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VIBIN’ covers Nineties R&B on WYEP, podcasted on Mixcloud

George T. combing the shelves at Jerry’s Records, one of the world’s renowned vinyl troves

In the Summer of ’21, a new POC-hosted show debuted on WYEP, joining The Soul Show and Big Town Blues. VIBIN’, hosted by George T., is rooted in the R&B of the nineties. George gained popularity as a longtime substitute host/producer on The Soul Show and Grand Groove Radio, and we’re all excited to see him launch his own program. Not only will you hear great music, but you’ll hear all of the backstories that made me nickname George T. “Rain Man”.

As with The Soul Show, George is building a podcast presence on Mixcloud. One of VIBIN’s recent episodes is posted here. Subscribe to his Mixcloud profile for new content. Enjoy.

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Labor Day Weekend: All-Woman Horn Section??

Music on the Mon was one of Summer 2021’s biggest surprises. First, it was a pop-up venue. Second, the acts were selected from a different palette with a lot of POC gravy. I went to catch Byron Nash’s installment in late July, when his band opened for Joe Keyes from MD. A few weeks later, Kaleta & Super Yamba Band from Brooklyn and Benin were incredible. In between, I heard about some other solid shows that I missed.

Hugo Cruz de Caminos

This weekend, Hugo Cruz y Caminos opened for Cimafunk. Caminos featured recent Cuban transplant Cruz on percussion, plus Michael Bernabe (keys), Roger “Feralcat” Romero (sax) and Eli Naragon (bass). Hugo featured his own compositions and, compared to his recent trio presentation at Market Square, this had a lot of fusion flair. The show was plenty enough for an evening, but then there was Cimafunk.

Feralcat w/Caminos

Cimafunk

The first thing I noticed was the all-woman horn section setting up. When was the last time you saw that? Cimafunk, the vocalist and leader, was dynamic and the entire band followed suit. It was a combination of afro-rhythm, Cuban roots and Cuban pop (I think). The mulch dancefloor was packed, and not too many folks went home early.

If you listen to The Soul Show, you may have heard the Cimafunk/George Clinton collaboration I’ve been playing. It’s real good, but I can’t wait to hear a full album of this music.

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The Soul Show: New Buckle Downs on 3R@3; Lee ‘Scratch’ Perry; NC and MJ from Gary, IN

Here’s what’s on tap for The Soul Show’s WYEP and syndicated editions, week beginning Saturday, 9/4:

WYEP

  • The Buckle Downs delivered some early peeks at unreleased singles. The Soul Show may be the first to air them, ever. I was going to play one per week, but both are sweet. One during Three Rivers at Three, the other later in the show.
  • On The Soul Show this weekend, Mike Canton features two artists from Gary, Indiana:  Nichelle Colvin with a new single, and Michael Jackson for his birthday.
  • Join Mike Canton on The Soul Show for live music highlights of the past week, and for the must-sees of the coming weekend.
  • On The Soul Show this weekend, Mike celebrates the life of reggae/dub revolutionary Lee ’Scratch’ Perry
  • The Labor Day episode will be laden with working-person songs: Porter, Vandross, …

The Soul Show’s syndicated edition on the African American Public Radio Consortium

  • The new Cimafunk with George Clinton
  • “New California Soul” from The Endangered
  • A Houston set with The Suffers, The Crusaders and the T.S.U. Toronadoes
  • More from the new Nigel Hall album, “Spiritual”
  • Deep dives into the classics, like Beverly Shaffer and Big Maybelle
  • Down-under soul from Emma Donovan & The Putbacks
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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.

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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. wyep.org, 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. wtjx.org, 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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