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The Soul Show’s Top Ten Albums, 2020

TSS Top Ten 2020

Geenpool, a 2020 Top Ten winner (photo by Mike Canton)

Preparing the year’s Top Ten Albums list is an exercise in reflection.  It’s a time to rewind 12 months and remember what’s been good.  This year, while still leaning toward full releases, there was increasing consideration of larger EPs.

The Soul Show is always a balance of subgenre, mood, era, tempo and theme, affecting what is played and how often.  Think of The Top Ten Albums more as creations that move me….the ones to be listened to without boundaries, some touching an earlier time and some pushing into the future.  Enjoy.

[The Soul Show (WYEP) presents its Top Ten Albums on December 26th, with the archive available at]

[in alphabetical order]

Steve Arrington – Down To The Lowest Terms: The Soul Sessions

Black Light Collective – Black Light Collective

Fantastic Negrito – Have You Lost Your Mind Yet

Geenpool – In The Bleak

Cory Henry & The Funk Apostles – Something To Say

Bryony Jarmin-Pinto – Fish Factory Sessions

Brenda Nicole Moorer – Marrow

Kassa Overall – I Think I’m Good

Pleasure – Now Is The Time

Tank & The Bangas – Friend Goals

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Heads-up: The Soul Show’s longtime host Stephen Chatman may grace NBC Nightly News on 9/20/20

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.

Stef taking calls during The Soul Show’s 20th Anniversary broadcast, July 2015

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Here’s what’s happening on The Soul Show on WYEP, 8/22/20

The Soul Show, 20.08.22:

– the TSS debut of James Royce’s new single with his band Royce

– following on the heels of his well-received ‘Diana,’ Brian Edwards delivers the second single from his upcoming WANDERLUST album

– summer music from The Suffers

– Nubya Garcia’s first full-length release

– Dark Matter II from Khris Royal, featuring Doug Wimbish of Living Colour and Nigel Hall of Lettuce (and his own band)

– more from The Savants of Soul

– Johnny Nash at 80

– intersections of gritty soul and Southern rock’s beginnings

– for Ike Hayes’ bd, a SteelyDannish take on his music, as well as his take on the Withers songbook

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introducing the Betty Davis film

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…….

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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 (

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, …


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Some important episodes of The Soul Show

It’s been awhile since the last 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 Enjoy.

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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
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