Audio Specials

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Prince Turns 55

Prince Rogers Nelson – better known simply as Prince – turns 55 years old today.  The legendary singer and guitar player from Minneapolis is a major player in the music industry.  Prince has released 10 platinum albums, 30 Top 40 singles, and has literally hundreds of songs stashed away in his musical vault.Prince has been very musical since he was just a young lad.  He started writing songs when he was 7 years old and got his first recording contract at 17.  Prince is known for his voice and his guitar chops, but it should be noted that he can play almost any instrument that’s put in front of him.  His debut album “For You” came out in 1978 when Prince was 21 years old.  He produced, arranged, and composed every song on the record AND played all 27 instruments.His 1982 double album “1999” saw Prince finding acclaim outside of the US for the first time.  The album’s title track was a Top 10 hit in a few countries.  With music that good, it’s easy to see why his appeal is so universal.In 1987, Prince released “Purple Rain”.  This classic album is technically a soundtrack to the film Purple Rain, but it stands very strongly on its own.  Songs like “Let’s Go Crazy”, “Purple Rain”, and “When Doves Cry” are outstanding examples of Prince’s songwriting ability.“Purple Rain” was a major commercial success.  It sold over over 13 million copies and spent 24 consecutive weeks at #1.  Prince also accomplished a first with “Purple Rain”.  He was the very first artist to have the #1 album, song, and film at the SAME TIME in the US.  

Michael Cunningham of Neighbours

Neighbours is one of the many bands playing at the 14th annual WYEP Summer Music Festival at Schenley Plaza on June 28.  In light of their upcoming performance, Michael Cunningham stopped by the studio to discuss what it's like being a band in the Pittsburgh music scene, the start of Neighbours, the theatre roots of his singing and his eccentric live performances and much more with Cindy Howes.Neighbours are a soul rock band from Pittsburgh.  Singer/keyboardist Michael Cunningham and guitarist/vocalist Ross Reilly are both University of Pittsburgh graduates.  The two first met taking music classes together.  After finishing up school both Cunningham and Reilly moved out of Pittsburgh and went their seperate ways.  The two started to pass out demos and writing music while living in their respected cities.  The similar soulful styles of music Cunningham and Reilly were writing at the time ended up being a stepping stone to the soul rock sound that is Neighbours.  "We really just kind of on the same wave length on the stuff we were writing.  So eventually we both moved back up here [Pittsburgh] and started the project together."  Michael has become known for excentric performance and stage presence during Neighbours' live performances.  Michael's outgoing persona on stage is rooted in his experience with the theatre.  "I did theatre for a lot of my life from when I was a kid up until my early twenties.  So I've always been pretty comfortable on a stage in front of a group of people. So that probably translates subconciously to music as well. But I just enjoy it."  Michael also explains that as Neighbours gets more performances underneath their belt they become more comfortable and loose playing live.Michael Cunningham is not one trick pony.  Michael has a great voice to pair with his eccentric live performance.  Again rooting back to this days in theatre, Michael modestly explains how singing in choir has aided him and helped him find his voice.  "When I was growing up singing and doing choral stuff I was never the person that had the strong solo voice.  And to a large degree I still don't think I do.  But I always held down the baratone part and was good at blending."Neighbours roots run deep with the city of Pittsburgh. Although both Michael and Ross left after graduating college, they both ended up returning because of their love for the city of Pittsburgh.  Both Michael Cunningham and drummer Andy Mulkerin are natives.  Michael explains why he chose to leave his home away from home in Augusta, Georgia, "It's just a great city.  Part of the reason Ross and I specifically chose to move back here was because there's such a supportive community and it's very merit based.  If you've got something good to offer people are willing to give you an opportunity.  Aside from it being relatively inexpensive to live and there not being "poltics" within the music scene, Michael highlights the sense of community within the city of Pittsburgh. "It's hard to leave here because the people here are so great."You can purchase the 7-inch Neighbours single via Get Hip Recordings.  And look out for Neighbours debut full length within the next couple of weeks which will also be released on Get Hip Recordings.

Emily Haines Guest DJ

On the occasion of the band Metric playing in Pittsburgh, Emily Haines plays Guest DJ on the Morning Mix with Cindy Howes. Haines is the frontwomen for the Brooklyn-based indie pop band and also a member of the Canadian collective, Broken Social Scene. In light of a recent wedding attended by Emily, her first song is "Home" by Edward Sharpe & The Magnetic Zeros, who actually performed at the wedding.  Emily spoke very highly of the show put on by Edward Sharpe & The Magnetic Zeros, "If you get chance to go see them you'll really enjoy their show." Emily's second song for her Guest DJ set is Lou Reed's "Perfect Day." Reed was actually featured on the track "The Wanderlust," off of Metric's album Synthetica.  In the past, Reed has performed "The Wanderlust" as well as  medley of his own music live with Metric at the iconic New York City venue Radio City Music Hall. "His [Lou Reed's] role in New York City is huge."  However, the reasoning for Emily Haines' second song in her Guest DJ set was due to Lou Reed's recent illness which he is currently fighting.  Haines' comments on Reed's recent health and how she believes that he will prevail and get back out on the stage by saying, "Lou will prevail, what an amazing and legendary human being and artist. We need to put our love and support behind him." The final song of Emily Haines' Guest DJ set is "Tender" by Blur.  Haines expresses her desire to fufill her dream collaboration with Damon Albarn. "I think he's such an interesting artist who's really managed to keep going beyound Blur. The stuff he's done solo I find really inspiring and just the way he represents the concious human." Before wrapping up her Guest DJ set, Emily Haines discusses how mixtapes made by her father both inspired her and helped her discover new music. "I remember The White Stripes the first time I heard "Hello Operator" was from a mix tape from my dad. It was an amazing gift to discover music that way." Emily's Guest DJ set:1. Edward Sharpe & The Magnetic Zeroes - "Home"2. Lou Reed - "Perfect Day"3. Blur - "Tender"

WYEP Presents Bricolage Production Company's "Midnight Radio"

WYEP presents an episode of Brocolage Production Company's "Midnight Radio", featuring the original play, "The Haunted". Based on first-hand research, "The Haunted" is an especially spooky installment of Midnight Radio written by Bricolage’s own artistic director Jeffrey Carpenter and writer Matthew Adams. The story follows a young research analyst who unwittingly discovers a chilling account of local history and is compelled to follow his newly awakened intuition. What does it mean to be truly haunted? Are ghosts real? Can someone be possessed by a spirit? Conjuring local legends and nearby landmarks that are rumored to be haunted, Midnight Radio unearths the past in the most terrifying way. Disclaimer: This episode is NOT appropriate for children. Midnight Radio is the company’s hit live variety show performed in the style of a classic old-time radio broadcast. This episode was recorded live at Bricolage's Theater space in Downtown Pittsburgh. More information on Bricolage Production Company can be found on their website.

Wings' Jimmy McCulloch Birthday Tribute with Mike Sauter

June 4, 2013 would have been Jimmy McCulloch’s 60th birthday. The Scottish musician and songwriter was best known for playing lead guitar in Paul McCartney's Wings from 1974 to 1977. He died of a heroin overdose in 1979 at the age of 26, but leaves a lasting legacy on the music of Wings and Paul McCartney’s solo career. In fact, one of McCulloch’s biggest contributions to Wings, Wings Over America, was just recently re-issued in deluxe format. Midday Mix host and The guy we talk to about anything Paul McCartney-related, Mike Sauter is in this morning to talk about the brief, but important career of Jimmy McCulloch.McCulloch made his first splash onto the music scene at the young age of 15 with the band Thunderclap Newman.  McCulloch was one of the youngest people to perform on a number one hit single in England.  McCulloch went through a couple other bands before being asked to join Wings by Paul McCartney.  The Wings album Band on the Run was recorded before McCulloch joined the band by only Paul and Linda McCartney and Denny Laine.  It was not until Wings released their famous live album Wings over America, that McCulloch's guitar play and skills were put on display.  McCulloch's "fiery" guitar playing and soloing allowed Wings to take the next step towards becoming a great rock band, as well as helping Paul McCartney shed his image as the "poppy" Beatle.  Although McCulloch's time in the spotlight was brief, his impact on music can still be recognized.  As long as "Live and Let Die" or "Hi Hi Hi," are playing on the airwaves, Jimmy McCulloch's legacy will live on.

Zach Carothers of Portugal. The Man

Zach Carothers, founding member of the band Portugal. The Man, recently spoke with Morning Mix host Cindy Howes about the band's newest record Evil Friends.  They discussed what it was like working with Brian Burton (aka Danger Mouse), how the band changes from record to record, and the benefits of being ambiguous.Portugal. The Man is currently based out of Portland, Oregon. However, the band formed in Wasilla, Alaska.  Singer/guitar player John Gourley and bassist/back up vocalist Zach Carothers both left Alaska in 2004.  Although it was been almost a decade since their departure, Portugal. The Man is still influenced by their homestate.  According to Carothers, "Where you're from shapes you as a human being in general. Alaska is a very particular place.  We've always had a lot of the imagery (from Alaska) in our artwork and our lyrics and in our songs in general. It was really a mix of growing up in Alaska and leaving Alaska."Since 2004, Portugal. The Man has released 5 EPs and 8 full length records.  For their latest release, Evil Friends, Portugal. The Man were able to have Danger Mouse, who has worked with The Black Keys, Gorillaz, and many other well known artists in the past collaborate and produce their new record.  Danger Mouse is renowned in the music industry for his work. "It's just a taste thing with him, he's got an absolutly amazing style and amazing taste," Carothers comments on the unique experience of working with Burton in the studio.  "It was pretty much like Danger Mouse just joined our band for eight or nine months while we were recording. He's a very smart producer in a lot of ways. He's got a really unique perspective as far is being an artist himself. He really knows the dynamic of being in a band. He gave us so much insight into everything, it was really an amazing experience. He doesn't change bands, he gets something special and unqiue out of them."  What's unqiue about Portugal. The Man is with each record the listener is getting something different.  "We've been different ever since the beginning. We've had a lot of different members and lineup changes.  We really set out to change our sound with each record. We never want to make the same record twice."  Aside from working with The Black Keys, Burton does not venture outside the artist realm to work with bands often.  "The whole working with a full band was definitely new for him. We hit it off pretty quick on this one." The title track "Evil Friends," was a particulary important step in the recording process for Burton and Portugal. The Man. "We were stuck on that song, we were trying to figure out a hook or a melody."  Carothers highlights how Burton attacked the situation during this episode. "He wanted to clear the room and work with just John.  He told us all to take out instruments into seperate rooms and told us each individually "It's your instrument right when the song opens, what would you do?" and I've never been told that."  Carothers explains how moments like this gave him and other members a new insight while writing music and how it helped them grow as musicians.Aside from their varying musical style from album to album, Portugal. The Man has become known for having an aura of mystique with their lyrics.  Carothers explains that although he and the other members of Portugal. The Man are very open as people, but lyrically they are vague and ambigous.  "The point of it is it establishes a very personal connection. When I hear a song that has lyrics that are beautiful and amazing but a little bit vague it makes makes attach them to something very personal in my life."  Portugal. The Man aim to do the same with each song of theirs. 

Peter Yarrow's 75th Birthday

Peter Yarrow turned 75 on May 31, 2013. Yarrow is best known as a member of Peter, Paul and Mary, the act that took folk music to new heights in the 1960s. Their debut album spent nearly a month as #1 on the Billboard Charts. They were known for their great interpretations, however Yarrow's songwriting helped to create some of Peter, Paul & Mary's most famous songs, including "Puff, the Magic Dragon". Today we speak to Ken Batista, host of An American Sampler about one of the most important folk singers alive today – Peter Yarrow.

Brian from Guster Guest DJ Set

Brian Rosenworcel, drummer for Guster, plays Guest DJ on the Morning Mix with Cindy Howes. In light of their stop in Pittsburgh on their latest tour we have brought in Brian to create a mix of songs featuring great drum parts.  Brian begins with the song “Patricia” by Perez Prado, he states “What I love about it is the way it’s mixed. The bold tambourine or a trumpet, everything has maximum impact and it’s really fun.” Brian goes with “Look Out Cleveland” by The Band for his second song which features the iconic drummer Levon Helm who is one of Brian’s biggest influences. “Every time I hear him play he’s probably one of my greatest inspirations. He had a lot of chops, he could play really great parts but chose to play simply. So when I play drums I do my best to channel Levon. The song “Look Out Cleveland” has a drum fill that’s almost melodic in the way it’s a hook, it’s a signature Levon moment.”  Brian’s next selection is Nick Drake’s “Cello Song.”  This song influenced the hand drumming that Brian became famous for.  “When I first heard this song it really had an impact on me because I just started to play conga and there’s this very pronounced “pop.” And I just decided I wanted to learn how to make that sound.” Brian’s forth selection is “Walk a Thin Line” by Fleetwood Mac. “This song in particular is pretty much what music and drugs were meant to do when they came together.  I find the drumming sparse and tripping over itself. It just works so well with the album and the music.”  For the final selection of his guest DJ set, Brian chose “No Matter What Sign You Are” by Diana Ross & The Supremes.  “The groove is so deep. The drum’s and percussion on the song make my five-year-old daughter want to dance.”  Check out the audio below.Perez Prado “Patricia”The Band “Look Out Cleveland”Nick Drake “Cello Song”Fleetwood Mac “Walk a Thin Line”Diana Ross & The Supremes “No Matter What Sign You Are” 

Interview with Brent DeBoer of The Dandy Warhols

Before they kicked off the tour celebrating their landmark album Thirteen Tales From Urban Bohemia, The Dandy Warhols' drummer Brent DeBoer chatted with Cindy Howes of The Morning Mix. The album was released 13 years ago, DeBoer talks about the expectations of the band and also what was going on in popular music at the time, "You wouldn't really hear anything except for boy bands. There were no bands with the word "the" in front of them on the radio". After the release of record, which is being reissued in a deluxe format, The Dandy Warhols made their mark on music, were getting played on the radio and got asked to play the big music festivals. Thirteen Tales was not their debut album, but it marked an arrival for the Portland band. 

Bob Dylan's 72nd birthday: Scott Mervis Guest DJ

The music of Bob Dylan stirs immeasurable emotions among millions of people across the world. It’s hard to imagine what life would be like without the many contributions of Dylan over the last 50+ years. Today, we celebrate Bob Dylan’s 72nd birthday in conversation and music with help from a big Dylan fan, Scott Mervis of the Pittsburgh-Post Gazette. We talk about some of Dylan's pivot albums, his live shows and how he stands out from other songwriters while Scott selects three great Dylan tracks.Scott's Dylan selections1. One of Us Must Know (Sooner or Later)2. We Better Talk This Through3. Tonight, I'll Be Staying Here With You (Live)

WYEP Remembers Ray Manzarek

Ray Manzarek, keyboardist for The Doors, died due to cancer on May 20, 2013. Manzarek not only co-founded the pioneering band with singer Jim Morrison, but he influenced and inspired countless younger bands and musicians. WYEP's Mike Sauter revisited Manzarek's history and legacy (including some audio clips of The Doors' 1970 performance at Pittsburgh's Civic Arena) in an hour-long tribute.

Bill Deasy Guest DJ

Bill Deasy plays Guest DJ on the Morning Mix with Cindy Howes. On the occasion of opening WYEP's Live & Direct Vol. 15 CD release concert with Josh Ritter, Bill Deasy dropped by the Morning Mix to share some of his all-time favorite songs. He begins with what he calls "probably one of the most important albums in my listening history" by selecting Van Morrison's "Sweet Thing" from Astral Weeks. Next, he chose a song from Neil Young's Harvest, which is what he says is "definitely a desert island album of mine". He wrapped up with a song from Jackson Browne, but "the song we're gonna play is not quite as sad as most of his songs"... Check out the audio below.Bill Deasy's Guest DJ set:1. Van Morrison "Sweet Thing"2. Neil Young "Out On the Weekend"3. Jackson Browne "Doctor My Eyes"

Grant-Lee Phillips Guest DJ

Grant-Lee Phillips, formerly of Grant Lee Buffalo, plays Guest DJ on The Morning Mix with Cindy Howes. Before his show at Club Cafe, he shared a few of his favorite songs on WYEP. In his typical lyrical fashion, of Neil Young's "Cortez The Killer" Grant says "It's just this great blistering narrative, it's like a novel in the form of a song...". We also learn that Phillips is a fan of Richard Manuel (The Band) and his vocal stylings, "I just love all his odd piano voicing and the amount of pain and anguish in his vocals". GLP goes on to express his appreciation for The Beatles, "The album that really drew me in was probably Magical Mystery Tour. The song that drew me in was "Blue Jay Way". I very gradually realized that I was very much a George Harrison fan... I find the contradiction in his work so fascinating. He's the one that introduced the Indian and Eastern influence and yet: "Taxman"." Grant-Lee Phillips' DJ Set:1. Neil Young "Cortez The Killer"2. The Band "Whispering Pines"3. George Harrison "Beware of Darkness"

David Wax Museum Guest DJ

David Wax of David Wax Museum plays guest DJ with Morning Mix host Cindy Howes. David Wax Museum has released a handful of albums featuring a unique blend of Americana and Mexico Son. They often refer to their sound as "Mexo-Americana". Lead singer, David Wax shared some of his current favorites when he played guest DJ for us on WYEP. David's set:1. Blake Mills “Hey Lover” from Break Mirrors2. Bahamas “Caught Me Thinkin” from Barchords3. The Low Anthem “Love and Altar” from Smart Flesh 

Lyle Lovett on The Morning Mix

While he was in town for a show at the Carnegie Music Hall, Lyle Lovett talked to Morning Mix host Cindy Howes about his farm, the influence of The Church in his music, Texas and more. Lovett describes where he lives by saying, "I live on what I was able to buy back from my Grandfather's farm place. I'm really proud to be able to hold onto it... I spent almost every day after school at my grandparent's farm". On the topic of working with the late director Robert Altman, he exclaimed, "You have teachers in life that make you feel like you can do something, you can get what they're talking about and learn what you're supposed to learn and then you can take that knowledge and make something of it. That was the sort of confidence that Altman gave everybody on the set". When asked about the influence of The Church, Lovett explains "My music is secular, but I don't mean it to be Godless. The church is a big influence... The singing was a tremendous influence on me. I always looked forward to learning a new hymn and choir practice". He also went on to talk about his interest in motorcycles, the myth and lure of Texas and the time he hung out with Adam Levine of Maroon 5.

Andrew WK Guest DJ

Andrew WK is a busy guy.  He's a record producer, motivational speaker, professional party starter and avid tweeter.  On top of that, he's a genuine rock star and genuinely nice person.  Andrew WK played Guest DJ on the Morning Mix before a show in Pittsburgh at Altar Bar.  He told Joey Spehar about singing Ramones songs, the significance of a great party, and offered some general life advice in the process.Guest DJ Set:Ramones - Pet SemataryBeastie Boys - Fight For Your RightEagles - In The City

Aimee Mann on the Morning Mix

Aimee Mann talked to Morning Mix host Cindy Howes about her new project with Ted Leo, being "funny" and about her two amazing cats. In town with Ted Leo, Mann talk about how nice it was to work on a new project with someone who comes from a different musical background (Ted is more punk and she was more into more new wavey stuff). She went on to talk about the difference between being a serious songwriter and funny public persona. Being friends with comedians and particpating in their stage shows and videos has been helpful in her on-stage presence and humor. Then she told us about her two cats, who sound amazing. Here is a picture of one of them (probably Roman):

Sandra Bernhard Guest DJ

Comedienne Sandra Bernhard played Guest DJ on the Morning Mix while she was in town for her "I Love Being Me, Don't You?" show at the Byham Theater. Bernhard has been a mainstay in popular culture for over four decades and is best known for her roles on the TV sitcom Roseanne, Martin Scorsese’s The King of Comedy as well as her numerous groundbreaking comedy specials and one-woman shows. She graciously shared a few of her favorite songs with Morning Mix host, Cindy Howes, and talked about what music her 14 year old daughter enjoys. She also gave us her thoughts on social media and her distaste of the digital download era. Sandra Bernhard's song picks:1. Elton John "Madman Across The Water"2. Stevie Nicks "Stop Dragging My Heart Around3. Pretenders "Brass In Pocket"

A Tribute to Richie Havens

Richie Havens died on Monday (4/22/13) at age 72. Although he was launched into fame due to a fortuitous performance at the 1969 Woodstock festival, Havens had a long and varied career that spanned five decades. WYEP's Music Director Mike Sauter guides listeners on an emotional hour-long retrospective of the work and legacy of Richie Havens. 

Bettye Lavette Guest DJ

The ever-soulful Bettye LaVette played Guest DJ on WYEP before her concert in Pittsburgh.  She told Joey Spehar about some of the inspiration behind her new album "Thankful N' Thoughtful", why she chose to cover a Beatles song, and how a classic of hers has been given new life.Bettye LaVette played three songs from her long, productive career:The More I Search (The More I Die)Maybe I'm AmazedLet Me Down Easy

Record Stories: Jerry's Records

Record Stories is a series highlighting local record stores in honor of Record Store Day.  This episode highlights Jerry's Records in Squirrel Hill.  Jerry's is a destination for vinyl lovers all over the world and was named one of the best record stores in America by Rolling Stone Magazine.  Jerry told us about finding the Holy Grail of 78s and trading music for art with Robert Crumb.

Record Stories: The Attic

Record Stories is a series highlighting local record stores in honor of Record Store Day.  This episode highlights The Attic in Millvale.  Fred Bohn Jr. is the enthusiastic owner of The Attic - a store with millions of records - literally!  The Attic was affected by Hurricane Ivan in 2004 and lost a good deal of their stock.  The store has, however, since bounced back.

Record Stories: Dave's Music Mine

Record Stories is a series highlighting local record stores in honor of Record Store Day.  This episode highlights Dave's Music Mine in Pittsburgh's South Side.  Dave Panasiuk - owner of Dave's Music Mine - talks about the importance of vinyl records and confirms the thought that the movie High Fidelity is entirely true.

Record Stories: Sound Cat Records

Record Stories is a series highlighting local record stores in honor of Record Store Day.  This episode focuses on Sound Cat Records in Pittsburgh's Bloomfield neighborhood.  Karl Hendricks has owned Sound Cat Records for almost one year.  He took over the Liberty Avenue storefront that used to house Paul's CDs and Jim's Records after having worked there for over 20 years.  

Record Stories: Eide's Entertainment

Record Stories is a series highlighting local record stores in honor of Record Store Day.  This episode focuses on Eide's Entertainment in Downtown Pittsburgh.  Jim Semonik has been working at Eide's Entertainment since 1998 and is currently the store's music buyer.  A luminary in Pittsburgh's industrial music scene, Semonik is a music lover in every sense of the word.

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