May 16, 2012 by cindy@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: Triggers, "In the Offing" - On its first album in four years -- it got tripped up by some label issues -- the Pittsburgh band gets a nice sonic sheen in an LA studio with producer Dave Trumfio (Wilco, Built to Spill). The resulting album, "Forcing A Smile," draws again on long-running influences, ranging from the Beatles to Elvis Costello to Weezer. This one is on the easy-flowing countrified side. Joey Ramone, "I Couldn't Sleep" - This Jerry Lee Lewis-style rocker comes from "Ya Know?," a second posthumous solo album from the lead Ramone. The whole things was pieced together from demo vocals by adoring musicians, including Steve Van Zandt and Joan Jett. Clearly, it isn't Joey Ramone at his best, but it's great to hear his voice again, and if this gets people to pull out their Ramones albums, it's done the trick.
May 14, 2012 by kathi@wyep.org

... in Washington County where the reception isn’t quite what you’d hope for as there’s some interference from a local lower power station.

Here’s how we fixed that problem.  By way of explanation, my buddy Scott and I are both retired. Between us we have probably 55 years of WYEP support and membership. And we both volunteer at the Pennsylvania Trolley Museum where we work on the signals and wiring, including the 600-volt wire that supplies electricity to the antique trolley cars.

Our “shop” is in the southwest corner of a steel frame, metal clad building. The WYEP transmitter, in the best tradition of Murphy’s Law, is located far to the northeast. So not only do we have interference from the solar panels and various voltages in and around the building, the building itself blocks the radio signal. Necessity being the mother of invention, we built an old-fashioned folded dipole antenna using the flat twin conductor wire that was once popular when TV antennas were the norm rather than cable and other digital media.  (For those of you who don’t recall this technology, you could get decent reception of local channels with an aluminum antenna on the top of the house, or with “rabbit ears” or by taking a piece of twin lead, and shaping it into a “T.” The stem of the “T” is wired into the center of the top arm, then into the FM receiver or TV set. With a little judicious fiddling, you’d get reception – of some kind!) A quick on-line search revealed that for the lower FM bands – which includes WYEP – the top arm of the antenna needed to be 61.5 inches long for optimum reception. So after ordering the wire from a local chain electronics supply store, and procuring some ¾” inch plastic conduit and fittings, we soon had our own “T” with a 61.5” long top arm and a stem about 8 feet tall. This enabled us to raise the antenna high enough to clear the adjacent roof line. We hooked the lead to the receiver, and with a little fiddling by the guy perched 30 feet off of the ground (“Twist it just a hair more clockwise  -- little more – wait – go back a smidge.”) we soon had reception that sounded as if we were actually in the studio.  Success. This is good for listening in the shop when we work on bench projects – like painting, rebuilding relays, wiring assemblies, puzzling through 80-year-old wiring diagrams, etc. Then we came to Part 2 of the project.  When we’re out on the trolley line we use a 75-year-old work car that allows us to maintain and repair the 600 volt DC trolley wire while it’s still energized. All of the electricity in the car is Direct Current – popular back in the early 1900s – and totally incompatible with modern appliances, including radios.  So, how do we take WYEP along while we’re working on the railway? We did have a source of lower voltage DC, your choice of 24 volts or 12 volts. With a little scrounging in my basement, I found a portable FM/CD/tape player that operated on 8 D cell batteries. Hmmm.  8 times 1.5 volts equals 12 volts! Problem solved, sort of.  The task was to make the wiring necessary to plug the radio into the trolley car’s 12 volt electrical system.  So with some wire, solder, trailer connectors and tape, we soon had our boom box on wheels working.  We’re still tinkering with the antenna there as sometimes the car is oriented north-south and other times east-west or any combination in between depending on the twists and turns of the museum railway trackage. But we’re calling it a successful project. Now WYEP helps to power the crews that keep the power flowing to the streetcars at the Pennsylvania Trolley Museum.  Thanks, WYEP. -WYEP Volunteer Rick you can talk trolleys, antennas, and public radio with Rick at ptm42@comcast.net
Tags:
Posted in
May 2, 2012 by cindy@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 Andy Mulkerin of Pittsburgh's City Paper. In case you missed it here's what he played with commentary by Andy: Jaill, "Waste a Lot of Things" - I was way into this band's Sub Pop debut in 2010, and buzzed a tune from that record; next month, they return with a follow-up, Traps. They've got a slacker-rock, sometimes almost surfer-y vibe, except they're from Milwaukee, so they're probably not surfers, right? Jill Barber, "Tell Me" - I saw this Vancouverian songstress at Hard Rock Cafe, making her Pittsburgh debut, a couple of weeks ago. Not many folks can pull off the retro-jazz-standards-revival thing, but she's a great songwriter and a charming performer, and has a wonderful voice. Here's hoping she makes her way back soon.
April 25, 2012 by cindy@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 Tady of The Beaver County Times. In case you missed it here's what he played (with commentary by Scott): Yuck, “Chew” - Exhilarating U.K. band specializing in shoe-gazing guitar-rock, which like this new single, has a proper balance between sludgy and spacey. Not sure what they’re getting at with a chorus that says, “We chew it together.” Probably doesn’t matter. 2:54, “You’re Early” - And you’re early if you get hip now to this British duo’s brooding, atmospheric debut single. They’re two sisters, Colette and Hannah Thurlow, who have toured with the aforementioned Yuck and Melissa Auf de Maur of Hole. I understand why this song makes Cindy Howes recall her gothic days :)
April 18, 2012 by cindy@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 Justin Jacobs (talking to us via Skype!), contributing writer to Billboard & Relix Magazine. In case you missed it here's what he played with commentary by Justin: Yuna, "Live Your Life - Is there a cooler sounding lady out there right now? No, the answer is no. Yuna is from Malaysia, and her story is pretty wild: singing in Malaysian pubs, becoming a Malaysian celebrity, courted by an American producer via email and then flown to America to record this debut. The track was produced by Pharrell Williams, he of great Neptunes and N.E.R.D. fame. Together, they make this laid-back, incredibly sexy and life-affirming track that'll be stuck in your head for the next 10 to 12 business day. Oberhofer, "Awy Frm U" - This song was originally released as a single in 2010, but it finally shows up on this months "Time Capsules II," the debut LP from Oberhofer, band of frontman Brad Oberhofer. It's sloppy, playful but sincere kitchen-sink pop, and the band members play their instruments to death. I don't know if I've ever heard more piano bashing than on this record. It's a whole lot of fun, and you should probably buy it. Bonus picks! Reggae! I know WYEP isn't huge on the genre, but it's almost summer and you deserve some good jams. Sure, every almost summer barbecue will play some Marley or Tosh, but introduce your friends to two new bands and become more popular than ever. The first is from Nigeria: Nazarenes, making fuzzy, deep grooves. The second is Morning Sun and the Essentials, making more pop-friendly, sunshine-y reggae. You can find both on the internet.
April 11, 2012 by cindy@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: Cloud Nothings, "Stay Useless" - This starts out like so many indie-rock songs, sounding like the Strokes, but once the vocals get going, Dylan Baldi's personality takes over and you get that more raw emotion the Cleveland rocker injects into his tunes. Although this one is tight, poppy and, admittedly, repetitive, it lays the groundwork for some of the longer sonic jams on the band's explosive third album, "Attack on Memory." Big Snow Big Thaw, "Red Hollow Road" - This Pittsburgh trio may not be rewriting the book on Americana, but this song showcases the unique vocal range of Jim Sabol, who also plays banjo. In his travels to Alabama, he took the windy Red Hollow Road and was inspired to write this mysterious Southern gothic tune with a melody manages to lodge into your head.
April 4, 2012 by cindy@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 Andy Mulkerin of Pittsburgh's City Paper. In case you missed it here's what he played with commentary by Andy: Wooden Wand, "Winter in Kentucky" - It's not a seasonal song at this point, but it's a good one. James Jackson Toth records under the name Wooden Wand, and put this album out last fall, but it's being re-released, and I'm only now getting into it. You should too. I think some reference points for his rambling, storytelling style would include Bob Dylan and Craig Finn. Good Night, States, "Tired of Making Sense" - This is the most straightforward guitar rocker on the local band's long-awaited new full-length. Not unlike the last one from GN,S, this one has grown on me a little each time I've listened -- and that's a good sign for an album.
April 2, 2012 by kathi@wyep.org
If you’re a fan of the Block Party (weeknights from 8pm-12am EST) on 91.3fm, each month we feature one of the artists featured on the Block Party as an Album of the Month with a New or Renewing Membership to WYEP. The Block Party Featured Album is available in CD format for a $60 donation to WYEP or on vinyl for your gift of $75. April''s Block Party Featured Album of the Month is Arrow by Heartless Bastards. Become a WYEP Member at wyep.org and grab a copy as your thank you gift this month.

Arrow review by WYEP Programming Intern Arielle Klein: With new producer Jim Eno of Spoon, Heartless Bastard’s fourth album, Arrow, highlights the unity of the reformulated band. Through Erika Wennerstrom’s minimalist lyrics, the album tells the tale of a band on tour, of the necessity of a solid rock beat, the open road, and someone to share it with. The album starts out punchy with songs like “Parted Ways” and “Got To Have Rock and Roll”. The excitement and momentum of the band’s recent success is evident with their new found conventional rock sound. As the album progresses the band utilizes more profound lyrics and sprawling instrumental sections. Wennerstrom’s nostalgia for the old days in the second half of the CD cues in the banjo and the Bastards’ original blues inspired twang. While Wennerstrom’s voice is usually the focal point, the instrumental sections are powerful, overshadowing the forlorn lyrics with crisp entrancing interludes. The Heartless Bastards may still be finding where they belong in the rock schema, but wherever they are headed Arrow makes their listeners ready to stay on for the ride. Pick up a copy of Arrow by Heartless Bastards with your Membership today at wyep.org.
Tags:
Posted in
March 29, 2012 by kathi@wyep.org
This Sunday on 91.3fm, The Bluegrass Jam Session remembers Bluegrass Pioneer Earl Scruggs, who passed away on Wednesday. Earl was the last surviving member of the “Original” Bluegrass band, Bill Monroe’s 1945 Blue Grass Boys, and it was the addition of Scrugg’s innovative three-finger picking style that help create the unique style that came to be known for Monroe’s band,  “bluegrass”. In 1949, Scrugg’s teamed with smooth singing Blue Grass Boy alumnus Lester Flatt to create bluegrass music’s most influential group, the Foggy Mountain Boys. Through his appearances on the Beverly Hillbillys and his contribution of Foggy Mountain Breakdown to the film Bonnie and Clyde, Earl led bluegrass from the schoolhouses and southern radio shows to Hollywood and New York’s Carnegie Hall. Join us this Sunday from 8-10pm as the Bluegrass Jam Session remembers this American Original. -Bruce Mountjoy, Host of the Bluegrass Jam Session
Tags:
Posted in
March 28, 2012 by cindy@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 Tady of The Beaver County Times. In case you missed it here's what he played (with commentary by Scott): The Forty Nineteens, “Take Me to Vegas” - Garage-rock turbocharged with a splash of late-‘80s alternative from a SoCal band featuring Monaca High graduate Nick Zeigler on drums and vocals. Produced by David Newton (The Mighty Lemon Drops), this debut disc, due out April 17, reminds me of the Hold Steady. The Forty Nineteens make their Pittsburgh debut in late July. Van Hunt, “Character” - Dayton, Ohio, rhythm-and-blues artist Van Hunt had the fourth-best reviewed new studio album of 2011 according to Metacritic. At the suggestion of his manager, “American Idol’s” Randy Jackson, Hunt released a live album two weeks ago, from which this cut was taken. The live album showcases Hunt’s refreshing take on R&B, melding the raw sexuality and guitar virtuosity of Prince with the glam-rock dramatics of David Bowie, and a dash of P-Funk spaciness. See him Thursday night at the Thunderbird Café.
March 21, 2012 by cindy@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 Justin Jacobs (talking to us via Skype!), contributing writer to Billboard & Relix Magazine. In case you missed it here's what he played with commentary by Justin: Regina Spektor, "All the Rowboats" - She's back! Everyone's favorite Russian immigrant piano player will release her new record, What We Saw From the Cheap Seats, in a few months, but in the meantime she's dropped this tasty bit of dark, deeply melodic and oddly tweaked pop. This one harkens back to her weirder days of 11:11 and (my favorite) Soviet Kitsch, instead of the brighter pop of latter records. Suckers, "Turn on the Sunshine" - These dudes released my favorite record of 2010, and their second effort, the questionably titled Candy Salad, drops next month. This first single is a good teaser — more straightforward but still twisted indie pop, and happy as all hell. If you like this one, rest assured, it is not the best song on the album. Extra fun track! --> Lucero, "On My Way Downtown" - A time-tested country punk band hires a horn section and gets all Memphis-Stax-soul on us on new album Women and Work. It's a good look for the guys.
March 7, 2012 by cindy@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 Andy Mulkerin of Pittsburgh's City Paper In case you missed it here's what he played with commentary by Andy: Fanfarlo, "Deconstruction" - Not a lot about this fun track is Derridan in nature; it's more evocative of bleak, driving British synth pop a la New Order. Nice song from Rooms Filled with Light, the latest from the band led by a guy whose name is really Simon Balthazar. Bear in Heaven, "The Reflection of You" - I'm a big fan of these guys, and this was the first track release off their latest, I Love You, It's Cool. The soft synths combine with Jon Philpot's vocals to hypnotic effect. A friend once likened Philpot to a cult leader; it may be true, but if so it's a cult of synths and love. Retribution Gospel Choir, "The Stone (Revolution!)" - This is the other band helmed by Low's Alan Sparhawk; not everything they do thrills me, but this is from a free four-song EP they just released, and it's pretty great! When they do the Big Star-style power-pop rock, they do it better than most.
February 29, 2012 by cindy@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 Tady of The Beaver County Times.

In case you missed it here's what he played (with commentary by Scott):

Dr. Dog, "Do the Trick" - Prior efforts were tagged as psychedelic-folk, though this Philly band rocks out on album No. 7, "Be the Void," their loosest, loudest, most live sounding yet. It's a very cohesive album, and entertaining from start to finish. To prove it, I steered clear of "That Old Black Hole" and "These Days," both being spun on WYEP, and chose a deeper cut that hearkens more to "classic" Dr. Dog, with a swirling melody, swelling harmonies and clever but un-fancy lyrics. Sample: "My talk is a nervous tick/Won't you freeze my hands of time?/Will you do the trick?." They're in town tomorrow for a concert.

Jerry Joseph & the Jackmormons, "Anaconda" - Joseph's songwriting is inspired by his years in Salt Lake City (where Jack Mormons is a local coffee company). You can practically taste the dry, dusty expansive setting of Utah in his music, which is guitar-driven alt-rock with jam-band elements. This isn't the angst of a New York songwriter affected by the hustle-and-bustle of a big city, but a guy whose demons are spurred by the Wild West with its lonesome highways and stark, barren landscapes. Jerry has written several songs for Widespread Panic, and his band has shared stages with Drive-By Truckers (who were the opening act). Alas, his touring in the past decade has been limited largely to the Rockies and Pacific Northwest. I'm hoping WYEP can bring him to Pittsburgh! Jerry Joseph & the Jackmormons album goes public on March 30.

February 17, 2012 by barbmstein@aol.com

Seven days and nights of music with over 40 performers on a cruise ship.

Sunday, 2.5.12: As we boarded the ship for the 7-night journey through song, we were treated to the music of Beth Wood performing. WPA played their first of three scheduled shows. Glen Phillips noted that this cruise is really the only gig WPA plays and that their genre of music is “sad”. Willie Watson (Old Crow Medicine Show) and Rhett Miller (Old 97’s) also joined WPA which included Sean & Sara Watkins, Sebastian Steinberg, Jerry Roe and Greg Leisz (who was much in demand throughout the week to play dobro and pedal steel with many other artists). Luke Bulla was not on the cruise, but WPA still performed a couple of his songs. I briefly went to see Levi Lowrey perform and he mentioned being on board in 2009 with the Zac Brown Band. He went looking for a slot to play and that he was honored to be back on board again. Next, it was a Rhett Miller solo set. Miller really puts his whole body into his performances, swaying and sweating through his shirt by the end of the hour. I was amazed at the depth of his songwriting, he looks too young to have written so many songs in his growing catalog of music. His most recent release is a cover CD The Interpreter: Live At Largo and he performed quite a few tracks in his sets including American Girl and the Wilco song California Stars. We caught a little bit of the married couple Sarah Lee (Guthrie) and Johnny (Irion)’s set as well as a couple of tunes by Sarah Jaffe. The evening of music ended for us with 90 minutes of songwriter Chuck Cannon (introduced by Shawn Mullins), whose latest CD Symphony of Scars was only available on the ship for now. Cannon was joined by Shawn Mullins and Nashville based country singer Sarah Buxton.

Greg Leisz, Sara Watkins & Glen Phillips - WPA

Monday, 2.6.12: Our first day at Sea. The music began at 12:30 pm and probably went well past 2:00 am, as we sailed into the Atlantic time zone. Winterbloom (Antje Duvekot, Anne Heaton, Meg Hutchinson & Natalia Zuckerman) started out on the pool deck, but their set was shortened due to the windy conditions. I went to get a seat in the lounge early for Shawn Mullins’ first performance. Mullins does not travel with his full band on the road (Patrick Blanchard, Gerry Hansen, Davis Causey, and Tom ‘Panda’ Ryan), but they sounded very tight especially on the extended Beautiful Wreck jam. He was also joined by the talented British singer-songwriter Callaghan (Mullins produced her CD Life in Full Colour to be released on 5/1) who headlined her own show later in the week. Mullins shared a few new songs She Completes Me, Hold on Love and Sunshine, which sounded just great. He talked about 3-chord pop songs and how his songs do not often end on a chord, instead they fade out with a deceptive cadence. Meanwhile, Mr. Barb went to see Sara Watkins first solo show then to see the Ryan Montbleau Band. After Mullins, I stayed to see Edwin McCain and Maia Sharp perform. They each took a turn signing one of their songs, often co-written by the other. Great stories - Sharp talked about her song Red Dress turning into an Irish drinking song thanks to a male fan that was familiar with it at a past show and started singing along. Sharp has a new CD coming out in the summer. I met Mr. Barb in the atrium where we saw the end of Joe Purdy’s show. I also went to check out Bobby Long (definitely resembles Rhett Miller). Holly Williams has noticeably improved as a performed since her first cruise in 2008 (she also relayed the story of how she missed getting back on the boat at a port stop, when she didn’t change her watch to ship time and learned a valuable lesson that she wanted to pass along). It was our first time seeing James McMurtry and it was quite an upbeat rocking set of long songs. After that set it was another show from WPA. Sarah & Christian Dugas (The Duhks) hosted a throw down jam with musical guests that extended into the early morning hours. Shawn Mullins covered a Kris Kristofferson song, while the Watkins’ sang a Linda Ronstadt song.

Shawn Mullins

Tuesday, 2.7.12: Cayo Levantado. We stayed on board the ship. A nice discovery for us was Willie Watson, who had his own set. He commented that he was on board with WPA, then saw he was given a solo slot. He did a variety of songs on the banjo and guitar; joined on stage at times by Greg Leisz, as well as Sara & Sean Watkins. Mr. Barb stayed in his seat and saw Angie Aparo (he has quite a vocal range and uses one of those microphones that amplifies his speaking voice). I went out on the pool deck for Enter the Haggis. It was evident they fully absorbed all they could on their first voyage the previous year and took what they learned and put it into their current release Whitelake. Panda from the Shawn Mullins band joined them on saxophone & bass. Mr. Barb was really looking forward to seeing Iris Dement and he made sure to catch all of her shows as well as those of her husband, Greg Brown. I again went to see Edwin McCain and Maia Sharp – they were joined by Rhett Miller, the Watkins’ and the Dugas’. McCain and Sharp recorded Uncharted in a Holiday Inn on Sharp’s laptop, liked that version and put it on McCain’s Mercy Bound release (it sounded great live). We then enjoyed another set by the Ryan Montbleau Band. Afterwards “The Time Bandits” (the Shawn Mullins band with multiple guests) jammed in the atrium into the early morning hours with covers such as Ophelia, Statesboro Blues, Easy and Dreams.

Edwin McCain

Wednesday, 2.8.12: St. Maarten. Philipsburg is a beautiful city, we really enjoyed walking around. It was warm and sunny, in the upper 70’s, with a breeze. Once back on the ship, it was our first opportunity to see Mr. Buddy Miller. His guest was Jim Lauderdale, who wore an Elvis Presley like red sequenced jump suit and performed with Miller three George Jones songs. We saw the end of Shawn Mullins’ show on the pool deck, then went to see David Ryan Harris (who is simply captivating). I checked out Shannon McNally and Bobby Long (he tells great stories and is quite a developing young talent), while Mr. Barb stayed to see Greg Brown. In the midnight hour, I went to see songwriter’s talk about their songs and perform them. It was a stellar line up that could have gone on for hours. Edwin McCain was the host and he was joined by Rhett Miller, Angie Aparo, Joe Purdy and Jim Lauderdale. Miller told a story about trying to get Waylon Jennings to pronounce the word elixir correctly. McCain did an impassioned version of White Crosses. You could see the respect they had for each other and it is always interesting to hear the stories behind the songs. Mr. Barb went to see the duo of Aurora Belle.

Jim Lauderdale

Thursday, 2.9.12: St. Barts. One of the most beautiful port cities we have visited – where they speak French, use the Euro and tolerate visitors from a cruise ship walking around their village of Gustavia. It rained briefly, which only added to the ambience. I had to balance my time between seeing Edwin McCain & Maia Sharp (on keyboard & guitar) then to the final WPA show. We had two more Buddy Miller shows. At one show he had the drummer from Lucinda Williams band and Miller also had the upright bass player from the John Prine band accompany him and of course Greg Leisz on pedal steel. He had Richard Thompson as a guest at his last show – Mr. Miller was in awe of Thompson’s guitar playing. We caught a bit of Chuck Cannon’s show in between the Miller shows. We saw Sarah Buxton (married to a great guitarist, Tom Bukovac –who also sat in with Chuck Cannon and others). The evening ended with Enter The Haggis playing in the atrium into the morning.

Buddy Miller

Friday, 2.10.12: A day at sea. The music started at 12:30 p.m. and went past 2:00 a.m. We went to the pool deck to see the Ryan Montbleau Band. Hard to categorize their music, but we like it. I attended a beer tasting hosted by Glen Phillips. I learned a lot about the different types of beer with Phillips sharing some trivia and he even performed a song. Next it was to a very interesting songwriting workshop hosted by Shawn Mullins and Chuck Cannon (who did a signing in the merch store afterwards), while Mr. Barb was seeing Iris Dement. As we were walking into the main theater for a seat, we were treated to Loudon Wainwright III singing Dead Skunk (in the middle of the road).  We found a seat and finally got to see Keb’ Mo’. His special guest was Maia Sharp – she co-wrote All the Way on his current CD The Reflection, which they sang together. I have yet to hear a song by Keb’ Mo’ that I did not like. While Mr. Barb stayed to see Greg Brown, I went to see a Glen Phillips solo show (his guest was Ruby Amanfu, who can be heard on the new Jack White (solo) track Love Interruption). Then to see parts of shows by Bobby Long, and Sarah Buxton, before wrapping up the evening with The Watkins Family Hour - hosted by siblings Sara & Sean Watson. They normally do not perform the Watkins Family Hour outside of Largo, so this was a treat. Special guests included Buddy Miller and Glen Phillips, among others.

Keb' Mo'

Saturday, 2.11.12: Another day at sea with well over 13 hours of performances scheduled on the last full day of the cruise. We began on the pool deck with Chuck Cannon. We had front row tickets to see Shawn Mullins in the main theater. It was a highlight. Rhett Miller’s pool deck show got moved inside to the atrium, due to rain, so he just picked up where he left off on song #6, and guests included Sarah Lee & Johnny and Sarah Jaffee. Mr. Barb went to see another solo Sara Watkins snow. Enter the Haggis was the last show of the cruise on the pool deck. Mr. Barb went to see Iris Dement again. I caught a little bit of Antje Duvekot and then we saw Michael McDermott – who only did two shows – he is definitely an artist that we would like to hear more of. We attend Native Run’s last show – the trio singing Luke Brindley’s Wrecking Ball being a highlight each performance. Then to check out Anne Heaton followed by Levi Lowrey. The final show on the cruise was with David Ryan Harris, Edwin McCain and Angie Aparo each talking about and singing their songs and that turned into another jam session as guests joined them.

Shawn Mullins with his band

It was smooth sailing with wonderful weather and beautiful port stops. With over 40 performers and collaborations, these journeys through song continue to amaze us. The amount of talent on board a ship for 7 nights would be hard to fully duplicate on land. The performers seem to enjoy the cruise as much as we music fans do – since they normally do not get to see each other and perform together due to touring and recording. Saying it’s amazing does not seem to fully capture the experience. You get to interact with the performers – who you are in awe of and they are in turn in awe of the other performers on board. The artists say at their shows that it is an honor to be a part of this journey through song with all of us.

Barb S.- Sunday Mix Host

Posted in
February 15, 2012 by cindy@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 Justin Jacobs (talking to us via Skype!), contributing writer to Billboard & Relix Magazine. In case you missed it here's what he played with commentary by Justin: Nneka, "My Home" - This Nigerian goddess of awesome is like the perfect synthesis of two of my favorite singers — the soul and emotion of Corinne Bailey Rae and the funk and robot swagger of Janelle Monae. Play this track really loud, it'll be fun for everyone around you! Tennis, "My Better Self" - Cutesy indie pop husband-wife duo gets so much better on their second album. Maybe it's because they weren't writing about a sailboat this time out, but who knows. This record was produced by the Black Keys' Patrick Carney, and though there's no dirty blues here, his crisp production sounds great. Bonus track! Dr. Dog, "How Long Must I Wait" - My favorite track from my favorite band's new album. Such a good mood-enducing track. Buy the whole album, Be the Void, and support these Philly boys.

Pages