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Month: August 2021

WTJX Member Campaign

I just received some gratifying news. WTJX , the US Virgin Islands NPR affiliate and carrier of the TSS syndicated edition, has invited me home to emcee their September membership campaign. They’re relatively new to the radio scene, and thought I could help with my 15 years of experience. We’re gonna do a bang-up job together.

I remember, as a teenager, spinning the rooftop rotor to pick up Puerto Rico FM stations to complement what I could hear on USVI and BVI AM. It’s exciting to help grow an important piece of the radio offerings in the Caribbean.

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Friday Night Pop-ups, Saturday Night Planning – Buckle Downs, Kaleta and Super Yamba Band; Royce

Friday Night

Grushecky was the headliner at Allegheny Overlook, but I went early to see Kiki Brown and The Buckle Downs. My last time hearing Kiki may have been at the Starship Mantis farewell gig at Mr. Smalls two years ago. Actually, everything was two years ago, right?

There was new material, plus old favorites like ‘Soldier.’ It felt like people didn’t know the opening act, but they were totally impressed by the third song. Kiki looks like she’s shaken off all cobwebs after having her baby eight months ago. Excellent outing. The Buckle Downs sent me some unreleased tracks to play on The Soul Show next weekend, so listen out.

Next, it was off to Music on the Mon, next to the Hyatt at Southside Works. The Flow Band had already played, but Kaleta and Super Yamba Band were plenty enough. Afrobeat with some Eastern vibe. The groove was psychedelic and thick. Cimafunk is up next, with our own Hugo Cruz. Recommended.

Music on the Mon’s schedule
Fri., July 2: Ferdinand The Bull and Bill Deasey
Fri., July 9: Sound Girls presents Ladybeast, Century iii, and more tba
Sat., July 17: Honky Tonk Jukebox with Jon Bindley and friends
Fri., July 23: Joe Keyes and the Late Bloomers and TBD
Fri., July 30: Misra Records Showcase (artists tbd)
Fri., Aug. 6: Hot Mass
Fri., Aug. 13: Anbessa Orchestra and Big Blitz
Sat., Aug. 14: Squonk Opera
Fri., Aug. 20: Mourning [A] BLKstar, Brittney Chantele and Dj Arie Cole
Fri., Aug. 27: Kaleta and Super Yamba Band with special guest The Flow Band
Sat., Sept. 4: Cimafunk with special guests Hugo Cruz and Caminos

Royce and others on my outdoor radar for Saturday, 8/28

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The Soul Show: Valerie Simpson at 75, Watts, St. Croix’s Uprising, Allison Russell, Nigel Hall’s “Spiritual”

On WYEP…..

  • Valerie Simpson, at 75 on 8/26/21, occupies an outsized space in the history of soul. We honor her work as a Motown writer, as a performer, and as a feminist voice.
  • On TSS, Mike Canton is excited to crack open the new album from Nigel Hall, Lettuce keyboardist and departed founder of The Nth Power. ’Spiritual’ is significant in that it is his catharsis after a period of substance abuse.
  • On The Soul Show, there’s lots of new music: a deeper dive into Amethyst Kiah’s album; a track from Allison Russell, her collaborator on the acclaimed Our Native Daughters project; Earth, Wind & Fire; and more
  • Mike Canton honors The Stones’ Charlie Watts in a soulful way on The Soul Show this Saturday
  • Mike Canton had a phone call this week with Ropeadope Records president Louis Marks.  Hear something from the new Bakithi Kumalo release, which represents Ropeadope’s increased focus on non-American (world) music.
  • On The Soul Show, Mike will play something from the 1972 Esther Marrow album ’Sister Woman.’  It’s an important piece in the vein of Roberta Flack and Nina Simone.
  • Join Mike Canton on Saturday for a soliloquy from Abbey Lincoln on her multilayered entertainment life, followed by a piece from ‘Abbey Is Blue.’  The Soul Show always wraps historical context around the music.
  • ‘Three Rivers at Three’ is The Soul Show’s weekly showcase on Pittsburgh.  Mike Canton plays an extended track from Leaky Faucet in preparation for their CD release party that evening.
  • There will be reflections on (1) George Porter’s fine performance in Ardmore, PA last weekend (2) CMP‘s ‘Just Summer’ series wrap-up with Tony Grey.

and on the nationally syndicated edition

  • On The Soul Show, Mike Canton reveals a new reggae track from his home of St. Croix.  It reflects on a Caribbean emancipation that occurred years before the American one….. Kenya Eugene
  • The Greg Sherrod Music Company brings New England representation for the Rhode Island Public Radio listeners.
  • Leaky Faucet represents Pittsburgh.
  • Cimafunk collaborates with George Clinton.
  • More from 2021 Prince and 2021 Tito Jackson.
  • A deeper dive into Samara Joy’s freshman release, post her Sarah Vaughn accolades.
  • The latest madness from Burnt Sugar The Arkestra Chamber.


The Soul Show’s 8/21/21 Features, Images of the Outdoors

The Soul Show on WYEP

  • A floodgate of women’s music opened this month.  On The Soul Show, get ready for new tracks from Melanie Charles, Brandee Younger, Rhea Sun and Samara Joy.
  • Samara Joy’s debut release received a rave review on NPR this week.  Mike Canton just received the album, so he’ll begin the deep dive on The Soul Show this week.
  • Weedie Braimah’s album “The Hands of Time” received a nod from Soulshowmike’s Album Picks in this week’s City Paper.  The Soul Show will continue the dive that began last weekend.
  • Mike Canton visited The Highline this week to hear Kinetic’s live presentation of “Dances of Lake Volta.”  Hear his reflections, plus a spin of the album on Three Rivers at Three, the weekly Pittsburgh showcase on The Soul Show.
  • Mike Canton just found out about an upcoming Cuban music presentation on the Southside.  Listen to The Soul Show for some breaking news, as Pittsburgh’s music scene bubbles into diverse realms.
  • There’s a new world release by Bakithi Kumalo.  Mike Canton will spin a track on The Soul Show.  It features our own Poogie Bell on percussion.
  • As the jazz festivals in Pittsburgh and Cleveland approach, hear Mike Canton’s list of artists to check out.  The Soul Show, Saturday 2-5pm.

The Soul Show on the African American Public Radio Consortium

  • More from the women’s floodgate: the Amethyst Kiah album “Wary + Strange.”
  • Alex Cuba’s collaboration with Raul Midón on Cuba’s “Mendó.
  • Burnt Sugar The Arkestra Chamber reemerges with a new spaced-out single.
  • More from the Joe Marcinek Band’s latest funk/jazz release.

The Great Outdoors

2021 has seen a lot of new pop-up venues complement the regular spaces. Here are some of both:

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On The Soul Show this weekend (8/14/21)…

  • You may know Master percussionist Weedie Braimah from his frequent Pittsburgh stops with The Nth Power.  His new album, The Hands of Time, will get a spin or two on The Soul Show on WYEP this weekend.  
  • Canton digs deeper into the 2021 release by The War and Treaty., Saturday 2-5pm Eastern
  • On TSS, Mike Canton introduces a new musical chapter for Tito of the Jackson 5.  Where did THIS come from?
  • The Soul Show with Mike Canton brings both the cutting edge and classics.  This weekend, you’ll hear segments from an archived interview with the leader of Kool & The Gang.  We will honor band co-founder Dennis Thomas with words and music.   
  • On TSS, hear Mike Canton’s recap of the Millvale Music Festival, where he witnessed the rising band Royce two years after their first EP and interview on the show. 

and then there’s the syndicated Edition on the African American Public Radio Consortium:

  • An ongoing dive into Prince’s ‘Welcome 2 America’ release., Saturday 7-10pm Eastern/Atlantic.
  • Dee Tee’s tribute continues with a couple more Kool & The Gang tracks from the days when James Brown said they were “the 2nd funkiest band in the land
  • Live and extended Donny Hathaway.
  • Tito Jackson’s 2021 delve into the blues (!)
  • Everything from The Meters to Sampa The Great to the new War and Treaty release to Chic to The RH Factor.
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Soulful Femme | Pittsburgh Blues & Roots Festival | 7/31/21

Last week on Facebook, I gave a quick rundown on Soulful Femme’s wonderful performance at Pittsburgh Blues & Roots Festival in Cheswick:

’60 Seconds of Pittsburgh’ is a video-short series I developed several years ago with funding from The Heinz Endowments and The Pittsburgh Foundation. The focus was live concerts, usually of Pittsburgh artists, and I typically condensed 5-10 minutes of footage into 60s of highlights. The pandemic mothballed my work, and this Soulful Femme concert revived it. I’m a little rusty, so not everyone got captured adequately. Also, the same camera was used for both photo and video capture. Something always gets missed that way. Anyway, I think there’s enough here to convey the excellence of the moment. Enjoy!

Bernice Wilkerson guesting with Soulful Femme
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The Soul Show today (8/7), Millvale Music Festival yesterday and today

The Soul Show’s plans for today on WYEP

  • On TSS, Mike Canton will feature one track per hour from the newly released Prince album called ‘Welcome to America.’
  • To celebrate this summer concert and festival season, live tracks from Marley, The Roots and others are on tap.
  • Let’s check out the new album from The War & Treaty.
  • Listen to The Soul Show this weekend for Mike Canton’s overview of the Millvale Music Festival.  On Three Rivers at Three, Mike will focus on the Pittsburgh artists playing at Millvale.
  • Last weekend was a busy concert weekend, and Mike Canton of TSS gives some of the highlights on The Soul Show.  Pittsburgh’s Soulful Femme had a revised lineup that raised the roof at Pittsburgh Blues & Roots festival.

and on the syndicated African American Public Radio Consortium program…

  • Everything from Maysa to Snoop Dogg to Kraftwerk to Steve Arrington (Slave and post-) to Miles to Flack to Grupo Fantasma to TheeSat
  • Representing the TSS cities, L.T.D. (RI), Afro Yaqui (PIT), Reemah (USVI)

Millvale Music Festival: Reflections on, and photos of, Day One (8/6/21)

Millvale Music Festival is an annual street/venue music festival at a quaint town along the Allegheny River, just a few minutes from the Pittsburgh city line. The performances are short and sweet, so you have to hustle around Millvale with your schedule and map.

Sierra Sellers | Millvale Music Festival

Everyone I wanted to see on the first evening was at the hub, Mr. Smalls. Sierra Sellers is an R&B vocalist whom I’ve missed until now. Her solid reputation preceded her.

Next was Dan Bubien and The Delta Struts. The lineup is different from 2019’s, and the most obvious change is the absence of Dan’s co-guitarist, Shawn Mazzei, who moved to Nashville. Dan and Shawn were special together, and Dan has added keys to fill some gap. I miss Shawn, but admire what Dan has done to keep things excellent.

Dan Bubien & The Delta Struts | Millvale Music Festival

Royce, was my last act for the evening. James Royce and I connected a couple of years ago, coinciding with the band’s ‘Black Rock’ release. In addition to interviewing him, I covered the album release party As James explained then, guitarist Myles Mahoney jumped in to help out at the party, and the chemistry was right enough for him to stay. Ja’Sonta Roberts has been a key element on vocals from the beginning.

Ja’Sonta Roberts & James Royce | Millvale Music Festival

The set was crazy high-energy, and varied from blues to hiphop to straight hard rock. The crowd ranged widely in age, and there was something for everyone. They’re now on my permanent list to see, just like a Dan Bubien show.

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Vote for The Soul Show as Best Radio Show and Best Radio DJ

The Soul Show, in its first nomination year, has achieved Top Ten status in two categories: Best Radio Show and Best Radio DJ.The voting for Top Three has begun. Help TSS make that final push to the top:

Best Radio DJ


Best Radio Show

BUT, as I learned with decades of performance reviews in industry, there must be documented justification 🙂 —>

– From the day 91.3 WYEP halted studio access during the pandemic, TSS never missed a beat. I recorded in Electric Basement Studios throughout these many months, ensuring home acoustics and production were top rate.

– The weekly feature ‘Three Rivers at Three’ has become a valuable platform for Pittsburgh artist exposure.

– I created to provide you easy access to hundreds of episodes – not only the 91.3 WYEP program, but also the syndicated TSS on the African American Public Consortium.

– TSS features interviews with classic and emerging artists – Dionne Warwick, Stephen Cat Coore of THIRD WORLD, McCoo and Davis of The Fifth Dimension, Robert “Kool” Bell, The Baylor Project, Naughty Professor, James Royce, Geenpool

– Local artists and culture figures interviewed include Terri Bell of The Pittsburgh Cultural Trust, Soulful Femme, Tony Campbell, Phat Man Dee, …

– I supported WYEP special projects, including conceptualization, narration, and coordination of ‘What’s Going On at 50,’ 2020’s ‘Thanksgiving with Motown,’ and Black Songwriters during BHM 2021.

– VIBIN’, the new R&B show with George Tarrant Jr., received my full support from proposition through launch. This was a one-year project that, now completed, has significantly increased the POC broadcast presence in Pittsburgh.

– I partnered with Wrett Weatherspoon to re-launch Big Town Blues during the pandemic. As the most versed host in home production, I provided technical guidance to several other DJ’s in their restarts.

– ‘Soulshowmike’s Album Picks’ in Pittsburgh City Paper was launched in 2020, and provides a new POC perspective on emerging music.


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An alternate path to Hartwood Acres on a busy AWB evening

Average White Band is playing at Hartwood this evening (8/1/21), and there will probably be a backup at the main entrance on Middle Road. Years ago, someone gave me a great tip on how to get in and out using a longer but quieter way. This is for folks coming north on Route 8 from the city…..

Instead of turning right at the Eat ‘n Park, then left onto Middle Road, stay on Route 8. Turn right onto Harts Run Road. Turn left onto Woodland Road, and you’ll meet Middle Road at the northwest corner of the park. A right and VERY immediate left leads to an alternate entrance up there, at least sometimes. Otherwise, turn left onto Middle and IMMEDIATELY look for the school parking lot on the right. It’s not a bad walk from there. Either option keeps you away from the traffic jam at the main entrance.

Let me know how it works out!

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