April 1, 2010 by cindy@wyep.org

New local music featured on WYEP's The Local News. Podcast it or tune in to The Local News (Mon-Thurs @ 9 PM).  

Nik & The Central Plains - "You're The Blues" (Nik & The Central Plains)
Nik Westman fronts this twangy/indie band. He's one of the best songwriters in Pittsburgh, noted for his meandering flow of conscious lyrics. You'll like this album if you are a fan of The Grateful Dead, Bob Marley or Pavement. The songs on the record range in dynamics- this one is a fairly breezy back porch folk number.

Larkin Mayberry - "In The Parlour" (IV)
Paul Rouse uses the moniker Larkin Mayberry. The recordings are sparse, but his voice is quite striking. Fans of Devendra Banhart may like this. Seems like he is just getting started on something with great potential.

Mark Rice - "Maybe This Time" (Topography of a Bird)
A native of Weirton, WV and now living in Pittsburgh. Mark has a nice gentle Josh Ritter type of voice with writing skills like Glen Hansard. The CD is very well produced and his band compliments his sounds quite well.

The Sparrows - "Hitchhiker" (Back In The Red)
This is a fun band with a classic Americana/Rock sound. The lyrics are nothing deep, but they are not trying to be. It seems like this band would put on a good live show- their guitar player is killer on the CD. Also features a former member of The Cynics.

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March 31, 2010 by cindy@wyep.org

Here's the link if the above video won't play for you

MGMT- "Flash Delerium" from Congratulations out 4/13 via Sony/Columbia

I'd give this video a 6.4 on the gross/creepy scale and a 7.8 on the awesome scale. I like the song more each time I hear it. These guys are onto something. Keep your eye out for the eye patch! Eye patches are the best!

Hear the rest of the new album here

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March 29, 2010 by kyle@wyep.org

It's hard to believe Eric Clapton's career has spanned 5 decades and he's not showing any signs of slowing down. Join us throughout the day on Tuesday, March 30th as we attempt to blow out 65 candles with a selection of Clapton tracks that span his career between 6am and 6pm. Tuesday night, Andy Cook will present and hour of music that features music from artists he's worked with, collaborated with, or have covered his work. Expect to hear some Cream, Toots Hibbert, Yardbirds, and a few other surprises tomorrow night at 8pm on 91.3fm WYEP.

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March 27, 2010 by cindy@wyep.org

This is an awesome song! Video is like Toy Story vs Saving Private Ryan.

more on Turin Brakes: Right Here

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March 26, 2010 by kyle@wyep.org

Here's the latest video from Ben Harper for "Lay There and Hate Me". If you click "Play with it", it allows you to remix three different versions of "Lay There and Hate Me"

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March 25, 2010 by kyle@wyep.org

New from the Brooklyn den of new music is the dream pop band Xylos. They'll be in Pittsburgh on April 14th, check out our concert calendar for more details. Their latest single is 'Not Enough' and is a well arranged and layered dream pop gem. Check out some free music from the band - "Not Enough" is a free download on the band's website

www.xylosmusic.com

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March 14, 2010 by barbmstein@aol.com

I've always thought of John Hiatt as simply a prolific songwriter.  His songs have been covered by numerous artists.  At his concert Friday night he proved that he was more than just a writer of songs, he is truly a gifted singer-songwriter and performer.

John Hiatt shared the stage with a very talented combo of players.  Doug Lancio on guitars, Kenny Blevins on drums and Patrick O'Hearn on bass.  What I found intriguing was that only Hiatt had a microphone.  He provided the vocals, along with accompaniment on various guitars. For over two hours, Hiatt sang, played a guitar and told stories; like about being married and the importance of the toilet paper being placed correctly on the dispenser (under or over).  Hiatt mixed in a few songs from his newly released CD "The Open Road", including the title track, "Haulin'", "Carry You Back Home" and "Like a Freight Train".  But, really, it was like being at a 'best of' concert: "Drive South", "Master of Disaster", "Crossing Muddy Waters", the fun "The Tiki Bar is Open", "Buffalo River Home", "Perfectly Good Guitar", "Tennessee Plates" (by request), "Feels Like Rain" (definitely a highlight), "Memphis In The Meantime" and the encore of "Riding with the King" and "Have a Little Faith in Me".  Hiatt is a consummate performer whose songs continue to endure the test of time whether performed by the writer himself or another artist.

Opening the show was the granddaughter of Hank Williams, Sr., daughter of Hank Williams, Jr. and half-sister of Hank Williams III.  Holly Williams did a brief 30-minute set of 7 songs, pulling from her 2 releases: "The Ones We Never Knew" and "Here With Me".  "Sometimes." "Mama" (about her mother.) "Three Days In Bed" (about the men she met while touring internationally.) Williams is a newlywed and her husband Chris Coleman joined her on guitar, harmonica and vocals mid-way though her set.  A cover of her favorite John Prine song "Angel from Montgomery."  Ending with "Without Jesus Here With Me" (chronicling a near death experience for her sister in a car crash.)  Williams celebrated her 29th birthday in Pittsburgh; the audience sang "Happy Birthday" to her before she left the stage.

Barb S. - Sunday Mix Host

Posted in
March 9, 2010 by cindy@wyep.org

Local News

New local stuff for March!!! Podcast it or tune in to The Local News (Mon-Thurs @ 9 PM)
Enjoy,
Cindy 

Colonizing The Cosmos- "Dear Citizens" (The First Frontier)
This band has potential to be one of the best local debuts this year. They have a great snappy sound that emulates The Mountain Goats, The Flaming Lips and Sufjan Stevens. It's a little weird, but still very catchy- not one clunker on the disc. The trio is made up of multi-instrumentalists who's day jobs list as an attorney, a filmmaker and a photographer.

summer-winter- "It Makes You Cry" (Alone Is Yes)
This is for fans of the shoegaze genre (Mazzy Star, My Bloody Valentine). The CD is full of slow, sombre songs with delicate instrumentation. This song might be the most exciting track on the album. It's very pretty, though. Good for crying times.

JD Eicher and The Goodnights- "The Shape of Things" (The Shape Of Things)
Fronted by 20 year old JD Eicher, the band has a Celtic/Indie rock sound in the tradition of The Waterboys and Carbon Leaf. They have been together for 4 years and stretch across Youngstown, OH and Pittsburgh. This is their first album. 

The Wreckids- "Millions In Money" (Singing You To Sleep, But Giving You Nightmares)
Formally know as Scotts Roger, this adorable husband and wife duo have finally released a collaborative EP together as The Wreckids. Scott and Sarah sing sweet funny songs together that will make you wonder if Scott has listened to tons of Loudon Wainwright III (he hasn't by the way- he's more of a Dar Williams Man).

Posted in
February 28, 2010 by barbmstein@aol.com

The shortest of these three themed singer-songwriter cruises may go down as the best one to date. We heard a lot of music and witnessed amazing performances in our five day journey through song.

Of the 29 acts on-board, thanks to much collaboration, between the two of us, we saw all but Rachael Yamagata. You sometimes have to take a nap, shower or eat.

Day One: Glen Phillips (solo), accompanied by Jonathan Kingham, was a great way to begin our journey out to sea. We were supposed to attend our first headliner show, Lyle Lovett, but due to technical difficulties the start of the Lovett show was delayed. So we checked out other artists instead: the married couple Luke & Melissa (Luke Doucet & Melissa McClelland) from Canada, then Darrell Scott, followed by Shawn Mullins (who brought Chuck Cannon up to share the stage for a few songs), then Ben Taylor (joined by Brandi Carlile and the Twins on an Everly Brothers song) and ended the evening with a show by Edwin McCain. Our day began at 3:00 a.m., ending after 12:30 a.m. the following day. Thank goodness we sailed into Central time & gained that hour.

Day Two: A day at sea. In the morning, I attended a Songwriting Workshop hosted by Shawn Mullins and Chuck Cannon. Cannon has written six #1 hits and many top 20 country songs. They talked about the mixed blessing of having a hit song. The hardest part is getting the idea. Mullins praised AAA radio stations. They discussed their pick up systems (both use bags). Cannon tunes down. Using a new song “I Just Want to Light You Up”, Cannon and Mullins talked about writing that song and invited us to all sing along on the chorus. Mullins is old school, melodic; as is Cannon. Cannon noted that even the great songwriter Leonard Cohen re-writes his songs to make them better. Using a computer and GarageBand are modern conveniences to songwriting. Cannon does not write down anything, if it’s good enough, he will remember it. Jimmy Webb uses a rhyming dictionary. Love only rhymes with so many words. Both Cannon & Mullins value hard rhymes (love, above; true, blue) vs. soft rhymes. Even if you’re never heard a song before, with a hard rhyme you know what line is coming next. Jimmy Webb has the top 5 performed songs (e.g. "By the Time I Get to Phoenix", "Galveston", "Wichita Lineman") Theater music is another example of hard rhymes, where they have only one chance to grab you. With hard rhymes, those songs have staying power for 25-30 years. You don’t have to hear them over and over again on the radio. Someone asked about the bridge in a song. Mullins said it was an extra while Cannon said he doesn’t need that approach. Smokey Robinson songs typically are verse, chorus, chorus, chorus, chorus, etc. thus, getting in to your head. The bridge needs to say something. Mullins talked about starting out on a larger label and moving to a smaller label where he has more creative freedom. When co-writing, Darrell Scott was quoted “gotta be honest”. You need to have chemistry. It was a very interesting hour hearing the two songwriters talk about their craft. Cannon is so modest about his songwriting abilities and a definite find for us on this cruise.

Day two performances: Gregory Alan Isakov, Stephen Kellogg & the Sixers, Shawn Mullins, Vienna Teng & Alex Wong (with Jonathan Kingham doing an impromptu rap about the cruise, which he had done the previous year – one of those memorable moments), Hoots and Hellmouth, our headliner that night, Brandi Carlile brought out Shawn Mullins to sing “Beautiful Wreck” and Katie Herzig and her band to do “Wish You Well”, and later Brandi’s younger sister, Tiffany joined her on stage. Another show by Edwin McCain, followed by the first show of Works Progress Administration which performed as a 7-piece band, including Sara Watkins on fiddle and vocals and Greg Leisz on pedal steel guitar (Every show, WPA started with “Always Have My Love” and with the addition of the pedal steel guitar it was just amazing), and we ended the night with Robert Earl Keen (solo), who told the funniest stories (at one point I was laughing and crying) and the highlight each show was “Merry Christmas from the Family”. Keen is one of our favorite discoveries from the cruise.

Day Three: Belize City, Belize, Central America: A chance to get off the ship and bask in their one season of 90 degrees with 90 percent humidity. The evenings music began on the pool deck with Works Progress Administration, followed by Darrell Scott and friends, which included two of his former students (Sarah Sample being one) and Luke Bulla from WPA. While we were having dinner an announcement was made that a special concert was being added in the movie theater. The Watkins Family Hour. Sara & Sean Watkins were joined by other members of WPA and Mr. Buddy Miller on a couple of songs (including one by Hank Williams). That’s an example of some of the surprise unexpected collaborations on-board. The Watkins regularly get together to play in Largo and the people they usually play with were on the ship, so why not get together and play for us. And it was wonderful to listen in on such an amazing group of musicians. After a quick visit to the chocolate buffet (including chocolate sushi), we went to see Ben Taylor again who was once again joined by Brandi Carlile who eventually made her way to sing with Katie Herzig and her band, along with Carlile’s drummer and the Twins.

Day Four: Costa Maya, Mexico was the port city. As we sailed away, I went to see Edwin McCain on the pool deck. Despite some rain drops, the show continued. Afterward McCain graciously signed autographs and posed for photos. McCain’s song “I’ll Be” was a #1 hit in the Philippines and some of the wait staff on the cruise from the Philippines were there and they treated McCain like a rock star, each posing with him for a photo. While I was seeing McCain, Mr. Barb checked out Sara Watkins, who of course had members of WPA join her on stage. We had to catch Robert Earl Keen. Then I saw Stephen Kellogg & the Sixers again, while Mr. Barb went to see Brandi Carlile again (she was joined on stage by John Hiatt, Ben Taylor and Gregory Alan Isakov). Followed by Buddy Miller, who filled the room past capacity (Mr. Barb and I had to share a seat) and he brought on stage a few of his friends including Ms. Emmylou Harris (they did “Sea of Heartbreak”), Sara Watkins and a previous headliner on the cruise, who was just on-board as a guest, Ms. Shawn Colvin. We ended the day with Shawn Mullins and friends, which included (among others) Edwin McCain, Alex Wong, Glen Phillips, Chuck Cannon and Jonathan Kingham (who did another cruise rap). Before we turned in we caught the energized band Scythian.

Day Five: Back into the Eastern time zone and a very rocky day at sea until mid-afternoon. David Dye, host of NPR’s World Cafe was on-board for the first time to conduct interviews with John Hiatt, Robert Earl Keen, Emmylou Harris, Buddy Miller, Lyle Lovett, Steve Earle, Ben Taylor & Stephen Kellogg. These interviews and performances from the cruise will be broadcast on the World Cafe in April. I was able to attend the interview session with Lyle Lovett and Steve Earle. Dye focused on both performers’ musical roots in Texas. No spoilers, but Earle impressed me as being very articulate (even if some of his comments will have to be edited for radio). Lovett, as usual, was very professional. While I was at the World Cafe interview, Mr. Barb caught a bit of Lissie performing. We then attended the Session which included Shawn Mullins, Glen Phillips, Rebecca Lovell, Chuck Cannon, and Edie Carey along with Megan Lovell on dobro. These talented singer-songwriters gathered together in the fall to write songs. Six songs were written in three days. They discussed the process with each song and performed them, along with a few other songs in this 90-minute session. All of the songs written during that session would be a wonderful addition to any of their future CD’s (although Cannon added at this rate he didn’t think his next CD would be out until 2018). The songwriters really respect each other and enjoyed co-writing. Mr. Barb got to see Samantha Crain, and then we went to an autograph session with Shawn Mullins in the merch area. I went to the Songwriters In the Round with Katie Herzig, Luke Doucet and his wife Melissa McClelland, Gregory Alan Isakov and Vienna Teng.  Each artist talked about the songwriting process for a song and then performed that song. Luke and Melissa performed a song they wrote while on the cruise. Mr. Barb went to see Larkin Poe (formerly The Lovell Sisters) instead, on the pool deck. In the evening we went to the final performance by WPA, then to see our headliner, Mr. Steve Earle (solo). We rounded out the evening with a bit of Vienna Teng, who was joined by The Lovells, Luke Bulla and a member of Hoots & Hellmouth. We just had to catch Robert Earl Keen again and a little of the final act, Darrell Scott, before heading off to sleep.

The amount of collaborations and the chance to interact more with many of the artists, including the headliners, really made this cruise even more amazing than previous years. Next year they are thinking about going back to a 7-day cruise and have confirmed John Prine as a headliner. I wasn't able to bring back any warmth and sunshine, (reality check, as we landed at the airport while it was snowing); instead I came back home with a cold.  Amazing is the best word to described the memories and music going around in my head for this very unique and special journey through song.

Barb S.- Sunday Mix Host

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February 25, 2010 by kyle@wyep.org

Ali Farka Touré and Toumani Diabaté perform "Kala Djula" off Ali and Toumani, their second and last album pairing, recorded in London in 2005. Ali and Toumani has just come out even though Ali Farka Touré passed away in 2006.  Enjoy the video for 'Kala Djula'.

Ali Farka Toure & Toumani Diabate \'Kala Djula\'

Posted in
February 25, 2010 by kyle@wyep.org

'Sugarcoating' is the new release due out April 6th from soulful singer-songwriter Martin Sexton.  Martin's been busy in the studio and video blogging during the live recording experience for his upcoming release. There are samples of a few of his new songs on his website www.martinsexton.com

February 20, 2010 by barbmstein@aol.com

29 acts. Five days. Ports of call in Belize and Mexico.

During the last week of February, Mr. Barb and I embark on our 3rd journey through song. The chartered cruise is on the same ship as last year.

The returning headliners: Lyle Lovett, John Hiatt, Emmylou Harris, Brandi Carlile are joined by Steve Earle .

Other returning singer-songwriters on-board will be: Katie Herzig, Edwin McCain, Buddy Miller, Shawn Mullins, Darrell Scott, and Vienna Teng & Alex Wong.

New to the line-up: Chuck Cannon, Edie Carey, Luke Doucet, Hoots and Hellmouth, Gregory Alan Isakov, Robert Earl Keen (solo), Stephen Kellogg & the Sixers, Lissie, Melissa McClelland, Scott Munns, Larkin Poe (formerly the Lovell Sisters), Samantha Crain, Scythian, Ben Taylor, Francisco Vidal, Sara Watkins, Works Progress Administration, and Rachael Yamagata.

Again this year, the organizers of the event sent us a 2-CD set of 24 songs from the artists scheduled to be on the 2010 cruise.

It’s always great to see the returning artists; and we know we will discover some new artists too. In addition, there are some events I’m really looking forward to: A Songwriting Workshop hosted by Shawn Mullins and Chuck Cannon; Songwriters in the Round with Katie Herzig, Luke Doucet and his wife Melissa McClelland, Gregory Alan Isakov and Vienna Teng; plus on the last day a Session that will include Shawn Mullins, Glen Phillips, Rebecca Lovell, Chuck Cannon, and Edie Carey who will discuss their writing process and perform some of their collaborative songs.  In addition, as third-time alumni we will have the chance to sit in on one of the special interviews with artists, hosted by David Dye of NPR's World Cafe.

We chose the earliest headliner show time of 6:00 PM this year. In previous years I’ve been known to (ahem) take a nap during the headliner shows, so I can be rested for the late night shows. The schedule this year is mercifully more friendly to those of us who are “morning people” and don’t necessarily want to try to stay awake until 12:30 AM to see a performer. Although I must admit some of my favorite memories are from the post Midnight shows, as you never know what you’re going to get. Our first headliner act on the day we sail is Mr. Lyle Lovett.

We expect plenty of sunshine, happy smiling faces, unexpected impromptu collaborations, and to add to our CD collection. Besides some stories for the WYEP Music Blog; I plan to bring back some sun and warmth in my suitcase for a winter weary Burgh.

Barb S.- Sunday Mix Host

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February 19, 2010 by cindy@wyep.org

Local News
Okay! I know the month is almost over, but I had to shovel out this blog (#SnOMGPgh!) and it took longer than I anticipated. Soooooo here's the featured local artists of the month airing on The Local News (Mon-Thurs @ 9 PM or on the podcast) for my birthday month.... xoxo Cindy

Paul Luc- "Aftermath" (A Revival. A Roadsong. A Rearview Mirror.)
This is Paul's second release. He's working with the same band- who make up a large part of The Paul Luc sound. This is not a singer-songwriter-folk album. This is a roots-rock anthem-filled rock-rocky album. This song serves as a great opening to the record.

Bill Toms & Hard Rain- "Sweat Stained Shirts" (Live At Moondog's)

Solid live album from one of Pittburgh's finest Blue-Collared Soul/Blues musicians. This tracks shows Bill's pride in his Pittsburgh roots through the town's steel mill history. Someone get this song to Bruce Springsteen ASAP.

Nicole Reynolds- "Crazy as You" (A Fine Set of Fools)
Nicole's delicate, yet effective, dynamic is ever-present on this sonically diverse album. This song is a fun upbeat sweet indie rock number which features smart witty lyrics. Sounds great!

Beware Fashionable Women- "Rock Bottom" (Beware Fashionable Women)
BFW's sound captures that ironic alt-rock we all love from the 90's. They remind me of bands like Weezer, Blink 182 and They Might Be Giants in certain ways. They also have some sweet Beach Boys-esque harmonies on this song.

Posted in
February 10, 2010 by kyle@wyep.org


The 9th Annual Bonnaroo Music & Arts Festival lineup was announced yesterday.  Some of the artists scheduled to appear this year the festival include; The Dave Matthews Band, Kings of Leon, Stevie Wonder, Jay-Z, Weezer, Flaming Lips performing Dark Side Of The Moon, The Dead Weather, Phoenix, John Fogerty, Jimmy Cliff, Avett Brothers, Norah Jones, LCD Soundsystem, Tori Amos, The National, Jeff Beck, Michael Franti, Medeski, Martin & Wood, Baaba Maal, and the Thievery Corporation.

The complete list of artists appearing at one of the country's largest music festivals can be found at www.bonnaroo.com.

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Posted in
February 9, 2010 by kyle@wyep.org

Congratulations is the new release from MGMT. It's the follow up to their debut Oracular Spectacular, which garnered them critical acclaim, a large fan base, shows at many festivals, and being tagged as a 'visionary force in pop music '.

Congratulations is Produced by MGMT and Sonic Boom (Spacemen 3, E.A.R., Spectrum), Congratulations was recorded throughout 2009 in upstate New York, Malibu, and Brooklyn and features Andrew Vanwyngarden and Ben Goldwasser, MGMT's core duo, performing with Matt Asti (bass, backing vocals), Will Berman (drums, backing vocals), and James Richardson (guitar, backing vocals), the band's live line-up.

The new release is due out April 13th.

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