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Brian Auger’s Oblivion Express, Soulful Femme, George Jones, Pittsburgh’s generations, Royce

Brian Auger at Beachland Ballroom, Cleveland

One of the joys of being a host on an independent music station in a friendly city is close engagement with the listening audience. I can’t remember exactly when, but a caller told me years ago to get to know the UK’s Brian Auger and his Oblivion Express, which has been around since the sixties. I did what he said and started playing him, and then another learned listener pointed me to BA’s collaboration with Julie Driscoll on “Season of the Witch.”

Two years ago, while spinning some Auger in between band sets at Feastival, a guy walked up incredulous. “Nobody knows Brian Auger,” he said. I do, fortunately. In the Brit world of keyboard gods, I think there is a kingdom of Keith Emerson, Rick Wakeman, Rod Argent and this guy. A little-known tidbit is that after Rod Stewart got his start with Long John Baldry, he moved on to Auger’s band – this was before he found Faces and himself, and wayyyyyyyy before he got pop-stupid.

When the Oblivion Express show was announced, I set a personal record for jumping on a ticket. Beachland is 2h15m from Pgh, situated in an artsy zone that it spawned, and just east of CLE. Brian was sitting in the front lobby before the show, hamming it up with people. He’s very approachable and, as I came to find out during the show, Cleveland is a special place because his radio break occurred there.

Soulful Femme debut on The Soul Show

In the last issue of soulBlog, we mentioned that The Soul Show would be playing the first single from Soulful Femme. The duo is composed of vocalist Stevee Wellons and guitarist Cheryl Rinovato. Cheryl wrote the track. I played it on my 2pm-5pm broadcast during my “Three Rivers at Three” local segment. Wrett Weatherspoon of Big Town Blues followed up with another play. We love our local artists, and we love the song.

Here is the archive of The Soul Show for that day. If you don’t have time to check out the whole episode, scroll forward an hour to find Set You Free. Enjoy.

George Jones at Backstage Bar, plus generations

Backstage Bar on Tuesday evenings is always an intimate joy, and the venerable Geo. Jones makes it extra special. Ron Carter would be playing in the adjoining Greer later on, so the crowd thickened at the end of Jones’ set. Poogie Bell’s son Winston, of Funky Fly Project, ended up being the best subject of my evening’s captures. Roger Humphries carries the torch, and Winston impishly smiles before the bearer.


Several months ago at a Soulful Femme concert at Pointbreezeway I was introduced to Royce, who promised I’d be kept abreast of his new project. The debut EP “Black Rock” releases on 5/31. We’re planning an interview and first airing of some tracks; stay close to for more details.

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