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Wednesday was a warm day (low 80’s, 80% humidity) at our first port stop Road Town, Tortola, British Virgin islands, with another full night of music on tap and even more musical choices to make.

The music got underway at 6pm with Will Hoge on the pool deck.  Mr. Hoge, came out on stage alone to sing a couple of new songs, before bringing out his band.   It was so windy on the pool deck, that Mr. Hoge’s guitars fell over and got out of tune.  For the remainder of his set, someone stood by his guitars to keep them steady on stage.  Like many of the artists on board , Mr. Hoge is humbled to be in the presence of such greats such as John Prine.  For his last song, Mr. Hoge dedicated it to Kevn Kinney.  When Mr. Hoge was starting out 11 years ago, they opened a show for Drivin’ and Cryin.  They were only paid $75 by the promoter.  After the gig, Mr. Kinney opened his wallet and gave Mr. Hoge $200, knowing they probably did not get paid a lot to open.  Mr. Hoge appreciated that and has never forgotten the gesture and tries to “pay back” the favor when he can.  Mr. Barb went to take sunset photos at the same time as a member of  Enter the Haggis (they discussed cameras.).  Then Mr. Barb went to catch Ellis Paul and I joined him later in the atrium for the last part of that show.  Mr. Ellis  is going to have 8 songs in the forthcoming movie “Hall Pass”.  We then went to see the end of Colin Hay’s show.  He was joined by his wife on vocals and she also danced.  Mr. Hay was not feeling well, but seemed to be holding his own.  He even had the bartenders singing along to a Men at Work song.  Mr. Hay noted that he gave up drinking about 20 years ago.  We continued our musical journey with The Masterson’s (they are in Steve Earle’s band).  This was the only scheduled show for this husband and wife duo.  We went to see the Steep Canyon Rangers again.  They are quite impressive in their suits and old-time approach to bluegrass.  They are known as Steve Martin’s band, and really taking bluegrass to a new level; including writing new music (they also have a new CD coming out soon). This was followed by another set from WPA, who again had Dan Wilson (Semisonic) join them; he also performed “Free Life” again (I could not get that song out of my head all the next day).  Again Luke Bulla, Glen Phillips and Sean Watkins took turns on lead vocals.  To end the evening we caught a little of Kevn Kinney’s truck stop.  He had guests like Shawn Mullins, Will Hoge, Ellis Paul, Chuck Cannon  and The Mastersons join him.  I had one of those cruise moments, when we the elevator doors opened, and there stood Shawn Mullins with his guitarist Patrick Blanchard.  We said hello and I asked Mr. Mullins if he was able to get ashore (Mr. Mullins has commented the previous night he is usually up all night and doesn’t get up in time to get off the ship).  He did get off the ship and we compared our sun burns and then complimented him on his show.  He said to check him out again and we told him we certainly will.  Thursday was yet another warm day (low 80’s, 80% humidity) at our 2nd port stop St. Croix, US Virgin Islands, with another full night of music.

Barb S. - SundayMix Host

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Tuesday was another warm, humid and breezy day at sea on our journey through song.

The music got underway at 1pm with Sam and Ruby on the pool deck. They have wonderful harmonies. In the atrium we got our 4-timer alumni group photo taken. There are 184 of us on-board and we make up 9% of the cruisers this year. Glen Phillips, on a borrowed acoustic guitar from Luke Bulla, did a set in the Bliss Lounge (aka, the bowling alley). Mr. Phillips went on his usual tangents for an hour (it is quiet endearing), in between songs from his solo work and with Toad the Wet Sprocket (including the very the appropriate “Walk on the Ocean”) He also did a song he co-wrote with Dan Wilson and had us singing harmonies and backing vocals without much rehearsal on a few others. Mr. Phillips ended with a Paul Simon song “It’s Allright”. We may get to see a new CD of unreleased songs from Mr. Phillips, if the airline ever gets their luggage to this ship. There’s an added “All Request” show with Mr. Phillips in the atrium later this week. I joined Mr. Barb on the pool deck as he was watching Larkin Poe perform. They ended their show again with a Jimi Hendrix song. They have a boxed set of 4-EP’s based on each season (Winter, Spring, Summer and Fall) which they have been playing songs from. I went to see Will Hoge on the pool deck. He promises that all his shows on board will be different. He works very hard at his craft and like many of the other songwriters on-board seemed humbled to be in the presence of so many talented singer-songwriters. Mr. Hoge is in the process of working on a new album and even brought the hard drive on board to work on the album. He also shared a couple of brand new songs with us. Our headliner show tonight was Brandi Carlile. One of her special guests was Emily Saliers (Indigo Girls) and a couple of other session musicians on board. Ms. Carlile road tested a couple of brand new songs (she’s going into the studio February 28th), including a performance debut of a song called “Bird on a Wire”. We liked the new material very much. The floating music festival atmosphere on this cruise lends itself to artists trying out new material. She’s really gained alot of confidence since the 1st cruise with her stage presence and material. She performed “The Story” and a wonderful version of “Caroline”. We went early to get a seat to see Shawn Mullin’s and so got to see his sound check. Mr. Mullins looked out at all of us sitting there and said “Y’all aren’t supposed to be here. (pause). But I’m kind of glad you’re here”. He added we’re not supposed to see all their mistakes and that it was like a magician practicing all his tricks. Another great performance by Shawn Mullins, which included Chuck Cannon as a guest. They co-wrote a song that will be on a new gospel album that will include Emmylou Harris and the Carolina Chocolate Drops. It’s about giving God the blues. This is probably my favorite show so far this week as it had a lot of energy, with an appreciative audience. We all sang along again on “Light You Up”. They moved the Loudon Wainwright show to a larger venue, due to demand. We opted to see Dan Wilson’s solo set in the bar lounge. Mr. Wilson recorded his first solo album “Free Life” with about 30 friends; 2 of who joined him on stage, Ruby (Sam and Ruby) and Sean Watkins (WPA, Nickel Creek). He performed some new music from a CD that he just finished, as well as tracks from “Free Life”, ending the show with the title track. We ended the evening in the atrium bopping along to the music of Roddie Romero and the Hub City All-Stars. I had the chance to talk with Glen Phillips prior to his solo set, as he was walking by on the pool deck eating an orange. He said he was just trying to wake up. We also chatted with Ellis Paul, who told us that if we have the chance to vote, he’d definitely like to come back next year (yes, we can certainly can oblige!). Mr. Barb requested one of Mr. Paul’s older songs (“She Loves a Girl”) and Mr. Paul commented that it was from 13 years ago and he’d have to work that up (maybe we will see it in a future set?). We also keep meeting people from Pittsburgh. PA has 109 people on this cruise, with only states like CA, TX and FL having more cruisers. Wednesday is a warm day (low 80’s, 80% humidity) It’s our first port stop Road Town, Tortola, British Virgin islands, with another full night of music on tap and even more musical choices to make.

Barb S - Sunday Mix host

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Red and white streamers with heart shaped decorations and signs reminded us it was Valentine’s Day even though we’re on a cruise ship at sea.

The music got underway at 1pm with Steep Canyon Rangers on a sunny warm (mid 70’s) and very windy pool deck. Dressed in neatly tailored suits, they played the old time bluegrass, new compositions; while at times gathering around one microphone to sing in the old style. Kevn Kinney told very interesting stories in a conversationalist style. He commented that he wasn’t used to playing a show so early (2:30 p.m.) to an audience that was so intently listening. Enter the Haggis provided Celtic music that included bag pipes and a multi-instrumentalist who could play the keyboards and violin and really kept things moving on the pool deck. I attended a taping of a World Cafe episode that will feature Will Hoge and Scott Miller. (no spoilers, but the show was being taped on Valentine’s Day, so that was a theme) Host David Dye asked the songwriters to play four songs: their favorite song that they wrote early on, a current favorite they wrote, a cover song and a song that they can’t leave out of their shows. At the end, Mr. Hoge & Mr. Miller collaborated on a song. Mr. Dye said the episodes taped on board will probably air on World Cafe in April. We also heard a couple more songs by Tyrone Wells on the pool deck. Tonight was our first headliner, Steve Earle. He brought his new band, which also included his wife Allison Moorer on keyboards, guitar and backing vocals. Ms. Moorer will also play solo shows and tape an episode of World Cafe with Dar Williams. Mr. Earle welcomed us to his vacation and started the show with “Copperhead Road”, adding in a song about Valentine’s Day. He did an extended version of “City of Immigrants” and included a song that he wrote with his wife Ms. Moorer, adding, so they could sing it together on stage. The set really rocked. Mr. Earle has a CD coming out in April (produced by T. Bone Burnett) and will be touring to support it. We had to wait in line to attend the SRO performance of Dar Williams (we had heard it was packed earlier in this venue for Loudon Wainwright and a future show has been moved to a larger venue). Ms. Williams enjoyed sharing her songs with an appreciative audience and ended her set with “Pagans and Christians”. Mr. Barb caught a couple of songs by Jim Bianco. Ellis Paul performed his first set on-board with a band that included a guitar, keyboard and accordion. Mr. Paul seemed to enjoy his first journey through song. Had us singing “nah nah’s”. He began with “Rose Tattoo” and even did a Christmas song about armadillos in TX. We went to catch the ending of Chuck Cannon’s show, thinking we would be able to call it an early night. Little did we know that Mr. Cannon did not want to turn in early. Mr. Cannon unplugged his guitar and like a piped piper invited all of us to follow him upstairs to the atrium to crash the jam session. We dutifully followed and we were all treated to impromptu performances from Shawn Mullins with his band. Imagine an atrium full of people and more people up above on the next deck looking over and singing along on an extended jam of “Light You Up” (we all knew the words). “Will It Go Round in Circles” was the next jam. Brother and sister duo from Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada Sarah and Christian Dugas (The Duhks) came up to sing “Superstition”, along with Roddie Romero. And the music continued long after that. We got to chat briefly with Kevn Kinney and Luke Bulla (WPA) to tell them we enjoyed their performances and music. We also had the opportunity to talk to a couple of WYEP listener members who are on-board. Tuesday is bringing us another warm, humid and breezy day of music at sea.

Barb S. Sunday Mix Host

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Our 4th journey though song began as we sailed away from the port of Miami.

Appropriately w/ 4-time cruise veteran Shawn Mullins kicking things off this week of music on the pool deck. He brought a band, including veteran Davis Causey (Sea Level). Brandi Carlile joined Mr. Mullins on “Beautiful Wreck”. This was followed by a group photo. The Grammy nominated Roddie Romero and the Hub City All-Stars performed on the Pool Deck next providing their danceable New Orleans tinged Cajun roots and rhythm mix of music. We spent the rest of the evening going between venues to catch a little bit of a few acts. Our first discovery of the cruise was Tyrone Wells. Amazing voice, songwriting and engaging personality; someone we were not familiar with and he can now count us as fans. He’s based in CA. I went afterwards to the merch store to buy his CD’s, have them signed and snap a photo with him (he plans to be in Pittsburgh in the fall). We listened to part of Chuck Cannon’s show while standing in a bowling alley. We could not see him, but very much enjoyed his storytelling and listening to his music. Mr. Cannon’s songs have been covered by many other artists, and he’s very modest about his accomplishments. Next we enjoyed the last few songs by David Ryan Harris (he’s in John Mayer’s band). Another great voice and talent. Larkin Poe are sisters who took their name after a family member. Call it contemporary bluegrass with the sisters on mandolin and dobro and lap steel. Not too many young performers can cover Don Williams and Jimi Hendrix in one set. We wrapped up our first evening with the latest incarnation of WPA. The Glen Phillips fronted “supergroup” whose members seem to be interchangeable. Very happy to see Luke Bulla (Lyle Lovett) back on board along with Sean Watkins (Nickel Creek). Sebastian Steinberg (Soul Coughing) was on bass with Jerry Poe on drums. Each member took their turn singing their songs, including “Always Have My Love” to end their set. There was even some new WPA music played. They have a 4 song EP available. This 4X4 WPA includes Phillips, Steinberg, Poe & Watkins. Mr. Phillips was his usual irreverent self, going from topics such as Jewish Pirates, Brandi Carlile, Seattle, alumni cruisers and some tips on how to celebrate Valentine’s Day (you had to be there). Mid-set they were joined on stage by Dan Wilson (Semisonic) who performed “Free Love” and another song about love. Mr. Wilson will also do a solo set this week. We celebrated Valentine’s Day early with a late night/early morning snack outside, on the back deck of the restaurant. They were putting up Valentine’s Day decorations. We’re sailing into Atlantic Time and really do miss that hour of sleep.

Barb S. - Sunday Mix Host

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In mid-February, Mr. Barb and I embark on our 4th  journey through song.  This year, we are on a larger ship, The Pearl.  Sold-out.  Almost 2,400 passengers on a 7-night cruise visiting ports-of-call in the US & British Virgin Islands and the Bahamas.  Three days at sea, including Valentine’s Day.  It’s yet another stellar line-up of over 30 acts.

There is one new headliner, John Prine, who is joining past headliners such as: Patty Griffin, Indigo Girls, Steve Earle and The Dukes, Brandi Carlile (who has been on all 4 cruises), and Buddy Miller.

Other returning singer-songwriters on-board will be: Shawn Mullins (another 4-time cruiser) , Jim Bianco, Chuck Cannon, David Ryan Harris, Larkin Poe, Roddie Romero and the Hub City All Stars, and Works Progress Administration (WPA).

New on the journey through song will be: Richard Thompson, Loudon Wainwright III (there will be a Loud and Rich show one night), Allison Moorer (Steve Earle’s wife was scheduled to be on board last year, but she was due to deliver their son then), Colin Hay  Dar Williams, Scott Miller, Ellis Paul, Steep Canyon Rangers, Will Hoge, Sam & Ruby, Kevn Kinney, Toby Lightman, Enter the Haggis, Tyrone Wells, Lucy Wainwright Roche, Shannon Whitworth  and Sarah & Christian Dugas.

This year, in a green initiative, instead of sending us a CD in advance, we were able to download 29 songs from the artists scheduled to be on the 2011 cruise.

It’s a treat to see the returning performers; and we know, especially looking at this line-up, we are definitely going to discover some new artists too.  In addition, there’s some events I’m really looking forward to:  This year’s version of Songwriters in the Round will be with Patty Griffin, Buddy Miller, Dar Williams and Scott Miller; Shawn Mullins will be headlining a concert in the main theater (for which we have front row seats!); and the non-music onboard activity of Beer Tasting with Glen Phillips (WPA) – I don’t even drink beer, but with Mr. Phillips as host, it’s bound to be a hoot.  The cruise begins with Shawn Mullins on the pool deck as we sail away from Miami and ends with Brandi Carlile teaming up with the Indigo Girls.

We again chose the earliest headliner show time of 6:00 PM.  The schedule remains friendly to those of us who are “morning people” and don’t necessarily want to try to stay awake until Midnight to see a performer every night.

We expect plenty of sunshine, permanent smiles on our faces, unexpected impromptu collaborations (which is what this journey though song is really all about), and to add to our CD collection.  I’ll have lots of stories to share via the WYEP Music blog.  We’re packing sun block and hopefully I won’t bring back a cold this year.

Barb S.- Sunday Mix Host

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  Joshua Radin

Joshua Radin started off his latest tour Friday night in front of a sold-out crowd in Millvale.

Over the course of one-hour and ten-minutes, Mr. Radin performed songs with his three-piece band from his three-releases.  There was the poignant song that was one of the first he ever wrote around the time of  Hurricane Katrina "Everything'll Be Alright (Will's Lullaby)". The title track from his most recent (2010) release "The Rock and The Tide".  Showing his rock side on "Nowhere to Go".  A more pop side on "Brand New Day".  Mr. Radin, talked between songs, about being from Cleveland and how his songwriting has been influenced by two failed relationships. Brandon Walters proved he was a talented sideman by playing the guitar, keyboards and zylophone it seemed all at one time.  Audience participation was also encouraged from clapping to screaming out lyrics. "Today" was the song Mr. Radin sang at the wedding of Ellen Degeneres and Portia de Rossi. Mr. Radin also included a song he wrote in one of his darkest times "You Got Growin' Up To Do".  "Closer" was the final song before the encore of "Winter".

Opening the show was Anya Marina. There was the first night on tour glitch when Ms. Marina's microphone was not working during her initial song.  Once that was fixed, her 35-minute set continued on with the next 6 songs, including the title track of her latest EP "Spirit School".  A combination of Cyndi Lauper and Jill Sobule crossed my mind. She also got the crowd to sing and clap along with her songs.

Barb. S - Sunday Mix Host

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Even though it’s only January, I have a CD already on my Best of 2011 list.  “The Next Right Thing” is the sophomore release on MPress for singer-songwriter Seth Glier.  This musician from Massachusetts has assurance well beyond his 22-years.

The CD opens with the title track.  It only includes vocals, drums and percussion coming in under 2 minutes.  A unique way to take the listener into the next dozen tracks.  There are also two short instrumental transition pieces among the 13 tracks.  “Beauty in the Breakdown” is one of the songs that have a brief instrumental introduction which helps the song build.  “Walk Katie Home” and “What The Others Have Done” tell stories in about 4 minutes.  “First” gives you the hint that this is a young lyricist with a line referring to high school sweethearts who keep the zip code where their folks live. The song also includes current events like what’s going on in Detroit and Bagdad.  You may write about what you know, but with Mr. Glier you can relate to the images he paints no matter what your age.  My favorite track is “Lauralee”  This song sounds like Ellis Paul joining with Coldplay (really!)  Edwin McCain provides backing vocals on “I Don’t Need You”.  Mr. Glier has performed over 200 shows and “No Place to Land” talks about missing someone while out on the road.

Mr. Glier’s friends / mentors / fans include the likes of James Taylor, Livingston Taylor, Ellis Paul, Maia Sharp, Edwin McCain, Stephen Kellogg, and The Verve Pipe.  I too am a fan of Mr. Glier and this CD.  I’ve seen Mr. Glier open for Livingston Taylor and Maia Sharp.  I look forward to the day Mr. Glier earns his status as a headliner.

Barb S - Sunday Mix Host

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The first show of the second season of what is usually a quarterly event, the Songwriters Spotlight, took place Saturday night at the New Hazlett Theater.

Hosted by Joe Grushecky and Rick Witkowski. The guest songwriters were Greg Joseph (The Clarks), Maddie Georgi and Jeff Schmutz (Good Brother Earl).

The format:  Each singer-songwriter performs two to three of their original songs, then each performs a cover of a song that they wish they wrote, and the two hours of music ends with a group collaboration / sing-a-long.

The hosts Mr. Grushecky and Mr. Witkoswki are at each end of a semi-circle with the guest singer-songwriters in the middle.

Mr. Grushecky offered "The Sun is Going to Shine" (East Carson Street), "Another Rainy Day in Pittsburgh (Fingerprints) sounding like it was from Jimmy Webb/Burt Bacharach 1960's era, "Beauty Fades" (A Good Life), along with his cover of The Rolling Stones "Wild Horses".  He also reminisced, on the anniversary of Elvis Presely's birth, about a visit to Graceland before it was open to the public, which gave way to an impromptu short medley of Presley's songs.

Mr. Witkoswki sang the rocky hip hop Gothic "Do You Have it (Guts)" and a song from the "Prog Rock" group Crack the Sky's 3rd album that he wrote with his wife that had the 1940's feel to it "A Night on the Town" (played on the ukulele).  He covered the Carole King and Gerry Goffin penned "Will You Love Me Tomorrow".

Mr. Joseph performed "Mississippi Mud" (with a sampling of "Delta Dawn" at the end), "Snowman" (a children's song about cocaine), and "Magazine" along with a cover of David Gray's "Babylon" which was spot on.

Ms. Georgi is a freshman in college, who found herself center stage amongst the more seasoned songwriters.  She sang "Shades of Green", "I Like The Way That Feels", and "Already Gone" (about your senior year of high school going by too quickly).  Ms. Georgi's cover of Leonard Cohen's "'Hallelujah" was simply breathtaking.

Mr. Schmutz songs included "Glass Tiger" and "Firefly" with a cover of the Hank Williams Sr. song "Long Gone Lonesome Blues" which gave him a chance to yodel.

The final number was Bob Dylan's "Like a Rolling Stone" with the audience accompanying the talented singer-songwriters each time on the chorus.

It was the 3rd Songwriters Spotlight I was able to attend and I look forward to future installments to discover more local singer-songwriters.

Barb S. - Sunday Mix Host

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Who is Jann Klose?  Let’s find out more about this singer-songwriter, musician, “citizen of the world” who has a song on an album that has been nominated for a Grammy.

Barb WYEP’s Sunday Mix Host (WYEP): Jann thanks for taking the time to answer some questions via email for the WYEP Music Blog.

WYEP:  You were born in Germany, raised in Kenya and South Africa, then went back to Germany, before going to Cleveland, Ohio as an exchange student.  That’s quite a mixture of cultures.  Is that reflected in your music?

Jann Klose (JK): Yes, I think it is... I've absorbed a lot of different kinds of music. From African roots music to American classic rock to European classical composers... keeps me from getting bored

WYEP:  Your song “Give In To This Life” is on a Grammy nominated (Best Spoken Word Album for Children) called “Healthy Food For Thought:  Good Enough to Eat”.  How did your song get chosen to be included on this compilation double-CD to be among such songs with titles like “Dirty Dishes”, “Sky Doodles” and “I Sailed on a Potato Chip Ship”?

JK: I knew Kevin Mackie, one of the team members involved with the project. I have another song on an earlier compilation, "Serenity House", that he had put together. When Kevin told me about the HFFT project I was eager to be involved again, it's such a great cause, one that I believe in from the bottom of my heart. The album raises money for the NY Coalition for Healthy School Food

WYEP: Your debut CD “Enough Said” was recorded in Youngstown, Ohio and released in 1997.  That seems to be far away from your roots, was it just the right time and place to make this first album a reality?

JK: I had just moved to Cleveland, Ohio and was getting my bearings on the music scene. I had sent out demos to various regional labels. One called 'Scream Records' - from Youngstown, Ohio - responded and I ended up working out a deal with them to record at their studios. I have been coming back to Youngstown ever since to play shows there whenever I'm touring though the Midwest. 

WYEP: Your band members have varied backgrounds;  jazz, orchestra, symphony, and chamber music.  It’s not typical of a singer-songwriter to have an oboe, violin, flute and accordion as accompaniment.  You also have arranged and produced some of your songs, including the strings.  Are you trying to bring a more “classical” sound to your music when you perform?

JK: Not really... I just enjoy hearing instruments and textures in combinations I'm not used to. I've also been very lucky to work with musicians that are into picking up new instruments and just like trying stuff. Chris Marolf, who's been in my band for almost 8 years now just started playing the Kora, a West-African harp. We've been using it on the road a lot. I call it the Harp-to-go.

WYEP: I’ve had the chance to do email interviews with other artists who have gone the “fan funding” route – like Jill Sobule and Luke Brindley.  Your CD “Reverie” was made with fan support and you are now raising money for your new album, The People Records Project. Please tell us more about that process and how well it’s been working for you.

JK: Well, we just started the fundraiser a couple of weeks ago and have – so far – raised $1200. It's amazing for me to see that there's that kind of support out there for musicians and artists. It's inspiring. It's always hard to ask for help but in this new paradigm of the music business, many, many bands have eliminated the middle man and have a much closer relationship with their fans. We still have a ways to go – so I encourage people to check out what we offer in return for a donation at peoplerecordsmusic.com

WYEP: Over the years you’ve had the opportunity to be around artists like Pete Seeger, Les Paul, Roger McGuinn, Rosanne Cash and Marty Stuart.  What have you learned from these encounters with such seasoned performers?

JK: Well, all the artists you mentioned are very kind, hard-working people. I think sitting in with Les Paul and his band was the most humbling – and intimidating experience... his band is just so badass. I felt like a novice. But Les made me feel totally comfortable and at ease. 

WYEP: Your music is being heard all over the world from the USA to England to Indonesia.  What would you like those of us in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania to know about you and your music?

JK:  I love playing live more than anything... every show is a different experience for me. A lot has to do with the people in the audience and the venue, itself. A lot of my friends have played Club Cafe, including The Strawbs and Willy Porter. I'm looking forward to my first time there. 

WYEP: Thanks for your time Jann!

JK: My pleasure. Thanks for a nice set of questions.  

Jann Klose will be performing December 22 along with local songwriters Tim Ruff and Scott Schmitt

Barb S. – Sunday Mix Host

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Marc Cohn's latest release is Listening Booth: 1970.  The Kent Stage became our listening booth Tuesday night, as Mr. Cohn gave a reflective and emotional performance in front of what could be considered a hometown crowd.

During the nearly two-hour show Marc Cohn moved from playing the piano, to the guitar (he's a lefty like Jimi Hendrix) to standing alone center stage to sing.  Mr. Cohn soulfully feels the music he writes.  He also surrounds himself with a small, talented band which includes his long time guitarist, Shane Fontane (whose resume includes playing with Bruce Springsteen and playing for Presidents of the United States).

Mr. Cohn played a variety of songs from all of his studio albums Marc Cohn (1991), The Rainy Season (1993), Burning the Daze (1998), Join The Parade (2007), and Listening Booth: 1970 (2010).  Known as a singer-songwriter, ironically his highest charting CD to date is Listening Booth: 1970, from which Mr. Cohn sang and provided a commentary on his cover versions of  "The Letter", "The Only Living Boy in New York"  and "Into the Mystic". I've only had the chance to see Mr. Cohn in concert four times since his career began and I'm always amazed that he manages to come up with different arrangements.  His music tends to be reflective and he continues to breathe new life into his songs.  He is also very appreciative of the fans who support his music.

Cleveland is Mr. Cohn's hometown.  Many of his songs contain references to places around Cleveland and the weather (clouds, rain).  Mr. Cohn's most recent release looks back to music from 40 years ago and being in Kent, OH he remembered the events that took place at Kent State University in 1970. He even reflected on the attempted carjacking in Denver in 2005 when he got shot in the head (something Mr. Cohn does not often talk about.)  His stories continued as he shared how his Grammy award winning song (Best New Artist) "Walking in Memphis" came to life, giving most of the credit to the real life Muriel (who plays piano every Friday at the Hollywood.)

It was a family reunion for Mr. Cohn, as his three brothers were in the audience.  Mr. Cohn came out to do an encore with a cake in his hands, candles lit.  We sang happy birthday to his brother Al, who will be turning 70 this week. 

The evening of music came to a fitting end when Mr. Cohn sang "One Safe Place" and then he, his brothers and his band all took a final bow.

Opening the show with a 30-minute set was an 18-year-old singer-songwriter from the Jersey Shore named Cara Salimando. She reminded me of the singer Jewel, just needs some polish.  She plays the keyboards and ukulele.  It was a nice touch that she offered a free 3-song CD EP of her music.

Barb S. - Sunday Mix Host

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