Audio Specials


Interview with Thao & The Get Down Stay Down

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

Interview with Springsteen & I Director, Baillie Walsh

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

Interview with Calvin Cooke of The Slide Brothers

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

Tegan Quin of Tegan & Sara Guest DJ

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

Cat Stevens 65th Birthday Tribute

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

Celia Cruz Tribute: Ten Years After Her Death

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

Brody Dolyniuk from The Music Of Led Zeppelin Guest DJ

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

Christine McVie 70th Birthday Tribute

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

Interview with Buckwheat Zydeco

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

45th Anniversary of Cream's Breakup

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

55th Anniversary of Johnny Cash Leaving Sun Records

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

Fitz of Fitz & The Tantrums on The Morning Mix

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

Anders Osborne on the Morning Mix

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

St. Vincent Guest DJ

Before her show at The Palace Theatre in Greensburg with David Byrne, Annie Clark stopped by to play Guest DJ with Cindy Howes of the Morning Mix.  Annie Clark starts off her Guest DJ set with David Bowie's "It's No Game (Part 1). "I just love it.  Robert Fripp is playing guitar on it and I'm such a fan of his guitar playing.  It's from the record Scary Monsters (and Super Creeps).  I think a lot of people wouldn't say is their favorite Bowie record, but it's mine for whatever reason."  The second song for Annie Clark's Guest DJ set is Stevie Wonder's "Maybe Your Baby."  "That track is just one of my go to songs.  I probably listen to that once or more a week."  Clark goes on to comment on what Stevie Wonder meant to both her and groove music, " Stevie Wonder is kind of the king of groove.  What I think a lot of people don't realize is he wasn't just playing keyboard and singing.  He was really ahead of his time and tracking most of the instruments himself. He's actually one of the best drummers I've heard."  For the final song of her Guest DJ set, Annie Clark has chosen Big Black's "Passing Complexion."  "I'm a big Steve Albini fan. It's from his first band, Big Black. The song is just Steve Albini and a drum machine and it still manages to be very powerful."Annie Clark's song selections:1. David Bowie "It's No Game (Part 1)"2. Stevie Wonder "Maybe Your Baby"3. Big Black "Passing Complexion" 

Bobby "Blue" Bland Remembered

Blues circles everywhere are morning the recent passing of blues legend Bobby "Blue" Bland.  Although Bland was not a household name, he was associated with blues guitarists like B.B. King and Junior Parker.  Bland, who passed at age 83 had been a part of the blues music scene for nearly fifty years.  In honor of Bland's recent passing, host of Big Town Blues, Wrett Weatherspoon stopped by to talk with Joey Spehar of The Morning Mix about his legacy as a musician.Bobby "Blue" Bland helped to modernize the blues sound in America.  Weatherspoon describes Bland's unique style of the blues, "[it is a] blues sound that's no neccessarily that hard driving guitar, but you have that smooth urban feel to it, a smooth emotional impact of the blues."Bland became associated with the likes of B.B. King, Junior Parker, and many others through his work with the band, the Beale Streeters.  Joey and Wrett discuss how Bobby "Blue" Bland joined the Beale Streeters, "This goes back to the days that Bobby was working in the garage in Rosemark, Tennessee not too far from Memphis."  He was doing some local talent shows hosted by Rufus Thomas who was a DJ for WDIA.  Apparently the general manager of the station liked what he heard and he approached Bobby to sing with this band called the Beale Streeters, who B.B. King was in at the time."  Unfortunately Bobby "Blue" Bland was drafted by the Army shortly after getting involved with the Beale Streeters.Although he was surrounded by the likes of B.B. King, Bobby "Blue" Bland never became a household name.  Wrett comments on why Bland never reached the iconic status of some of his contemporaries, "He was overshadowed.  He was on a smaller label in Houston, Texas and his music never transgressed up into the northern cities."  Bland actually played the Pittsburgh Blues Festival last year.  After his performance a lot of festival goers were trying to figure out who had just played, most of them never heard of Bobby "Blue" Bland.  However Bland did have a few hits like "That's the Way Love Is," "Turn on Your Love Light," and "It's My Life Baby".Joey and Wrett also discuss Bland's unique singing style.  "Early in his career Bobby had a tonsillectomy, after that he could not use his falsetto.  So what he did was he listened to the preaching of Rev. C.L. Franklin, Aretha's father.  And he learned how to do what they call a snarl.  Nobody could do it like Bobby Bland did it, he stands out among blues artists."  Wrett comments on Bland's legacy and passing, "Bobby is definitely going to be missed in blues circles. I don't think he'll ever be replaced."

Interview with Yeasayer

In light of their upcoming performance tonight at Mr. Smalls Theatre, Yeasayer bassist Ira Wolf Tuton spoke to Joey of the Morning Mix.  Yeasayer is a psychadelic pop band from Brooklyn, New York and have been making music since 2007.  Yeasayer really took the music scene by storm with their 2007 performance at SXSW and have not looked back since.Since their 2010 release, Odd Blood, Yeasayer has pretty much been on tour non stop.  Joey and Ira discuss what the band does in the little down time they do have inbetween their packed tour schedule.  "[during our downtime] we usually try and work on music.  We've all been home for a little bit recently and haven't had large blocks of tours.  We have all been pretty productive in our own little studios."Yeasayer has a unique sound, their music contains many layers.  With that being said, there is a pretty extensive writing and recording process needed for Yeasayer achieve said sound.  Tuton comments on recording with Yeasayer, "It's pretty much the three of us working on demos alone.  Through that process over a period of months we send it back and forth to one other.  People get their interests peaked by different demos.  At a certain point we all kind of slam together into a singular studio space and start retracking and go about producing the project.  It's nice to share back and forth through the inventions of technology but every once in awhile it's nice to get in the same room as people."Yeasayer's latest record, Fragarant World, has gained a lot of recognition since it's release.  Joey and Ira discuss the track "Reagan's Skeleton."  "It's an ode to Eastern European dance crazed off world.  That song was actually recorded at the end of the whole process and it had laid aroud for awhile.  That was one of Chris's demos.  It kind of came together at the end."Yesayer's latest album Fragarant World is in stores now and you can look for them on tour this summer.

Booker T. Jones Interview

Booker T. Jones spoke with Joey Spehar of The Morning Mix about his new record Sound The Alarm.  Sound The Alarm is Jones' first album released on Stacks Records in over forty years.  Booker T. Jones left Stacks Records in 1969 but has chosen to return to release Sound The Alarm.  Jones commented on why he left the label and chose to return after nearly forty years.  "I wouldn't say I walked out.  I went to California from Tennessee and started meeting new and different musicians out there."  During his stay in California, Jones diversified his musical ventures recording everything from jazz to rock to R&B.  "[I recorded] a little more rock with Stephen Stills and continued to play R&B with Bill Withers.  But the reason for leaving was two-fold.  The company had become pretty corporate and they kind of abandoned our old colloquial style of just walking into the studio and writing a song.  The other thing was I just wanted to branch out more.  Forty years later the company is back and it's got its old muscle.  There's new people but they're great people and the spirit's revived."Booker T. Jones has become an icon in the soul music scene.  It wasn't just Jones' solo work that brought him to fame, his band, Booker T. & The M.G.'s got the ball rolling in the 1960's.  When Booker T. & The M.G.'s started to make music, the soul music scene in Memphis was considered a preserve of black culture.  Booker T. & The M.G.'s, which contained two white members, was one of the first racially intergrated rock groups of the time.  Booker T. Jones' comments on recording in the then racially intolerant south.  "The music was so much more powerful [than the racist voices].  The only real problems we had were just legistical problems like getting food, checking into hotels and things like that.  We really didn't have a big problem with that."Jones' latest record, Sound The Alarm features a large variety of special guests such as Mayer Hawthorne and Gary Clark Jr.  Jones' talks about how he brought in guests to record on Sound The Alarm, specifically the track "Austin City Blues" which features Gary Clark Jr.  "It was wonderful, there were a lot of different experiences.  Some of them were very similiar to the old way we made records.  But we used technology, we used the internet to connect to singers in Britain.  People flew in from all over to play on the album and we were able to sample sounds.  It was exciting actually, I'm really happy actually [with the album].  I reach out to most of the people [brought in to record].  For instance, with Gary, I heard him playing up at iTunes in Cupertino and I really loved his sound.  I wrote that song for Gary, but I knew Gary's roots and the type of thing he'd be comfortable playing."When asked what his favorite track on the new album was, Jones answered the title track "Sound The Alarm."  "Sound the alarm expresses the centiment I'm hot at this point and I'm not questioning it I'm just enjoying it and that's the order of the day.  I'm here, I'm back, I'm enjoying, and it's happening."  Jones' comments are fitting and reflect his recent return to Stack Records to release Sound The Alarm.Booker T. Jones has been making records for over fifty years now.  With the music industry constantly changing decade after decade, for an artist to withstand the test of time adjustments have to be made.  Jones' comments on the changes he has made over the years to remain a viable and important artist.  "The one thing I did that I think did help me turn the corner was I went back to school.  Around 2004-2005 I realized I was an old school guy, I was recording the old school way with analog.  I needed to learn digital audio.  So that was turning point for me."When asked about what music he finds himself listening to now Jones' stated "You know I have so many different tastes.  Jason Isbell was a guy who introduced me to the Drive-By Truckers and then he left the band.  But he's one of the people I enjoy."  After recording for over fifty years, Booker T. Jones still continues to branch out in the music industry.  When asked what the next  step time for him, Booker T. Jones replied "I'm following my path and it's led me into some directions that I hadn't expected.  Right now I'm doing arrangments for this album [Sound The Alarm].  I'm writing and working with so many people and producers down in Los Angeles.  I'm also working with the symphony. I've always loved the orchestra so that's one other thing I might be doing."  Booker T. Jones' new record, Sound The Alarm is out now.

Interview with Billy Price

In light of tonight's performance and latest release Strong, Billy Price stoppped by to talk about the new album with Cindy Howes of The Morning Mix.  The title of the album derives from the track "Gotta Be Strong."  Price describes the process of naming the album and its meaning. "I just suggested a number of titles to our record company guy and he liked Strong just by itself.  Of all the songs on the album, [Gotta Be Strong] it's the only one that's thematic, so I think it kind of reflects were I am in life and I think there's an element of that in it."  Billy Price's album Strong has an array of special guests on it including with Jimmy Britton and Fred Chapellier who have worked with him over that last few years.  "Jimmy is just so great and so prolific.  Jimmy at home works some musical tracks and I just try to figure something out for lyrics."Billy Price comments on his connection with James Brown and the cover of "Never Get Enough" that's a track on Strong. "I saw James Brown three or four times live.  I saw the famous concert in 1967 at Madison Square Garden.  There's a sax player that used to play with me for five years named Eric Leeds.  Eric's brother Allen was James Brown's road manager.  Eric and Allen together are what I think are the world's great experts on the music of James Brown. The song on this album "Never Get Enough" is actually under Bobby Byrd who was one of James' background singers."Billy Price had been in show business for many years. Price has become known for his dynamic yet restrained frontman style.  Price comments how his style of being a frontman has evolved over the years.  "One of the things I learned maybe four albums ago was that I didn't have to sing a maximum intensity all the time."  Price recalls a past conversation with Jon Tiven in which he learned to find his softer voice.  "You know it's much different singing in front of an audience than it is singing in a studio.  It took me many years to learn to sing in the studio, to be more sutle.".

Interview with Jason Isbell

            Singer-songwriter Jason Isbell just released his fourth solo album, Southeastern, to critical acclaim, influenced by his recent sobriety and personal relationships. The Greenhill, Alabama native was part of the Southern rock band The Drive-By Truckers until he broke away in 2007, forming his own band The 400 Unit, named after the psychiatric ward of Florence, Alabama's Eliza Coffee Memorial Hospital. He recently played the Bonnaroo Music and Arts Festival, and he will be appearing at WYEP’s Summer Music Festival at Schenley Plaza on June 28, 2013. WYEP’s Joey Spehar spoke to Isbell about his new album, his writing process, and the personal experiences that inspired both.            In addition to being influenced by both Ryan Adams, with whom he toured last year, and Amanda Shires, his wife and fellow musician, Isbell said that the album’s producer played a part in shaping the sound of the record. As opposed to his previous solo releases, which Isbell himself produced or co-produced, Southeastern brought in as a producer Dave Cobb, who’s worked with artists such as Shooter Jennings and Jamie Johnson. “It’s hard to turn over the reins,” Isbell told Spehar, “but Dave has a lot of ideas of how records should sound, and rather than introducing his own signature, he really tries to serve the song as much as possible and tries to make records that sound interesting but at the same time are just a good sonic representation of the song that’s been written.” Instead of having the members of the 400 Unit work out their parts in songs separately, the music for Southeastern was arranged as a joint effort by Cobb and Isbell. “The best way to make my kind of record is try to create a palette for the songs to operate in.”            Spehar asked Isbell if he had any fears about losing songwriting inspiration when he decided to become sober in February 2012, but Isbell said that was never something he worried about. “There’s always plenty of inspiration,” Isbell said. “Anyone that tells you they don’t have anything to write about isn’t paying enough attention to the world around them.” He said, however, that the song “Live Oak” dealt with the difference between the person he was in his past and the person he is now, stemming from that fear of losing part of himself.             When asked if he feels uncomfortable being honest in his music, Isbell said, “I use songwriting as a cheap therapy for myself, and everyone knows you’re not going to get a lot out of therapy if you don’t open up.” He discussed the process of writing the song “Super 8,” one of the less heavy songs on the album, and how the song “Stockholm,” featuring singer-songwriter Kim Richey as a guest vocalist, was an allegory of how forced connections like kidnapping paralleled romantic relationships

Warren Haynes Guest DJ

Warren Haynes was in town performing the songs of Jerry Garcia with The Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra.  He spoke with Joey Spehar on The Morning Mix about 3 of his favorite Garcia-penned tunes: Terrapin Station, China Doll, and Stella Blue.The first song Warren Haynes chose was one of his favorite Greatful Dead songs - Terrapin Station.  Haynes described Terrapin Station as a "marvelously arranged and composed piece of music.  It defies categorization in Garcia's catalogue and his influences come from many different directions."  Terrapin Station was released in 1977 and is "one of the most unique pieces of music I've heard by anyone," according to Haynes.Haynes explained that one of his favorite characteristics of Jerry Garcia's writing was not only the rock, pop, and obvious influences that make up the Greatful Dead; but also the folk and classical influences as well.  "If you don't have those influences you would have a lack of depth," explained Haynes.  He stated that he was drawn to "extremely well written ballads, especially with depth that goes beyond immediate influences" like in China Doll.  A "big song in Jerry Garcia's world," according to Haynes was Stella Blue.  This song was open to interpretation for Jerry Garcia and was never performed the same way, as it was given a different feel or swing each night.  Haynes explained to Joey that although it changed, "the chord progression and melody always stuck with me."  Estella Blue has a "timelessness" stated Haynes, "its melodic sensability goes back decades."

Jesse Dee on the Morning Mix

Jesse Dee talks to Cindy Howes on The Morning Mix before his appearance at WYEP's Summer Music Festival: June 28, 2013. The R&B/soul singer and Boston native, Jesse Dee's latest album is On My Mind / In My Heart and will be here on June 28th at WYEP’s Summer Music Festival. He spoke about listening to the local oldies station when he was younger, "I grew up in a religious household, so I was kind of steered away by my parents from listening to popular, secular radio. I was, for whatever reason allowed to listen to the oldies station. I remember hearing The Shirelles, Smokey Robinson, Sam Cooke, The Coasters. They played a lot of different stuff back then". There is a fine line one walks when creating retro soul and R&B where listeners could be wowed  or it misses the mark. Jesse Dee is definitely on the WOW side of things. When asked about this, he explains, "As a music fan and fan of classic Soul and R&B music, I listen to a lot of it and continue to do my homework, so to speak. Not of of necessity, but because I enjoy it. I'm just trying to write good songs, let the songs be themselves and incorperate elements of soul music that I like. I guess I'm trying to write a good song first and foremost as opposed to writing a song of a specific genre". When listening to Jesse Dee's new album, you really get a sense of his personality and his humor. Specifically on the song, “I won’t Forget About You”, Dee throws in some quick comedy asides and pretends to forget the words at one point, but it's all pulled off very smoothly. He comments, "I think in creating art and music, to be perceived as genuine, you have to be yourself. It's certainly a challenge for me and for a lot of people, but it's something to strive for: to have your music ring true to who you are. That's the ulitmate goal for me."One of Jesse Dee's other passions is painting. He went to the Boston art school, Massachusetts College of Art and Design (Mass Art) and painted the cover of his last album, 2008's Bittersweet Batch. Because his music takes up most of his time, he doesn't get to keep up with painting as much as he'd like, "Every now and then, I'll get to do some artwork. I figure if I live to ripe old age of 80, I can sit in a chair and paint then". Jesse Dee's latest album On My Mind / In My Heart is out now on Alligator Records. 

Texas Flood Turns 30

On the 30th anniversary of Stevie Ray Vaughan & Double Trouble's Texas Flood being released, Joey Spehar from the Morning Mix and Wrett Weatherspoon of Big Town Blues discuss the importance of the album that "brought the blues kicking and screaming into the 1980s".  

Interview with Joseph Arthur

Singer/songwriter Joseph Arthur talks with Cindy about this new fan-funded album The Ballad of Boogie Christ, its concept and guest appearances, as well as skateboarding with Ben Harper and Dhani Harrison.Joseph Arthur's latest record, The Ballad of Boogie Christ, is not a typical release.  Arthur took DIY route with his latest album and released it with a fan-funded budget.  Arthur comments on the process of getting the funds together.  Arthur specifies that it was not just asking his fans for money to put the record out, "I think I kind of just realized it was more than just help.  It was a way of galvanizing your base and sort of being involved in the promotion and awareness of your record. It's essentially kind of a fire sale. You're not just asking for straight up donations, you're basically selling stuff. It's a cosmic yard sale basically."  Arthur had eluded to his idea of having a fan-funded record in the past.  Arthur comments on following through with the idea, "The minute it went live, I knew it was the right decision.  It felt good and people responded positively with it."  When asked by Cindy if he would do it again, Arthur said, "Yeah I would. I don't see why not. It's like the modern music business now." Arthur keeps true to the independent roots of the music industry, "It's the new way of selling music."The Ballad of Boogie Christ has a psychadelic/soul feel to it and it's different from the typical solo acoustic record.  Arthur comments on his influences and the evolution of music that became The Ballad of Boogie Christ, "It just evolved. At first it was going to be a solo acoustic record.  This one was going to be a simple guitar and voice one.  As you put it down the production sort of show what it needs.  This one led to back up vocals and further production. It sort of had an organic feel to it."  The Ballad of Boogie Christ features a magnitude of guest singers and musicians including former bandmate Ben Harper, and others including Joan Wasser, Paul Campellone, and Jim Keltner.The Ballad of Boogie Christ is a concept album.  Arthur explains to Cindy the idea behind his latest release, "I felt like it was about a guy who's either englightened or insane and it was kind of blurry as to which. That gave it a nice playing ground to what song's could be about and what they could say. It gave a freedom to express somewhat megalomaniacal ideas but also sort of spiritual tidbits."  Arthur also comments on the role of faith and religion in his writing.  "I don't usually have a problem talking about that stuff.  I feel like music is a place where that stuff lives comfortably. To me, music is almost like a spiritual practice. To me, spirituality and that aspect of life should be fun and funny and that's kind of ultimately what I'm trying to achieve with this album."  Cindy and Joseph Arthur also remember his days with Ben Harper in the band Fistful of Mercy and how they started up.  "We [Ben Harper and Joseph Arthur] had always talked about writing together and maybe going on tour.  He asked me if I knew Dhani Harrison.  So it was actually Ben that brought us all together."  Typically, the three would get together and skateboard.  Arthur comments on his entry to the world of skateboarding, "I do skateboard but I'm not way into it. I seem to get into bands that are way into it. I don't know what it is about me and people who love skateboarding." 

Interview with Gwil Sainsbury of Alt-J

In light of their recent sold out performance at Mr. Smalls Theatre, bassist/guitarist Gwil Sainsbury, of the band Alt-J called into the station.  Cindy and Gwil chat about the unique name of the band, the band's sound, winning the British Mercury Prize and what doors that has opened for the band.Alt-J is the keyboard shortcut for the delta symbol.  Originally named Films, Alt-J had to change their name due to the fact that there was already an American band with the same name.  Sainsbury comments on the situation and how it affected the band.  "At the beginning we got some blogs and indie press talking about it.  I think there was also some reaction against it.  It kind of worked both ways.  In the beginning I was a bit concerned but it seems to have worked out for the better."Sainsbury talks about the band's critically acclaimed debut albut - An Awesome Wave - and its unique "layered" sound. "People tend to form their own relationships with music.  A lot of people get attached to lyrics and the movement of music.  When we were making the album we were quite aware that we would end up playing and listening to it quite a lot.  So I think we tried to a lot to put layers in there."Alt-J recently won the prestigious British Mercury Prize, the annual music prize awarded for the best album from the United Kingdom and Ireland.  Past winners of the British Mercury Prize include Franz Ferdinand, The xx, and Arctic Monkeys.  Sainsbury comments on winning the award, "When we found out [we had won the British Mercury Prize] we were in Manhattan in a Starbucks we were really, really pleased.  The nomination I think is what it's all about.  The night they read our name it was personally surreal and all of it is kind of a big blur.  Now looking back on it, it's not something I really think about unless someone mentions it to me.  It's quite nice, I get a warm, fuzzy feeling when I remeber we did win it."  Sainsbury explains that the band had to jump right back on tour after winning the award, so the feeling of "winning" didn't really get to sink in.  However, winning the British Mercury Award has yielding a lot of commercial success for Alt-J.  Alt-J's music has been featured for the Nokia Lumia 928 commericaland in the movie Silver Linnings Playbook.  You can find Alt-J on tour this summer with Lord Huron and playing notable festivals across the globe such as Bonnaroo, Glastonbury, Lollpalooza, and The Reading Music Festival. 

Local Natives Interview

Local Natives recently performed at Stage AE.  Guitarist/keyboardist/singer Ryan Hahn spoke with Cindy about what it's like living in LA, the Hummingbird record, keeping friendship going while making music, and their recent performance on the David Letterman Show.Local Natives are a band based out of Silver Lake, Californnia, a neighborhood in Los Angeles.  Hahn comments on how being from LA has effected the growth and development of the band, pratice, and touring.  "Well before we even moved there, we kind of viewed Silverlake as this mecca for bands.  We just knew as a band that we needed to move up there.  We tried to play every venue possible and kind of work our way up.  Hahn also comments on the sense of community within the LA/Silverlake music scene, "We just felt a lot of support living there. We would write there, it was a really good vibe to work in."Local Natives had to relocate to New York to record the album Hummingbirds.  Hahn comments on the new album and how it reflects the "trying times" he and his bandmates were going through during the recording process.  "Yeah while they are [the tracks on Hummingbird] are about heavier subjects and some of them can be pretty sad at times. For us, I think they feel more joyful, in having worked through all of this we've kind of come out the other side so much better for it."The members of Local Natives are a part of a close knit group of friends, some of which went to high school and lived together.  Hahn comments on maintaining the friendship part of their relationship.  "It's not natural to spend this much time with your friends. We just know each other so well, we know what buttons to press and not to press and we kind of navigate it in this weird democratic way.  But at the same time we all are still best friends and love being able to hang out with each other."To promote their latest album, Hummingbird, Local Natives recently peformed on the David Letterman show.  Hahn described the experience.  "It was really cool, actually.Wwe've gotten to do a few late night shows now.  For some reason this one was just really smooth and we had no problems and the crew was helpful."  Hahn also highlighted how David Letterman was into the fact that Local Natives was from LA.  ""We said we were from Silverlake instead of Los Angeles for some reason and he was like "Oh yeah, right by the stadium," so yeah he knew what was up.""