Every Wednesday at 9:13 am, one of Pittsburgh's finest music writers joins me (Cindy Howes) on the Morning Mix to play a couple favorite new songs and share some insight. Today we welcome Scott Tady of The Beaver County Times. In case you missed it here's what he played (with commentary by Scott). J Mascis and Sharon Van Etten, “Prisoners” - We could use a new John Denver in this era of snarkiness. Denver’s simple, optimistic, pro-environmental acoustic songs still must resonate profoundly, judging by the bevy of musical hipsters who stepped forward to lend their voices to the new “This Music is You: A Tribute to John Denver.” From Jim James’ pretty singing on My Morning Jacket’s cover of “Leaving on a Jet Plane,” to Old Crow Medicine Show’s twangy “Back Home Again,” to Brandi Carlile and Emmylou Harris harmonizing winsomely on “Take Me Home, Country Roads,” there’s plenty here to make you appreciate Denver’s songwriting. Dave Matthews, Kathleen Edwards, Lucinda Williams, Josh Ritter, Mary Chapin Carpenter and a surprisingly restrained Train also make memorable contributions. I was most intrigued by the guitar saturated cover of “Prisoners,” a 1972 track on the same Denver album as “Rocky Mountain High,” performed here by the tantalizing pairing of Sharon Van Etten and Dinosaur Jr.’s J Mascis. Meeting of Important People, “Innocents Abroad” - The Pittsburgh garage-pop trio already is getting WYEP spins for their new single “Keep Your Eyes on Me.” The entire album, due out April 9, offers solid songcraft. I picked this track as a prime example of their multi-dimensional, accessible sound. I had the vocal hook stuck in my head all weekend (complete with the layered “whoa-whoa-o-o” harmonizing). I like how at the 2 minute mark they kick into another gear, then at 2:16 take things to an even louder, rawer level with cymbals bashing, and guitar slashing, which soon subsides back to that simple and catchy vocal hook. Way to represent, guys!
Austin, TX based, Patty Griffin has released a new song from her upcoming American Kid, which comes out on May 7th. "Ohio", is a beautiful affair of subtle acoustic guitars (provided by North Mississippi Allstars Bros Cody and Luther Dickinson) and harmonies provided by her main squeeze, Robert Plant (as in Led Zeppelin, Robert Plant). According to USA Today, Griffin claims the song is "a story about the Underground Railroad, about slaves escaping. It's inspired by something I read in a Toni Morrison novel a few years back". Check out the song, streaming below:
Rolling Stone is reporting a new musical based on the life and career of singer and songwriter, Carole King, will makes its debut on Broadway in Spring of 2014. Beautiful: The Carole King Musical, follows King from her early days in Brooklyn to her partnership with Gerry Goffin and feat songs by King, Goffin, Barry Mann and Cynthia Weil."What's so great about this for me is that musicals were a major influence on my songwriting," said King in a statement. "In fact, when Gerry and I first met, we made a bargain that I would write music for the Broadway show he wanted to write if he wrote lyrics for my rock & roll songs. The songs took off and the show idea never came to fruition. Now that our songs have merged with a Broadway show, we've come full circle." The production is currently working on an out-of-town debut and hopes to bring the show to Broadway in Spring 2014. WYEP is proud to present American Originals, our monthly spotlight on an essential American artist, featuring the music of Carole King on Monday March 25th at 7pm on 91.3fm and WYEP.org.
Every Wednesday at 9:13 am, one of Pittsburgh's finest music writers joins me (Cindy Howes) on the Morning Mix to play a couple favorite new songs and share some insight. Today we welcome Scott Mervis of The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. In case you missed it here's what he played with commentary by Scott: Brooke Annibale, "Silence Worth Breaking" - This title track to her last album ended up on the proverbial cutting room floor. Two years later, the singer-songwriter from Moon, now based in Nashville, has pulled a Led Zeppelin, a la "Houses of the Holy," and put in her new EP, "Words in Your Eyes." It's a majestic beauty in the Sarah McLachlan vein with a haunted vocal and musicianship that heightens the longing in the song. The Replacements, "I'm Not Saying" - It's great to hear them again, even if it's under sad circumstances. Paul Westerberg and Tommy Stinson have reunited for "Songs for Slim," an EP to benefit guitarist Slim Dunlap who suffered a stroke. A cover of a Gordon Lightfoot song (of all things), it reminds us of the youthful exuberance of the band in the '80s.
Laura Marling's next album, Once I Was An Eagle, will be released on May 28 via Ribbon Music in the U.S. The album was produced again by Ethan Johns and is lead off with the song "Where Can I Go?". Says Marling "It’s just me and [producer Ethan Johns] this time. I gave him the songs and he pretty much ran with it. I’m very lucky to have him." [via NME]. Check out the track listing and the new song below ---Once I Was an Eagle: 01 Take the Night Off 02 I Was an Eagle 03 You Know 04 Breathe 05 Master Hunter 06 Little Love Caster 07 Devil’s Resting Place 08 Interlude 09 Undine 10 Where Can I Go? 11 Once 12 Pray For Me 13 When Were You Happy? (And How Long has That Been) 14 Love be Brave 15 Little Bird 16 Saved These Words
She & Him (actor Zooey Deschanel and M. Ward) are back this spring with their Volume 3 release on May 7 on Merge Records. The pair have released their first single, the not surprisingly sunny sounding "Never Wanted Your Love". This single sounds more ambitious than previous material on the production side of things with M. Ward channeling his inner Phil Spector. Lyric-wise, Deschanel is inging about heart break, which is not unusual, but still very lovely. Check out the audio below.
Every Wednesday at 9:13 am, one of Pittsburgh's finest music writers joins me (Cindy Howes) on the Morning Mix to play a couple favorite new songs and share some insight. Today we welcome Andy Mulkerin of Pittsburgh's City Paper. In case you missed it here's what he played with commentary by Andy: Tristen, "No One's Gonna Know" - This is the single that you got if you helped back this Nashville singer/songwriter's recent Kickstarter project. I've been a Tristen believer since her last one, Charlatans at the Garden Gate, came out and I saw her at Stage AE two years ago. Her new stuff is less country, more synth-y, but has the same core pop songwriting featured.