recently represented Philadelphia for 60 Minute Cities, a project with Bivouac Recording of Shanghai, China featuring field recording albums from cities around the world.
Lazy Salon is New Jersey based multi-instrumentalist Sean Byrne, formerly the drummer with several Philadelphia bands (Mazarin, Lenola, BC Camplight, Matt Pond and others) and primary songwriter for The Twin Atlas during the 2000’s.
Since 2014 Byrne has been crafting psychedelic instrumentals as Lazy Salon, dabbling in genres from melodic electronic/dance, spaced out dub, dreamy pop and elastic rhythms.
Mike and Shanna
Mike and Shanna are a husband and wife duo with a passion for music and life. They write original music and also play everything from obscure 80’s, oldies, classic rock favorites to covers of today’s artists. You can find them playing music in bars, wineries, house shows, local shows, farmers markets, and everything in between.
Featuring core members guitarist Orlando Haddad and pianist Patricia King, internationally acclaimed Minas performs Brazilian jazz. They take Brazilian and American roots and play ballads tinged with blues and choro, bossa novas and sambas.
Watch Minas on WHYY-TV’s On Tour
Michael O’Reilly has been an Emmy winning producer for the WHYY original production FRIDAY ARTS, and has received multiple Emmy nominations for his original music. He teaches at Rowan University and at PhillyCAM – the public access channel of Philadelphia.
Steve Patruno is the guitarist and vocalist of The New Watchdog Blues Band.
Piffaro recreates the rustic music of the peasantry and the elegant sounds of the official wind bands of the late Medieval and Renaissance periods. Under the direction of artistic directors Joan Kimball and Bob Wiemken, these pied-pipers of Early Music present concerts in the Philadelphia region, as well as touring the U.S. and other countries.
Phil Rizzo is a New Jersey native who has played bass and guitar in various rock bands of the Philadelphia and South Jersey music scene.
Al Serrani is a singer-songwriter, multi-instrumentalist, sound engineer, and producer who owns his own sound studio. He is the founder of the band Armada, for whom he writes original material and plays nearly every instrument.
Peter Tang grew up in Shenyang China, where he studied music. He now leads a traditional Chinese music ensemble which actively performs in the greater Philadelphia area.
Neil Tapp’s guitar playing draws inspiration from the American fingerpicking tradition, highlighting styles from the 1920s to the present day.
Philly born guitarist and singer-songwriter Larry Tritel has over 30 years of experience playing music. You can catch Larry playing just about every weekend, and hear his theme song for “The Hollis Thomas & Rob Charry Show,” weekends on WIP.
Born and raised in San Diego, Victoria Watts’ music has taken her around the country, eventually leading to Philadelphia where she performed full-time with the band, Element K. She now performs solo and as the front woman and multi-instrumentalist for her own music.
West Philadelphia Orchestra
With influences ranging from Sun Ra to Bulgarian brass bands, West Philadelphia Orchestra began as a porch jam in West Philly. The group has continued expanding their repertoire of Eastern European music and has played all over the country, yet WPO’s heartbeat is always in Philly: they play every Tuesday night at Franky Bradley’s.