Audio Specials


Tribute to Cheo Feliciano

Cheo Feliciano died tragically last week in a car crash, but his legacy lives on in his music and influence.  Joey Spehar of The Morning Mix spoke with Grammy Award winning producer and musician Aaron Luis Levinson about this very important artist.Salsa music came around in 1950s and 60s New York with a jazz and soul aspect to it, Levinson said. Feliciano, a pioneer to the genre, started out as percussionist when he settled in Spanish Harlem, New York with his family, Spehar says. Having felt the culture shock of being there at this time, Feliciano experienced a vibrant community “filled with music culture and cuisine,” Levinson said.Unfortunately in the mid-60s, Feliciano began to struggle with drugs which were a big problem at the time. “Unfortunately Cheo succumb to that temptation, and he got really, really strung out.”The release of Feliciano’s first solo album In 1971 Cheo is a mark of excellence for the musician, and this album proves how a contender turned into a champion, Levinson says. “It is like he has leaped over the expectations of “well how good is he still.” He’s better than he’s ever been.”Though Feliciano was diagnosed with liver cancer last year, his death in a car crash made things all the more tragic, Spehar says. Levinson then talks about a recent trip to New York where Felicano’s death and the irony of beating cancer but dying in a car crash, was the sole topic of conversation by the locals.One song by Feliciano Levinson points out is called “Ana Caona.” “If you want to hear in four minutes why Cheo Feliciano is recognized as one of the Mount Rushmore salsa singers, listen to Ana Caona. You won’t need anything more than that.”“If you’re just learning about salsa music, you wanna learn about Latin music, if you wanna hear what singing is all about, don’t waste your time — go listen to Cheo Feliciano.”

Robert Smith turns 55

Robert Smith, iconic frontman for The Cure, turns 55. Brian Siewiorek talks to Cindy Howes about Smith's music and influence.The Cure is such an original band, Siewiorek says. “If you played your mother a Cure song, she’d say “oh that’s that Cure band,” because everybody knows what The Cure sounds like — that original unique sound, and no one sounds just like them,” he says.  Smith’s place in the band wasn’t planned out as he just sort of ended up being the singer, Howes says. “To me he’s always on the edge of tears,” she says.Siewiorek says that to the goth culture, which we were all likely part of at some point in our lives, Smith is an icon. “With the teased black hair and the white face and that lipstick and the messy eye makeup,” people still dress like him or have evolved from the look of Smith. “You can go to a bar in Lawrenceville and see a guy that looks like Robert Smith.”Howes cites The Cure for having many different eras of sound such as post-punk, goth, pop and epic, but Siewiorek says he thinks the early 80s period when The Cure was majorly post-punk sounding, was his favorite. “It was before they got like super, super dramatic with a lot of things, and it’s really great post-punk, almost a little bit of pop music right there,” he says.However, the more gothy albums like Pornography and Disintegration are not too be overlooked, Siewiorek says. “They are layered, and they are dark, and they are moody, and they are sad, but they are great.” As a front-man, Smith has an interesting mix of songs both goth and pop, Howes says. “There are many faces of Robert Smith,” she says.Smith’s influence on music shows up certainly in bands like My Chemical Romance, but also bands like The Sugarcubes, Interpol and Björk, Siewiorek says. “I think sometimes his dark, black-wearing, teased-hair image just kinda brings him down as a happy figure,” which Siewiorek says is heard in songs like “Friday I’m in love.”

Ingrid Michaelson on The Morning Mix

Singer songwriter Ingrid Michaelson’s newest album ‘Lights Out’ was released April  15, and it was the result of a dark time in her life that she made brighter. In the last year, both Michaelson and her parents fell ill. “When you’re sick, and people that you love are sick, nothing else really matters but trying to feel better again.” “To me there are a lot of light and dark beams — literally saying the word light in the record — to me it’s a reminder that we are here for but a moment and we should strive to the best that we can be while we’re here.”Michaelson’s open attitude can be heard in her music when she decided to change up the lyrics of her song “Girls Chase Boys” to make it less “hetero-normative.” The early demo, she said, felt “exclusive to hetero-sexuals.” “I felt like it was like a closed circuit, and I didn’t like that feeling, so I added this little tagline ‘girls chase girls and boys chase boys’ which I thought was a nod to the community, and it really opened up the song in a really nice way.” Michaelson said some don’t even catch the line before making comments, but the inclusion is there.The accompanying music video, which too involves gender bending subjects, received reaction from both supporters and critics. Michaelson says the negative comments, sometimes hurtful, can spring interesting dialogue among fans, both accepting of homosexuality and not.As for keeping the appeal to young listeners which she has had for over a decade, Michaelson said how she does it is a mystery. “I’m not trying to stay 18 in my writing,” but people these days, she says, are listening to a wider variety of music.Michaelson then references a tweet saying “I don’t know who is more excited to see [Michaelson], me or my 53 year old mom.” Kids will come to the shows with their parents, Michaelson says, and while most of the audience is aged 18 to 30, she’s enjoys seeing both ends of the spectrum at her shows.Ingrid Michaelson will be performing May 25 at Stage AE in Pittsburgh.

Dusty Springfield 75th Birthday Anniversary

April 16th marks what would be Dusty Springfield’s 75th birthday if she hadn’t died  in 1999 at the age of 59. Cindy Howes, host of The Morning Mix was joined by Afternoon Mix host, Rosemary Welsch to speak about Dusty’s life and career.Dusty Springfield began her career as a more traditional pop artist but eventually gravitated toward music with a roots base of blues and soul, making her a big success in the British Invasion. “She started incorporating more serious elements in her music. Emotional, still, but digging a little deeper into what drives people in love." She started forcing that kind of attitude that you could sing about love but it could be a little more serious than just the fluffy stuff,” says Rosemary.This kind of style and attitude left Dusty to clearly influence modern women in music who follow this theme like Adele or Amy Winehouse. “She captured emotion in sort of a way that Patsy Cline did where she could take an obvious love song but pull something out of it. The loneliness of falling in love, the validation that you get from it.” Dusty pulled a great amount of influence from African-American women like Aretha Franklin and Billie Holiday. In the 1960s, during the Civil Rights era, Springfield was one of the most popular, top-charting artists. She was particularly influential in bringing black Motown music to the UK, pushing for artists like The Supremes, The Miracles and The Temptations to play at her shows. “In 1964 she went to South Africa to sing and in her contract she had an anti-apartheid stipulation saying that “I have to play to mixed audiences” and she did that, so they kicked her out of the country. I think that says a whole lot about where she would be today.” Rosemary tells us that she believes if Dusty Springfield hadn’t passed away in 1999 she would move on to producing music for others. Springfield’s fascination with other artists led her to work with them as well as discover them. Dusty had a keen ear for new music that was going to be successful and she often recorded her own tracks when she wasn’t pleased with the producers take her albums. We’re celebrating Dusty Springfield’s 75th anniversary and the influence she made on society and the music industry. You can hear the full interview below.

Sharon Jones on The Morning Mix

Sharon Jones recently joined Morning Mix host Joey Spehar in anticipation for the WYEP 40th anniversary Sharon Jones and the Dap Kings concert this Sunday at the Byham Theater. Her new album, Give The People What They Want was released in the beginning of 2014 in the midst of her struggle with cancer.Sharon was diagnosed after she had recorded the album and because of this, many of the songs took on a whole new meaning. “ ”Retreat!” changed right there in front of me while I was laying in the hospital. They talked about doing an animated video and once I saw the animated video, it was no longer me telling some guy to retreat, it was like me telling the cancer to retreat,” says Sharon.Jones has faced a great amount of hardships and challenges since getting to her current level of success and attributes her perseverance to her faith in God. Sharon tells us she believes that God gave her a gift of a voice and she has a duty to “...stay true to the gift.”Sharon Jones and the Dap Kings have been making music together since 1996 so they’re experts when it comes to writing music together and playing off of one another. “They’d write new stuff and it was great, and the music was great. They’d write it down and give me the lyrics… and I’d make it my own.”Jones explains that The Dap Kings have been supportive through each step of her cancer and therapy. “I thought I was going to die,” says Sharon when the cancer kept spreading and she was sent to chemotherapy. Four short months after chemotherapy, Jones was back on stage performing.“All of the people that wrote me and said “Don’t you let that band push you” or “Don’t you go back out there” and I said “Do me a favor and don’t come to me with any negative… No one is pushing me.” The band watched me and, you know, I just love those guys to death, I’ve got one of the best bands in the world, I think.”Sharon Jones and the Dap Kings recently added a few Dappettes, Saundra Williams and Starr Duncan, who are long time friends of Sharon. The three women performed together as an Italian wedding band around 20 years ago and now Saundra and Starr sing backup vocals on Give The People What They Want and open for the band on tour. You can see Sharon Jones and the Dap Kings with the Dappettes on Sunday, April 13th at WYEP’s 40th anniversary special event at the Byham Theater and listen to the entire interview below.

Heather Arnet on Brazilian Music

Heather Arnet, writer and producer of "Madame Presidenta: Why Not U.S.?, joined Morning Mix host, Cindy Howes to talk about modern pop music in Brazil. Arnet tells us about the time she spent in Brazil and how music is such a crucial part of their culture and everyday life. She compares the place to New Orleans; when she would be filming and turn the corner, there would be a samba parade or people dancing and practicing music in the street and in cafes.Arnet aimed to share modern pop music in Brazil with us, when many people imagine Samba music or “Girl from Ipanema” as regular Brazilian music. The first tune we hear is from Ivete Sangalo with “Dançando” featuring Shakira. Heather tells us that Sangalo is a dynamic pop star in Brazil and she has a hard time comparing Ivete to any American artist. Heather then introduces us to the “Beyonce of Brazil,” Anitta, and her song “Show das Poderosas” which was also released in 2013.Heather was born and raised in Miami, Florida and her best friend was Brazilian. Her friend constantly had Roberto Carlos playing in the kitchen and this was the first Brazilian artist that Heather was introduced to. When Heather was in Brazil for her film, Roberto Carlos released another song, “Esse Cara Sou Eu” so she played it for us.“Everybody in the world is dealing with these same kinds of issues,” says Heather in relation to the lyrical content of music from different countries. “They might be coming about the answers in a different way. So if we want to think about how to advance women economically or politically in this country we should look to see how other countries have done it, too.”The CEO of the Women and Girls Foundation and writer/director of “Madame Presidentia, Why Not U.S.?” spoke at the University of Pittsburgh on Tuesday night to talk about her film which is out now. 

Jocie Adams of Arc Iris

Jocie Adams of Arc Iris recently joined Cindy Howes of the Morning Mix to talk about Arc Iris’ new self-titled album. Adams is a former member of the folk band, Low Anthem, in which she was a vocalist and multi-instrumentalist for the group. Since leaving Low Anthem and starting Arc Iris, Jocie has received more musical freedom and she can find new portions of herself.Critics and fans describe Arc Iris’ style and musical performance as a kind of modern Cabaret act, but Jocie thinks it’s more influenced by classical music. “Classical music is very dramatic. I studied classical music, therefore, some element of dramaticism is translated onto our music,” says Adams as she tells us about her classical composition training at Brown and her focus on clarinet in high school.Although Adams is particular to clarinet, her favorite instrument on Arc Iris is definitely the cat purring that appears in “Singing So Sweetly.” “Those are my cats!” Jocie brags, as says that the idea to add purring began as a joke that became very real. Luckily, the sound of her cats biting the microphone due to overstimulation didn’t translate to the album.Jocie Adams spent some time dabbling in rocket science for NASA but she doesn’t like to talk about it, but admits it probably affected how she sees music now. “Most people that worked at NASA also did music. I think the two are very interrelated in terms of building your brain. You do math and you do science, you’re working on some portion of your mind that is related to music in some way that is intangible.”When asked to explain a live performance by Arc Iris, Jocie tells Cindy that fans can expect to be challenged, but the whole experience will be exciting. Pittsburgh fans are able to see Jocie Adams in her gold leotard with the rest of Arc Iris at the Pittsburgh Winery on April 11th.

Robert Cray Interview

Robert Cray of The Robert Cray Band recently joined Morning Mix host Joey Spehar to talk about the band’s new album In My Soul which released April 1st. Cray is an American blues musician and this most recent record definitely shows it off. Robert tells us that the band didn’t set out with the intention to sound like their final product does, but after each member added their own ideas and material to the table, In My Soul became a “rockin’ soul record.”Producer, Steve Jordan worked with The Robert Cray Band for the third time and had a great deal of influence on the sound of In My Soul. “The way he likes to record would be like if you’re using tape, which isn’t so affordable these days but we can almost approximate that sound,” says Cray. He also adds that Jordan’s vintage amps and microphones allow the music to have a warm sound.Bassist of The Robert Cray Band, Richard Cousins wrote both “Hold On,” a tune that Joey says sounds exactly like something that would come out of 1970’s Philadelphia, and “Hip Tight Onions,” a tribute to Booker T. & the M.G.’s. “Hip Tight Onions” is the band’s first instrumental track and Cray exclaims what joy that band has performing the song.“Richard didn’t think we would jump on the song, but it was one of the first ones that we did jump on. We’re all in the studio at the same time recording and Steve Jordan is producing, he’s in the room with us and he’s dancing to the groove we’re playing.”Cray admits that he doesn’t practice his guitar for 12 hours a day, but Joey isn’t convinced because his guitar sounds amazing. In My Soul is out right now and you can check out the full interview below.

Carolina Chocolate Drops Guest DJ

Hubby Jenkins of Carolina Chocolate Drops plays Guest DJ on The Morning Mix with Cindy Howes. Generally identified as an old-time American roots band, the Carolina Chocolate Drops pride themselves on aligning their musical style to what was played before music began to separate itself into genres. “Before record industries came along and developed race records that said, “black people play this, black people play that” it was just this one music...American music,” says Hubby as he explains the group performs songs dating back to before World War II. Since each member of the Carolina Chocolate Drops are historians in their own sense, Jenkins took an historical approach to playing guest DJ. The first song we hear is from Talking Heads live concert Stop Making Sense with “Found A Job.” The first old-fashioned kind of music Hubby became interested in as a kid was country-blues, like Bob Dylan, so when Jenkins’ friend showed him Stop Making Sense, Talking Heads quickly became Hubby’s favorite band.  We immediately transition into “Billy Jack,” a song by Curtis Mayfield from the 1975 album There’s No Place Like America. “I really appreciate Curtis Mayfield for leaving the impressions, focusing on social issues and feeling the responsibility that a lot of artists feel to talk about what’s going on in the day and talk about the struggles that people are dealing with,” says Hubby also noting that in 1975, when the record was released, the world looked a lot like it does now for African Americans.  The final song that Hubby Jenkins plays for us is by A Tribe Called Quest with the classic “Can I Kick It” from People’s Instinctive Travels and the Paths of Rhythm. A Tribe Called Quest was one of the most influential hip-hop groups in Hubby’s life growing up. He traces hip-hop roots to Jamaican dancehall music in the 1970’s when artists would rap over their favorite tracks to get people to dance more.  Carolina Chocolate Drops most recent record Leaving Eden is available now.

Over The Rhine Guest DJ on The Morning Mix

Over the Rhine is a husband/wife American folk band from Ohio and recently played at The Rex Theater in Pittsburgh. Linford Detweiller of Over the Rhine joined Cindy Howes of the Morning Mix to play guest DJ for WYEP listeners.Detweiller began his set with “Bird on a Wire” by Leonard Cohen from his 1969 release Songs From a Room. “I think lyrically it’s just one of those perfect songs with relatively simple language, but it’s incredibly fresh and timeless,” says Linford.Linford transitions from Leonard Cohen to Ron Sexmith with the song “Secret Heart” from Sexsmith’s 1995 self-titled album. Detweiller tells us that Sexsmith is another artist he admires who masters the art of writing music with very simple language. “His lyrics feel like something that was uncovered that always existed. I love the simplicity of his writing but, again, there’s also a timelessness that all of us songwriters hope to find along the way somewhere”Detweiller finishes his Morning Mix guest DJ set with Bonnie Raits’ “You Can’t Fail Me Now” from her 2012 album Slipstream. This song is a cover from Detweiller’s friend and producer Joe Henry. “This song has been around for a little while,” says Linford, “It’s been one of those beautiful little mysterious transmissions and I just love Bonnie Raits’ take on this song.”The latest Over the Rhine record is Meet Me At The Edge of the World, released this past September but they have a project in the works with aforementioned Joe Henry. Hear the full Guest DJ set with Linford Detweiller of Over the Rhine below.

John Carter Cash on The Morning Mix

Midday Mix host Mike Sauter was recently joined by John Carter Cash to speak about Johnny Cash’s rediscovered, previously unreleased album. Out Among the Stars was produced in 1984 when Cash was signed with Columbia Records but the record was stored in Cash’s archived collection. It wasn’t until recently that his son, John Carter Cash, stumbled upon this album and decided to release it on Legacy Recordings.John tells us that in 1984, country music was headed in a different direction than where it previously was and Columbia records did not foresee the popularity and success of Johnny Cash. For this reason Out Among the Stars was never released despite the quality of production that producer Billy Sherrill put into it.Cash expresses that at the time in his father’s life that Out Among the Stars was being recorded, Johnny was in the prime of his life both physically and spiritually. Prior to this album, Cash went through some struggles in rehab where he wrote the final song on Out Among the Stars, “I Came To Believe.”“It begs the listener to open up to my father’s spiritual view at the time. No matter what was going on business-wise or in his career, he was in a spiritual prime. He was working and playing and singing on the road all the time so when we listen to this record we’re hearing Johnny Cash sounding as good as he ever sounded and as good as he ever would for the rest of his life.”John Carter Cash admits that the process of discovering and releasing this record was a positive emotional experience, for he had more time to spend with his father. It brought John back to the time in 1984 when he and his father were particularly close. As a boy he remembers when the duet with Waylon Jennings, “I’m Moving On” was recorded and when his mother was featured on “Baby Ride Easy.”There are plenty of other unreleased Johnny Cash material that John Carter explains he won’t release for the sake of releasing another Johnny Cash record. “It’s got to make sense. It’s got to say something that hasn’t been said or if it has been said before, perhaps in a different way. For instance, there are other live recordings but it’s hard to beat those two prison records.”Out Among the Stars was released March 25th and the full interview with John Carter Cash can be heard below.

Simone Felice Interview

Folk musician Simone Felice recently joined Morning Mix host Joey Spehar to talk about his most recent album Strangers which releases March 25th via Dualtone Records. Strangers is Felice’s second studio album after his self-titled came out in 2012, not too long after The Felice Brothers disbanded.Simone recorded the entirety of Strangers in the Catskill Mountains with help from a number of his friends and family members, all fellow musicians. The Lumineers, Leah Siegel, and James Felice, Simone’s brother, are all featured on the album with help from Simone’s backing band.“There’s a certain magic that happens when you’re on the road, especially with your brothers. I do miss that. Over the past two years I’ve been developing a special little trio: me and Matty (Green) and Gabe (Dresdale). It’s become like a real little band and not just players that I bring out. And I feel for the first time since I’ve been a solo artist that I’ve got a special group that are like my brothers in arms.”Felice wrote and recorded Strangers with producer David Baron who helped to bring a component of stringed instruments and organ arrangements to the album. Baron comes from a family of sound engineers in the Woodstock region of New York, so he has an extensive past of studio experience.In the interview Joey notices that the songs on Strangers are like old notes and postcards from past lovers or from ourselves that are saved in drawers. Simone Felice agreed and adds,”...our bodies, our hearts, our minds are kind of like a closet. We store all of this stuff, some of it we don’t want to share, some of it we do, sometimes to share it is a medicinal or healing thing. Music has always been that way for me.”Simone Felice’s album Strangers comes out March 25th and for more on what Felice and Joey spoke about, including Simone’s daughter and the story behind Strangers album artwork check out the full interview below.

Jake Bugg Interview

English songwriter and indie folk musician, Jake Bugg, recently joined Joey Spehar on the Morning Mix to speak about his musical career and newest album Shangri La. Bugg also announced his place in the Pittsburgh’s Three Rivers Arts Festival lineup this June.Jake Bugg is merely 20 years old and has already released two full length studio albums, the most recent of which was produced with Rick Rubin. Rubin is a critically acclaimed producer who has worked with acts such as The Beastie Boys, Run D.M.C. and Metallica and he was the man behind Def Jam Recordings along with other various appraised record labels. Bugg’s 2013 release Shangri La is named after Rubin’s studio in Malibu, California and when asked about his experience working with Rick, Bugg expressed no original feeling of intimidation with the producer.“At that time I’m 19 years old, I’ve still got a lot to learn. I didn’t really know the reputation that Rick had which was cool because it allowed me to get to the studio and meet him for who he was and just allow me to do what I do. To me, it seemed like he genuinely cared about making cool records and everything was chilled and relaxed, I just had a good time.”   Bugg has already been referred to as the next Bob Dylan and the voice of a generation, but he does not feel the heavy pressures of these terms that many young musicians might feel who are in the same position. “Bob Dylan is Bob Dylan, the voice of a generation, it’s all been done before. I don’t aspire to be anything but myself. I just want to make records,” says Bugg.We are excited see Jake Bugg perform this summer at the Three Rivers Arts Festival in Pittsburgh on June 15th. For information on what Bugg is up to check out his website.

Adam Granduciel of The War on Drugs Guest DJ

Adam Granduciel of The War on Drugs joined Cindy Howes on the Morning Mix to play guest DJ. The War on Drugs recently released their third studio album Lost in the Dream on Secretly Canadian. Granduciel lived in California for a few years before taking a train to Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, eventually ending up in Philadelphia by 2003. Adam moved to Philly on a whim when he was feeling unsatisfied with his life working in a restaurant and recording music in his bedroom. Granduciel still resides in Philly where he bases The War on Drugs. Adam expressed that his personal music taste line up pretty well with the music he is writing and playing with The War on Drugs.“I’m a huge fan of classic songwriters and record production. We’re not setting out to make our band sound just like that, it’s just kind of the way I approach songwriting, and producing albums and recording.”The first song he plays for us is from Steve Forbert’s first album Alive on Arrival with “Midsummer Night’s Toast.” Alive on Arrival was Forbert’s first album, released in 1978 and Granduciel says this tune has some of his favorite verses. “It’s just this young kid who's kind of seeing his future in some way, he’s got high hopes.”Granduciel transitions into John Lennon’s “Jealous Guy” and reflects on the time he was first introduced to John Lennon and the Beatles in general. Adam’s mother was a beatles fan, but more so a fan of Roy Orbison which led Adam to hear a lot of George Harrison.“When I was 17 or 18 I had my intense phase of trying to decide which Beatle was the best Beatle or how maniacal Paul was, and getting into the recording of Sgt. Pepper's, so even though musically I don’t fit in with the Beatles, they were one of my first real obsessive phases with music.”Adam Granduciel loves everything about “Jealous Guy.” He tells us that last year while recording Lost in the Dreams he heard the alternate rough mixes from Imagine. “Just hearing that record in a different way blew my mind, especially “Jealous Guy”. Everytime I hear it I close my eyes and I’m just amazed by how beautiful the song is.”The final song we hear is “Love in Mind” from Neil Young’s 1973 release Time Fades Away. Time Fades Away was a live show recorded after the high success of Harvest, but was a tour Neil Young was disappointed with. “Everyone in the band was partying too hard and asking for too much money. He always said it was like he was playing the wrong songs with the wrong band. “Love in Mind” is the last song on Side A, just him at the piano and it’s one of my favorite Neil Young songs.”The War on Drugs’ new record Lost in a Dream was released on March 18th and the band will be performing at the Altar Bar in Pittsburgh.Adam Granduciel's Guest DJ set:1. Steve Forbert - "Midsummer Night’s Toast"2. John Lennon - "Jealous Guy"3. Neil Young - "Love in Mind"

Aoife O'Donovan on The Morning Mix

American singer-songwriter, Aoife O’Donovan, recently joined Cindy Howes on the Morning Mix to talk about her newest album, Fossils. The vocalist of Boston based bluegrass group, Crooked Still, Aoife O’Donovan’s solo album Fossils is something she has been thinking about since the age of 18.A daughter of an Irish immigrant in Boston, Aoife was raised by a family who welcomed touring musicians into their home regularly. Her father’s work as a public radio DJ combined with the family’s pre-existing Irish folk connections led Aoife to grow up with a sense of community in musicianship.“My parent’s house was sort of the home base for a lot of touring Irish bands that would come through town. They would have huge parties, there would be music all night, all different kinds of musicians collaborating in my parents living room. From a very young age I was exposed to this so it seems like the natural course of events to want to go down that path.”Alison Krauss and Union Station covered one of O’Donovan’s songs, “Lay My Burden Down” from a 2007 demo record, which was eventually used in a film and played throughout Alison Krauss’ entire tour. O’Donovan’s version of “Lay My Burden Down” can be found on Fossils as the first track.Aoife worked closely with producer Tucker Martine on Fossils and his influence allowed her to look at music a bit differently. Being so familiar with performing with an entire band, Aoife now takes a different approach when touring solo. “Getting to record these songs with Tucker kind of helped me think about songs as individual kinds of artifacts, or fossils...I think getting really into the inside of a song, which is what I did with Tucker, has really helped me.”In Pittsburgh, Aoife O’Donovan will be opening for the Punch Brothers at Mr. Small’s Fun House. Check out the full interview with Aoife O’Donovan below.

Jesse Dee Guest DJs on The Morning Mix

R&B and Soul musician, Jesse Dee joined Cindy Howes on the Morning Mix to play Guest DJ. Jesse Dee originates from Boston, Massachusetts and recently released his newest album On My Mind / In My Heart.  The first song Jesse played for us was “Minute By Minute” by The James Hunter Six. “We’ve had the opportunity to play a number of shows together, he is just someone I look up to stylistically. I’ve probably heard these songs 60 or 70 times but it never gets old,” says Jesse admitting that he believes that he and James Hunter are “boys”.After The James Hunter Six, Jesse Dee played Lake Street Dive’s song “Bobby Tanqueray” off of the recent album Bad Self Portraits. Jesse Dee and Lake Street Dive have a history together as both of the bands are from Boston. Dee has enjoyed watching the rise of this band and has collaborated with the group a few times here and there.The final song we hear from Jesse is from Lee Field and the Expressions 2012 album Faithful Man with “Still Hanging On”. “Lee Fields is one of the best performers I’ve seen. His ability to convey emotion with a certain finesse that only comes from a 45 year career in the music business is just remarkable to me.”   Jesse Dee played Live and Direct at WYEP later that day and played at the Thunderbird Cafe in Lawrenceville. Check out what else Jesse Dee is up to at his website.

Jillian Michaels Guest DJs on The Morning Mix

Jillian Michaels of NBC's "The Biggest Loser" plays Guest DJ on The Morning Mix with Cindy Howes. Jillian explains how she uses music with her own workouts as well as with contestants on the show.Jillian tells us about how she uses music in every event and for any situation to motivate others and herself. Every season of “The Biggest Loser” Jillian gives each contestant a song to relate to and use as a motivator throughout the season. Michaels starts her Guest DJ set with U2’s “Beautiful Day” from 2000 album, All That You Can’t Leave Behind. “Beautiful Day” serves as a song to get everyone's’ spirits up, making them happy to be alive no matter how rough they think their days are. “Even when it’s a crap day, it’s a beautiful day because a bad day for our ego is a great day for our soul. I like to start a workout like that, especially when I’m teaching a class.”We immediately changed pace, turning to “Happy” by Pharrell Williams from his most recent album, G I R L . Jillian sees Pharrell trying to tell people to stop taking on the worries of others and just be happy, a similar theme to U2’s “Beautiful Day.”The final song we hear from Jillian Michaels is “Haunted” by Poe, the title track from Poe’s album released in 2000. Jillian recently returned from India and finds herself haunted from the trip. Michaels expresses her problem with people who look at underdeveloped nations and are thankful they aren’t in the same position of poverty.“Now that you’ve seen that the world is unfair and unbalanced and since you have an abundance, really make an effort to spread that abundance around. That song to me says, don’t forget where you were and don’t forget how that changed you and be a better person whenever and wherever possible.”Jillian Michaels will be in Pittsburgh on March 19th at the Benedum Center for her “Maximize Your Life” Tour. More information here. Jillian's song picks:1. U2 - "Beautiful Day"2. Pharrell Williams - "Happy"3. Poe - "Haunted"

Rachael Price of Lake Street Dive on The Morning Mix

Lake Street Dive lead singer, Rachael Price, recently joined Cindy Howes of the Morning Mix to discuss the band’s new record, Bad Self Portraits. Bad Self Portraits is the third studio album of this Boston based indie jazz band, released on Signature Sound Recordings.The group met in jazz school at the New England Conservatory of Music, playing music with each other in practice rooms around campus and eventually expanding to random gigs in bubble tea shops and Chinese food parlors.The albums title track, “Bad Self Portraits” shows how the band members write songs of their personal experiences, each song serving as a self portrait of sorts. “The title of the album primarily came from the title of that song but we sort of realized it was an apt title because songs are a self portrait for what you’re going through at the time.” Rachael notes that their songs aren’t necessarily bad self portraits, but at least “some kind of self portrait.”Rachael Price was raised in a home full of music as her father was a choral and orchestra composer and conductor. Around 10 or 11 years old, Price began performing on stage around the country in the choir conducted by her father. “It was around 11 or 12 he would start giving me solos so I could get up and perform by myself. My love for performing sort of started then,” says Price.One of the directors of the Netflix Original Series “House of Cards” approached Rachael at a show and inquired about using her for a singing role on the show. Thinking nothing would come of it, Price shrugged it off but to her surprise, she was called to sing the National Anthem on the show. If you missed Rachael Price on “House of Cards”, you can still check out all of Lake Street Dive in Pittsburgh on March 29th at Mr. Smalls Fun House where they will be performing music from Bad Self Portraits.  

Tribute to Porky Chedwick

WYEP pays tribute to the late, great Porky Chedwick with help from Bob Studebaker (WESA), Henry Deluca (Roots of Rock and Roll concert series) and Scott Mervis (Pittsburgh Post-Gazette). From WTAE:"Chedwick's family revealed that it's facing financial challenges to meet funeral and burial costs. As a result, friends and artists are rallying to lead donations.A trust fund has been created for public donations. They can be sent to: Porky Chedwick Memorial Trust Fund, Dollar Bank, 700 Towne Square Way, Pittsburgh, Pa. 15227"

Librarian Guest DJ Set

Tim Williams works in the music department at The Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh and stopped by The Morning Mix to share some Pittsburgh music found at the library.Tim's Librarian Guest DJ Set:Don Caballero - P, P, P, AntlessEugenie Baird - Everything But YouBob Schmertz - Braddock's Defeat

Dawn Landes on The Morning Mix

Dawn Landes recently joined Morning Mix host, Cindy Howes, to talk about her most recent album, Bluebird, released on Western Vinyl in February, 2014. Landes has spent a considerable amount of time practicing music in New York and around Europe, however, Bluebird shows clear musical roots from her home in Louisville, Kentucky.Landes used a producer for the first time on this record which really affected the sonic influence of this album compared the the rest. Thomas Bartlett, otherwise known as Doveman, characterized by Landes as having a Spartan aesthetic, insisted Landes recorded the album mostly live. “It’s not really a Thomas production if you can’t hear yourself breathing. He’s got this thing where it’s not volatile but there’s a lot of space,” says Dawn.Bluebird can be seen as her emotional response to her recent divorce of singer-songwriter, Josh Ritter. Ritter released a similar album in 2013 that tells the other side of the breakup story which Dawn has understandably avoided listening to. While continuing to be a fan of his songwriting, Dawn says that she’ll wait until Ritter releases a different album that she’ll listen to instead.“Bluebird” was the first song written off the album and was the tune that got the creative juices flowing for the rest of Bluebird. She hadn’t found that certain inspiration she was looking for when writing new songs for her all-girl trio, The Bandana Splits, but once “Bluebird” was written effortlessly, Dawn felt she was finally headed in the right direction.Norah Jones makes a Bluebird appearance on piano throughout the record and on vocals with the song “Cry No More.” “She came in and played on Love Song and then when we tracked “Cry No More” she just liked the music and we thought, “Well you’re here, you might as well sing on the song, you’d be perfect on it,” and she just did it, and it was amazing.Bluebird is out now and you can hear the full interview with Cindy Howes below.

Ketch from Old Crow Medicine Show Guest DJ Set

 Old Crow Medicine Show will be in town with the Avett Brothers at the Peterson Event Center this weekend and in anticipation for the show, Morning Mix host Joey Spehar welcomed Ketch Secor to the show to perform a guest DJ set.As Ketch was driving toward Pittsburgh from West Virginia and he was crossing the Monongahela River he wanted to hear some Bob Dylan, specifically “Jokerman” from the 1983 album Infidels, which he started his set off with.  Directly following Dylan we transitioned into “Tzena,Tzena,Tzena” a tune by American folk quartet The Weavers. Secor loves the sound of a bullwhip, especially hearing one over the Pittsburgh skyline. He hasn’t been back to Pittsburgh in a while but really enjoys the multitude of ethnic groups and breweries we have to offer.The third song that Ketch leaves us with on his guest DJ set is something listeners may not have expected to hear from Old Crow Medicine Show fiddle player, Public Enemy’s “911 is a Joke.” A song he first heard at 11 years old on the playground with a jam box. Back on the monkeybars you didn’t want to hear anything but Public Enemy, says Secor, “We listened to public enemy even though we were young, white children in overalls kicking our deflated basketballs up and down the asphalt tarmac.”A new Old Crow Medicine Show album will be released on July 1st this year and Secor assures Joey and WYEP listeners that this record will resonate with anyone from Pittsburgh, no matter which town or area around the Greater Pittsburgh area you reside. “These songs are guaranteed to cut to the heart of a cool town, and to your dark steel town soul.”  Ketch Secor's Guest DJ Set:Bob Dylan - JokermanThe Weavers - Tzena TzenaPublic Enemy - 911 Is A Joke

Interview with St. Vincent

Annie Clark, otherwise known as St. Vincent, recently spoke with Rosemary Welsch, host of WYEP's Afternoon Mix, about her new self-titled album. St. Vincent released on February 24th and has already received rave reviews. Inspired by a line in the Miles Davis autobiography which read, “the hardest thing for a musician to do is play like yourself,” St. Vincent approached a self-titled with confidence and abandon in order to create a sound which makes her sound like herself.Clark remembers watching Pearl Jam and Nirvana on MTV around the age of 10 years old and realizing that she wanted to do what they were doing. “I don’t sound anything like Nirvana or Pearl Jam, but seeing that it was possible, you know, suburban kids with something to say that could find an audience was an inspiration.” Annie also spent a considerable amount of time on the road touring with her uncle, Tuck Andress, of Tuck & Patti, learning the technicalities and all of the work that really went into making a show. This experience might deter anyone, whether 16 or not, from pursuing their musical dream due to the amount of work put in, but it instead worked as an inspiration to St. Vincent.“I got to see behind the curtain in a good way. I was learning about the technical side of things, what people really did on the road, but I got to see them play every night and move people to tears. I got to experience watching people with such a dedication to their craft and music with a capital ‘M’. Devotion. I just learned that that’s what it takes. There’s not some magic button that you press and become famous. It’s getting out there, it’s bringing the music to the people, and it’s about the work its about the craft and really honoring this really mystery, awesome thing that is music.”Annie describes her songwriting process for St. Vincent as trying to make "dance music for a funeral," wanting to create music that was really groove heavy but had heart and empathy. “It was an interesting task. I’m always interested in the little juxtapositions and seeming contradictions in human nature, and the squalor in the grandeur that exists in the same moment, so I was trying to bring in that macro/micro perspective.”While adding enough detail to her songs in order to make stories seem palpable but leaving enough ambiguity for listeners to fit themselves into the story, St. Vincent did a lot of reporting on her own life in this album, like in the song “Rattlesnake” which required no embellishments or exaggeration to the story. “Digital Witness,” the first single released off St. Vincent is a view into the way people react to the digital world, not necessarily serving as a statement of judgement but instead as a topic of curiosity.“I don’t know where we’re all heading, I just simply want to tap the phenomenon. I think we have this whole other realm, this whole other vehicle in which to express the selfhood that we used to express with our outer and inner physical being. Now we have this theoretical 0’s and 1’s world where we can create our ideal selves. I think that in some ways that is incredibly powerful and exciting.”Annie Clark looks at music with a sense of synesthesia, noting that St. Vincent portrays more primary colors which can explain why it seems to be more accessible than her past records. St. Vincent will be performing at Stage AE in April and you can check out the full interview with Rosemary Welsch below. 

Ari Picker from Lost In The Trees on The Morning Mix

Ari Picker, lead man of Chapel Hill orchestral band Lost in the Trees recently joined Cindy Howes of the Morning Mix to discuss the band’s new album, Past Life. Lost In The Trees is Picker’s project that was started following his time at Berklee College of Music. The group is comprised of orchestrally trained musicians who explore dynamic folk sounds throughout their albums. The most recent album, Past Life, has changed pace, steering away from emotional sentiments, towards something a lot more vibrant.Lost in the Trees’ 2012 album A Church That Fits Our Needs was a celebration and remembrance of Ari Picker’s mother, who had passed a few years prior, and served as closure for the tragic event. This time around Picker knew that he couldn’t follow the same trend as he had with his previous albums, but felt he had more freedom to have fun with his work.“I think the main purpose of the album was to have fun making music again. Before it was very personal and it was dramatic. Also very healing and I’m proud of it, but it was heavy, so it felt good to just have fun writing a record.”“I had done something very specific in the past and it’s probably good to open my eyes to other things. It’s really freeing and allowed me to write another record, which I guess I knew I couldn’t do the same thing again so it’s either do something different or not do anything at all.”Picker drew his influence on Past Life from museum visits where instead of simply sitting in front of a blank page writing music he would pull from his emotions in galleries and perhaps take literal themes from pieces of art. This album was more minimalistic compared to previous records, as Cindy notices that Picker took a “less is more approach.”“Sonically, I think the less you have in the picture, the bigger those elements can be. You can hear more of the texture of the elements, you can hear the kick drum and the atmosphere around it versus if you’re packing a song with a ton of stuff.”Picker also comments that his minimalistic approach to this album is what makes the songs more focused and sisynced. Lost in the Trees’ Past Life is out now and we suggest you give it a listen. More information can be found on their website.

Nick Waterhouse on The Morning Mix

American singer, songwriter and producer, Nick Waterhouse, recently joined Cindy Howes of the Morning Mix to talk about his upcoming record Holly. Holly, which Waterhouse describes as “a novella or poem about a fictional protagonist,” is scheduled to be released March 4th.Waterhouse grew up in Southern California and was heavily influenced by the R&B, soul and jazz musicians that his parents would occasionally play. They were musicians that would sometimes show up on an oldy formatted station, mixed in with classic rock records. “They were hiding in plain site. I was always sort of mystified by those things... My natural inclination was to follow my curious childlike mind and figure those out. I guess I’m still doing that,” says Waterhouse in response to his style of music.Nick Waterhouse spent a lot of time DJing and continues to follow that passion, seeking out people who share a similar love for records. He told us that DJing has a similar feel to what performance is like as a live musician.“...whether it’s the way you present yourself or the way you format a night, it’s all like creating a set list or making a band or flyers. It also makes you focus on songs in a different way. I think it makes me really prize songs as singles, as things to be focused on at high volumes in a club versus very esoteric close listening.”The Tarots are an assemblage of musicians who serve as Nick Waterhouse’s backing band. Not only does Waterhouse pull influence from Ray Charles’ and Bobby Bland’s bands but he is also impacted by how jazz band combinations work together and how players interact with one another. “I believe in a slightly open ended interpretation of things, especially live, letting people blow 16 or 32 bars.”Holly, the album to be released in the coming weeks tells the story of a dead girl and not about who killed her, but what did. Waterhouse wanted to evoke an atmosphere familiar to his own lifestyle in the east side of Los Angeles. For more information on the album and Nick Waterhouse check out his website.