When the rock-and-roll band Low Cut Connie played the Philadelphia Folk Festival in August, the group was interviewed onstage for WXPN-FM's syndicated radio show World Cafe.
"I was talking to David Dye about luck, and how we haven't had any," says Adam Weiner, the Cherry Hill-raised singer and piano player, who, with British guitarist and drummer Daniel Finnemore, leads the band. They headline District N9NE on Saturday in support of their winningly rugged 2015 release, Hi Honey. "About how we work hard, but we go about our business assuming that no luck is going to come our way."
The next morning, Low Cut Connie woke up lucky. Sleeping on an air mattress in the South Philly house he had just moved into, Weiner turned on his phone to find his Twitter feed full of exclamations such as: "OMG! Low Cut Connie on #PotusPlaylist! What the hell?"
Dumbstruck, Weiner soon figured out what was going on. President Obama had posted two playlists of his favorite songs on the music-streaming service Spotify. Along with cuts by household names such as Beyoncé, Bob Dylan, and The Temptations, POTUS included "Boozophilia," a ribald, old-school rocker from Low Cut Connie's 2012 album, Call Me Sylvia. The song is celebration of debauchery at a variety of locales, including "the south side of Chicago" that Obama calls home.
"For the first time in the history of this band, we got a stroke of luck," says Weiner, a soft-spoken interview subject, who on stage turns into a wildly enthusiastic and campy Jerry Lee Lewis-worthy showman.
A confidential White House source has assured Weiner that the president is an enthusiastic fan, who personally curated the list and was turned on to LCC by one of his daughters. Weiner guesses it might have been now-17-year-old Malia, who attended the 2014 Lollapalooza fest in Chicago, where Weiner was hired by fest founder Perry Farrell to do a solo piano-lounge act.
It was welcome positive attention after Weiner posted on Facebook in July about how he had been asked to be on the NBC hit music-reality show The Voice, but chose to turn it down.
His reason? "My first thought was, 'Maybe I can just go on there and do my thing.' But it was just me, not the band. You can only cover songs from the last five years, and no originals. And I thought, 'I'm going to look like a schmuck if I do this.' "
Although Weiner says that "it certainly wasn't my intention to take down The Voice," the story went semi-viral. "Singer says 'The Voice' is pre-cast, only benefits judges, pulls out of auditions," went the FoxNews.com headline. Weiner says he figured "there's my five minutes of fame."
He can say, "Thanks, Obama," however, for what happened next. Not so much for 250,000 or so Spotify plays as a result of the POTUS list, which led to a whopping windfall of about $400. But beyond the media attention - including a local-boy-makes-good BBC profile of Finnemore - there has been a different kind of "Boozophilia" boost.
"We do everything DIY," says Weiner. He manages the band himself and says LCC plans to release a live recording in early 2016 cut at a Memphis dive bar called The Buccaneer. "We didn't get signed to a label, so I started my own label," he says. "The music industry as a whole can't give us the time of day.
"But the president slapped me on the back and said, 'Keep going, man, you're doing a good thing.' It may not make us famous or get us a record deal. But he gave us something else that's more important, I think. It's the greatest validation for us."