Audio Specials


WYEP Celebrates the 45th Anniversary of Woodstock

The Woodstock Festival was one of the watershed events of not only the counter-culture revolution of the 1960s and 1970s but in all of rock history. The audience of hundreds of thousands made Woodstock as memorable as the music from some of the most iconic bands of rock and folk of the day. To celebrate the 45th anniversary of this event, WYEP produced these short features to share facts, dispel myths, and play music performed at the original festival, chock full with audio clips from and related to the festival.1) topics: Sweetwater/Richie Havens; featured song: Richie Havens, 'Freedom'2) topics: Bert Sommer/Arlo Guthrie; featured song: Arlo Guthrie, 'Every Hand In The Land'3) topics: Quill/The Who; featured song: The Who, 'Pinball Wizard'4) topics: Melanie/The Band; featured song: The Band, 'Ain't No More Cane'5) topics: Ravi Shankar/Joan Baez; featured song: Joan Baez, 'Drug Store Truck Drivin Man'6) topics: programming between bands/Jefferson Airplane; featured song: Jefferson Airplane, 'Volunteers'7) topics: Sunday rainstorms/Joe Cocker; featured song: Joe Cocker, 'With a Little Help From My Friends'8) topics: Grateful Dead/Sha Na Na; featured song: Sha-Na-Na, 'At the Hop'9) topics: Mountain/Canned Heat; featured song: Canned Heat, 'Going Up The Country'10) topics: Keef Hartley Band/Creedence Clearwater Revival; featured song: CCR, 'I Put a Spell on You'11) topics: The Incredible String Band/John Sebastian; featured song: John Sebastian, 'Rainbows All Over Your Blues'12) topics: backstory to Woodstock/Sly and the Family Stone; featured song: Sly and the Family Stone, 'Everyday People'13) topics: acid/Country Joe and the Fish; featured song: Country Joe & the Fish, 'Feel-Like-I'm-Fixing-to-Die-Rag'14) topics: traffic problems/Santana; featured song: Santana, 'Evil Ways'15) topics: artists who DIDN'T play Woodstock/Janis Joplin with The Kozmic Blues Band; featured song: Janis Joplin, 'Piece of My Heart'16) topics: Tim Hardin/Blood, Sweat & Tears; featured song: Blood, Sweat & Tears, 'You've Made Me So Very Happy'17) topics: stage announcements/Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young; featured song: Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young, 'Marrakesh Express'18) topics: food stands & ferris wheel/Paul Butterfield Blues Band; featured song: Paul Butterfield Blues Band, 'Everything's Gonna Be Alright'19) topics: Max Yasgur/Jimi Hendrix; featured song: Jimi Hendrix, 'Red House'20) topics: stages at the festival/Ten Years After; featured song: Ten Years After, 'I'm Going Home'21) topics: audience recordings/Johnny Winter; featured song: Johnny Winter, 'Leland Mississippi Blues' 

Roadkill Ghost Choir on The Morning Mix

Andrew Shepard of Roadkill Ghost Choir talks to Cindy Howes about the band's debut In Tongues on The Morning Mix.  Roadkill Ghost Choir is a family affair and features three Shepard brothers including our guest Andrew. Shepard says that this was not always the plan but it has been working well for him, “when I first started the band I didn’t really have them in mind to be in it, it was a one off show…I brought them along to play that first show but then it rolled into a whole band thing”.  While it was never originally part of the plan Shepard claims that working with his brothers offers some unique advantages, “the dynamic is completely different when you’re playing in a band with your brothers me and my brothers can yell at each other and someone can say ‘hey man that’s a terrible part’ and no one really gets their feelings hurt because we have been doing it our whole lives, so it’s just easier”.  Roadkill Ghost Choirs album In Tongues often deals with rather dark themes but often sounds rather up beat and happy, Shepard says this duality often comes naturally, “I don’t want to make a record that is just pure bleakness you know? That can be a burden, I don’t think it’s something we try to do it just sort of happens I guess”. “A Blow to the Head” is a long song on In Tongues that proves to be a creepy epic that ultimately dealt with Shepard finding the bands identity, “I was confused about where the band was going and what people expected from us as a band, we have been compared to a lot of bands I don’t really think we are peers with…I wrote that song to let everybody know that we can’t really be compared to those bands”.  The band started in the small town of DeLand Florida which Shepard says is a beautiful place but ultimately did not provide the musical outlet that the band needs to grow, “musically I don’t think we were ever influenced by it… it did give us a lot of down time to develop our sound and the music we listen to so that was helpful”. The band has since moved to Athens Georgia, “we just love this town, there is a lot of good music and a lot of good bars, and it’s a very creative place to be”.Roadkill Ghost Choir’s new album In Tongues is now available.

Scott Miller Guest DJs on The Morning Mix

Cindy Howes is joined by recording artist Scott Miller for this guest DJ session, Scott Miller came onto the music scene in the early 90’s in Tennessee. For his first pick as guest DJ is “9,999,999 Tears” by Bruce Robinson and Kelly Willis. He had recently played with Bruce in Colorado…”I had not forgotten but I needed to be reminded of what an awesome song writer that guy is and that song is just like wow this is awesome”.Scott Miller’s second choice as guest DJ is “Patchwork River by Jim Lauderdale. Scott chose this song not only because he had been listening to it frequently of late but also because he personally owns and operates a 200 acre cattle farm and “patchwork River” resonates with him the fact the he wears many hats in his life, care taker for his parents, worker on his farm, musician and performer.Third and final choice from Scott as Guest DJ is “Tennessee Waltz” by Pee Wee King. “in my opinion the best song ever written… it’s all subjective but I like songs that tell a story, go from point a to point b and invoke an emotion and  this is the king of it”.Cindy and Scott discuss Scotts immediate musical future and when a new record might be expected, “It’s time for a new one” Scott says between all of his other work he does find time to escape and work on his music as much as he can.1. 9,999,999 Tears - Bruce Robinson and Kelly Willis2. Patchwork River - Jim Lauderdale 3. Tennessee Waltz - Pee Wee King 

Jonny Lang Guest DJ on The Morning Mix

Jonny Lang plays guest DJ with Cindy Howes and shares some of his favorite blues songs. For his guest DJ set, Lang picks some of his favorite blues songs that he feels are a great introduction to the blues genre.  For his first song Lang picks Albert Kings “Blues Power”. “Blues Power” is from a live recording that Lang feels has a fantastic guitar sound, “maybe the best recorded guitar tone of all time…it’s a pretty amazing sounding recording”. Lang's second pick is “Honey Hush” by Albert Collins.  Lang feels that Albert Collins is likely his favorite guitar player, “if there is anybody that I have tried to emulate on guitar it’s him, something about his style and the way he attacks the guitar is unique”.For his final selection guest DJ, Jonny Lang picks “Hellhound on my Trail” by Robert Johnson. “You hate to give a rundown of blues songs without putting Robert Johnson in there” states Lang. He feels that it is both a great piece of music and American history, “even though we have so little from him as far as recordings, this is one of my favorites”.Jonny Lang's latest album is Fight For My Soul.Jonny Lang's song picks:1. Albert King - Blues Power (Live)2. Albert Collins - Honey Hush3. Robert Johnson - Hellhound on My Trail

Sam Herring of Future Islands Guest DJs on The Morning Mix

Sam Herring, frontman for Future Islands, Guest DJs on The Morning Mix with Cindy Howes. Future Islands released their latest album Singles earlier this year.Herring first chooses “Reason to Believe” by the “amazingly haunting” Karen Dalton, a song that, he says, is her way of begging someone for reason to believe in them but also saying “I want to believe in you.” Herring says he’s found her three LPs, and they really bring him peace.Out of Chicago, the dreamy hip-hop artist Serengeti, has caught Herring’s ear for the past few months. “’Kenny and Jueles’ came off an LP put out last year called the Kenny Dennis LP which is Serengeti performing in this character called Kenny Dennis,” he says. “He’s singing about the time he was on American Gladiator in the early 90s, and he beat Nitro and Powerball, and he had the chance to become a gladiator, but he didn’t want to be away from his love because he loved her so much.” It’s so funny but so real, he says, and the way he paints the character Kenny Dennis is the same way.Appearing on Letterman a few months ago, performing the song “Seasons (Waiting On You,” Herring and Future Islands made quite a stage presence that caught the eyes of many, but as far what’s going through his mind onstage, Herring is “trying to be aware of the audience.” “I think that performance would have been a bit different had there not been an audience in the room,” he says. “I think as long as you’re connecting with your audience, for me, that’s what music is all about.”Sam Herring’s Guest DJ Setlist:Karen Dalton – “Reason to Believe”Serengeti – “Kenny and Jueles”Future Islands – “Seasons (Waiting On You)”

New Local Music Guest DJ set from HughShows

Local music photographer and a staple in the local music scene Hugh Tyman (aka Hughshows) shares some of his favorite new local songs with Cindy Howes on The Morning Mix.Howes cites Tyman as one of the first people she met in the local music scene who has had a great impact on it. Tyman, having been involved for 15 or 20 years, chooses his set with the local music scene in mind. The first track he picks is “City Deer” by Roger Harvey & The Wild Life which sounds like a cross between Neutral Milk Hotel and Bright Eyes. “This one is more melodic, but it still rocks a bit.” Tyman then talks about his friend and partner in the Hughshows concert series Jay Vega. “Without him it would be bongos and kazoos.”Many bands fade out and are reborn as other projects; such is the case with local band Yarn Wallows who came from The Slant. “[The Slant] is like the Joy Division or Uncle Tupelo of Pittsburgh,” he says. “I like the vibe that they give off that’s bombastic, self-described as bombastic, fun, groovy sing-along.” Tyman then talks about his last pick John O'Hallaron, a.k.a. Chalk Dinosaur, a one man, studio only musician. “He changes his vibe with each track with each album. He’s very prolific, but I just love the spirt of the song [“Pittsburgh I Love You”].”Hughshows is celebrating its tenth year and occurs every second Saturday of the month in 2014. This month’s show on August 9 will run from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m., featuring Rob Gray (authentic Appalachian dark folk), Action Camp (Electro-doom pop), Essential Machine (indie-folk), and Balloon Ride Fantasy (fantasy rock).Hughshows' Guest DJ Setlist:Roger Harvey & The Wild Life - “City Deer”Yarn Wallows - "We Abound/We Are Bound (Puppeteering)"Chalk Dinosaur - “Pittsburgh I Love You”

Marissa Nadler on The Morning Mix

Boston-based singer Marissa Nadler released her sixth studio album this year, entitled July and also recently released a 7’ inch split with American folk singer-songwriter Father John Misty. Nadler talks to Cindy Howes on The Morning Mix.Nadler has been compared to artists like Joni Mitchell and Mazzy Star, and it turns out these were the kinds of artists she was inspired by but takes after Mitchell’s patterns even moreso than musically. Nadler, like Joni Mitchell, is a painter and went to Rhode Island School of Design for painting. “If you’re an artistic person or an artist, it can cross many different media,” she says. “That’s affected the way I write song lyrics.”Randall Dunn, best known for working with metal bands, produced Nadler’s newest album, and Nadler says she thinks her music was thrown in the same community because it was pretty goth, with titles like Ballads of Living and Dying.” “Black metal has a lot of overlap with acoustic music,” she says. “A lot of black metal is just very ambient, beautiful music.”The new 7’ split with Father John Misty will feature him and Nadler covering each other’s songs. Nadler covers “Hollywood Forever Cemetery Sings” and Misty covers Nadler’s song “Drive” which she says she hasn’t heard yet and is waiting to hear it on vinyl.

Adam Duritz's 50th Birthday Tribute Set

To celebrate Counting Crows frontman Adam Duritz’s 50th birthday, Mike Sauter picks a Counting Crows themed Guest DJ set on the Moring Mix with Cindy Howes.Sauter says his first Counting Crows experience was in 1993 when their first album was released. There were many influences floating around during that period including grunge, British dance rock and American roots rock, and the culmination of all that resulted in what people at the time who heard Adam Duritz called “the new Van Morrison.” One of the first songs that got everyone interested, “Mr. Jones” had an interesting dynamic, Sauter says, that summed up everything at the time. “Half the time I don’t know what the heck is going on [in the lyrics], and I like that, because it kind of allows me to impose whatever I’m feeling at the time on the lyrics.”Sauter then talks about the musical transitions the band went through in their career, but in his opinion, everything came together with the album This Desert Life, and“Mrs. Potter’s Lullaby” is “the grand epic of that album.” Skipping forward many years to their new album, Sauter says the band sounds exciting on their newest release Somewhere Under Wonderland. Their official new single is “Scarecrow,” but another song was released, he says, called “Palisades Park.” “There are a lot of great images that, as you listen along, you can kind of correlate to things that happen in your own life.” The music video, almost like a short film, also holds no real clue to what the song is about, but it consciously tries to get a Bruce Springsteen vibe across, Sauter says.Sauter then talks about a friendly experience he had with Duritz. There was a contest online a while back to create art for Duritz’s fan album made of cover songs, with no big release planned. So Sauter says he made a bit of art but never heard anything until a few months later. He had received a piece of vinyl that Duritz sent out to the fans who participated. “In my book, Adam Duritz, not only a terrific musician, but A+ guy.”Mike Sauter’s Counting Crows Guest DJ Set:“Mr. Jones”“Mrs. Potter’s Lullaby”“Palisades Park”

Serena Ryder Guest DJ on The Morning Mix

Serena Ryder Guest DJs on The Morning Mix with Cindy Howes. Ryder released her latest album Harmony in 2012.Ryder starts off her Guest DJ set with a song she calls phenomenal and one of her favorites, "Surprise" by Sean Rowe. With a low, boomy voice like Bruce Springsteen and lyrics like Leonard Cohen, Sean Rowe has a special place in Ryder’s heart. Ryder then picks the song "Chandelier" by Sia, saying her friend first played it for her, and Sia is probably one of the coolest people, having met her. “It’s really fun to scream it and sing it at home and run around my house singing it.”Ryder’s last pick is "Good Sex" by Kevin Drew, a good friend of hers from the band Broken Social Scene. “[His] new record really is phenomenal from front to back,” she says. “This is the first kind of standout pop hit I think that came out at me on the record.”Ryder performed at a WYEP event a few years back which she recalls as a bit smaller of a stage than she can be contained. Like her upcoming gig at South Park, Ryder likes access to a big stage. “I get to run around; I’m so hyper, so that’s really fun for me.”Serena Ryder's song picks:1. Sean Rowe - "Surprise"2. Sia - "Chandelier"3. Kevin Drew - "Good Sex"

Blues Fest Guest DJ

Lisa Scales - CEO of The Greater Pittsburgh Community Food Bank - plays a set of blues music on The Morning Mix to celebrate the Pittsburgh Blues Fest's 20th year.“20 years, 287 bands and over 10 million meals have resulted from the [Pittsburgh] Blues Festival,” Scales says, talking about The Greater Pittsburgh Community Food Bank’s biggest annual fundraiser. Scales starts off with a song from Dr. John, one of this year’s Blues Fest headliners. Scales then talks about another one of the bands performing, Spin Doctors and calls their song “If the River Was Whiskey” a great traditional blues song.The Pittsburgh Blues Festival has ended up providing a staggering amount of funds to help people struggling and in the end, that’s what blues is about. “Blues music, at its heart, speaks of tough times and folks struggling with life’s challenges,” she says. “Not only is it about struggle but it’s about resilience; it’s about overcoming struggle, so to me it’s also a celebration.”To meet the Food Bank’s goal, they ask that people bring in a bag of non-perishable groceries as admission. Scales says they hope to bring in 20 tons of food this year. Scales ends her Guest DJ set with JJ Grey + MOFRO’s “The Sweetest Thing.” “We’re starting strong, we’re strong the whole way through and, I can’t think of a better band to end with than JJ Grey + MOFRO, Sunday night.”Lisa's Guest DJ Set:Dr. John - Iko IkoSpin Doctors - If The River Was WhiskeyJJ Grey + MOFRO - The Sweetest Thing

Lake Street Dive Guest DJ set

Bridget Kearney of Lake Street Dive plays Guest DJ with Cindy Howes on The Morning Mix. Lake Street Dive released their new album Bad Self-Portraits earlier this year.Kearney says she recently discovered The Zombies by watching the show Madmen, and the song from the show’s credits was from the Zombies album Odessey and Oracle. Kearney says she loves the album and the song from it “Friends of Mine.” Lake Street Dive has performed with The Sun Parade before, and Kearney calls their music very smart and very fun. “I think Sun Parade is a great name for them, because there’s just a kind of bounce to everything that I really love.”Kearney says a long-time inspiration for her and the rest of Lake Street Dive is Bonnie Raitt and cites her song “I Can’t Make You Love Me” as a real tear-jerker. The song, she says, was written by a national songwriting team comprised in part by a former defensive lineman for the NFL. “It’s like the most tender, heartfelt ballad, and I love to picture this big lineman writing it.”Though she plays upright bass in the band, Kearney used to write rock songs in junior high that she herself performed, but by the time college came, she started writing for other singers. “You can separate yourself from the story of the song” when you’re writing someone else’s part in the band. “That allows you to be much more creative and free with what you’re writing.Bridget's picks:1. The Zombies "Friends of Mine"2. The Sun Parade "My Heart's Out"3. Bonnie Raitt "I Can't Make You Love Me"

Animal Rescue League Guest DJ Set on The Morning Mix

Janice Barnard, program director of The Animal Rescue League, plays Guest DJ on The Morning Mix.Barnard says the summer’s been busy and hectic at the shelter this summer, but that’s typical because lots of new animals are always coming in. “We’re up to our eyeballs in both cats and dogs.” Barnard picks some animal themed songs for her Guest DJ set. Her first pick, “Golden Retriever” by Super Furry Animals, is a shout-out to her dad’s dog “Pork Chop.”As far as cats at the shelter in the summer, numbers increase exponentially. There is though a large network of fosters in the community which the shelter hopes to expand to anyone who can foster. Barnard says she does sometimes sing “Love Cats” by The Cure, her second Guest DJ song, to the cats and whether they necessarily like The Cure or not is unknown, but they do like jazz, classical and even the hits from the 70s and 80s.Barnard’s last song, “Rabbit Heart (Raise It Up)” by Florence and the Machine, is a song for rabbits, a request from Cindy Howes. Barnard says rabbits are the third largest numbered animals to come into the shelter, and it’s even acceptable to bring a rabbit to staff meetings at the shelter which make them run more smoothly.Janice Barnard’s Guest DJ SetSuper Furry Animals “Golden Retriever”The Cure “Love Cats”Florence and the Machine “Rabbit Heart (Raise It Up)”

Trampled By Turtles Interview

Trampled By Turtles frontman Dave Simonett joined Joey Spehar on The Morning Mix to discuss the band's new album Wild Animals.Simonett started the string band Trampled By Turtles as a side project over ten years ago and even though it’s 2014 the traditional roots of bluegrass haven’t strayed from the progression of Trampled By Turtles.  Simonett says he can’t exactly pinpoint inspiration behind any of the new songs until after the music was already written. Family, life at home, past struggles and the context of any given time period “get boiled down into a song.”Simonett says Alan Sparhawk, of the indie rock band Low, helped on the new album but not in his usual drone-like style. “Low specifically, being is such a minimalist approach to music, really helped us become what I think is more importantly ‘all parts of the whole of a song’ instead of everyone going in their own directions at the same time.”One of the new album’s interesting aspects is the band’s ability to create an array of sounds like wind which Simonett says was did either with strings and reverb or multiple parts put together. “Instead of huggin’ the keyboard and finding a drum sound, we tried to do it with a violin and a cello or put the banjo through and electric guitar amp or something like that.”

Deutschtown Music Festival Guest DJ set

Cody Walters of The Deutschtown Music Festival shares songs from Pittsburgh bands playing at the 2014 Festival.The Deutschtown Music Festival is in its second year and was recently held again in the NorthSide, an area Walters says he is fond of and offers much to locals. Walter says with over 90 bands, performers and food trucks; the Deutschtown Music Festival has turned into a great way of exposing the neighborhood of Deutschtown.After a small bar crawl Walters organized, people started commenting, saying  “hey, you gotta do something in the spring; you gotta do something in the summer,” and because there’s already music in Deutschtown pretty much every night of the week, it would be easy to organize a big music festival like this.Along with this festival, Howes and Walters talk about the success of the Pittsburgh Banjo Club that performs in the NorthSide every Wednesday at the Elks Club. The Pittsburgh Banjo Club has spread in popularity, but also more recently to local young people which even sprouted a new leg of the Banjo Club called the Banjo Club Youth.Cody Walters’ Guest DJ Set:Meeting Of Important People “Keep Your Eyes On Me”Shelf Life String Band “Single Barrel”Chet Vincent & The Big Bend "Don't Bring It To My Table"

Interview with Bob Nanna of Braid

Braid recently released their first album in 16 years.  Frontman Bob Nanna joined Joey Spehar to talk about grown men with lots of energy and the divisive term "Emo" on The Morning Mix.

James Hunter Guest DJs on The Morning Mix

UK soul singer James Hunter Guest DJs on The Morning Mix with Cindy Howes. Hunter released his latest album “Minute by Minute” last year with the James Hunter Six.When he was just a young boy, making tea while working on the railway, Hunter heard “Hello Stranger” by Barbara Lewis on the radio, and he made a silent vow in that moment that “if anyone came in and started talkin’ [while the song was playing], I was gonna kill them.”A lot of people can’t manage being “heartfelt and clever” at the same time, but Smokey Robison (and the Miracles) has pretty good luck making it work. “He’s got a certain sweetness as a writer that eludes me. I’m more as able to put plenty of salt, a load of vinegar on it, but I could never really match his sweetness.”Hunter ends his set with Lou Johnson’s “It Ain’t No Use,” a song he says “completely froze” him when he first heard it. Lou Johnson never really had any hits like, for example, Dusty Springfield, yet he did a load of great work. “For some reason he never really had a hit with it, just pot luck really.”Once people hit a certain musical point, it’s strange to think of yourself as a “mentor” to other musicians, but Hunter says he’s tickled by being addressed as such “Hello Stranger” – Barbara Lewis“Whatever Makes You Happy” – The Mircales“It Ain’t No Use” – Lou Johnson

Laura Veirs Guest DJ on The Morning Mix

Laura Veirs plays Guest DJ on The Morning Mix with Cindy Howes.Laura Veirs has studied geology and Chinese so it is safe to say she is an intellectual, educated person and recently she has been adding to her wealth her of knowledge by learning to read music. Veris’s first pick as guest DJ “Dot” by Chilly Gonzalez is actually one of the first songs she has been learning, “it kind of reminds me of a French movie soundtrack, and it’s difficult for me…I just think it’s an important fun thing for me to do”. Veris’s second Guest DJ pick is Yesways’s “Howlin’Face” Veris personally knows Yesway from the music scene in the bay area and has actually had perform in her own home. Veirs describes the female duo as having an unusual but beautiful harmonic sound, “they’re starting out…they’re like these secret gems that I hope can find their way because the music business is so hard right now and so hard for musicians to make a living I just hope they can cut through”.For her final guest DJ pick “Borderline” by the young Brit King Krule whom she saw perform and was astonished by both his deep voice and his energetic stage presence, “I’m forty I feel like such a geezer, but when I saw him play I thought that’s youth, that’s energy, that’s music and I felt excited to play music when I saw him play”. Cindy and Veirs also discuss her newest album Warp and Weft as well her connection to Niko Case, “we struck up a friendship, I was so honored that she would sing on my record because we were new friends at that point, and she’s just a really deep artist…such a powerful singer with such a deep old soul voice like a really classic big voice and you don’t hear that very often. She is also a really sweet and really funny person”. Veirs is currently working on a lot of writing when not caring for her two young children as well as continuing to learn read music which she says has been adding to her song writing skills.Laura's song picks:1. Chilly Gonzalez "Dot"2. Yesway "Howlin' Face"3. King Krule "Borderline"

Guest DJ: Clairy Browne

Clairy Browne of Clairy Browne & The Bangin' Rackettes guest DJs and talks to Joey Spehar on the Morning Mix.Browne says one day while shopping, a worker in the store gave her an honest compliment, “you have a bangin’ rack.” So the band name, stemming from that compliment, is a strong and sexy ode to all the girl bands out there like The Shirelles and The Ikettes. She then starts off her guest DJ set with some CeeLo Green and Gnarls Barkley and their song “Crazy”Browne then chooses the St. Vincent’s song “Prince Johnny.” Browne and the rest of the band have been listening to St. Vincent a lot, calling Anne Clark clever. “She’s got a great thing going on.” Browne then ends the set with some soul, “Love and Happiness” by Al Green.Clairy Browne & The Bangin' Rackettes will release their upcoming EP August 5.

Sam Roberts on The Morning Mix

The Sam Roberts Band frontman talks to Cindy Howes on The Morning Mix about the bands latest, Lo-Fantasy.On Lo-Fantasy, the band decided to work with known electronic producer “Youth,” but Roberts says he isn’t exclusively electronic. “[Youth] has a real grasp on songs — how to make a song move, how to make a song breath.” Youth is known to be pretty brutal in the studio and as an artist facing that, Roberts says, it takes a bit of thick skin artistically to make sure the ideas get across. In the first few hours when Roberts met “Youth,” he was criticized and asked by Youth “where’s the chorus?” in his songs when Roberts was still trying to figure out the new material himself.Growing up in Montreal but having parents of South African descent, Roberts says the musical influence of South African culture is in one way or another a part of his style. “I had to almost become more Canadian as the years went by; I sort of had to learn about the country I was actually from and living in.” Roberts says his South African roots very much inspired his guitar playing, rhythmic nature and harmonies.If you’ve tried it or not, Sam Roberts, indeed, has his own beer which is, unfortunately, only available in Canada so far. It’s brewed, by teams of scientists, Roberts says jokingly, to perfectly go along with listening to the new record. “It was like Clockwork Orange, [Me and my bandmates] would sit there and have to consume mass quantities of this beer and find the exact right combination— emotional combination — with the music before we would go ahead to the next step of the beer’s development.”

June Carter Cash 85th Birthday Anniversary

Pittsburgh musician Chet Vincent talks to Cindy Howes about June Carter Cash on what would have been her 85th birthday.The Carter family was very big in the role of popularizing country music, and June’s big personality made her the star of the show when the family performed. “She didn’t initially sing lead, but she was kind of the star of it. She always saw herself as a comedian or an actress,” Vincent said.Johnny Cash fell in love with June long before they married. Cash asked June to marry him at least three times before it actually happened so long as Johnny agreed to get clean. “John Cash had a pretty big personality, and it would take someone that would be his equal to get him to get it all together,” Vincent said. June knew Cash’s life even better than he did, Vincent says, from growing up in a musical lifestyle.June’s voice wasn’t typical of normal country, but as far as performing with Johnny, the two were famously in love, so the performance seemed so much more real. “It’s impossible to separate their back-story from the music that they sang,” Vincent said.“Jackson,” the best known Johnny and June duet, however, wasn’t written by them, but it’s a perfect song for their whimsical relationship. “John is being pretty childish in it and wants to kind of rebel and go and throw his weight around, and June’s not gonna just wait at home and take it. If he’s gonna do that she’s just gonna be there too laughing at him and callin’ him out.”Aside from John Lennon and Yoko Ono, Johnny and June remain one of the best love stories in music to date.

White Hinterland on The Morning Mix

Casey Dienel (White Hinterland) talks to Cindy Howes on The Morning Mix. Dienel recently released her album Baby which has been in the works for four years now.Dienel’s choice to move from Portland, Oregon back to her hometown with her family was a good choice that made her happier as an artist. “Where I grew up was a really, really small town.” “There’s like a misnomer that artists need unhappiness or a lack of joy or hardships to make art. I think I actually work better the opposite, when I’m happy. Moving back [home] definitely made me very happy.”Though Portland is a great city, Dienel said she felt too much like the rest of the other people there. “If there was one thing about Portland that I struggled with, it was being surrounded by so many ppl that look, sound, think like me.” “I kind of like to live somewhere where things aren’t as perfect, but you’re pitching in as best you can.”On the new record Dienel strays away from her usual, gentle self, and shows more edgy creativity in lyrics like “I’m the razor blade in your bar soap.” While watching a few Japanese horror flicks, she said she started to understand violence without condoning it. In songs it’s okay to say these unspeakable things, she says. “Our sanity is like the thickness of paper.”After recording Baby Dienel learned some advice from her grandfather about singing that “you don’t really grow into your voice until you’re thirty.” “I think the reason I’m able to work at [singing] as much as I do is because it’s just really, really, really fun.”

Grand Piano Interview

The quirky rock band from Pittsburgh Grand Piano releases its new debut album Leap Year today on Wild Kindness Records. Thomas Cipollone, Zak Kane and Nick DeAngelo joined Joey Spehar on the Morning Mix to talk about the new album.Kane said one of the main reasons for the album title, as big or small as it seems, was that all the songs were written on a leap year. “When we picked out the songs, we started to see that there was a concept that was emerging, so we decided to run with it.”The brass section of Grand Piano ultimately defines the band’s sound and brings what DeAngelo says isn’t heard much in rock and roll anymore. “It just gives our sound that fat, classic rock and roll tone.” Cipollone says a plus of having more horns means it’s okay to do instrumentals on the album, and there are three, without feeling like there’s something missing in the song.One of the band’s songs that sticks out on the album, Spehar says, is “Punk Rocker,” and Kane describes it as “having an idea of what you want to do and kind of moving away from it and being unaware that you’re moving away from it and then looking back in retrospect and realizing you still kind of achieved what you initially wanted to, but it happened in a roundabout sort of way.”With the band’s current success, things have remained cohesive, the band says, as many of the members knew each other’s personalities either from school, work, or earlier times before Grand Piano.Grand Piano is known for having an explosive live show and those who wanted to see it firsthand can see the band perform July 15 in Schenley Plaza for Final Fridays.

Guest DJ: Dan Savage

Dan Savage is the author of the syndicated sex advice column Savage Love.  Dan Savage joined Joey Spehar on The Morning Mix to play Guest DJ and talk about The HUMP Tour.Savage starts off his guest DJ set with “Sigourney Weaver” by John Grant, an artist who, though well known in the UK, usually only plays small venues in the US. Most of Grant’s work, Savage says, is very beautiful, “stream of consciousness” pieces. “There’s a lot you can’t play on the radio, because he uses the language that people actually use when they talk about their feelings and their love lives and their heartbreak which involves a lot of cursing.”Savage being a big fan of Garfunkel & Oates then picks the duo’s song “As You Are” and says the song shows a lot of range and “breaks his heart.” “A lot of their songs are very, really extremely funny about romance and about love and about dating,” but this song, Savage says, shows that underneath all the comedy, there’s a soul in this duo.Savage ends his set with a powerful and funny song “Thank You God” from Tim Minchin, an atheist changed into a believer, and this song details Minchin’s epiphany, apologizing to God. “If you don’t have a sense of humor about faith, you might wanna turn off the radio now, but if you do this is a terrific song for you.”Savage is in town for the HUMP film festival tour which he says started as a joke in the paper, announcing an amateur porn film festival, but surely enough people voiced their approval. None of the films would be put online or on DVDs, so the performers “could be porn stars for the weekend in this movie theater and not porn stars for the rest of their lives on the internet.” After getting approval from the performers though, Savage was able to bring the festival across the country.Dan Savage's Guest DJ Set:John Grant - Sigourney WeaverGarfunkel & Oates - As You AreTim Minchin - Thank You God

Pat DiNizio of The Smithereens Guest DJ Set

The Smithereens will be playing at this year’s Three Rivers Arts fest and before the show member Pat DiNizio Guest DJs on The Morning Mix with Joey Spehar, sharing contemporary music that inspires him.One of DiNizio’s picks “Talk About the Passion” by R.E.M. has some difficult lyrics to make out by ear, but despite that, everyone has a passion, so the song doesn’t need to be fully understood to be fully enjoyed. “You really can’t understand the words at all to what Michael Stipe is singing in the song. It’s almost like gibberish, but that’s one of the appeals of the song.”The Beatles have a universal appeal nowadays, but for 9-year old DiNizio the album Beatles ’65 had a big influence on his musicianship that would stay with him for the rest of his career, even though DiNizio claims his band came before the Beatles. “You’re the sum total of everything that you’ve ever listened to and enjoyed that influenced you as a human being and consequently a musician, so “I’ll Be Back” is right up there with the great Beatles songs.”Pat ends his Guest DJ set with one his favorite compositions “Blues Is King” by Marshall Crenshaw. “It’s another tune that I wish I had written.” Dinizio says Crenshaw is still coming up with great material he will be touring with him throughout the summer and fall.Pat DiNizio’s Guest DJ set:R.E.M. - “Talk About the Passion”The Beatles - “I’ll Be Back”Marshall Crenshaw - “Blues Is King”

Elizabeth & The Catapult on The Morning Mix

Elizabeth Ziman of Elizabath & The Catapult talks to Cindy Howes about the new album Like It Never Happened on The Morning Mix.Like It Never Happened, released in January, was a jump for Elizabeth Ziman. Unlike most of her albums that were written for piano, this one was centered around the guitar. “I was kind of searching for a new approach — something to get me excited about music again.” “I started busking a lot. I think I only used three chords when I first started, but after about a year of doing it I was writing all my songs on the ground.” A majority of her songs would be written before she even got home, she said.Ziman studied classical music when she was very young and while studying piano she also learned a different approach to the guitar. As a music teacher, when Ziman picked up a guitar, she said it all came back to the piano, and it became easier to improvise. “I think maybe that’s because I was approaching [guitar] in a different way and there was a much more percussive element.”One of Ziman’s piano students also happened to be American R&B singer and musician Aaron Neville, and Ziman described her student as a “gentle giant” who just wanted to play the hits and sing along at practice. Even someone as musically talented as Neville can want to go back to square one and take lessons again, Ziman says.Ziman’s artistic mind, sprouted partially from her father, once a mime and actor, and she says most of her music, including her song “Happy Pop Song” is written for him. “When I wrote a song that he liked, he’s cooking in the kitchen, and I’ll start dancing, doing a little jig, and that’s how I know I’d gotten somewhere.Elizabeth & The Catapult will be performing June 28 at WYEP’s summer music festival in Schenley Plaza.