The SUSU interview

On 6/20/20, The Soul Show presented a two-part interview with Liza Colby and Kia Warren of the band SUSU (https://www.sususupernatural.com/home).

There was much, much more than the six minutes you heard during the broadcast. The full 41-minute interview covers the band’s origins, the Euro tour, songwriting, their Caribbean heritages, connections with Pittsburgh’s Beauty Slap, …

Enjoy!

Some important episodes of The Soul Show

It’s been awhile since the last soulshowmike.org post, mainly because live music has been on a bit of a hiatus. However, there have been some milestones on The Soul Show worth noting:

  • Stef Chatman, who, with Don Patterson, founded The Soul Show in WYEP in 2005, passed away in late March. We celebrated his life with a tribute episode, then with a re-airing of a classic 2001 show.
  • We also paid tribute to Bill Withers:

Herbie Hancock at Eighty

On 20.04.18, The Soul Show on WYEP airs a feature on Herbie Hancock, working through his Miles years, the experimental Mwandishi period, and the breakout recordings like Head Hunters and Future Shock. If you miss the broadcast, the Mixcloud archives are available right here at soulshowmike.org. Enjoy.

soulBlog: Lyndsey Smith joins Water Seed, soulshowmike’s Shows of Note

LS joins WS

A long time ago, I spotted this very cool album cover for a NOLA band called Water Seed, then confirmed that they sounded as cool, then started playing them on The Soul Show. Next thing, our local Big Easy pipeline for indie acts, Music Night on Jupiter, arranged for WS to debut at the Pittsburgh Winery. It was a full house, and this led to many more local outings (DreamOn, Flood City, TRAF, Music for MS, ….).

Even before that, I started paying attention to this wonderful band called Lyndsey Smith and Soul Distribution. They played under a tent at Bakery Square, and I was sold. Lyndsey subsequently played WYEP’s Local 913, First Night, Heinz Field and everywhere else as she established a very prominent role in the Pittsburgh scene. We were all sold.

I’m not sure, but the catalyst for what was to come may have been a 2017 New Year’s Eve party at Spirit, when LS and WS shared a bill. When Lyndsey later decided to move to NOLA to break new ground, I suggested to both parties that they look for each other. Shortly thereafter, an opportunity emerged for Lyndsey to become a lead Water Seed vocalist. I had to keep the secret for a month or so, but made plans to see the Mardi Gras debut at Tipitina’s. It went beautifully, as you can see.

It is my wish to bring Water Seed back in 2021 for The Soul Show’s 25th Anniversary, a follow-up to the 20th Anniversary concert at Schenley Plaza. I hope they don’t cost too much by then 🙂

soulshowmike’s Shows of Note for this week

  • Latin Jazz at Con Alma, Sunday
  • Smooth Groove Sunday Session at Rocks Landing, McKees Rocks (weekly), Sunday
  • Mondays at Con Alma (Vinyl Happy Hour, then Howie Alexander Trio), Monday
  • JazzLive Series at Backstage Bar, Tuesday
  • Tune It! Tuesday – jam session w/ Phat Man Dee at Black Forge Coffee House, Tuesday
  • “A Taste Of Soul” Jam Session at The Genuine Pub, Tuesday
  • GH3 at Con Alma, Wednesday
  • Roger Humphries at Con Alma, Thursday
  • Vanishing Black Bars and Lounges at August Wilson Center (through 3/29)
  • I Came by Boat so Meet me at the Beach …. at August Wilson Center (through 3/29)
  • Tony Campbell at Wallace’s Whiskey Room, Saturday

soulshowmike’s Shows of Note for this week

  • Tony Campbell at Wallace’s Whiskey Room, 3/7
  • Smooth Groove Sunday Session at Rocks Landing, McKees Rocks (weekly), 3/8

soulBlog: Sembène podcast with Sabira Bushra & Fred Logan

Sabira presenting a film at CEC Homewood, March 2019

In December of 2019, I recorded a podcast with Sabira Bushra and Fred Logan of Sembène Film Festival. It was the first of three to be produced during this new film season, and it was presented to festival patrons a few weeks later. I think this is an important piece, in that it tells the history and aspirations of the founders in a 12-minute synopsis. With the recent passing of Sabira, it is especially poignant. Listen, respect.

Sabira Bushra & Fred Logan – Sembène Film Festival

soulBlog: The Funk Center interview, Shows of Note for this week, Lyndsey Smith joins Water Seed, ’60 Seconds of Pittsburgh’ with Leyla McCalla

The Funk Center interview

David Webb, CEO of The Funk Center in Dayton, OH, joined me on The Soul Show last week to talk about his museum, the funk epicenter that is his city, and the definition of this musical form. Here are the segments presented in the broadcast:

Segment One: Description of The Funk Center, through why Dayton is the center of funk
Segment Two: What is Funk?, through Jimmy Diamond of the Ohio Players
Segment Three: Evolution of bands, through The Funk Center’s goal

Here is the entire episode:


Shows of Note for this week

  • Latin Jazz at Con Alma, 2/
  • Mondays at Con Alma (Vinyl Happy Hour, then Howie Alexander Trio), 2/10
  • JazzLive Series at Backstage Bar, 2/11
  • Tune It! Tuesday – jam session w/ Phat Man Dee at Black Forge Coffee House, 2/11
  • “A Taste Of Soul” Jam Session at The Genuine Pub, 2/11
  • GH3 at Con Alma (new weekly gig)
  • Soulive at Roxian Theatre, 2/13
  • Roger Humphries at Con Alma, 2/13
  • Pittsburgh Living Wax Museum Wings & Wine Affair at Hosanna House, 2/14  (7 pm – 11 pm)
  • Vanishing Black Bars and Lounges at August Wilson Center ongoing
  • I Came by Boat so Meet me at the Beach …. at August Wilson Center ongoing
  • Dennis Garner, Love Space at Kelly Strayhorn, 8pm
  • Black Wax – Gil Scott-Heron and the Midnight Band (film at The Shop in Homewood), 2/15
  • Tony Campbell at Wallace’s Whiskey Room 2/15
  • Smooth Groove Sunday Session at Rocks Landing, McKees Rocks (weekly), 2/16
  • Me, You & Hennessy Trap + Paint at BOOM Concepts, 2/16

and beyond

  • The Soul Rebels at Thunderbird, 2/28
  • Starship Mantis’ final concert, at Spirit, 2/29
  • Ghost-Note at Thunderbird, 3/29

Pittsburgh’s Lyndsey Smith joins NO’s Water Seed

A few weeks ago on TSS, I mentioned that I’d have some big news to share soon. Now that the announcement has been made by Water Seed, here it is.

This is a pairing that I’ve wanted to see for a couple of years, and when Lyndsey moved to NOLA, it felt like the stars were aligning. After that, it didn’t really take long at all.

I will attend the Tipitina’s debut with her new band, and will deliver a ’60 Seconds of Pittsburgh’ video short right after returning from Mardi Gras.


Leyla McCalla

Leyla McCalla played the Warhol on 20.02.06 with a quartet. This was her first Pgh solo appearance, following appearances with the Carolina Chocolate Drops and on the Songs of Protest tour. It is good seeing her come into her own, with a lot of her own compositions, as well as Langston Hughes’ words put to song. She ranged from her haunting, edgy ‘Aleppo’ to Louisiana standards. Her cello almost brought tears:

Please check out last week’s soulBlog for my interview with Ms. McCalla. The uncut version talks about her Hughes project.

soulBlog: Leyla McCalla interview, Shows of Note for this week, the upcoming Funk Center interview

Leyla McCalla

Leyla McCalla, “Songs of Protest” w/Bhi Bhiman and Rhiannon Giddens, Club Café 16.02.21. soulshowmike image

Leyla McCalla, accomplished solo roots cellist/vocalist and member of the acclaimed Our Native Daughters project, performs at Carnegie Lecture Hall on 2/6/20 (https://www.warhol.org/event/sound-series-leyla-mccalla/). Here’s her recent interview with me. Segments 1, 2 & 4 aired on The Soul Show on WYEP. Segment 5 is the entire interview, including a discussion on her important Radio Haiti multimedia project at Duke (https://www.breakingthethermometer.com/). Enjoy.

(1) From Haitian heritage through CCD’s “Leaving Eden” (broadcasted)
(2) From being green in the industry through Rhiannon Giddens friendship (broadcasted)
(3) On Vari-Colored Songs (Hughes) album (not broadcasted)
(4) On “A Day For The Hunted” through “Capitalist Blues” (broadcasted)
(5) Full interview (includes Vari-Colored and Duke project; not broadcasted)
The full episode of The Soul Show

Shows of Note for this week

  • Latin Jazz at Con Alma, 2/2
  • Mondays at Con Alma (Vinyl Happy Hour, then Howie Alexander Trio), 2/3
  • Michael Eric Dyson at August Wilson Center, 2/3
  • JazzLive Series at Backstage Bar, 2/4
  • Tune It! Tuesday – jam session w/ Phat Man Dee at Black Forge Coffee House, 2/4
  • “A Taste Of Soul” Jam Session at The Genuine Pub, 2/4
  • GH3 at Con Alma on 2/4/20 (new weekly gig)
  • Leyla McCalla at Warhol Museum, 2/6
  • Roger Humphries at Con Alma, 2/6
  • Chantal w/Roby Edwards at PA Market, 2/7
  • En Vogue at August Wilson Center, 2/8
  • Vanishing Black Bars and Lounges at August Wilson Center
  • I Came by Boat so Meet me at the Beach …. at August Wilson Center
  • Tony Campbell at Wallace’s Whiskey Room 2/8
  • Smooth Groove Sunday Session at Rocks Landing, McKees Rocks (weekly), 2/9

and beyond


The Funk Center interview

To celebrate Weekend 2 of Black History Month, join me on The Soul Show for an interview with David Webb, CEO of https://www.thefunkcenter.org/ in Dayton. We’ll cover the bands that grew from that epicenter, like the Ohio Players, Zapp, Lakeside, Slave, … wyep.org, Saturday 2/8/20, 2-5pm Eastern

soulshowmike’s Shows of Note for this week

  • Mondays at Con Alma (Vinyl Happy Hour, then Howie Alexander Trio), 1/27
  • JazzLive Series at Backstage Bar, 1/28
  • Tune It! Tuesday – jam session w/ Phat Man Dee at Black Forge Coffee House, 1/28
  • “A Taste Of Soul” Jam Session at The Genuine Pub, 1/28
  • Lettuce at Roxian Theatre -1/30
  • Roger Humphries at Con Alma, 1/30
  • Vanishing Black Bars and Lounges at August Wilson Center
  • I Came by Boat so Meet me at the Beach …. at August Wilson Center
  • Tony Campbell at Wallace’s Whiskey Room, 1/25
  • GH3 at Wallace’s, 1/26 (note: GH3 moves to Con Alma on 2/4/20 for a weekly gig)
  • Smooth Groove Sunday Session at Rocks Landing, McKees Rocks (weekly), 2/1

and On the Horizon

  • Phat Man Dee Roaring 2020’s extravaganza at Oaks Theater, 1/31
  • Michael Eric Dyson at August Wilson Center, 2/3
  • Soulive at Roxian Theatre, 2/13
  • Pittsburgh Living Wax Museum Wings & Wine Affair at Hosanna House, 2/14  (7 pm – 11 pm)
  • The Soul Rebels at Thunderbird, 2/28
  • Starship Mantis’ final concert, at Spirit, 2/29
  • Ghost-Note at Thunderbird, 3/29

soulshowmike’s Shows of Note for this week

  • History & Futurity, Celebrating the Legacy of Dr. MLK Jr. at Kelly Strayhorn, 1/20
  • Mondays at Con Alma (Vinyl Happy Hour, then Howie Alexander Trio), 1/20
  • JazzLive Series at Backstage Bar, 1/21
  • Tune It! Tuesday – jam session w/ Phat Man Dee at Black Forge Coffee House, 1/21
  • “A Taste Of Soul” Jam Session at The Genuine Pub, 1/21
  • Quantum Modern Jazz Sessions at Quantum Spirits, 1/22
  • Interval Jazz Night at Spirit, 1/22
  • Roger Humphries at Con Alma, 1/23
  • JazzGarcelle Mixtape Release Party at Club 24, 1/23
  • Genepool and Gekahdelic: Alien Facez Records Label Launch Party at Casa Brasil, 1/24
  • Vanishing Black Bars and Lounges at August Wilson Center, starting 1/24
  • I Came by Boat so Meet me at the Beach …. at August Wilson Center, starting 1/24
  • House of Soul, H Lounge, Free Concert at The Meadows, 1/24
  • Tony Campbell at Wallace’s Whiskey Room, 1/25
  • GH3 at Wallace’s, 1/26 (note: GH3 moves to Con Alma on 2/4/20 for a weekly gig)
  • Smooth Groove Sunday Session at Rocks Landing, McKees Rocks (weekly), 1/26

and On the Horizon

  • Phat Man Dee Roaring 2020’s extravaganza at Oaks Theater, 1/31
  • Michael Eric Dyson at August Wilson Center, 2/3
  • Leyla McCalla at Carnegie Lecture Hall, 2/6
  • En Vogue at August Wilson Center, 2/8
  • Pittsburgh Living Wax Museum Wings & Wine Affair at Hosanna House  (7 pm – 11 pm)
  • The Soul Rebels at Thunderbird, 2/28
  • Starship Mantis’ final concert, at Spirit, 2/29
  • Ghost-Note at Thunderbird, 3/29

soulBlog: The Soul Show’s Top Ten Albums of 2019

Every year this work is both coveted and dreaded, the former because it demands a review of the year’s really great music, the latter because of the required demotion of candidates. One thing that changed for The Soul Show in 2019 is that WYEP’s rule of listing the albums sequentially was not imposed. In truth, slicing and dicing with such granularity sometimes bordered on whimsy.

If you compare my playlists with the Top Ten selections, you might not see the correlations you expect. Sequencing of shows requires managing of ebb and flow, equity of representation, and other factors. Some albums were discovered late, but deeper review revealed true gems that simply had not been given adequate airtime.

And so on…..

Final thoughts:

  • Female rappers (Little Simz et al) truly came into their own in 2019.
  • Charles, Olatuja and Sessoms are all songbirds.
  • BFE is a perennial contender. Muldrow is gonna make me fly somewhere to see her.
  • Brittany Howard was a very late album discovery, but the early single had me expecting a lot. I wasn’t disappointed
  • Pittsburgh’s Starship Mantis hit the big league, and it’s so sad that they are dissolving.
  • How can one not include the Daughters? They are a synergistic powerhouse of craft, and that’s before the songs hit you.
  • Saadiq brings pain to beautiful West Coast styling, or the other way around.
  • Muldrow is gonna make me fly somewhere to see her, since she never gets close.
  • BFE is always in the mix.

The List, alphabetically:

  • Brooklyn Funk Essentials – Stay Good
  • Tanika Charles – The Gumption
  • G&D – Black Love & War (Georgia Anne Muldrow and Declaime)
  • Brittany Howard – Jaime
  • Little Simz – Grey Area
  • Alicia Olatuja – Intuition: Songs From The Minds Of Women
  • Our Native Daughters – Songs of Our Native Daughters (Amythyst Kiah, Rhiannon Giddens, Allison Russell, Leyla McCalla)
  • Raphael Saadiq – Jimmy Lee
  • Vivian Sessoms – Life II
  • Starship Mantis – Black Hole Radio AM/FM