September 26, 2020 by [email protected]

https://youtu.be/B1iM25Gv9E8 Butcher Brown

https://youtu.be/YkgWqhDi0nU Legendary Album Series: Songs In The Key Of Life

https://youtu.be/JdJoSvOunZI Funky Fly Project

https://youtu.be/AseLCltMZP8 Curtis Harding

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September 26, 2020 by [email protected]

To celebrate The Rex Theater's prominent role in Pittsburgh's music scene, the TSS 9/26/20 episode honors Ben Penigar.  Here are some scrapbook items to go with the show.   They include my 2020 nomination for Ben in the PUMP 40 Under 40 competition:

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Professional

Benjamin Penigar founded Grey Area Productions over a decade ago and, with his team, created one of Pittsburgh’s preeminent music event companies. With over 1500 concerts to his credit, Ben was responsible for revamping the Rex Theatre into a major mid-sized venue that serves as a cultural anchor for the bustling Southside. Ben’s organization specializes in fledgling and established independent acts, complementing the large events hosted by Live Nation and other major players. Because of Grey Area thoughtful curations, an entire alternate music exposure is provided to this city; the lineups are respected by concert goers, the entertainment press and music radio personalities.

In addition to serving the neighborhoods near to the Rex, Ben has produced many performances at Cattivo and Thunderbird Cafe (Lawrenceville), the recently refurbished Roxian Theatre (McKees Rocks), Carnegie Library of Homestead and James Street (formerly of the North Side). Furthermore, Grey Area’s services have been sought to bolster the offerings at the non-profit Flood City Music Festival (Johnstown) and Feastival (McKees Rocks). Deutschtown Music Festival and Thrival are also on his resume.

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Community

Ben’s impact on the community is multifaceted. Grey Area fills the cultural need of providing diversity of acts. This is manifested through his booking of soul, New Orleans, and funk bands that are not booked elsewhere on a regular basis. His production company has been relied upon to support financial incubators for distressed municipalities like McKees Rocks. Significantly, he has conducted major fundraisers to support his staff, including one COVID-19 victim, during the current crisis. $32,000 was raised over 5 weeks, surpassing his own expectations. To assist other businesses and their employees, Ben shared techniques and lessons learned from his fundraising methodologies, including the auctioning of personal music memorabilia (https://www.facebook.com/benjamin.penigar/posts/10158088134472432).

Ben Penigar is committed to supporting Pittsburgh musicians and causes. One of Grey Area’s staples, the Legendary Album Series, routinely brings together all-Pittsburgh ensembles to perform charity concerts.

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Personal

One of the most intriguing parts of Ben’s story is that he began his working life as a Pitt-trained civil engineer, the son of a coal miner and schoolteacher. Through his developing love of music, he stumbled onto a side opportunity to produce a small event. This sparked a new path for him before his 30th birthday, learning by the seat of his pants with no formal training or mentorship. The love of his second career is clearly connected to enhancing the city’s music scene, but also to entertaining his audiences . Ben is one of the most personable venue managers in the city, always welcoming clientele with hugs and smiles. He hosts a large annual summer picnic for staff and music aficionados. Grey Area has been known to provide discounted tickets to those in need. Ben receives reciprocity as a result - during the COVID-19 fundraisers, Rex concertgoers donated their own memorabilia to help the cause. He has cultivated a family with shared loves.

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Other

It should be noted that Grey Area Productions, along with other small talent buyers, operate with formidable competition from larger companies. What they collectively contribute is an enriched music scene, supporting Pittsburgh’s vision of becoming a “music” city. Ben is a huge part of this effort. Since my ‘40 Under 40’ nomination of Ben 7-8 years ago, his prominence has grown, and his philanthropic bent is more clear. It is my sincere hope that he can win this coveted award at the end of his eligibility. Thank you.

 

 

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September 20, 2020 by [email protected]

Folks, NBCUniversal reached out to me on 9/18. They were requesting leads and materials for an upcoming (potential) tribute to Stephen R. Chatman and other victims of COVID. If everything goes as planned, the broadcast will be on NBC Nightly News, Sunday 9/20/20.

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July 11, 2020 by [email protected]

https://www.mixcloud.com/soulshowmike/dp2020/

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June 28, 2020 by [email protected]

I just found out in the wee Sunday morning hours that Don Patterson, co-founder of TSS, died this weekend.  The Soul Show was Don's brainchild, and he and Stef Chatman aired Episode 1 on 6/24/95.  It quickly became a weekend staple on WYEP.  

Don and Stef returned for the 20th Anniversary Show in 2015.  When Stef succumbed to COVID-19 this past spring, Don was an honored guest on the tribute show, providing valuable history on the TSS origins. 

Don and I opted to let the TSS 25th anniversary pass quietly this June, knowing that the earlier Stef tribute show captured the essence of what we needed to present.  

The Don Patterson tribute will take place on July 4th from 2p to 5p.  See you then.

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June 27, 2020 by [email protected]

Hi.  Here are a few items mentioned on the 6/27/20 show:

(1) Sixty Seconds of Pittsburgh: Soulive at the Roxian ..... It turns out that I didn't actually do a video of that show (just took photos), but here's one I did from the Ardmore outside of Philly in '18.  I hadn't seen Soulive in years at that point, so it was worth the drive.  That night I discovered Shots Fired, whose leader is Karl Denson's guitarist. https://youtu.be/LT04Afnfw2w

(2) Here is the longer interview with McCoo and Davis of The Fifth Dimension: https://www.mixcloud.com/soulshowmike/tsswyep081019-the-soul-show-wyep-the-mccoodavis-jr-bill-henry-band-joe-tex-ii-interviews/

(3) In the context of the Angela Muñoz and Roy Ayers collaborations, I mentioned the Adrian Younge 2018 interviews.  Here are the program archive links:

https://www.mixcloud.com/soulshowmike/tsswyep111718-the-soul-show-wyep-adrianyounge-interview-pts-12-tracks-new-maysa-nori-more/

https://www.mixcloud.com/soulshowmike/tsswyep112418-the-soul-show-wyep-thxgiving-wknd-2-of-adrian-younge-interviews-killiam-shakespeare/

Enjoy!

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June 21, 2020 by [email protected]

On 6/20/20, The Soul Show presented a two-part interview with Liza Colby and Kia Warren of the band SUSU (https://www.sususupernatural.com/home).

There was much, much more than the six minutes you heard during the broadcast. The full 41-minute interview covers the band’s origins, the Euro tour, songwriting, their Caribbean heritages, connections with Pittsburgh’s Beauty Slap, …

Enjoy!

https://youtu.be/bCJDko6j0-s

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May 23, 2020 by [email protected]

(5/23/30) Good afternoon, TSS listeners.  First, please accept my apologies for not including the usual Memorial Day themes into the 5/23/20 episode.  The holiday is quite early this year, and I was caught off guard.  By the time I realized it on Friday evening, the recorded show had already been uploaded to the station server.  Not doing live broadcasts during the epidemic means having to have everything figured out before Saturday.  

 

Philip Torrez, who is offering reflections on Jorge Santana as part of a tribute today, provided some background materials.  The link below is part of it.  Other material is posted at my FB page (soulshowmike).  

https://ufw.org/jorge-santana-pioneer-of-latin-rock-sound-embraced-cesar-chavez-farm-workers/

Enjoy! Thanks, Philip.

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May 23, 2020 by [email protected]

(5/23/30) Good afternoon, TSS listeners.  First, please accept my apologies for not including the usual Memorial Day themes into the 5/23/20 episode.  The holiday is quite early this year, and I was caught off guard.  By the time I realized it on Friday evening, the recorded show had already been uploaded to the station server.  Not doing live broadcasts during the epidemic means having to have everything figured out before Saturday.  

 

Philip Torrez, who is offering reflections on Jorge Santana as part of a tribute today, provided some background materials.  The link below is part of it.  Other material is posted at my FB page (soulshowmike).  

https://ufw.org/jorge-santana-pioneer-of-latin-rock-sound-embraced-cesar-chavez-farm-workers/

Enjoy! Thanks, Philip.

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