May 2010

Eli "Paperboy" Reed perfects an OUTRAGEOUS sound similar to James Brown or Sam Cooke. Check out the video for the smokin' lead track on his forthcoming release Come and Get It, out August 10th on Capitol.

Recommended if you like: Amy Winehouse, Black Joe Lewis & The Honeybears, Sharon Jones & The Dap Kings

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Boston singer Cindy Howes Come and Get It Eli "Paperboy" Reed James Brown Sharon Jones Soul revival Video

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New Music

We're featuring the new Donora video for "Shhh" on our main page (in the right corner). The video was directed by the incredible Casey Hanner (lead singer of Donora). Can you spot the drummer for Big Hurry?

More about Donora

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Casey Hanner Cindy Howes Donora Local Pittsburgh Music Shhh

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New Music

The Singer-Songwriter

A musical genre that can be acoustic and introspective.  Driven by the simple craft of songwriting.  It’s all about the song.  From the troubadours in the 1970’s through today, singer-songwriters are still keeping it real.  Bob Dylan, Joni Mitchell, Jackson Browne, Van Morrison, Leonard Cohen, Cat Stevens, Tom Waits, John Hiatt, Morrissey, Randy Newman, Shawn Colvin, Bonnie Raitt, Bruce Springsteen, Neil Young, Warren Zevon, Norah Jones, Brandi Carlile, Paul Simon, just to name a few [Feel free to insert your favorite singer-songwriters name here]. 

Join me Memorial Day weekend on May 30th during the Sunday Mix from 2p-5p for a salute to the Singer-Songwriter.  Where the Music Matters, 91.3 WYEP.

Barb S. - Sunday Mix Host

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This was shot by a fan (it's actually not bad quality!) at Madison Square Garden on Friday. Band of Horses were opening for Pearl Jam- they invited Bridwell on stage to fill in for the part of Chris Cornell on Temple of The Dog song, "Hunger Strike". Results: Bridwell nails it. Oh man.

Stream the new Band Of Horses album

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Band Of Horses Cindy Howes Pearl Jam Temple Of The Dog

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Music News

You Gotta Hear This features an inside look into a new release you may have missed, hosted by Cindy Howes. Nik & The Central Plains are a great Pittsburgh band. Their self-titled debut features the masterful songwriting of Nik Westman. His meandering lyrics and dynamic folky vocals give you that back porch summer-time feel. Fans of The Shins, The Kinks and Pavement would enjoy.... You can hear a review and clips from the self-title debut on the latest YGHT.


Check your podcasts for an update or listen right here:
YGHT :: Nik & The Central Plains

YGHT is also heard on The Music Lab.

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Cindy Howes Nik & The Central Plains You Gotta Hear This

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The 3rd installment of the Songwriters Spotlight, hosted by Joe Grushecky and Rick Witkowski, featuring Karl Mullen , Margot B., and Jon Belan was held Saturday night at the New Hazlett Theater.

The format: Each of the five songwriters shared stories about their original songs and then performed them. Then, each songwriter chose a song they wish they had written, talked about why they selected it and then performed it.

As one of the hosts, Joe Grushecky began the evening with "I Remember It" from 2002's “Fingerprints”, following up with "Don't Give up the Ghost" and "Talking to the King” from "End of the Century" (which was ironically released in 1992). "Talking to the King" came to him in a dream - he found Elvis Presley looking into his fridge.

The other host, Joe Witkowski said that he was now big with the 3 to 6 year old age group thanks to Nick, Jr. and we sang along on "Happy". Witkowski also did a song that he and his wife wrote with Ann Wilson of Heart in mind. She did not end up recording "The Last Heartbreak", but B.E. Taylor did.

For Karl Mullen (Carsickness, The Ploughman's Lunch) "Love Don't Walk Away" was his first choice. On the second go round, Mullen told a long story about a 13-hour train ride to record a folk album and then couldn't remember the lyrics, so he sang "Family Life" before going back to "True Romance". Mullen lives in Philadelphia now (via Dublin, Ireland) and in 1976 was a fixture at The Electric Banana.

Margot B.'s soulful songs all had one-word titles "Cool", "Timeless" and "Complete". She resides in New York City and had much praise for The Boogie Hustlers.

Jon Belan (of Gene the Werewolf) was introspective, selecting songs from Gene the Werewolf's debut EP. He sang "Superhero", "Light Me Up" (title track) and "I've Got the Love" (which became the 6th song on the EP; even though they recorded 12 songs, this was a new song written just for the EP).

Then the spotlight was put on a song that each songwriter had wished they had penned.

Joe Grushecky choose a Muddy Waters song "Champagne & Reefer". Karl Mullen selected an Ewan MacColl (father of the Kirsty MacColl) song from 1949 that was recorded by among others, The Pogues and Johnny Cash that reminded him of Pittsburgh, "Dirty Old Town". Margot B. went to the Top 40 for "Breakeven" by The Script which she said gives her the chills no matter how many times she hears it. Jon Belan performed a Pink Floyd Song "Wish You Were Here". The Beatles were again the choice for Joe Witkowski.

The final group number was another Beatles song. "Hey Jude", in which the spotlight shown brightly on Joe Belan as he sang and played the piano.

There was then a standing ovation for the songwriters. It was another wonderful two hours of great live music.

Also check out the post Singer-Songwriters Shine... for my review of the January 2010 Songwriters Spotlight.

The next Songwriters Spotlight will be held September 25th.

Barb S. – Sunday Mix Host

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joe grushecky rick witkowski singer-songwriters

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New local music featured on WYEP’s The Local News during the month of June. Podcast it or tune in to The Local News (Mon-Thurs @ 9 PM). These tracks begin airing on Monday May 24th and will posted to the 'cast very soon. Lemme know what you think of that Cry Fire song- WOWZA.
--- Cindy


Joy Ike - "Like A Picture" Rumors

The sophomore release from Pittsburgh's piano playing sweetheart, Joy Ike. Joy's wonderfully engaging on her records, on stage and in person. You would be hard pressed to find a nicer person- plus she's a tremendously talented performer. Her fans proved that she was #1 by voting her "Best Solo Artist" by City Paper two years in a row and this new CD, "Rumors" was fan-funded. Although she has a different sound, Ike has the potential to gain a Tori Amos-like devotional fan-base at a regional or even national level (she was recently featured on NPR!). Joy's music would appeal more to fans of Ingrid Michaelson, Elliott Smith and Josh Ritter.

Small Cities - "Hit My Door" Jackson Purchase
My favorite new Pittsburgh band- they are six members and 2.5 doctors strong. Small Cities emulates a classic southern rock sound reminiscent of The Band, Gram Parsons/Emmylou Harris and Tom Petty. You can trust you're in for something good when all the guitars are Rickenbacker guitars (even the bass). There's some sweet southern charm going on here as well, four members moved to Pittsburgh from Kentucky (specifically to start this band). Their live shows are a really exciting experience- you can see them for free at WYEP on Oct 21st for Third Thursday.

Cry Fire - "The Spark" If I Don't See You Again
Listen. I tried to fight the urge to like this album.... I can't- it's so good and smooth and I don't even care to tell you all about it. Cry Fire doesn't care what cool hipsters think about them, either! This is from their press release: "Where a lot of current groups shy away from clean production, strong vocals and classic lead guitar work, Cry Fire tastefully embraces all these elements." And how! This record is good start to finish. It is further made great by backing vocals from well-known regional country singer, Katie Orlofske. Embrace it! Feel good about life!

Round Black Ghosts - "Thick As Thieves" Line Up
Round Black Ghosts features former members of Waking Matthew and other local bands of the past. While I enjoyed their previous release, they've developed in a few ways on their new CD that's been in the works since January 2009. Titled Line Up, it features stronger songwriting from Aaron Shafer, who shines with his Jay Farrar like vocals. This record will further increase their already strong presence in the local music scene.

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Cindy Howes Cry Fire Joy Ike Local Pittsburgh Music Round Black Ghosts Small Cities The Local News

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New Music

Sorry.  I can’t resist the cliché.  It was a swell evening of music Monday night as The Swell Season (Glen Hansard, Markéta Irglová and The Frames) returned to Pittsburgh to perform at the Byham Theatre.

The set-up was very similar to their September 2008 concert.  The Frames were in a semi-circle on the stage with white back-drops and back-lighting essentially framing the performers.  The front of the stage up-lighting  was very effective throughout the well paced two-hour and fifteen-minute plus performance.

Irglová quietly opened the show center stage with “If You Want Me”.  Hansard, talking about their drive in to town, sang the “Ohio River Boat Song”.  “Low Rising” came next with Hansard sampling Marvin Gaye’s “Sexual Healing”.

When I get a cold, I lose my voice.  When Glen Hansard gets a cold, he doesn’t cancel a show, instead he takes lots of drugs and still performs at the top of his game.

During “Leave” Hansard showed no signs of a cold.  Back in 2008, The Swell Season opened up with “Into the Mystic” and they didn’t forget to include it again this year, providing a stunning moment in the middle of their show.

Recently, American Idol brought “Falling Slowly” to the forefront again, but it will probably be most remembered for winning the Academy Award for Best Original Song from the movie “Once”.  Hansard said “Falling Slowly” was their final song.  He apparently meant before the long encore.

Hansard was talkative during the ending moments of the concert, but they still kept those heartfelt songs coming.  He sang “Say It To Me Now”, after sharing a story of meeting a woman in Chicago in a hotel elevator who lost her son in the 9/11 attacks.  Irglová debuted a new song called “Crossroads”.  We all sang “There” on the chorus of a new song (which apparently has already has been covered and can be found on YouTube).  They included a song from The Frames, with Hansard still able to give his all on the “Red Chord”.  The show ended with a traditional Irish song “The Parting Glass” and an extended standing ovation.

It was just, swell.

Glen Hansard’s friend, who is now a resident of Pittsburgh, Mark Dignam opened the show with a well received 40-minute set of 7 songs and also joined The Swell Season on stage for a song during the encore.

Barb S. - Sunday Mix Host

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glen hansard mark dignam marketa irglova the swell season

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Darwin Deez and his band have been known to break out in choreographed dance routines. To some, that alone would be worth the price of admission. But Deez is much more than just loose feet: his saccharine pop bounces around in your head and leaves you with a dizzying sugar high.

His self-titled debut was just released in April on Lucky Number Music, and it's a winner. We caught up with Deez as he prepared to embark on an opening gig for the 2010 NME Radar Tour with Hurts and Everything, Everything. Read More..

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Darwin Deez

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The lineup at Mr. Smalls on Tuesday night was a confusing one, with Here We Go Magic sandwiched between garage rockers Tokyo Police Club and grunge-punk band The Edukators. Here We Go Magic’s brand of psych rock was the stylistic opposite of the other two acts, and I was curious as to how they would handle their odd placement. Continue Reading...

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