Folks, NBCUniversal reached out to me on 9/18. They were requesting leads and materials for an upcoming (potential) tribute to Stephen R. Chatman and other victims of COVID. If everything goes as planned, the broadcast will be on NBC Nightly News, Sunday 9/20/20.
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As the Betty Davis documentary ‘They Say I’m Different’ was coming together, I had the opportunity to connect with the moviemaking team. Unexpectedly, the director asked me to voice a segment that ended up being the film’s opening scene.
The voice track was requested while I was far away at my parents’ home – no recording equipment, no booth. I had read once about how voice actors created makeshift booths with a laundry basket, or a cardboard box, stuffed with a down coat. Here is the actual setup I used: freezer, pillows, blankets, iPhone…….
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, …
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.
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 🙂
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.
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:
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
Me, You & Hennessy Trap + Paint at BOOM Concepts, 2/16
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 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.
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