Audio Specials


Alastair Moock Guest DJ Set

In July of 2012, Alastair Moock learned that one of his five-year-old twin daughters, Clio, had leukemia. Alastair and Clio sang and wrote together while she was in the hospital, and over the next year Alastair continued to write and collect songs. With the help of an amazing fundraising campaign, those songs came together in an album called Singing Our Way Through: Songs for the World's Bravest Kids. Now Alastair is bringing that album — and live performances — to hospitals, clinics, and camps around the country.Moock joined Joey Spehar of The Morning Mix for a kid-friendly Guest DJ set.  Here's what he played:The Dixie Hummingbirds - Rasslin' JacobTim Gearan - Fickle BettySyreeta - Harmour LoveCheck out the video for Alastair Moock's song "When I Get Bald".

Diego Garcia on The Morning Mix

Diego Garcia talked to Cindy Howes on The Morning Mix about his latest album Paradise, latin music and his incredible encounter with George Harrison. His first solo album, Laura, is based on Garcia’s real life experiences about getting over a lost love. Paradise finds Garcia in a better place, having won his love back. “Now, having Laura back in my life and keeping me grounded, my highs are higher and my lows are lower. Everything seems more real, and it’s a lot nicer that way,” Garcia says. Cindy says, “To me it sounds like a very happy album.” Diego admitted , “I think you’re always scared, as a songwriter, that you might be dried up,” when Cindy asked how difficult the album was to make. “After one of our last tours, I went into the studio back in March, and out came “Tell Me”, which is the second track on the new record, and that gave me the confidence to get back into things.”Diego attended Brown University, where Dhani Harrison, Will Oldham, Erin McKeown, Lisa Loeb, The Low Anthem and many other musical luminaries attended. “I was actually in a band with Dhani Harrison. We were covering Iggy Pop together. But he actually wrote “You Were Never There” from the album Laura with me. If you listen to that song, you can actually here that he was definitely channeling his pops.”Diego Garcia has a very interesting story about meeting George Harrison. “I was nineteen, so it was a little before I really understood the magnitude of this, and we went to Henley, you know, Friar Park Studios, where he did All Things Must Pass and all The Traveling Wilburys stuff. We were at his castle, and it was magical.“It was ten days, but I remember the first day I went into the studio and I was just grabbing every guitar I could see, and I looked through the glass between us and the mixing board and George walks in. And he just comes up to me, grabs the guitar that I was holding, sat down and he just starts playing, and his foot was tapping the ground in this way that was so mesmerizing. I think he liked me because I was so raw, you know, not trained at all. He gave me my first real confidence! When you hear George Harrison say something good about your voice, you know, he likes me, and that’s a sign.“You’d wake up and go into the main house. George would be on the piano, Uncle E.C. would be calling, Uncle E.C. being Eric Clapton, and just out of the blue, it had been 30 years, Ravi Shankar dropped by with his 19 year old girlfriend… And then just to make things more surreal, the solar eclipse hit. Where we were was one of the best places in the world to be.”Cindy concluded, “Well, Diego Garcia, the album Paradise is amazing, and if anyone says anything bad about your music, you can just say, ‘You know what, George Harrison thought I was awesome.’” “Yeah that meant a lot, and I also say that my mom likes me too," Garcia concluded.The album, Paradise, is out now.

The Great White Wonder & Other Bootlegs

We spoke to Jerry Weber of Jerry’s Records about the Great White Wonder, which is the first major bootleg to appear in the record scene, and asked him to share his expertise. We were lucky enough to stop by while a friend of Jerry’s was visiting.Dale Nolting is the biggest collector of bootleg vinyl in Pittsburgh, and he’s been collecting for over fifty years. Together, Jerry and Dale have more than eighty years of listening to bootlegs, so they could definitely be called experts.The Great White Wonder was “the first one that really got things going,” says Dale. Collected from a variety of sources, The Great White Wonder contained unreleased studio takes, and “basement tapes” from a session with The Band, and some live material. “It’s the most famous ones, and its one of the best ones. Its almost studio quality. That’s why it became legendary. It’s Dylan at his height, stuff he never did anywhere else. It was like gold,” says Jerry.The Great White Wonder sparked interest in a bootleg called The Masked Marauders. In 1969 Rolling Stone ran a review of the album, which was supposedly a jam session between Dylan, Mick Jagger, John Lennon, and Paul McCartney. But it was actually just a big joke put on by Rolling Stone magazine. Rolling Stone had hired a band to record this album, and it sold more than one hundred thousand copies. The Masked Marauders was practically legendary by the time it hit record store shelves, and remained in the Billboard Top 100 for 12 weeks following its release. In many ways, bootleg collectors are some of the most die hard collectors out there. Jerry says, “It’s a whole different strata of collectors that collect bootlegs. But they want something that nobody else has, like every record collector, but they have everything that’s been put out legally, but its not enough. If you’re a Dylan guy or a Beatles guy, you want something else.” Jerry says that if you’re interested in obtaining some classic bootlegs, your best bet is to go to a record show.

Remembering Jim Croce

Jim Croce passed away in a tragic plane crash on September 20, 1973.  Joey Spehar of The Morning Mix talked with Grammy Award-winning musician and Philadelphia native Aaron Louis Levinson about the life, work, and legacy of Jim Croce.

Tribute to Gram Parsons on The 40th Anniversary of His Death

Gram Parsons is given huge credit to helping found both country rock and alt-country shown in his work with The Byrds, The Flying Burrito Brothers and his solo work. After a rough childhood, which saw him losing both his parents in his formative years, Parsons dropped out of Harvard and pursued his musical career. What began after that is one of the most intriguing, whirlwind of a musical career that tragically ended too soon. On September 19, 1973, Gram Parson died at the age of 26 from an overdose under some very unusual circumstances. WYEP’s Roots & Rhythm Mix host, Jesse Novak, talks to Cindy Howes about the life and music of Gram Parsons on the 40th anniversary of his death.The Byrds hadn’t done anything so country until Gram Parsons joined them, but “Sweetheart of the Rodeo” drove them to a much more country sound, although still palatable by fans of rock and roll. “He did that all in five or six months, he was only a member from February 1968 to August 1968,” says Novak.Parsons started his own alt-country band in 1968, the Flying Burrito Brothers, which had a wide cult following, including lots of musician fans. The Rolling Stones were fans, in fact, and this lead to the introduction of Gram Parsons to Keith Richards. This relationship wasn’t so positive other than the musicians’ mutual love of music, but Parsons got into drugs and became less productive.One of Gram’s most influential partnerships was his collaboration with Emmylou Harris. “He was able to pull out of her what she had inside her that she didn’t quite know how to put out. For him, I think she was the perfect musical foil for him,” Novak says. Their haunting cover of Felice and Boudleaux Bryant’s song “Love Hurts” was released posthumously on Parson’s album Grievous Angel.                                        Parson’s death was surrounded with some pretty strange circumstances. He was in Joshua Tree, California, where he took part in some substance abuse with his friends. While they partied, Parsons collapsed. His friends managed to revive him only to have him collapse again, this time permanently. Parsons wanted his ashes spread in Joshua Tree, which was his favorite place in California, but his stepfather wanted his body brought back to Louisiana. A couple of Parsons’ buddies absconded with his coffin and the body within, and tried to cremate it themselves, again unsuccessful.Gram Parsons’ influence on music is huge. Despite his absence of 40 years, there are still bands that are obviously inspired by his sound. “Anything that is country influenced and rock has its roots back to Gram Parsons,” says Novak. “Whether its Wilco or the Jayhawks, anytime you here a pedal, a steel, and a pop for a rock oriented band it goes back to what he started.”

Kishi Bashi Guest DJ on The Morning Mix

K Ishibashi, or Kishibashi as he’s called when performing, joined Cindy for a guest dj set during the Morning Mix. We asked K to play some tunes that feature violins, and he came through with tracks by Camper Van Beethoven and Bjork.The first song K picked was “Pictures of Matchstick Men” by Camper Van Beethoven. K said that he picked this song because he really liked alternative rock when he was a kid. “A band can have violin and not be dorky,” K said. “That was probably the first thing that I thought. I didn’t realize it was a cover until way later.” The original version of “Matchstick Men” was made by Status Quo in 1968.The second song of K’s guest dj set was Bjork’s “Venus as a Boy”. K said this song was very inspirational for him, as it was for many musicians in the 90s. K studied South Indian violin improvisation, which has a real Bollywood feel to it. “It really blew my mind,” K said. “She was this cool, kind of hybrid…it was actually something I aspired to become, as someone who is respected who tries new things, and goes beyond the boundaries of just music.”Kishi Bashi’s latest album is 151a, and he released a 7” Box Set earlier this year, which features Kishi Bashi covering several artists including Talking Heads, ELO, and Beirut. “It’s basically a way of saying “I really like…”, you know, it’s a tribute to that artist. I couldn’t cover something I didn’t really, really love.” Kishi Bashi will be performing in Pittsburgh this Sunday at the Altar Bar. Kishi Bashi’s DJ set: Camper Van Beethoven - Matchstick MenBjork – Venus as a BoyAdditionally, Cindy played Kishi Bashi’s cover of  Talking Heads’ “This Must Be the Place”.

Hank Williams 90th Birthday Tribute

On September 17, 1923, Hank Williams, country music’s most significant star, was born in Butler County, Alabama. Williams, who never learned to read music and based his compositions on storytelling, was a country music superstar by the time he was 25 and died of a drug and overdose when he was 29. In his short life, he managed to write the most compelling and memorable country hits that are now considered classics. On what would have been his 90th birthday, we remember the life and music of Hank Williams with a little help from local singer and life-long Hank admirer, Judith Avers.Hank Williams is the quintessential country musician. If you think of the roots of the country genre, you think of Hank’s confident, achey voice. Avers says “It’s a very difficult thing to sound like a tough guy and still be yodeling,” but Williams could pull it off. “He sounded so free.”Williams had one teacher, blues musician Rufus Payne. Payne was a street musician from Greenville, Alabama, and Williams would pay for music lessons in change. Payne is the one that helped Hank fuse his blues, hillbilly, and folk into the Hank Williams music we know today.From a very young age, Hank Williams wanted to be a musician. He sang gospel and shape note singing as a child, and as he got older he got a guitar, although how he got that guitar is still debated today. Hiriam is the name on Williams’ birth certificate, but he went by Hank because it sounded more “country”. His mother had an overbearing “stage mom” relationship with him, and his future wife had a similar attitude.Williams wasn’t the first country star, although he was part of the first era of country musicians. He was inspired by a few country musicians at first, such as Jimmie Rodgers, Moon Mullican, and Roy Acuff, but soon developed his own style. He called songs like “Tear In My Beer” or “Hey Good Lookin’” his “bologna songs”, and complained that “the industry would slice them up like bologna.” “He died young. It’s sad to say, but everybody loves a legend,” Avers says, “and he just became one the second he died at 29. Then his songs got sealed in the vault of coolness, and they’re still there.” The legendary Hank Williams died of hemorrhaging in the heart and neck as a result of a combination of alcohol, chloral hydrate, and morphine. Hawshank Hawkins and other musicians sang “I Saw The Light” as tribute for him at a concert he was supposed to play at that night.

Juliana Hatfield on The Morning Mix

Boston singer/singwriter Juliana Hatfield joined Cindy Howes on the Morning Mix to talk about her new album Wild Animals. Cindy calls Wild Animals Hatfield’s “secret album”, having received less press than her project with Matthew Caws of Nada Surf. The team up is called Minor Alps, and their first album Get There will be released on October 29th.Fans of Juliana’s funded Wild Animals, and part of their donated funds went to two animal shelters. One was Northeast Animal Shelter in Salem, Mass., where Juliana volunteers, and the other was Save a Sato in Puerto Rico. “I think maybe I was an abused animal in another life. It just felt good to help out,” Juliana said. “The Puerto Rico thing, there’s a really bad stray dog problem down there. I went down there to see it. It was really sad and I just wanted to do something to help.”The album is mostly acoustic and has a strong energy. Hatfield attributes the control and power of her voice to a combination of healthy lifestyle choices including a good diet, working out, and not smoking cigarettes or abusing substances. “I think I’ve mellowed out over the years. My attitude is a little more relaxed, and that helps for singing.” She recorded the new album at her home, which she says was a very relaxing atmosphere, and helped her feel free.Cindy’s top tracks on the album were Tracks, Spit In The Wind, and Dog On A Chain, for which she said, “I thought Dog On A Chain had a, I don’t know if this is way out there, but a really cool Americana feel to it.” Juliana’s reaction to that appraisal was, “Oh, that’s really cool, because I think of that one as acoustic punk!”Parking Lots is another interesting song, and is Cindy’s favorite on the album. Juliana said the inspiration for this song came from writing songs on commission for strangers. “People who ordered songs from me would send me information about their lives, whatever information they chose. Bits of history from their pasts, their struggles or illnesses, and also their triumphs, hobbies and work…and it’s really about a guy who was a stranger when I started the process, but I kinda got to know him through writing the song about him.”Wild Animals is out now, and her project with Nada Surf’s Matthew Caws will be out at the end of October.

Mayer Hawthorne Guest DJ's on WYEP

Mayer Hawthorne guest DJ's on the Afternoon Mix with Rosemary Welsch on September 11, 2013.

Mickey Hart's 70th Tribute with David Gans

Joey Spehar was joined by David Gans to celebrate Mickey Hart’s 70th birthday. David Gans is a huge fan of the Grateful Dead and Mickey Hart, and hosts The Grateful Dead Hour and The Worlds of Mickey Hart, radio shows celebrating the music of these legendary bands and musicians.Mickey Hart is half of The Grateful Dead’s “Rhythm Devils” drum team, and has several projects of his own including several solo albums, The Mickey Hart Band and the Rhythm Devils. Joey Spehar calls Hart “a modern Alan Lomax” for his role in preserving world music.As the backbone of the Grateful Dead, Mickey Hart and Bill Kreutzmann “made drum solos actually interesting instead of a time to go get another beer.” But that might not even be as important as his work as an ethnomusicologist, ensuring that the music of people all over the world doesn’t go extinct. “Mickey got interested in world music very, very early in the game. When he joined the Grateful Dead, he was a military drummer, a marching band kind of drummer. He expanded his world into the Grateful Dead’s world and expanded the Grateful Dead’s world by joining them,” Gans said. Hart began recording Indian music with Allah Rahka, tabla player for Ravi Shankar, and Allah’s son Zakir Hussain. “They started doing world music stuff together before the tag “world music” even existed.”The Mickey Hart Band’s last album, Mysterium Tremendum, was a bit of a concept album. For this album, Mickey looked to outer space, using information from radio telescopes to compose these songs. For The Mickey Hart Band’s newest release, Superorganism, “looks to inner space,” Gans says. “using the same technology, he was mapping brain waves and the sound of cells dividing, and sent them to these colleagues of his and turned them into music that Mickey plays on stage.” Mickey wears a special cap onstage that has electrodes in it. Gans claims, “He’s actually jamming with his own brain on stage in real time.”Since Mickey is in good health for his 70th birthday, Joey thinks Hart will be around for another 70 years. Hart has gone from outer space to the inside of his own brain, so whatever he does next, its sure to be interesting, and likely amazing.

Tribute to Johnny Cash: Ten Years After His Death

It was on this date in 2003 that we lost The Man In Black. Johnny Cash, country music’s leading outlaw and pioneer, died at the age of 71, less than four months after his wife, June Carter Cash, passed away. Johnny Cash’s mark on music is immeasurable, his giant person remains unchallenged and his love story with June continues to inspire. Today, we remember Johnny Cash through his music and with a little help of his daughter, Rosanne Cash. Here to talk more about Cash is our Afternoon Mix host, Rosemary Welsch. Good Morning!Rosemary, when asked what she thinks of when someone mentions Cash, said “almost immediately, I think American. He’s the ultimate American story, he grows up in the cotton fields, picking cotton with his family in Arkansas, rises above that, goes into the military, married when he’s 18-19 years old, works really hard, beginning of rock and roll, gets more into the country element, struggles with addiction, raises his family, has a real lull in his career, then resurrects himself, totally recreates himself, an American thing, I think.”Cindy can’t help but get choked up while thinking about Cash and his devotion to his family. Rosanne Cash, Johnny’s daughter, is also a musician, and Rosemary Welsch had an opportunity to interview her. She told Rosemary about how she went on tour with Johnny, and they talked about lots of music that Rosanne wasn’t familiar with. Johnny was appalled that his daughter didn’t know some of his favorite songs, so he made her a list of 100 songs she needed to know. Rosanne said that it was really incredible how he had so many songs right at his fingertips in so many different genres.Rosanne was just in high school when Johnny Cash had The Johnny Cash Show. Cash used his show to introduce many younger artists to his audience including Joni Mitchell, Neil Young, James Taylor, and others. “Johnny is truly a lover of music, and he does this because he believes in them.” Rosanne basked in the glory of her father’s television show. When she was older, she recorded a version of “Girl From the North Country”, a song that Johnny Cash collaborated with Bob Dylan for. She didn’t want to collaborate with Bob Dylan, believing that it would be too gimmicky, but she did take inspiration from Dylan’s original version of the song, “which was very much in a classic folk tradition.” Collaboration with Johnny was something that she definitely wanted to do later in her career, despite reservations about collaborating in her early career. “September When It Comes” is a tragic and prophetic song, considering Cash’s eventual death in the month of September. John Carter Cash was the studio engineer for the song, which was recorded in the Cash family’s studio.June Carter Cash, Johnny’s wife, was really meant to be his family. The two knew each other for quite some time before they got married, but June said she wouldn’t do anything with him until he straightened out his life. He pulled himself together enough, despite drug addiction and other complications, to meet her standard, and finally they got married. June died in May of 2003, and Johnny followed only five months later in September.

Cody Dickinson of North Mississippi Allstars on The Morning Mix

The North Mississippi Allstars dropped their newest album, World Boogie Is Coming, September 3rd, and in honor of the occasion, Cody Dickinson joined Cindy Howes over the phone for the Morning Mix.Cody Dickinson said the album’s title, World Boogie Is Coming, comes from an expression his father used to say as a farewell. “It was my father’s favorite valediction, it was his sign-off and his way of saying goodbye. The phrase has always resonated with me, and it seemed like a fitting title for this record, you know, to capture his spirit and dedicate it to his memory.” Jim Dickinson worked with artists like Bob Dylan, The Rolling Stones, and Ry Cooder.The album was heavily influenced by the region, and pulls in many regional artists and old friends that worked with the late Jim Dickinson, including Duwayne and Garry Burnside, Sharde Thomas, and even Robert Plant. Cody Dickinson asked Plant to join the North Mississippi Allstars for this album during the High Sierra Music Festival, and when they got to the studio they just clicked. But it wasn’t the only time Plant and the Allstars collaborated, having worked together with Patty Griffin’s album American Kid.Cody Dickinson said that he made a conscious effort to keep this album, World Boogie Is Coming, more mature and more traditional. This objective came from the realization that new, young musicians are looking to The North Mississippi Allstars for inspiration and learning, and the preservation of that tradition is important. Meanwhile, Cody said that it’s important to stay interesting without being selfish.

Scott Hutchison of Frightened Rabbit Guest DJ

The latest from Frightened Rabbit, an EP called The Late March, Death March, dropped Tuesday, September 10th. Frightened Rabbit was recently in Pittsburgh, playing at the Thrival Innovation + Music Festival, and while they were here front man Scott Hutchison played a guest DJ set with Cindy Howes.The first song Scott Hutchison picked for his DJ set was “Before Your Very Eyes…”, by Atoms For Peace.  Atoms For Peace is the side project of Thom Yorke, and their debut album Amok arrived this past February. Hutchison says the whole album is incredible, but this song is his favorite.Coming up second was a song by Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds. “Jubilee Street”, off the album Push The Sky Away, is loved by Scott Huchison for being “a classic Bad Seeds song.” Scott noted that he particularly enjoys the brooding narrative that builds beautifully over the course of the six and a half minute song.The last song of Scott Hutchison’s set is “Graceless” off of The National’s latest album, Trouble Will Find Me. Like “Jubilee Street”, Hutchison likes this one for the brooding narrative and build. He says he’s possibly overplayed this album for himself, but he still loves all the different elements building to a crescendo, invoking Joy Division and New Order. The “gospel ending” makes him feel incredible. Hutchison says this song helps cheer them up in their native Scotland.The new EP, The Late March, Death March includes songs that just didn’t quite make it on Pedestrian Verse. Scott Huchison wrote “Candlelit” during the summer as he was getting more involved in watching Game of Thrones. He says men used to fight for something they loved, like women or family, and so the song has lots of violent undertones. Huchison states ,"It’s a song about how you shouldn’t wait around for something to come your way, you should go out and grab it.” Cindy then warned Scott to avoid people that have read the books and to avoid looking up Game of Thrones information on the web. Scott would love to be on the show, like Gary Lightbody of Snow Patrol.Pedestrian Verse, the name of their latest LP, references a lyric in the song State Hospital: “And in the limp three years of board schooling, she’s accustomed to hearing that she could never run far, a slipped disc in the spine of community, a bloody curse word made pedestrian verse.“ Pedestrian Verse was written on the front to Scott’s notebook. He says “also back home meaning boring or clichéd or dull. It’s like opening yourself up to easy criticism, so it was kind of a challenge, you know, a gauntlet thrown by myself to try to avoid lyrical cliché.”Scott Hutchison’s DJ Set:Atoms For Peace – Before Your Very Eyes…Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds – Jubilee StreetThe National - Graceless

Roger Waters' 70th Birthday Tribute

Pink Floyd was one of the most massively successful bands in modern history. The band’s landmark progressive lyrics and unique psychedelic sound captivated audiences worldwide. On the occasion of Roger Waters' 70th birthday, Cindy Howes and Mike Sauter discuss the mastermind behind most of Pink Floyd’s most celebrated albums. Rogers met his band mates while attending the Cambridgeshire High School for Boys, where Syd Barrett attended. By the early 60s, Waters and Barrett had lost interest in school and moved more towards creating music. Barrett’s time with Pink Floyd was destined to be short, however, as his deteriorating mental health prevented cooperation with the rest of the band. Waters took over as principle songwriter as of 1968, and in 1973 released The Dark Side of the Moon. As Mike Sauter says, The Dark Side of the Moon is the first album that displays Pink Floyd’s grasp of the concept album. It’s more concise than earlier Floyd works, and contains “syncopated sound effects”, especially notable in the introduction to the song Money. “The album is really a Rorschach test for the listener”, Sauter says, as the lyrics are “not too specific and not too oblique”, and the ability to insert the lyrics into one’s own life is a major part of what makes them so memorable. Roger Waters struck gold twice, first with Dark Side of the Moon, and finally with The Wall. Roger Waters’ influences for The Wall include Syd Barret’s mental illness from the band, LSD, and his late father’s death during World War Two. Mike Sauter discusses the feelings of loneliness, alienation, and anti-school sentiments that permeate the album, and larger themes including government and politics. All these concepts are what make the album incredibly relatable, especially for disaffected high school students. Sauter admits that one of appeals of Roger Waters’ vocals is that he isn’t exactly an amazing singer.  “He always has a sense of striving, always pushing his voice, not quite hitting that high note, trying to hit that crescendo. The feeling like you’re not quite there, not quite going to measure up, but you’re going to do it anyway and you’re going to do your best,” is what makes it easy to empathize with Waters.

Linda Ronstadt: Tribute to a Voice of a Generation

Linda Ronstadt had one of the most vibrant and diverse music careers of the 20th century. Her crystal clear voice and masterful song interpretations made her a superstar in many different genres. It has been said that Ronstadt was "blessed with arguably the most sterling set of pipes of her generation ... rarest of rarities—a chameleon who can blend into any background yet remain boldly distinctive ... It's an exceptional gift; one shared by few others”. It was just learned recently, that Ronstadt, who is 67, has been diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease leaving her unable to ever sing again. Afternoon Mix host, Rosemary Welsch and Cindy Howes pay tribute to one of the finest voices music has ever known.Rosemary discussed her experience when she first discovered the voice of Linda Ronstadt, “I think most people discovered it when she did “Different Drum” when she was still with the Stone Poneys, which was a song that came out in the late 1960s.  It wasn’t really until 1974 that I became super aware of her because that was a huge break out year for her.  After that, she basically ruled the airwaves.  I don’t care if you were listening to AM or FM radio in the 70s, it was ubiquitous.  Linda Ronstadt was everywhere,” explained Welsh.Linda Ronstadt’s voice allowed her to cross over almost every genre.  Rosemary discussed Ronstadt’s unique ability to cross and combine genres with her voice, “She was able to leap genres, but not just that but she was able to pull them together.  At a time when country was seen as something totally different from rock, she started to pull those things together and I think that’s what her great ability is.  It was the voice, she could do anything with that voice.”On top of being able to cross genres, Ronstadt’s voice opened to the doors to many great musical collaborations.  “When you look at her career and how many albums she’s been on, if you could get Linda Ronstadt on your album it was just that little extra something that could push your album to the forefront,” adds Rosemary.When looking back at the illustrious of Linda Ronstadt, it is hard to find any modern artist that can compare.  Cindy and Rosemary were able to come up Taylor Swift because of her leap from country to pop music.  With all respect to Miss Swift she still has a way to go before she can be in the same conversation as Linda Ronstadt.Another thing that Linda Ronstadt was able to accomplish with her musical career was giving notice to many great songwriters.  “She always had a great group of musicians around her.  Almost every member of the Eagles played on her albums.  You can’t go through the 70s without looking at all of these albums and they all interconnect and she’s sort of at the epicenter of all of that.”Although she can no longer sing, Linda Ronstadt is releasing a memoir, “Simple Dreams: A Musical Memoir.”  The book is due out September 17.  

Rob Sheffield on The Morning Mix

Rob Sheffield, contributing editor at Rolling Stone, talks to Joey Spehar about his latest book: 'Turn Around Bright Eyes', "the rituals of love and karaoke" – a tale of how karaoke helped a widowed pop-culture addict find true love again. They also talk about some of the most essential karaoke songs of all time.Karaoke is more than a happy at a bar Rob Sheffield.  After the unexpected loss of his wife over 6 years ago, Sheffield was able to found comfort and happiness through karaoke.  “It’s something that has really changed my life.  Karaoke is something that lets anybody participate in music even though most of us have no talent whatsoever.  Once I figured out that karaoke was something that even with a terrible voice like mine you could actually get up there and sing in front of people and experience that sort of that pop star fantasy, that musician fantasy.  I began doing every chance I got.  I felt like it really transformed my entire world-view.Sheffield points out’s the universal bond that karaoke can provide.  You don’t need to have a particular song you always sing, you just get up there and go with the flow. “The beautiful thing is karaoke is a forgiving environment where everything is permitted,” adds Sheffield.Joey asked Robert Sheffield to chose three essential karaoke songs for his Guest DJ set.  Sheffield chose “Total Eclipse of the Heart” by Bonnie Tyler for his first song.  “It’s one of those songs that tells you that we are here to sing karaoke, and this is what were for.  It’s got that big, epic atmosphere to it and it’s kind of a can’t miss karaoke jam,” adds Sheffield.Robert Sheffield chose the Neil Diamond song, “Brother Love’s Traveling Salvation Show.” “It’s one of the Neil songs that really lets you belt.  It really makes you feel like you are Neil Diamond and you have all that Neil Diamond bravado in you for a few minutes,” explains Sheffield.For the final song on his Guest DJ set Robert Sheffield chose, “Little Red Corvette” by Prince.“It really lets you transform into a total star for a few minutes and that’s really all you can ask from karaoke.  There are moments in his life where a man realizes he’s not Prince and this song is one of them,” Sheffield jokingly adds.  You can check out Robert Sheffield’s Guest DJ set list below and look for his book Turn Around Bright Eyes: The Rituals of Love and Karaoke in stores and online now.Bill Deasy's Guest DJ set:
1. Bonnie Tyler "Total Eclipse of the Heart"
2. Neil Diamond “Brother Love’s Traveling Salvation Show.”
3. Prince "Little Red Corvette"

Bob Dylan's Another Self Portrait

Released in 1970, the Bob Dylan album Self Portrait has seen its fair share of criticism and is seen by some as intentionally surreal and even satirical at times. The record features mostly covers of popular songs, renditions of traditional folk songs and a few live versions of Dylan cuts. Self Portrait was recently reissued as part of Dylan’s Bootleg series as Another Self Portrait. NPR Contributor and author of One Thousand Recordings to Hear Before You Die, Tom Moon talks to Cindy Howes about this unusual Dylan album and the newly released material on Another Self Portrait.Bob Dylan’s Self-Portrait tracks along with studio outtakes and a live concert with The Band.  Tom Moon discusses the significance of the release of Another Self-Portrait, “It’s really a bootleg thing that’s completely different from the original record.  Like the other bootleg titles, it gives us a window into Dylan’s process a little bit and it shows him thinking about his voice as an interpreter of a song rather than both a songwriter and singer.  This is a period where he’s really thinking about himself as a singer and trying to frame traditional folk songs in unusual ways.  Partly this is [an] important [album] is just he’s an  just an amazing singer and some of the very down demo type of stuff on this collection makes that case very well and better than the original album did."In 1970, when Dylan originally released Self-Portrait he was already a well-established and successful musician at that point.  However, when Dylan released Self-Portrait, people were unsure of what he was driving at.  Dylan had become known for his music writing.  For him to put out an album of strictly covers was almost perceived as him “lowballing” his audience.  However, Self-Portrait does just the opposite it shows Dylan as a scholar of folk music and sort of serves as his ode to the music that inspired him.Another Self-Portrait is different from the other Dylan bootleg releases, it gives a new incite on Self-Portrait and responds to the public’s reaction to the original record.   “To hear the collected stuff that was left on the floor and the things that teeter out in the middle of the tune and don’t even finish.  Some of those sparks are really interesting and more revealing about him as a student of folk and country,” adds Moon.Self-Portrait was seen as a disappointment to some.  People thought that there was a lack of effort put into the album.  Tom Moon discusses overall reaction to Self-Portrait and how Another Self-Portrait’s live cuts disprove the general public’s opinion, “When you hear the live performances from him and The Band at the Isle of Wright festival, they are fully engaged, they’re ripping and roaring and I sense that on some of the material that was found from studio outtakes and stuff.  I don’t think it is fair to say he was not trying.  The great thing about an artist whose work is so varied as Bob Dylan is he was capable of entirely surprising people and confounding his audience.  He was willing to do that and has been willing to do that.  This was a fork in the road for him.  He had to sing his hits night after night and I think he was a little concerned about not sounding the same every night and reinventing himself as a vocalist.  And what better way to do that than to kind of come back to some stuff that he knew well as a younger man and some tunes that were pop tunes and he sounds great.”You can find Another Self-Portrait in stores and online now.  And look for more releases by Bob Dylan as he continues his bootleg recording series.  

Interview with Bobby Long

Bobby Long just released his latest album - Wishbone - and will be performing at WYEP's Final Fridays at Schenley Plaza on September 30, 2013.  Joey Spehar of The Morning Mix talked with Bobby Long about the progression of his sound and the inspiration for the title Wishbone.Bobby Long is a singer-songwriter from the UK.  Long was born just outside of Manchester in Wigan.  Long currently resides in New York but holds to his Wigan roots.  Long started off as a solo act but has recently recorded with a live band.Although he now works with a full band, Bobby Long got his start performing solo.  Long discusses the difference between playing with a band and solo, “You’ve got freedom, you can do whatever you want and move things around.  You don’t have to look to your left and your right to make sure that everyone is on the same page.  I’m just lucky I get to do both.”Each Bobby Long album is different from the previous.  Long’s latest record, Wishbone, carries a heavier, almost classic rock style.  Bobby Long discusses his natural progression musically from album to album, “I love progressing in terms of myself and feeling good enough in myself to follow my convictions. If that’s the kind of music I’m writing, I should really put it out.  I don’t want to make the same album twice.”Bobby Long uses a variety of influences when writing music.  Long talked with Joey about the inspiration behind the track off of Wishbone “Devil Moon,” “I played on my own for three years and I was desperate to play electric and play really loud.  That was really the first song I wrote in that whole collection of songs.  I wrote this on a weird night, [there was] a full moon or something.  I was having a conversation with a friend about this kind of weird idea that the moon affects everything.  When the moon is full it’s weird and wonderful and it freaks everyone out.”

Black Joe Lewis on the Morning Mix

The album title, Electric Slave, stems from Joe Lewis’ realization that America is dependent electronics and how it’s de-socialized us. “I just thought it was an interesting topic.  I just thought about how people go to concerts and they don’t watch the concert.  They just sit there on their phone the whole time filming it to watch it later even though it happening right now in front of you,” explains Joe Lewis.Joe Lewis’ appreciation for sci-fi literature also influenced the album Electric Slave.  Lewis mixes his sci-fi roots with the overall theme of “people being bound by their electronics” theme of the album.  “I’ve always been a sci-fi fan.  I read a lot of Orwell and Buckley and stuff like that, so I thought it’d be cool to write my own sci-fi story.  The Electric Slave, the future of it, slaves to the robots, it’s a sci-fi story,” states Lewis.Although a primary theme of Electric Slave is how we are bound to our electronics, Joe Lewis sees an upside to technology.  “If it’s used for the right reason I think technology is good.  But I don’t think people will use it for the right reasons,” added Lewis.Electric Slave is a different sound than the two previous Black Joe Lewis records.  In fact, Joe Lewis actually considers Electric Slave to be their debut album.  “It’s the first one [album] that I feel like we got to go in and do completely what we wanted to do.  We had a different line up and kind of a new sound.  I just felt like the first two records didn’t represent what we sounded like when we were live.  We wanted to make this one to true to our sound,” explains Lewis.Through the years, Black Joe Lewis has endured some lineup changes.  Joe Lewis discusses the current lineup and how it allows the band to achieve its sound, “It’s just a good lineup and I think it works pretty well for us.  It’s pretty minimal, I enjoy it [singing and guitar playing].  It’s straight up blues progressions and some of them are one chord forever.  We just try to do what we do so we can sound like the way we do.”You can find Black Joe Lewis’ “debut” album Electric Slave out in stores and online now.

Dan Zanes Guest DJ

Dan Zanes used to be in a band called Del Fuegos, but for the past decade, he's been making great music for families.  He teamed up with Elizabeth Mitchell for his latest album Turn Turn Turn and joined Joey Spehar of The Morning Mix for a set of Kid-Approved songs.Joey and Dan Zanes start out with a discussion about how the birth of his daughter was his introduction into “kid approved” music.  For the first song of his Guest DJ set Dan Zanes chose “Little Nut Tree” by The Melodians.  “It’s a rock steady song from the 1960s and this is the first recording my daughter heard in her life when we she came back from the hospital.  I played her Little Nut Tree and I ended up putting it on one of my CDs,” explains Zanes.Dan Zanes chose “Melody In Me” by Shine & The Moonbeams for the second song on his Guest DJ set.  Zanes talks about how Shine & The Moonbeams have filled a void of soulful kid friendly music with their recent album, “They’re doing something that sounds like soul music to me, but it’s all ages.  There hasn’t been music for an all ages crowd that I’m aware of, I love them.”For his final selection Dan Zanes chose “Under The Boardwalk” from The Deighton Family.  “This is one of the most inspiring family bands I have ever heard.  They did a lot of traditional songs but they also a lot of 50s and 60s rock and roll and soul music but in a very unique acoustic handmade style.  I just love their version of Under The Boardwalk.”Dan Zanes' Guest DJ Set:The Melodians - Little Nut TreeShine & The Moonbeams - Melody In MeThe Deighton Family - Under The Boardwalk

Kevin Nealon Guest DJs on The Morning Mix

While he was in town performing, Comedian and actor Kevin Nealon plays Guest DJ on the Morning Mix with Cindy Howes.  Kevin Nealon is best known for anchoring Weekend Update on Saturday Night Live and his character Doug Wilson on the show Weeds.  Nealon also recently released the comedy album, Whelmed, But Not Overly.For his first song, Nealon chose “And It Stoned Me” by Van Morrison.  “The thing with Van Morrison is that you see the song titles and you immediately think it’s something [other than] what it really is.  This is one of those particular titles because you’re thinking, Wow, it’s about really good grass or something.  But it’s kind of a recollection of his childhood, like a day in the summer growing up and how he gets rained on.  You can’t get really get stoned from rain,” states Nealon.On his second track, “Little Lion Man” by Mumford & Sons, Nealon says,  “Mumford & Sons is a band that I know just came on the scene very recently.  I kind of like the melody of their songs.  I not really sure what this song’s about, but I like the feel of it.  I think it’s definitely a fun song to listen to and you have to be in the mood for it and I’m in the mood for this song right now,” adds Nealon.The final selection of his Guest DJ set, Nealon picked “What’s Going On?” by Marvin Gaye. “I’m a big Marvin Gaye fan, I love all that Motown stuff and this is a song I must have listened to a million times growing up.  It kind of starts off with a party atmosphere and I think it’s appropriate for the last song here.” You can check out Kevin Nealon on his new album Whelmed, But Not Overly in stores now.Kevin Nealon's Guest DJ set:1. Van Morrison "And It Stoned Me"2. Mumford & Sons "Little Lion Man"3. Marvin Gaye "What's Going On?"

Cody Dove of Second City Guest DJ on The Morning Mix

While they were in Pittsburgh performing, Second City member, Cody Dove played Guest DJ on The Morning Mix. Second City is the Chicago comedy group that is considered THE launching pad for many well-known comedians such as Tina Fey, Stephen Colbert and Steve Carell. Dove was kind enough to select and talk about some unintentionally funny songs.Dove’s Guest DJ set runs with the theme “Songs That Are Unintentionally Funny".  When first asked to put together a three song set, Dove - ever the comedian - crafted a joke set including Def Leppard, One Direction and Pittsburgh’s own Christina Aguilera.All joking aside, Dove’s first selection is “Wicked Game” by Chris Isaak.  Dove points out the unrealistic relationship expectations that were set by the video for the song.  “Plus it sounds like he’s yawning through the whole song.  It sounds like he’s on the cusp of a yawn or he’s about to yawn or he’s yawning while he sings,” adds Dove.For the second track of his Guest DJ set Cody Dove selected “First Day of My Life” by Bright Eyes.  Dove sarcastically joked about the excitement he had when he first became aware of Bright Eyes.  “When these guys first…I say these guys, it’s pretty much just Conor Oberst from Omaha, Nebraska which there’s a lot to things to explore right there.  When these guys first came to my attention seven years ago or something with that I’m Wide Awake, It’s Morning album.  I was real excited at the time.  I was like oh this is the new Guthrie, here’s our new Dylan, he’s a troubadour, he’s a little satirical and here we got this is great!  But when I look back it’s also the same time when I got excited, when I walked into Starbucks and was like oh they sell music now! It’s the same thing.”For the final song of his Guest DJ set, Cody Dove selected Beethoven’s “Symphony No. 9.”  “This thing is a riot.  I don’t know if people have given it a listen lately but I don’t know what he [Beethoven] was doing, I don’t know what was happening here. [It was] the last long of his career, it’s 1824, people are excited about stuff.  It’s 65 minutes long first, I mean you talk about an extra rock block lunch hour.  He just kind of put it out there and said I hope it works,” adds Dove. Cody Dove's Guest DJ set:1. Chris Isaak "Wicked Game"2. Bright Eyes "First Day of My Life"3. Beethoven "Symphony No. 9."

Laura Veirs on The Morning Mix

Cindy and Laura Veirs started their conversation out with the meaning behind the title of her latest record, Warp and Weft.  “It’s the two strands of weaving, so the horizontal and vertical threads that make up weaving.  My mom is weaver so I learned that term a long time ago and I was always thinking it could be a cool record title.  It does fit the record for a variety of reasons.  I bring in some references to other artists like leaving in traditional folk songs and old lyrics.  Also it weaves in kind of a contrasting lyrical feeling, like very bright, grateful, upbeat lyrics and then also looking at the darker side of life and the scary kind of haunting, wintery side of life.  I think of it as the white threads one way and the black threads going the other, adding a contrast like you get in weaving,” explains Veirs.Warp and Weft is Laura Veirs first record since she has became a mother.  In fact, it was recorded while Veirs was pregnant with her second child.  Laura explained how becoming a mother has influenced her writing for the album, “It’s a little more topical.  I feel that maybe my last record was a little more inward, this one is looking out further, like looking more across society.”Warp and Weft was produced by Tucker Martine.  However Martine isn’t only Laura’s producer, he is also her husband, the father of her two children, and long-time musical collaborator.  Veirs discusses Martine’s ability to “pull everything” out of her music, “He knows what I’m capable of more than anyone else does in the studio.  He’s the only producer I’ve ever worked with, so I think he has an intuitive sense of what my best work is, my best take, vocally especially.  That’s a fine skill, to sort intuit an artist and what their best performance is.  One of the great things he can do as a producer, with all artists, [that he works with too is] find what they’re capable of and get them to do it.  There is a lot psychological play because people can get weird in the studio.  He has a way of keeping it light and relaxed and helping people find their best work and their record sounds really good,” explains Veirs.Laura talks about new sound on Warp and Weft brings.  “I’m really proud of it.  It’s a more wide pallet, it’s a wider more colorful than I’ve used before and it goes into some new territory,” explains Veirs.  Laura Veirs’ new record Warp and Weft is out now and available in stores and online. 

Joe Strummer Birthday Tribute

Today Joe Strummer would have turned 61 and in honor of his birthday Cindy Howes talks with Mike Sauter.Joe Strummer was a founding member of the prominent UK punk band The Clash.  Joe Strummer was born in Turkey and his father was a British diplomat, so he moved around a lot in his younger days.  Strummer’s first band was an English pub rock band, The 101ers.  The music of The Sex Pistols inspired Strummer to leave the 101ers and start up The Clash.  “They [The Clash] took that manic energy that The Sex Pistols had and dropped the nihilistic world-view and instead had a much more politically aware sort of approach to their lyrics out of social commentary,” adds Sauter.Mike Sauter was fortunate enough to sit down and interview Joe Strummer back in 2002 while he was in Manhattan, which happened to be eight months before he passed away.  After Joe ordered Mike a beer, the two discussed his role in Johnny Cash’s 1994 American Recordings album, the state of music (back from 2002), and the role of comics in his writing. Joe Strummer wrote Cash a song titled “The Road to Rock and Roll.”  Joe explained to Mike about how he considered Johnny Cash’s long history with music, especially the darker times, when writing “The Road to Rock and Roll.”  However the track ended up not being on the record.  Strummer also commented on the then state of punk rock music.  Strummer explained to Mike Sauter that although bands like Blink-182 aren’t overtly political, if you dig deep enough, you can always find some sort of social commentary.In his interview with Joe Strummer, Mike Sauter pointed out something that Joe himself wasn’t ever made aware of about this music; Joe Strummer’s later writing keeps the theme “the invisible rays that permeate our lives.”  Strummer would go on to note the American superhero comics like X-Men had a large on influence on said writing.  On a more serious note, Joe Strummer commented on the importance of writing a quality record, “It is nice to get around and see interesting parts of the world. [But,] mainly you’ve got to make a superb record and worry about all that later,” explained Strummer.When asked by Cindy to pick a quintessential song to play in honor of Joe Strummer’s birthday, Mike Sauter chose The Clash classic, “London Calling,” “It’s hard not to go back to The Clash and one of their iconic songs that Strummer co-wrote with Mick Jones and takes lead vocals on, the great song “London Calling” which is one of those songs people love…It encompasses so much that you can interpret it in may ways,” adds Sauter. Joe Strummer passed away in 2002 unexpectedly from an undiagnosed heart defect. Happy Birthday Joe, we miss you and your music.  

Robert Plant Turns 65

WYEP celebrates one of rock’s most illustrious front-men, Robert Plant, on the occasion of his 65th birthday. Plant is best known for fronting Led Zeppelin, but he’s had a fairly successful solo career and recently has been inspired by an Americana sound that has been the core of his group, Band of Joy. We asked Beaver County Times Entertainment Editor and 9:13 Buzz contributor, Scott Tady, to construct a career-spanning set of music from Robert Plant.We gave Scott Tady quite the task, trying to encapsulate the multi-decade spanning musical career of Robert Plant in three tracks.   Since the spawn of Led Zeppelin, Robert Plant has become quite the Renaissance man for music.   Plant has found much success outside of this iconic role as lead singer of Led Zeppelin with this work with Alison Krauss and The Band of Joy.For his first selection, Scott Tady selected “Gone, Gone, Gone” from Plant and Alison Krauss’ 2007 collaboration Raising Sand.  “It seemed like an odd mix at first, Alison Krauss [who’s known for] bluegrass, country [and] Robert Plant.  There were a lot of eye brows raised but, boy they knocked it out of the park, this is just a fun song,” adds Tady.For his second track, Scott Tady selected “Tall Cool One” from 1988’s Now and Zen.  “Tall Cool One” was Robert Plant’s most successful U.S. solo single and features a medley of Led Zeppelin tracks at the end of the track.  “It’s representative of that '82-'90 era for him.  It had a video, at the end he samples five Led Zeppelin songs.  That was like one of the first time solo that he acknowledged the whole Zeppelin thing,” explained Tady.Scott Tady chose to highlight the Led Zeppelin era of Robert Plant’s career for his final selection.  “That was the hardest choice,” noted Tady.  Without further adieu, for his final selection, Scott Tady chose the track “Ramble On.”  “Ramble On" kind of captures him and many of this themes.  There’s the whole Robert Plant the drifter, got no time for spreading roots.  There’s Robert Plant the party, the rebel guy, to our health we drank a thousand times.  There’s Robert Plant the Tolkien fan with references to Tolkien and Mortar and Golam.  It just kind of encapsulates what he’s all about,” adds Tady.  So there you have it, three Robert Plant songs that span across his illustrious music career. Happy Birthday!Scott Tady’s set:1. Robert Plant & Alison Krauss “Gone, Gone, Gone.”2. Robert Plant “Tall Cool One"3. Led Zeppelin “Ramble On”