Folkadelphia Session: The Sun Flights


On Monday, I heard from Claire Duncombe, one of the original duo of Philadelphia’s The Sun Flights that,with the release of this Folkadelphia in-studio session, they would be closing the book on this portion of their musical journey. Over the past handful of years, The Sun Flights, first just Natalie Butts and Claire, and then adding Tim Leslie and Jake Hager, became a staple in my area of the Philadelphia music scene. I’ve seen them play in bars, on porches, on top of a bus, in tiny shops. I’ve heard them play a song for the first time and I’ve seen them refine and rework it until it clicks like tumblers in a lock moving into place. I’m only one of many listeners that have fallen deeply for their easy harmonies, vibrant community spirit, and wild imagination, not even to speak of their songs and albums. The Sun Flights just made it so effortless to enjoy their performances, to root for them to succeed in winning over everyone in the room, so it is extremely bittersweet to watch it come to an end. But as they say, one door closes and another opens. I know that we’ll be closely following Claire, Natalie, Tim, and Jake on whatever it is that comes next because it is going to be great.

Folkadelphia leaves you now with perhaps their final recorded document, our in-studio performance recorded back in March and a farewell statement from the band:

“There’s an old Irish legend about a man who finds poetry in the sky. In the story, eloquence comes to him out of thin air and through this gift of words he is able to win the attention of the woman he loves. Most of us songwriters and musicians know what it is to seemingly pluck ideas from nowhere, but those ideas do come from somewhere. They come from a long chain of stories and sounds, told and retold, exaggerated and then simplified, only to be expanded again. This is folk music. We can only tread where we’ve been, but that doesn’t make the depth of experience any less profound. It’s like the countless times this earth has made it’s journey around the sun. Within the context of the same path, billions upon billions of stories have been told.

We’ve been so very honored to share stories with so many people throughout this Sunflights journey. So thankful for the listening ears, support, friendship and love. Music created together with love makes for a peaceful place to be, anywhere. To those that have hosted us over the years and have shared with us your homes, we’re infinitely grateful. It’s truly been an inspiring ride, but we have now come to a moment of reconfiguration in our lives. Claire’s off to the mountains, Natalie’s diving into some of her many other artistic talents, Jake’s headed west and Tim’s continuing to help organize many a festival. We don’t know what the future holds and whether the music in our bones will bring us back together but we are all taking time for some much needed adventure and exploration.

It it suiting and we are proud to end on the note of a Folkadelphia session we recorded live at WXPN in March. These recordings will soon be joined by a few other live recordings from this past spring. Our hope is that The Sunflights have contributed a good strong link to the chain of folk music. While we walk our separate ways know that our songs are now out there to be played and shared and continued on out into the blue, blue sky and beyond.”

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