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Month: October 2018

Mwenso, Bettye LaVette, Sweet Honey

It has been several weeks since the new Highmark Blues & Heritage Festival, and the musical torrent has continued since. It’s one thing to write a quick blurb, and another to present some multimedia to go with the text.  Catching up is hard to do, but fun.

I rushed from WYEP to the August Wilson Center to introduce, then witness, Mwenso and the Shakes.  Their high-energy presentation crisscrossed genres, and every turn was unpredictable – roots, stride, reggae, show, …

Next up that Saturday evening was Bettye LaVette, who presented her songbook with weighting toward the new Bob Dylan cover project.  To me, the biggest highlight of the show (and I wish I had all of it on video) was the encore.  She came out with a fantastic a cappella and a rocker. (If you’d like to hear excerpts of my interview with Bettye, please check out the Oct. 4 blog.)

Sweet Honey in the Rock’s current lineup, after all of these years, still features two of the founders.  It’s notable that at least half of the shows I’ve seen since the beginning of 2017 bemoan our state of affairs, and this perennially socially conscious group brought that theme totally home.  Aside from that, their harmonies were exquisite.  The one musical instrument was a bass to cover the lowest registers.  

Next up: Somi, Migration Liberation Suite, Buika

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Bettye LaVette Interview (+ clip from Blues & Heritage), Donny Hathaway

Bettye LaVette sat down with me to discuss her career in music just prior to the wonderful performance at Highmark Blues & Heritage Festival.  The interview aired on The Soul Show, and here are the three 2-minute segments in case you missed it.  Enjoy! 

Bettye LaVette: The Breakout Album
Bettye LaVette: The British Rock Songbook
Bettye LaVette:  The Industry and the Bob Dylan songbook album

Donny Hathaway would have turned 73 this week.  One of the things I think about often is how The Soul Show founder Stef Chatman and I completely converged in taste when it came to Donny… he is our favorite vocalist.  Even though this is not a “major” milestone birthday, I don’t need much of an excuse to do a mini-feature this coming Saturday 

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The Midnight Hour, Tony Campbell, Concert Calendar, Mobile Soul, Brian Edwards

Adrian Younge, soundtrack artist/producer for Marvel’s Luke Cage, has teamed with Ali Shaheed Muhammad again, this time in a project called The Midnight Hour.  I was excited to see that TMH is coming to Club Cafe in November; see the Concert Calendar at soulshowmike.org.  Separately, I scheduled a Younge phone interview for next week, so the timing is perfect.  

The Baylor Project has been added to the Concert Calendar.  This is a Kente production and, as I told Gail and Mensah at Backstage Bar last night, they never ever bring a disappointing show to Pittsburgh.  Speaking of Backstage Bar, Tony Campbell was back after a multi-year hiatus, and he delivered all of that pent-up energy.  My biggest regret was having to leave early for Maxwell at Heinz Hall.

Maxwell totally delivered, except the sound was disappointing.  A lead singer’s voice should ALWAYS float above, but the mix just wasn’t right.

New Brian Edwards music is scheduled for The Soul Show on 10/6 – listen to the Three Rivers @Three segment, 3:00pm Eastern.

Mobile Soul, my new video interview series on soulshowmike.org, will launch soon.  The concept is simple: drive around with local artists,  taking in the pretty city bridges and other sites as we talk about their music, projects, etc.  

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