Audio Specials

Date

Ben Sollee Guest DJ Set

Genre-bending cellist Ben Sollee recently played Guest DJ on The Morning Mix.  Sollee talked with Joey Spehar about some of his current favorite songs and some projects he's been working on as well.Ben Sollee's Guest DJ Set:1.  Sam Amidon - My Old Friend2.  Abigail Washburn - Chains3.  Jim James - State Of The Art4.  Ben Sollee - Letting Go

Derek Trucks of Tedeschi Trucks Band on The Morning Mix

Derek Trucks, band leader and main guitarist for Tedeschi Trucks Band talks to Cindy Howes on The Morning Mix.Tedeschi Trucks Band is known for their signature take on blues-rock music.  However, the upcoming release Made Up Mind includes a couple of songs outside the normal music spectrum Tedeschi Trucks Band fans are used to.  The track “Idle Wind” is acoustic heavy and “Part of Me” has more of a Motown type of feel to it. Derek Trucks explains what the writing process is like and how songs outside his normal musical realm come about,  “We really try when we’re writing tunes to just kind of let the song be what it’s going to be.  We write a lot of songs acoustically first but a lot of times while you’re writing it you hear the instrumentation.  You can kind of imagine what the band is going to do with it.  Sometimes you write a song with acoustic guitar and it kind of hits you that it really needs recorded this way.  I think as we get more and more comfortable in the studio, as a band, and I guess just individually you kind of let songs be what they’re going to be. Often as a band we’ll kind of tip our hats to the music we love and kind of wish there was more of, you hope you can push the musical conversation in those directions.Derek Trucks installed a recording studio in his home in Jacksonville, Florida back in 2012.  Cindy and Derek Trucks discuss the convenience of having a home studio and how it aids the recording process, “It’s been amazing having a studio there.  Every record we do it just gets better and better.  Everything was just easy to record.  Almost everything was recorded at the same time.  There’s a lot of experimenting.”Tedeschi Trucks Band is no normal blues rock band, there are a total of 11 members in the band.  With that being said, there is a large variety of musical input going on during the writing and recording process.  Derek Trucks comments on what it is like to be an 11-piece blues-rock ensemble, “I think that’s the hardest part of having a band this big with players that good.  You wanna bring as much out of everybody as you can.  It’s kind of a constant shifting of who gets solo time or who gets featured.  But the beauty of the band grows.  Everybody cares less about those things.  It becomes much more about the band’s sound.  On the record I was really happy with the way everybody contributed.  It was never adding parts just so you’re on a song it was adding parts to make things better.”As most fans know, Derek and Susan are husband and wife.  Susan Tedeschi attended the Berklee College of Music and Derek Trucks was on the road with the likes of the Allman Brothers when he was younger.  Needless to say the music the variety of influences between the two has yielded the great music we’ve come to expect from Derek Trucks and Susan Tedeschi.  “We have so many of the same influences and same musical philosophies.  I think that’s where we connected the quickest, on stage and playing music together.”  The new album by Tedeschi Trucks Band, Made Up Mind, is due to be out on August 20. 

Interview with Sarah Lee Guthrie & Johnny Irion

Sarah Lee Guthrie & Johnny Irion have a new album out called Wassaic Way.  They recently talked with Joey Spehar of The Morning Mix about the new record, their connection with Wilco, and growing up in a family business.Wassaic Way is different than previous works by the duo.  Songs such as “Chairman Meow” have a sunnier and more upbeat feel to them.  Irion points out the irony in the fact that the sunny sound for “Chairman Meow” comes from the fact that it was literally written on a sunny day in Los Angeles.  Irion also explains the writing process that he and Sarah Lee Guthrie go through when writing an album.  “We tend to go [write] individually.  Sarah Lee and I have been married fourteen years so the last thing we want to do is go write a song together,” states Irion.  “We’ve definitely learned to work it out over the years and figure out who’s best at what. I think we’ve learned the process of doing it individually and coming together,” adds Guthrie.The Wilco-Guthrie-Irion connection continues to live with Sarah Lee Guthrie & Johnny Irion’s upcoming release, Wassaic Way, which was produced by Wilco’s Jeff Tweedy and Patrick Sansone.  Irion and Guthrie explain how their connection with Wilco started, “We did a tour with the Autumn Defense a few years back, which is John Stirratt and Pat’s side project.  And they put out a record called Once Around.  We just made a connection with those guys and we love that record so much that we just all decided to get in our Sprinter van and go to a tour together.  That turned into us playing Solid Sound, which is a Wilco curated festival near our hometown in western Mass and that’s where we met Jeff.”Sarah Lee Guthrie and Johnny Irion also discuss what it’s like to be married while being in a band together, "We’re totally human, of course there’s ups and down to this and that’s just the thing.  The ups are really good and it’s so great we have our two little girls with us.  Of course it’s not always great, it’s hard.”  The duo discuss the parallels of growing up in a family business and playing in a real "family band" and the challenges the situation presents. “It’s good, but it's definitely a challenge.  But it also shows up in art.  I think that’s part of what keeps up writing songs that are meaningful and that everybody can relate to actually,” adds Guthrie.Wassiac Way is the third release by the Guthrie and Irion, who actually released the record theselves.  “We kind of went into this like this is a big deal for us.  It’s taken a long journey for us to come to a point where we can make a record with a guy like Jeff Tweedy.  This has been quite a journey, it’s so exciting for us and we’re going really strong on this.  It’s very rewarding being able to be in control of it [Wassaic Way] even at this point.  We’ve always made the records ourselves and handed them off to labels here and there to put them out and see them through.  This time we get to see it through ourselves and been actually really great,” adds Guthrie. You can find Sarah Lee Guthrie and Johnny Irion’s new record, Wassaic Way, is out in stores now and on iTunes

KT Tunstall on The Morning Mix

KT Tunstall talks to Cindy Howes about her new album, Invisible Empire // Crescent Moon.On her latest album, Invisible Empire // Crescent Moon, KT Tunstall changed up her vocal approach.  On tracks like “No Better Shoulder,” Tunstall expands her vocal range to the lowest it’s ever been.  When asked about how she attacked the vocals on Invisible Empire // Crescent Moon she explained, “This is my vocal album.  It’s really the first time I’ve approached a record deciding that the vocals are going to be the main star of the show.  There were a few factors that really led me to have faith in my voice.  Support from good friends and letting me know I should really showcase my voice.”  Tunstall also modestly explained how she cannot listen to her own voice on record and appreciate it the same way a fan would, “When I listen to other female singers I really enjoy, Patti Smith, Leslie Feist, Cat Power's voice I love, and Karen O from the Yeah Yeah Yeahs, I listen to these women and I can hear their voice.  It’s weird listening to your own voice cause somehow you can’t really hear it.  I can’t hear my voice the way you would hear it or my friends would hear it.  It’s a little bit like that thing where you don’t like the sound of your own voice on a tape recording or something.  With this record it was really looking at the possibilities and the options I had.”KT Tunstall has had some recent tragedy in her life including the passing of her father and divorcing her husband.  A lot of the emotion and feelings Tunstall felt during these rough times in her life have been translated into the album Invisible Empire // Crescent Moon.  Tunstall noted how her most recent album was actually one of the easiest albums for her to write, “It was really easy, the songs just fell out,” she adds.Cindy and Tunstall discuss the “voodoo” that accompanies her song-writing process.  “Song-writing can be quite an alchemical thing, where often you’ll write a song with no idea what it’s about and you find out a few weeks later.  It’s almost like your subconscious is way ahead of your conscious mind and more aware of the things happening in your life and what they may have than your waking conscious brain is never aware of,” explains Tunstall.  Tunstall notes the track “Invisible Empire” as an example, a track that originally was about a small life fixation turned into a microcosm of her life at that point.  Her new album Invisible Empire // Crescent Moon is out now on Virgin/EMI Records. 

Interview with Robert Randolph

Robert Randolph - the charismatic leader of Robert Randolph & The Family Band - talks with Joey Spehar of The Morning Mix about the band's new album Lickety Split and about what fans can expect at their performance at the Flood City Music Festival.Joey and Robert discuss the creation of the latest Robert Randolph and the Family Band album, Lickety Split.  “It starts off us just getting in a room and making music.  I think the music brings about the lyrics or chorus for me.  But it’s just about us getting in a room, spending days, weeks in the studio and coming up with all of these musical pieces,” explains Randolph.  Robert Randolph also pointed out that most of the great songs of the past and present are created similar to how he and the Family Band recorded music, everyone in a room playing together.  “Look at band’s like the Red Hot Chili Peppers.  I’ve seen those guys in studio and they just go in and jam.   As the jams start to come together they start to develop a chorus, then a verse, then a title.  That’s really how we [Robert Randolph and the Family Band] like to feed off each other in the studio, that’s really how it’s done.  Robert Randolph also highlighted how working with producer Eddie Kramer (Led Zeppelin, Santana, Jimi Hendrix) has helped him come to the realization that the best music comes from the members collaborating all at once while writing.  “He would tell us the same stories that Jimi Hendrix and Zeppelin and those guys.  The reason those recordings came out like that is because those guys were hearing it back as we almost here it today,” adds Randolph.The latest Robert Randolph and the Family Band record includes collaborations with Trombone Shorty and Carlos Santana.  Over the years Robert Randolph worked with a magnitude of musical talent.  Joey and Robert discuss the influence of one artist in particular, Calvin Cooke.  “Calvin his really sat down with me and taught me and helped me develop as a pedal player.  It would sort of be like Albert King and Stevie Ray Vaughn you know, it’s sort of that kind of relationship.”

Allman Brothers Band Brothers and Sisters Turns 40

Jesse Novak of the Roots and Rhythm stopped by to chat with Cindy Howes of The Morning Mix about the Allman Brothers Band. Jesse and Cindy discuss the 40th anniversary of the album Brothers and Sisters, Dickey Betts and his role on the album, and the impact of the Allman Brothers Band.Brothers and Sisters put the Allman Brothers Band at the top of their commercial success.  The 1973 release held the number one spot for five weeks in the US and had, arguably, their biggest single - “Ramblin’ Man.”   Cindy and Jesse talked about the appeal of Brothers and Sisters to the public and how the shift towards more of a country sound drew people to the album and band.  “I think a lot of it [the album's commercial success] had to do with the fact that it was a little more country tinged.  It was a little less of the heavy blues,” adds Novak.On Brothers and Sisters, Dickey Betts was more involved in the song writing process than in prior albums.  The passing of Duane Allman forced Betts to be more of a force musically as well become slide guitarist overnight almost.  “He [Betts] also stepped up as a songwriter on the album.  Previously he contributed maybe five songs total to the Allman Brothers and three or four of them had been instrumental.  With Duane gone he stepped up to the plate.  He came up as a guitar player as well as a song writer,” explains Novak.The impact from the Brothers and Sisters album cannot be ignored.“I think what separated the Allman Brothers from so many other southern rock bands was they had such a strong sense of rhythm.   They were incredible musicians who were combining so many different things to create at times a phonetic and very intense sound,” adds Novak.  Although the country can be a diluted field of music at times, current day bands like Gov’t Mule and Tedeschi Trucks Band have taken the sound of Brothers and Sisters and kept the spirit of the Allman Brothers music alive. Brothers and Sisters impact and importance is still recognized today.  The album was recently reissued to honor its 40th anniversary.  The reissue includes studio outtakes, the audio from their landmark Winterland performance, and many other extras. 

WYEP's Tribute to JJ Cale

WYEP's Mike Sauter hosts a musical tribute to songwriter and musician JJ Cale who died on July 27th, 2013.  Featuring music from Eric Clapton, Leon Russell, Neil Young, Paul Simon and more.

WYEP Celebrates Mick Jagger's 70th!

In honor of Mick Jagger's 70th birthday on July 26, 2013, WYEP's Mike Sauter took a stroll down Jagger's musical history with songs by The Rolling Stones, solo tracks, and some rare cuts as well

Ahmet Ertegun Tribute with Tom Moon

Ahmet Ertegun may not be a name you immediately recognize, however, he is responsible for significantly contributing to the careers of Aretha Franklin, Ray Charles, the Rolling Stones, Led Zeppelin and many others. He was best known as the founder of Atlantic Records and had an ear for discovering some of the finest talent of the 20th century. On the occasion of what would have been his 90th birthday (he died in 2006), Tom Moon, NPR contributor and author of 1,000 Recordings to Hear Before You Die, spoke with us about the life and lasting legacy of Ahmet Ertegun.Ahmet Ertegun was the founder of Atlantic Records in 1947.  He was known for his ear for talent and contributing to the careers of the music icons like Led Zeppelin, The Rolling Stones, Ray Charles and many more.Atlantic Records was originally founded as a gospel, jazz, and R&B label.  There were other R&B labels around at the time, but none of them had the talent or crossover appeal that Atlantic Records did.  Tom commented on Ertegun and Atlantic Records’ success and ability to distinguish itself as the premier record label, “They didn’t just do R&B.  As you said they documented a lot of jazz.  One of the cornerstone early signings was the great New Orleans pianist Professor Longhair.  What they were able to do around an artist like that was put out his record and through him find their way into other worlds and other artists.  They really treated each artist as a portal into a world.”In the 1960s the popularity of R&B wained.  That being said, Ahmet Ertegun changed up his strategy in the 60s and made rock a focus of Atlantic Records.  Cindy and Tom discussed the almost sixth sense of Ahmet Ertegun and his ability to foresee the “next big thing” in music.  “I think he was just such a open listener. By the time he’s concerned with Led Zeppelin he’s already made records, a bunch of consequential records with John Coltrane.  Once you listen at the level that you need to listen to appreciate what John Coltrane is doing and people who are tightened like that, eventually you develop a kind of radar for sound. What he was able to hear with Zeppelin was a new context of the blues,” adds Moon.Ahmet Ertegun’s influence is one the music industry is one that cannot not be ignored or replicated, for that matter.  When asked by Cindy if anyone in music today could compare to Ertegun, Moon replied, “No, not the way the music business is presently constructed.  Part of that is the business side of it and the fact that to build the label around so much musical credibility is incredibly difficult but also there isn’t a place for that kind of smart curator, label head figure anymore.  Where Ahmet Ertegun is so important is as someone who knew what he was hearing number one and believed that he could share the enthusiasm that he had for what he was hearing with a large audience.  To me that kind of single-minded focus, the belief stuff, the conviction stuff, that comes [with] just hearing a bunch of music and sort of understanding the context and why a particular voice like Aretha’s would be important over the long term.”  It’s clear that even years after his passing Ahmet Ertegun and his legacy in music will continue to be remembered and cherished.  After all, not everyone has Led Zeppelin perform in honor of his or her passing like Ertegun did.

Adam Paul Causgrove Guest DJ

The American Mustache Institute has relocated its headquarters from St. Louis to Pittsburgh.  Adam Paul Causgrove of Mount Washington is taking over as the President and came by the station to pick some songs from his favorite mustached musicians.Adam Paul Causgrove chose three songs by his favorite mustached musicians.  For the first song of his Guest DJ set, Adam chose “Joe’s Garage” by Frank Zappa. “My very first selection would be from who I consider to be one of the most iconic mustached musician of the 60’s, 70’s, and into the 80’s, Frank Zappa.  It was a thick, distinctive, black mustache, it really stood out.  I think you can kind of tell who it is just from seeing the upper lip to the lower nose, it pretty much stands out,” Causgrove adds.For his 2nd selection of this Guest DJ set, Causgrove chose “I Wanna Be Yours” by Foxy Shazam.  Causgrove gives Joey a background on the band and explains his second selection, “Foxy Shazam is a band out of the Cincinnati area.  The lead singer, whose name is Eric Sean Nally, sports what would be a smaller handle bar mustache.  He really embraces the entire lifestyle.  I think it’s always pretty important to note that not all mustached musicians come out of the 60’s, 70’s, and 80’s.  Current day we do have a fair share of artists representing mustache community.  Eric really does a god job of going to his own beat.”For the final pick of his Guest DJ set, Adam Paul Causgrove chose “All Night Long” by Lionel Richie.  Causgrove commented on Lionel Richie’s mustache, “It’s absolutely flawless and it’s been probably since the 70’s.” You can check out the audio below.Adam Paul Causgrove’s Guest DJ set1. Frank Zappa- Joe’s Garage2. Foxy Shazam- I Wanna Be Yours3.  Lionel Richie-All Night Long 

Mick Jagger 70th Birthday Tribute with Mike Sauter

WYEP celebrates Mick Jaggers 70th birthday as Mike Sauter joins Cindy Howes in a special tribute to The Rolling Stones' dynamic frontman. Mick Jagger has become known for his eccentric live performances. “They obviously loom large over everything in rock and roll history.  In so many areas The Rolling Stones and Mick Jagger as the front man kind of created a template for almost everybody or at least a huge percentage of rock bands later followed.  When he performs live he’s just all over the place,” adds Mike.  Cindy and Mike continue their discussion about Mick Jagger’s stage presence by highlighting his 1985 Live 8 performance in which he performed with Tina Turner.Mick Jagger is nearly ageless when it comes to his live performances.  To this day, he is renowned for his stage presence.   Mike also shares the story of how Mick Jagger became fascinated with Michael Jackson around the time Thriller was released.  While trying to keep tabs on Michael Jackson, Mick Jagger actually ended up collaborating with him. Mick Jagger is not just a great live performer; he was a creative force in the Rolling Stones songwriting and the brains behind the band. “Later on when things started to fracture and there were a lot of personal changes in the band and things started to go their separate ways. Mick was a really good business person, he had a sharp mind for how the band should make their money and things should go that way,” explains Mike.  Mick Jagger actually started the trend for rock band’s having tours with corporate sponsors which has become commonplace over the years.It doesn’t appear that turning 70 has slowed down Mick Jagger at all.  He continues to tour the world, appear on TV, and make us all smile with his signature moves and singing. 

Edward Sharpe & the Magnetic Zeros New Album Preview

Edward Sharpe & the Magnetic Zeros are not an average-sized band.  There are ten members.  With that being said, there is a lot of input and hands in the pot for the writing and recording process.  Joey and Alex discussed what the writing process is like for a ten-member band.  “It’s evolving, but writing is still a very intimate process generally.  One person will come up with either most or at least the better portion of a song and then people contribute and what not” comments Ebert.Some of the tracks included on the self-titled release, Edward Sharpe & the Magnetic Zeros are from previous recordings.  Alex Ebert comments on the album Edward Sharpe & the Magnetic Zeros, “We were at one point [during recording Here] thinking about a double album but Here makes so much sense as an album itself.  A few songs were written around the same time and a lot of them written later and some of them before.”Although some tracks were thrown on the new album that were not originally recorded for it, the new album will have it’s own unique sound and doesn’t mimic previous releases. “I think that’s why this is it’s own album, it’s quite different.  It’s sort of a rambunctious and a wild album.  I think it’s our best stuff we’ve done,” explained Ebert.One track from the new album that has received a lot of airtime is the song “Better Days.”  Ironically, “Better Days” was one of the few songs written for Ebert's solo album Alexander.  “That’s the oldest one of the album.  That one was maybe going to be on my solo album called Alexander a couple of years ago but it just wasn’t quite right yet, so I just put it on hold.  It just ended up slowly into this recording and this song,” explained Ebert.

Interview with Thao & The Get Down Stay Down

Thao Nguyen, of Thao & The Get Down Stay Down, talks to Cindy Howes about her new album We The Common.Thao Nguyen grew up in Falls Church, Virginia.  Thao began to play guitar at the age of 12.  She was raised by a single mother who owned a laudramat, where Thao often practiced guitar.  Thao released a solo EP and performed as a soloist before she formed Thao & the Get Down Stay Down.   Cindy and Thao discuss the support and help that she her and the band received from her mother.  “She has been amazing, she always was supportive. Early on, on our first tour actually, my mom gave up her minivan so we could take it on tour,” explains Nguyen.  Even after the minivan was totaled on the second day of the tour (hit and run from a drunk driver), Nguyen’s mom offered to pay for the plane tickets even though she could not afford it at the time, “That really sums up my mom's unwavering support for us and me. She’s a great lady,” Thao adds.The new album, We the Common features a track recorded with the well-known piano and harp player Joanna Newsom, “Kindness Be Conceived.” “That song I wrote probably a month before I met Joanna.  So it existed already.  I wanted more of that old-time feel in the vocal harmonies.  So when we met I shyly asked if she would demo.  She did an amazing job, I’m so glad and grateful to have her on the record,” explains Nguyen.The title track for the album, We the Common (For Valerie Bolden) has an interesting story attached to it.  “Valerie Bolden is serving a life sentence without parole now at CIW, which is the California Institute for Women, which a state prison.   Last year I started working with the California Coalition for women prisoners.  Valerie was one of the first people I met.  I had never been in jail or inside a prison and certainly never talked to anyone who is sentenced to life.  That song is inspired by our first conversation,” states Nguyen.The album, We the Common, features a lot of tracks about social issues.  Cindy and Thao discuss how she goes about attacking social issues in her music and the difficulties of doing so.  “What I found most difficult was staying as respectful as I could of business that wasn’t mine or wasn’t really anybody else’s.  So the challenge was to focus on the humanity and emotion of it and present it in a way that’s relatable and stay out of the details of whoever’s situation.  Also is how to stay respect of people’s business and their situation and scenarios while still hoping to shed some light on it,” explains Nguyen.   The new album, We the Common, is stores now and available online.  You can find ticket information for Thao & the Get Down Stay Down’s show in Pittsburgh on our concert calendar.

Interview with Springsteen & I Director, Baillie Walsh

Cindy Howes speaks with Ballie Walsh, director of new Springsteen documentary, Springsteen & I. The new film celebrates a musical legend through the eyes of his fans. Springsteen & I was a call out to the fans worldwide to make a documentary about what Bruce Springsteen meant to them and to celebrate the impact of his music. The film also includes performances of some of Springsteen's greatest hits in exclusive unreleased concert footage from the Wrecking Ball tour. 

Interview with Calvin Cooke of The Slide Brothers

Calvin Cooke has been called "The B.B. King of Sacred Steel Guitar" and it doesn't take much to understand why.  Cooke spoke with Joey Spehar of The Morning Mix before The Slide Brothers' performance at The Pittsburgh Blues Festival. Calvin Cooke is part of the 2nd Generation of Sacred Steel musicians.  He grew up in Cleveland playing slide guitar in his Pentecostal church.  Sacred Steel music has long been a secret of sorts - that is until Robert Randolph hit it big in the mainstream a few years back.The Slide Brothers is a Sacred Steel showcase of sorts, put together by Robert Randolph to let the world know more about the Sacred Steel tradition.

Tegan Quin of Tegan & Sara Guest DJ

Tegan Quin, one half of the Canadian group Tegan & Sara, played guest DJ on The Morning Mix with Cindy Howes while the band was in town opening for Fun. at Stage AE.For the first song on her Guest DJ set, Tegan Quin chose “What I Wouldn’t Do” by Serena Ryder.  Quin recalls playing with Serena Ryder in the past, “What’s real funny is that Sara and I played with Serena Ryder like ten years ago or something.  She opened for us in a little town in Ontario called Kingston.  And I remember thinking she had this really insane amazing voice and I lost touch with what she was up to up until a few years ago.”  Quin comments on Ryder’s latest album and her first choice for her Guest DJ set, “I just think this new record is really awesome and she’s doing really great.  She’s getting a ton of radio play in the states and it’s really neat cause she’s got such an incredible voice.  Out of everything on the record “What I Wouldn’t Do” is my favorite.”For the second song on her Guest DJ set, Tegan selected “Her Favorite Song” by Mayer Hawthorne.  “We were actually in the UK recently and we were on the radio on BBC in London.  They have this show where they basically bring in all these guests and play new tracks and have them talk about the tracks.  When they played the track “Her Favorite Song,” everybody in the room thought the track was amazing.  I really like this song,” Quin added.  Tegan Quin chose “Ain’t It Fun” by Paramore for her final track on her Guest DJ set.  “This is my favorite track off their new self-titled album.  The whole record is really great.  I just think this track in particular shows a lot of maturity in their writing.  I think Haley one of the best voices of our current musical generation,” explains Quin.  For those who do not know, Tegan and Sara have been around the block.  They released their first record in 1999 and have been on a steady climb towards more wide spread recognition.  Cindy and Tegan also had a conversation the musical progression they have had since their first release Under Feet Like Ours.  Tegan comments on the variety of sound from the Tegan and Sara music catalog, “We learned just how to be better writers, better storytellers, better singers.  And I think our music has just evolved naturally over the last fourteen years.  I think all of our records are different.  We each record we try to take a different approach and try to do something different.  I think Sara and I are really lucky, where we aren’t held by the limitations of being in a band.  We’re just songwriters, so we’re able to take on whatever sound we want for each record. That has also given us free range for our sound.”Tegan and Sara are both openly gay and very political, however their music does not include references to their personal lives and opinions. Tegan shared the story of her and Sara's unofficial "coming out" to the public, "We never really labored on the decision," adds Quin.  The duo was on tour opening for Neil Young, who's manager actually signed them.  "We were doing a lot of press.  We casually one day brought up that a lot of press was asking us if we had boyfriends or what we wrote our songs about.  We wanted to know if it was ok to just be honest and say that we didn't have boyfriends and we were gay.  And I just remember the president of the label being like if you're gay then just say you're gay. You should be able to talk about what your song writing is about," explains Quin.  Cindy and Tegan discussed the lack of political topics and universal love in their music.  “I think we are candid in talking about love and I suppose that our instinct has been to keep it somewhat universal and writing for everybody.  I was able to grow up listening to Bruce Springsteen, U2, and Cyndi Lauper and none of those people are gay but they sang about their relationships and that really resonated with me.  So I think my foundation is that you can write about your relationship without maybe alienating or removing part of the audience by being specific.  I don’t know that we’ve ever deliberately avoided writing about things, I just think we haven’t necessarily gone about writing certain things.  I definitely like to think on Heartthrob we’re more specific than we have in the past but I like to keep things general just for the sake of my own state of mind, the idea that I’m keeping something private.  Rather than having to stay in the lines of one experience, I can sort of place it on whatever experience I want,” states Quin.Tegan's song selections: 
1. What I Wouldn't Do - Serena Ryder
2. Her Favorite Song - Mayer Hawthorne
3. Ain't It Fun – Paramore 

Cat Stevens 65th Birthday Tribute

In honor of Cat Steven’s 65th birthday Rosemary Welsh of the Afternoon Mix joins Cindy to discuss the life and music of Cat Stevens.Cat Stevens aka Yusuf Islam is an acclaimed singer-songwriter, multi- instrumentalist, humanitarian, education philanthropist, and prominent covert to Islam.  Cat Stevens is a man of multiple ethnic backgrounds, he grew up in London, his mother is Swedish and his father is Greek.  Stevens was marketed early, he recorded his first song as a teenager, “I Love My Dog” which hit #28 on the UK’s Pirate Radio.   Stevens’ next recording, “Matthew and Son” hit #2 on the same chart, it was after that when Deram Records made Stevens their first signee.In his early twenties, the rock and roll lifestyle caught up to Stevens.  Stevens’ developed a case of tuberculosis and his lung collapsed, so he had to take nearly a year off.  When Stevens did make his return to the public eye his music became more spiritual.  “When he came back his music had changed and it had become what ended up being very successful for him.   It was the more spiritual stuff.  It was more inward looking and he started writing songs that became huge hits like “Wild World,” “Hard Headed Woman,” and “Father and Son.” That really came of the experience of him nearly dying,” adds Welsh.Before he became a full Islamic convert and became known as Yusuf Islam, it took another near death experience for Cat Stevens change his religion.  Prior to his second near death experience, Stevens went to Marrakech where he was introduced to the “music of God” and the Islamic religion.  Shortly after this Stevens nearly drowned to death in a riptide off the Malibu Coast.  Stevens’ claims he called out to God during this moment and the tide turned.  Again Stevens recognized a near death experience as a message and he converted to Islam in December of 1977.  It was after this that the music industry had lost its appeal to him.Stevens received a lot of flack for his 1989 speech at a United Kingdom university where he tried to explain Islamic law for blasphemy.  After this speech it got out that Stevens’ backed the fatwa, the Islamic death sentence.   Stevens claimed his words were taken out of context.In 2004, Stevens was denied entry into the US and was put on a watch list by Homeland Security.  “What you see in 2004 is he was honored with a Man of Peace Award by a committee of the Nobel Peace laureates.  He’s a guy who has always worked hard to try to get a better understanding of what Islam really is about from his point of view, which is a peaceful religion,” states Welsh.For a while it seemed like Cat Stevens was trying to get away from the “Cat Stevens image.”   As of late it seems that Stevens has learned to embrace this music of rock and roll and see it as a separate entity than lifestyle paired with it.  “He was really disgusted with the whole rock and roll life.  Now he has a son that’s starting to go into music and he had to struggle with that. And I think that forced him to kind of look at it [rock and roll lifestyle] and say it really comes down to the individual and how you approach it,” adds Welsh.  Cat Stevens has lived a fulfilling 65 years and we hope he continues to grace us with his presence and music. 

Celia Cruz Tribute: Ten Years After Her Death

On the 10th anniversary of Celia Cruz's death, Morning Mix host Cindy Howes talks to Grammy Award winning producer and authority on Latin music, Aaron Luis Levinson, about the legendary Cuban Superstar.Celia Cruz has been internationally renowned as the “Queen of Salsa" and also earned 23 gold albums during her musical career.  Celia Cruz’s illustrious career has lead her to be considered the most influential female figure in Cuban music.  Aaron Luis Levinson comments on Cruz’s legacy on Cuban music, “First of all it’s [Cruz being the most influential women in Cuban music] inarguable.  There’s no one that has even approached her stature.  To Cuban music she’s like Michael Jackson, she’s just an iconic figure.”  Levinson also commented on Celia Cruz’s eccentric live performances, “Part of that [her status in Cuban music] comes from her titanic ability to deliver songs, she was just a superior artist.” Celia Cruz’s musical career began in 1950.  Cruz fronted a Cuban orchestra, the Sonora Matancera.  Cindy and Aaron discuss how Cruz’s style of singing and vocal delivery was affected by her time with Sonora Matancera.  Levinson commented on Sonora Matancera’s affect on Cruz.  “It’s a huge difference, because what you have to understand is when you’re a big band singer you have an enormous musical force behind you.  So if you’re not going to be overpowered and swept to the side by this tsunami of Cubanism, you’re going to have to hold your own.  And she was such a powerhouse, both as far as her ability to galvanize and audience in concert but also in the recorded medium her voice just cut through things, an absolute straight razor of a voice.  She really started an extreme level of artistry.” Celia Cruz moved to the US after Fidel Castro came to power in 1959.  After leaving Cuba, Cruz collaborated with the “King of Latin Music,” Tito Puente.  The collaboration between the two exceeded all expectations.  Levinson comments on the work by Cruz and Puente, “ It was truly one of the great collaborations in the history of twentieth century music of any kind.”  Levinson also compared the “level of excellence” created by the Cruz and Puente collaboration to be on the same level of the Bob Dylan and The Band.  Levinson also commented on how Cruz brought both Cuban and Latin music to the forefront of American music, “Not only did she play a huge part in bringing Cuban music to America, she really embraced Latin music in its totality.  I would agree that she’s probably the most important person in bringing Cuban music to the rest of the world.  She was also an unimpeachable ambassador for bringing Latin music in a Pan-American sense to the world." Even on the tenth anniversary of Celia Cruz’s death, her influence on Cuban and Latin music is still seen today.  Needless to say when Cruz passed away it was a detrimental hit to the music industry.  Levinson commented on the impact of Cruz’s passing a decade ago, “To many people it was like Kennedy dying, it was the end of an era, not just a person passing away.  It was an entire generational full stop.”  

Brody Dolyniuk from The Music Of Led Zeppelin Guest DJ

Brody Dolyniuk will be playing the part of Robert Plant when The Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra plays The Music Of Led Zeppelin.  Brody chose 3 of his favorite Zeppelin songs for a Guest DJ spot on The Morning Mix. Brody Dolyniuk is a multi-faceted musican and self-taught musician who began his professional music career playing piano in bars.  Dolyniuk would conjure up an Elton John tribute, Yellow Brick Road.  After much sucess with YBR and expanding its catalog to include songs by Pink Floyd, Led Zeppelin and many more, Dolyniuk stepped down from it.  Since then Dolyniuk has started producing and singing with touring symphony shows.Choosing three favorite Led Zeppelin songs is a tough task for any fan.  In light of the Pittsburgh Symphony’s Orchestra’s “The Music of Led Zeppelin,” Brody Dolyniuk chose from three Led Zeppelin songs for his Guest DJ set.  The first song on Dolyniuk’s Guest DJ set is “Heartbreaker” off the album Led Zeppelin II.  “I just thought it was a go-to track.  I really think that it is the quintessential Zeppelin tune with all four guys sort of on fire. The opening riff to the drums pounding away, Jon Paul Jones’ bass line, and it just sums of Led Zeppelin for me.”The second song on Bryan Dolyniuk’s Guest DJ set is “Going to California” off the album IV.  “I picked that one to show the contrast between Zeppelin’s bluesy hard rock style and to pull out sort of a folk ballad kind of song like that [Going to California]. It just shows the dexterity of the band and that a great song doesn’t need that much, just a couple of instruments and a great vocal.  “Going to California" has always been one of my personal favorites,” states Dolyniuk.The his final song of his Guest DJ set, Brody Dolyniuk chose the track “Kashmir” off Led Zeppelin’s two disc album Physical Graffiti.  Dolyniuk comments on his final selection, “Kashmir,” "I think this song sort of just defies classification. It’s almost hard to believe the same band that did “Whole Lotta Love” and “Going to California” is doing “Kashmir.” [It] borrows from their Middle Eastern influence I guess. [There’s] another great swirling guitar riff by Page.  Of course Bonham laying down the floor beat.  What impresses me most I think is that Bonham has the discipline to know not when to play.  It’s just a shining example of Led Zeppelin’s finest.”Joey and Brody finish his Guest DJ set with a discussion about Led Zeppelin’s music and both how and why it will translate to the symphony stage. “The songs are timeless they’re not going away anytime soon.  I what love to see most is that orchestra’s are embracing this new generation of classics.  It great to see our generation of music is being considered the new generation.  The songs are engrained in our minds and hearts now, to see it done in a new way I think is refreshing and it adds even more credibility to the music.  It really makes the music come alive” says Dolyniuk.Here are Brody's picks:Heartbreaker - from Led Zeppelin IIGoing To California - from Led Zeppelin IVKashmir - from Physical Graffiti 

Christine McVie 70th Birthday Tribute

On the occasion of Christine McVie's 70th birthday, Rosemary Welsch and Cindy Howes discuss her impressive career and share some of her best Fleetwood Mac songs on The Morning Mix.Christine McVie is one of the more underrated songwriters in music.  Fleetwood Mac was fortunate to have the likes of Christine McVie, Stevie Nicks, Peter Green, and many other great songwriters come and go throughout the years.  “It was an amazing of array of people who came and went in that band.  So songwriting has always been the key to what makes that band so great,” states Welsh.Cindy asked Rosemary Welsh to select some of her favorite Fleetwood Mac songs in honor of Christine McVie’s birthday.  Rosemary’s first selection is “Come a Little Bit Closer” off the album Heroes Are Hard to Find.  “I’m going to go back to an album before Stevie Nicks and Lindsey Buckingham joined the band.  This was back when Bob Welch and Christine McVie were the main songwriters in the band.”Although it was McVie’s keyboard that helped give Fleetwood Mac it’s unique sound, she did not start out on the keys.  “She originally started as a bass player.  When she was in college and it was the early  sixties, blues-rock was the huge thing.  The first band she was ever in was a blues band.  She was a real anomaly, a woman bass player in an all male blues rock back. She was out there on her own.  Later on she went into another band and they wanted her to be a keyboard player.  She had never played the keyboard so they gave her a bunch of records. She was listening to Freddy King records and he had a great piano player named Sonny Thompson.  And that’s how she learned to play, it was with blues.  Now she took it way beyond that and made it a signature sound.  That’s the foundation of her keyboard playing, is from Sonny Thompson.”For her second selection, Rosemary chose the song “Songbird” from the album Rumours.  “Fleetwood Mac, when it was touring with Rumours, would always end with this song.  They did this for many years.  By that point in time their [John and Christine’s] relationship had died, he [John McVie] would stand on the side of the stage and he would cry when the song was played” explains Welsh.A lot of people are unaware of McVie’s solo release, Christine Perfect, Perfect was her maiden name.  Cindy and Rosemary wrap up this “Guest DJ” set with a discussion of Christine McVie’s songwriting ability.  Rosemary comments on the career of Christine McVie,  “As you look at what she’s done with her career it would be hard to top what she’s done.  [She is] such a good songwriter and somebody who never really sought out the limelight.”

Interview with Buckwheat Zydeco

Before his upcoming concert at Club Cafe, Buckwheat Zydeco called in to talk with Joey Spehar of The Morning Mix.  Joey and Buck discussed the sound of Zydeco music, why he started playing the accordion, and his some of his future projects.Buckwheat Zydeco has been making music since the late 1950's.  Buck has played for ex-president Bill Clinton twice for both of his inaugurations and the closing ceremonies of the 1996 Summer Olympics in the past.  Buck has also toured worldwide sharing the stage with the likes of Keith Richards, Mavis Staples, Willie Nelson, and many other music icons.When asked by Joey to describe the sound of Zydeco music he explained, "It's a roots music from southwest Louisiana.  It's very energetic music for all generations.  Zydeco music has been there before the early fifties, that's from the greats."  Buckwheat Zydeco is one of the rare accordion playing artists to achieve mainstream success.  Joey and Buckwheat Zydeco discussed how he got started playing the accordion.  In the mid 1970's Clifton Chenier asked Buckwheat Zydeco to join his band.  Buck explained how Chenier’s request snowballed into a musical career with the accordion, "That's the reason why I'm playing the accordion today, you know?  It's very inspirational. First of all, I didn't like Zydeco music.  I was pretty much stubborn.  My father played it 24-7 at home.  In the early seventies I had a big funk band with fifteen people. I took a break in 1975 and Clifton asked me to perform with his band as an organist.  The situation going on with me and my dad was he didn't like the music I was playing and I couldn't stand his. I decided to say, "I'm going to do this. I'm gonna take out my accordion, go on stage, play this one night, and take it off stage." I wound up playing with him for two years."Buckwheat Zydeco has not released an album since 2009's Lay Your Burden Down.  However, Buck has been keeping busy and has a few songs and projects up his sleeve.  Joey and Buckwheat Zydeco discuss his future works, "We have some [tracks] in the bag.  I don't know when we are going to release [them], but hopefully soon.  I just did some things with Kenny Rogers.  I did some accordion with them in the studio."  When asked about how his collaboration with Kenny Rogers came about he replied, "It was the promoters, managers, and record companies and stuff [that made it happen].  That's my reward.  That lets me know that people are listening to Buckwheat Zydeco. When you get an invitation like that [to play with Kenny Rogers], that's a blessing."Information about Buckwheat Zydeco's upcoming performance can be found on our concert calendar. 

45th Anniversary of Cream's Breakup

Joey Spehar of the Morning Mix stopped by Jerry's Records to talk with store owner, Jerry Weber.  On July 10, 1968 the English band Cream announced they were breaking up.  Joey and Jerry discuss the album Disraeli Gears and the Cream's legacy in music.Jerry Weber recalls the first time he heard Cream.  "Man it kind of opened our ears and our everything, our minds.  We really never heard nothing like that before."  Jerry discusses the sound of Cream's iconic album Disraeli Gears and the imprint it left on him.  ""The song that killed us was the first song, "Tales of Brave Ulysses."  First of all what a great song. It was just the way it started and it grabbed us.  That was a tremendous album, that had also their biggest hit "Sunshine of Your Love" on it.  It had "Strange Brew" and "Take It Back," these are all classic songs.  That's why it's so in-demand, it's a solid album the whole way through and you can't say that about many records.""Weber, who was a self-proclaimed Dylan-head at the time, explains the significance of the album Disraeli Gears. "I think Cream was as much of an innovator as Dylan, not the longevity or nothing.  When they [Cream] played music it was like something you've never heard before, no one was ever like them.  It wasn't just English people playing blues, it was something else."Although it has been nearly 50 years since they disbanded, Cream's legacy still lives on.  Jerry Weber explains how Disraeli Gears sells out nearly right after it is sold to the store and the album's popularity today.  "They're great fidelity, they jump out at ya, when every comes in I always play it before I sell it.  They don't say long, they're in my best sellers section and they go out almost immediately.  There's a lot of people who read about Cream, kids, and peoples influences, so they're interested.  There's a lot of older guys that wore out their copy and want a new one.  Plus Disraeli Gears has one of the greatest covers in music history, if it's in a stack of records it'll grab ya." 

55th Anniversary of Johnny Cash Leaving Sun Records

On July 9, 1958, Johnny Cash announced that he was leaving the legendary Sun Records label and owner Sam Phillips for a recording contract with Columbia Records. This marked an important change in Cash's career and further led to the downfall of Sun Records. WYEP's Roots & Ryhtm Mix host, Jesse Novak discusses Cash's time at Sun and the impact Cash's departure had on the label.Cash moved to Memphis, home of Sun Records, in 1954 and started playing out with The Tennessee Two: Marshall Grant and Luther Perkins. He eventually decided he would go to Sun Records to audition for Sam Phillips.  It was the unique recording style that lured vocalists to Sun Records. Jesse Novak describes the Sun Records sound; "Pretty much any of the vocalists that recorded there had a very booming vocal sound."Johnny Cash signed with Sun and brought them "Hey Porter," which to that they said “Bring us a song we can sell!"  After that he wrote  “Cry Cry Cry” overnight and Sun released it as his first single in 1955.  Novak comments on Sun Record's decision to release "Cry, Cry, Cry" over "Hey Porter," ""Cry, Cry, Cry" is a better song.  It had a sweeter melody to it and I think the subject matter is something people can relate to more.""Elvis Presley, Carl Perkins, Jerry Lee Lewis and Johnny Cash were all on Sun records at once.  The Million Dollar Quartet was an impromptu recording session was spawned on one  faitful day.  The record included Elvis, Carl Perkins, Jerry Lee Lewis and Cash.  Novak explains the famous impromptu recording, "It was one of the earliest rock and roll supergroups.  There hadn't really been much like that before."  There are a lot of myths about how the recordings came about, one thing is for sure, "The myth is just an important as the truth with rock and roll."Johnny Cash was known for being country music's "Man in Black."  He wrote songs about life's struggles.  Tracks's like "Folsom Prison Blues" captured the darker side of American culture.  Jesse comments on Cash's decision to record in Folsom Prison, "I think the idea of recording the live album at Folsom Prison Blues was revolutionary.  It shows how ahead of his time he [Johhny Cash] was.  It was not some gimmic, he  just thought this would be a great audience to record for."Cash decided to leave label back on this date in 1958 and went on to sign with Columbia Records.  "It's probably not ironic that they didn't do a lot in the late sixties.  It marked the downfall for them, they really didn't stick with the sound or make it much further than that."

Fitz of Fitz & The Tantrums on The Morning Mix

Michael Fitzpatrick, aka Fitz of Fitz & The Tantrums, talks to Cindy Howes about the band's new energy-infused sophmore release, More Than Just a Dream.The new album, More Than Just a Dream, incorporates the live shows and audience particpation into the writing and recording process.  Fitzpatrick explains how they kept the audience in mind while writing the album More Than Just a Dream,"When we were writing we kind of had the audience in mind.  It just became kind of natural way of looking at our song writing knowing we have this audience that participates and sing along and answer call with us."Since their start in 2008, Fitz & The Tantrums have become known for their vivacious live performances.  Fitzpatrick explains the origin and development of their live shows,  "The music itself was very danceable and uplifting, although the lyrics were very biting.  So there was this kind of push and pull between the lyrics and music. that automatically made there be this [musical] tension. Honestly Noel was such an amazing performer, we just kept pushing each other further at every moment.  The more we saw that we engaged the audience, the more we saw they got into to and it became this energy loop between us the the audience."Fitz & The Tatrums worked with producer Tony Hoffer on More Than Just a Dream.  However, the band did a lot of preproduction at home.  Fitzpatrick comments on the writing and recording process of More Than Just a Dream, "We had made our first record in my house, in my living room.  Going into record two and actually having budget to go and work with a producer and work in the studio we didn't also wanna turn our backs on the place that created the original magic.  Just being in your home environment in a more relaxed atmosphere to be creative. I love to create a mood and an atmosphere, I like to feel where I'm at."  Fitz & The Tatrums have accumulated quite the diverse fan base over the years.  The age range of the fan base varies from teenagers those around during the original years of soul and Motown.  Fitzpatrick comments on the fan base of Fitz & The Tantrums, " It's one of the most diverse crowds you'll see from the older couple to the young hiptser dude.  They're all at the concert and they don't care if they're in this very eclectic mix of crowd of people.  I think it just lets everybody enjoy the music even more." Fitz & The Tatrums have become known for their hard work ethis and do it yourself attitude.  Although they are now signed to a major record label, Fitz & The Tantrums stays true to their DIY roots.  Fitzpatrick comments on the work ethic of the band, "It's a credit to everybody in the band.  When we started we didn't have two pennies to rub against each other, we didn't have any support from anybody.  It was really on our shoulders and we started with that sort of do it yourself work ethic.  And then we just saw that the harder we worked, the more we gained fans."Fitzpatrick explained the epiphany in college that made him decide to pursue his love first love, music.  Although Fitzpatrick has recently found success with Fitz & The Tantrums, the road was filled with many obstacles and heartbreaks.  Fitzpatrick comments on his journey to the road of success, "Back then I wanted the world.  I grew up in Los Angeles, which is such an industry driven town, unfortunately.  It was having my heart broken and being rejected one too many times and that caused me to pick up and put down the strings which got me to a place where I was at peace with the fact that maybe this wasn't going to happen.  And that's when things started happening for the band."  With that being said, Cindy asked Fitzpatrick what the one piece of advice he would offer to anyone trying get a start in the music industry.  "Don't wait for anybody.  Go create your own future and make sure that you're true to yourself and doing something authentic to yourself."Fitz & The Tantrums' More Than Just a Dream is out now on Elektra Records.

Anders Osborne on the Morning Mix

Anders Osborne's latest album, Three Free Amigos, contains a large variety of musical styles with everything from rock to reggae.  The first single off the album, "Marmalade," is a perfect example of the musical variety on Three Free Amigos.  "Marmalade" is the only reggae track on the album.  Osborne discusses were his island influence comes from.  "I think it's a lot of the Toots and the Maytals and the Bob Marley influences that I had.  I think they've inspired me through the years. I listen to a lot of that stuff."Osborne discusses the order of the album, which opens with the title track "Three Free Amigos."  "It ended up being the title track, we threw it up front and it had a nice flow.  Once you start pairing up songs, usually you shuffle them around a little bit and you feel what's most natural" says Osborne.Osborne comments on how he wrote the record Three Free Amigos and the recording process.  "I wanted to create a record that sounded like my song demos. I play acoustic guitar first and sing, record that and add a couple of intstuments.  It's like sketching before you paint an oil painting.  You just kinda sketch it you don't go in with a full band and rock it out.  That's what I did for the whole record."Although he was born in Sweden, Osborne has adopted New Orleans on his hometown.  After living the city for almost thirty years Osborne discusses the influence of the city on his music.  "It's inspiring, there's a lot of amazing players and creativity.  There's a rich culture, it not about playing a show, it's a way of life.  It's apart of the culture as an everyday thing.  So I think most people in New Orleans are a part of it, whether you're a musician or not." 

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