Sunday, September 25, 2016

Thursday, June 4, 2015

The Summer Slate of Free Concerts...

Summertime - hot jams, hot bands, and free!

June 4 - Hawaiian Entertainment Inc (11:30-1:30, Market Square)
June 4 - Walk of Shame (12-1, Mellon Square Park)
June 5 - Who's Bad (7, Rivers Casino Outdoor Amphitheater)
June 5 - Jenny Lewis (7:30-9, Point State Park)
June 5 - Jenkins & Crum (6-9, South Side Works Town Square)
June 5 - Donna Groom (7:30, South Park Amphitheater)
June 6 - Railroad Earth (7:30-9, Point State Park)
June 6 - Poogie Bell Band (7, Riverview Park)
June 7 - Alvvays (7:30-9, Point State Park)
June 7 - Pittsburgh Opera (7:30, Hartwood Acres) 
June 8 - PSO and Opera in concert (7:30-9, Point State Park)
June 9 - The Felice Brothers, Hurray for the Riff Raff (7-9:30, Point State Park)
June 10 - Milo Greene (8:30-9:30, Point State Park)
June 10 - Shinizyn (7, Flagstaff Hill)
June 11 - Rachel B (11:30-1:30, Market Square)
June 11 - Wolves in Sheeps Clothing (12-1, Mellon Square Park)
June 11 - Rhiannon Giddens (7:30-9, Point State Park)
June 12 - Richard Thompson (7:30-9, Point State Park)
June 12 - Corey James (6-9, South Side Works Town Square)
June 12 - Field Report w/Andre Costell & The Cool Minors (7:30, South Park Amphitheater)
June 13 - Neko Case (7:30-9, Point State Park)
June 13 - The Charlie Barath/Jason Born Blues Duo (6-9, South Side Works Town Square)
June 13 - Max Leake (7, Riverview Park)
June 14 - Benjamin Booker (7:30-9, Point State Park)
June 14 - Randy Baumann's Hartwood Ramble w/Scott Blasey, Rob James, Casey Hanner & More (7:30, Hartwood Acres)
June 17 - Ferla-Marcinizyn Band (7, Flagstaff Hill)
June 18 - Tony Barge (11:30-1:30, Market Square)
June 18 - Scheer Element (12-1, Mellon Square Park)
June 19 - Head Games (7, Rivers Casino Outdoor Amphitheater)
June 19 - Michael Christopher (6-9, South Side Works Town Square)
June 19 - Stella Jamesw/Sydney Hutchko (7:30, South Park Amphitheater)
June 20 - Nightly Standard (6-9, South Side Works Town Square)
June 20 - Yoko Suzuki (7, Riverview Park)
June 21 - Joel Lindsay Trio (6-9, South Side Works Town Square)
June 21 - Steel City Harmonizers (10:30-12:30, Mellon Park)
June 21 - Billy Price Band (7:30, Hartwood Acres)
June 24 - Bobby Short Band (7, Flagstaff Hill)
June 25 - The Navy Band Northeast (11:30-1:30, Market Square)
June 25 - Mia Z (12-1, Mellon Square Park)
June 25 - The Squirrel Hillbillies (5-7, Shady Side School, Braddock Avenue)
June 26 - Good Guys Acoustic Duo (6-9, South Side Works Town Square)
June 26 - Eve 6 (7:30, South Park Amphitheater)
June 27 - Blues Brotherhood (7, Rivers Casino Outdoor Amphitheater)
June 27 - Martin Sexton, Lone Bellow, Kopecky, Brightside (6, Schenley Plaza)
June 27 - Mark Ferrari (6-9, South Side Works Town Square)
June 27 - Chris Higbee (7, Walnut Street)
June 27 - Roger Humphries (7, Riverview Park)
June 27 - The Allegheny Drifters & Shelf Life String Band (7:30 - Chatham's Eden Hall Campus)
June 28 - Quinta Voce Wind Quartet (10:30-12:30, Mellon Park)
June 28 - Bastard Bearded Irishmen & The Hawkeyes (7:30, Hartwood Acres)

July 1 - Gypsy Jazz Trio (7, Flagstaff Hill)
July 2 - Barbershop Harmony Groups (11:30-1:30, Market Square)
July 3 - Pure Gold (7, Rivers Casino Outdoor Amphitheater)
July 3 - PSO (7:30, South Park Amphitheater)
July 4 - No Bad Juju (7, Rivers Casino Outdoor Amphitheater)
July 5 - River City Brass (10:30-12:30, Mellon Park)
July 5 - PSO (8, Hartwood Acres)
July 8 - L'Lamint (7, Flagstaff Hill)
July 9 - Jeff Jimerson (11:30-1:30, Market Square)
July 9 - Lions in America (12-1, Mellon Square Park)
July 10 - Blue Oyster Cult (7:30, South Park Amphitheater)
July 11 - Deutschtown Music festival (7-11; 100 bands, 15 venues, E. Ohio St.)
July 11 - Kenia (7, Riverview Park)
July 12 - Aoelian Winds (10:30-12:30, Mellon Park)
July 12 - Matt Kearney (7:30, Hartwood Acres)
July 15 - Muddy Kreek Blues Band (7, Flagstaff Hill)
July 16 - Pittsburgh Blues Festival (11:30-1:30, Market Square)
July 16 - The Nied's Hotel Band (12-1, Mellon Square Park)
July 16 - Melinda Colaizzi (5-7, Shady Side School, Braddock Avenue)
July 17 - Chris Higbee & The Hobbs Sisters (7, Rivers Casino Outdoor Amphitheater)
July 17 - Chris Smither w/Rusty Belle (7:30, South Park Amphitheater)
July 18 - Good Vibrations (7, Rivers Casino Outdoor Amphitheater)
July 18 - Thomas Wendt (7, Riverview Park)
July 19 - Timbeleza, Tim Tembo, The Hills & Rivers, PARTY (noon-9, Polish Hills Art Festival)
July 19 - West Hills Symphonic Band (10:30-12:30, Mellon Park)
July 19 - Spanish Harlem Orchestra tribute to Billy Strayhorn (7:30, Hartwood Acres)
July 22 - Center Stage Band (7, Flagstaff Hill)
July 23 - Verdict (12-1, Mellon Square Park)
July 24 - Joe Lagnese Swingtet 8, Johnny Nagel, Debbie Zugates (7:30, South Park Amphitheater)
July 25 - Dancing Queen (7, Walnut Street)
July 25 - Velvet Heat (7, Riverview Park)
July 26 - Trillium Ensemble (10:30-12:30, Mellon Park)
July 29 - Justin Fabus Band (7, Flagstaff Hill)
July 30 - Christmas in July entertainment (11:30-1:30, Market Square)
July 30 - Skinny Tie Club (12-1, Mellon Square Park)
July 31 - Asbury Fever Heat w/Vince Lopez (7, Rivers Casino Outdoor Amphitheater)
July 31 - Red Baraat w/Rachel B (7:30, South Park Amphitheater)

August 1 - Full Moon Fever (7, Rivers Casino Outdoor Amphitheater)
August 1 - John Hall (7, Riverview Park)
August 1 - Robert Randolph & the Family, Big Sam's Funky Nation, Pandemic, The Commonheart, AFROHEAT, Clock reads (3-9, "Feastival" McKees Rocks Muni Bldg Lot)
August 2 - Tom Roberts (10:30-12:30, Mellon Park)
August 2 - Pittsburgh Jazz Orchestra (5, Highland Park)
August 2 - Bootsy's Rubber Band (7:30, Hartwood Acres)
August 5 - Bridgette Perdue (7, Flagstaff Hill)
August 6 - Andy's Jazz (11:30-1:30, Market Square)
August 6 - The Annajames Band (12-1, Mellon Square Park)
August 6 - The Squirrel Hillbillies (7-8:45, Mt. Lebanon Library)
August 6 - SSA Jazz Combo (5-7, Shady Side School, Braddock Avenue)
August 7 - Paul Luc & The Commonheart (7:30, South Park Amphitheater)
August 8 - Donna Davis (7, Riverview Park)
August 9 - Klezlectic (10:30-12:30, Mellon Park)
August 9 - Boilermaker Jazz Band (5, Highland Park)
August 9 - Eileen Ivers (7:30, Hartwood Acres)
August 12 - Maria Wilson Music (7, Flagstaff Hill)
August 13 - Kid Icarus (12-1, Mellon Square Park)
August 13 - Steel City Ukulele (7-8:45, Mt. Lebanon Library)
August 14 - Johnny Angel & the Halos; Melvin Steals (7, Rivers Casino Outdoor Amphitheater)
August 14 - Southside Johnny & the Asbury Dukes w/Joe Grushecky (7:30, South Park Amphitheater)
August 15 - Kevin Howard (7, Riverview Park)
August 16 - East Hills Symphonic Band (10:30-12:30, Mellon Park)
August 16 - Blink (5, Highland Park)
August 19 - The Grid (7, Flagstaff Hill)
August 20 - Irish Day (11:30-1:30, Market Square)
August 20 - Amber Alexis (12-1, Mellon Square Park)
August 20 - RML Jazz (7-8:45, Mt. Lebanon Library)
August 21 - Dirty Dozen Brass Band (7:30, South Park Amphitheater)
August 22 - Radio Tokyo (7, Walnut Street)
August 22 - Reggie Watkins (7, Riverview Park)
August 23 - Elevations (5, Highland Park)
August 23 - Howard Jones (7:30, Hartwood Acres)
August 26 - GumBand (7, Flagstaff Hill)
August 27 - The House Band (12-1, Mellon Square Park)
August 27 - Mt. Lebanon HS String Quartet (7-8:45, Mt. Lebanon Library)
August 28 - Tamburitzans (7:30, South Park Amphitheater)
August 29 - Dwayne Dolphin (7, Riverview Park)
August 30 - Wilson/Barnes/Throckmorton Trio (5, Highland Park)
August 30 - River City Brass Band (7:30, Hartwood Acres)

September 3 - PSO (11:30-1:30, Market Square)
September 4 - Dancing Queen (7:30, South Park Amphitheater)
September 6 - Etta Cox (5, Highland Park)
September 17 - JD Eichler (11:30-1:30, Market Square)
September 24 - Pittsburgh Opera (11:30-1:30, Market Square)

October 1 - Pittsburgh Opera (11:30-1:30, Market Square)
October 8 - Andy's Jazz (11:30-1:30, Market Square)
October 15 - Tori Plack (11:30-1:30, Market Square)
October 22 - Bridgette Perdue (11:30-1:30, Market Square)

Saturday, April 18, 2015

Ed Salamon's Golden Age of Rock 'n' Roll

Donny Iris, Ed Salamon, Jimmy Ross & Benny Faiello (Credit: Paul Martello)
Ed Salamon has followed up his 2010 "Pittsburgh's Golden Age of Radio" with a new book titled "Pittsburgh's Golden Age of Rock and Roll" (Archer Books) that recalls the city's bands and the deejays that worked with them from the 1950s through the 1970s.

Dedicated to Porky Chedwick, Lou Christie wrote the foreword for "Rock and Roll," which was just released this month. The book features more than 325 photos of the artists who rocked the area during its heyday jammed into its 256 pages. You'll get all the big names you'd expect, from the Del Vikings to the Silencers, and quite a few that you'll have to dig deep into the memory banks to recall, like Frankie Czuri, Johnny Jack, the Fenways, the Mon-Vales, Donnybrooks, Blenders, Windsors, Royaltones and Baldwin's Four Seasons among many more acts.

Ed explained the spectrum by telling Scott Mervis of the Post Gazette that “Rock ’n’ roll was not just made by major artists. It was made by the artists that played at the school dances, that played locally in clubs, that had records on the radio stations in Pittsburgh side by side with the Beatles and Elvis. They were just as important to people in Pittsburgh as those artists who made it nationally.”

Salamon comes by his love of Pittsburgh music honestly. He grew up in Brookline, and like many kids of his his era, had his radio tuned to Porky and hit all the teen clubs and hops. Ed was even a guitarist for a local band, the Headliners. He started in the music profession at KDKA radio in 1970 and moved on to WEEP before his career took him to New York. He formed The United Stations Radio Network in 1981 with Dick Clark and became the president of programming for Westwood One in 1993. Today, he's based in Nashville with several industry irons in the fire.

We'd be a little surprised if you missed the release; Ed was here for the "Pittsburgh Rockin' Reunion," had a story in the Post Gazette and has been interviewed by just about all the local radio stations. But the next couple of promotions may be worth circling on the calendar.
Ed is turning his book signings into events; along with his John Hancock, there will be an opening band and panel of 'Burg music elite, free and open to the public:

Wednesday, April 22, 6:00 PM @ Barnes and Noble, 800 Settlers Ridge Center - Panel discussion with Jimmie Ross, Billy Price and Jack Stanizzo, followed by a book signing.

Monday, April 27, 7:00 PM Mt. Lebanon Library, 16 Castle Shannon Boulevard - Panel discussion with Jimmy Beaumont, Joe Gruschecky and Johnny Angel followed by a book signing.

Before each meeting of the minds, the event will kick off with be an acapella performance by the Dantes, whose “Top Down Time” and "How Many Times" were local hits in the mid-sixties, and just maybe a mystery guest or two featured in the book will pop up.

Ed told us that the book is available on and other online book sellers, including If you can't wait, Barnes and Noble at Settlers Ridge, Attic Records in Millvale, Johnny Angel’s Ginchy Stuff in Brighton Heights and the University of Pittsburgh Book Store in Oakland have the paperback in stock.

Thursday, November 27, 2014

Slim and the Gang - Live From Neids Hotel

Slim Forsythe (photo by Rich of Coda Photography)

Kevin "Slim" Forsythe, Lawrenceville's country institution based out of Nied's Hotel on Butler Street, has released his first pilot for what he hopes will become a televised musical series "Live From Nied's Hotel."

Forsythe may be strumming and singing to one of America's oldest genres, but he raised funds (and awareness) for the show in a decidedly 21st century manner - he started a Kickstarter campaign in the spring, raising over $10,000 to shoot the first episode.

With the seed money in hand, he brought in the Beagle Brothers and Molly Alphabet, a pair of the area's better known country acts, to share the Nied's stage this summer. Just as importantly, a crew directed by Dino DiStefano, a Grammy-winning music producer who has recorded as the sound engineer on WQED TV's "Live from Studio A" and at the Manchester Craftsman's Guild, captured the show on tape. It's a first-class effort all around.

The performances are all top shelf, with mostly original songs with some distinctive lyricism and local name-dropping. The show is nicely paced thanks to the round table vignettes between melodies.

The Beagle Brothers ("The Architects of the Bloomfield Sound") reminisce about their start from St. Mary's, from getting their name from some backyard pooches and progressing from punk to rock (Slim himself started with ATS) to country. Molly explains how her typically Lawrenceville name of Molly Szramowski was transformed into the more user-friendly Molly Alphabet by an old country singer from the Great Plains.

Slim goes through his changes - fittingly for a country singer, he's been everything from a bus driver to attorney, with a couple of City Hall stops thrown in, and lives over a bar. He picked up his name to commemorate Pittsburgh's country legend Slim Bryant, who led the Wildcats and traces his roots back to Jimmy Rodgers. Slim's dad Frank was a big band singer, working with another seminal Pittsburgh Sound personality, Lennie Martin.

So come for the show and stay for the stories; it's an entertaining and tightly played opening act for the dream of a long run.

Friday, June 20, 2014

Tuesday Musical Club

The living presidents of the TMC at the Stephen Foster Memorial dedication in 1937
(Photo credit: The Pittsburgh Tuesday Musical Club)

The Tuesday Musical Club is a non-profit, small arts group that provides free concerts of classical, chamber and contemporary music, music scholarships and stage opportunities for members. They're one of the many long-running and dedicated but under-the-radar organizations that keep Southwest PA a vibrant cultural region.

In 1889, the year Schenley Park was born, Andrew Carnegie was revolutionizing the steel industry and Gustav Mahler's First Symphony premiered in Budapest, a handful of prominent women in Pittsburgh formed a musical club. These female musicians, whose social status shut them out from doing anything professionally in a male-dominated age (this was way before Madonna), organized private recitals of classical music.

First calling their group Tuesday Afternoon Musicale (The Tuesday Afternoon Club concept was common back in the day; at least a dozen other cities had groups with the same, or very similar, names), their first performances were held in the rooms of the Mozart Club in the Hostetter Building on Fourth Avenue, by permission of Henry Clay Frick, a trustee. After a year, the performances were moved to the music room of Eleanor & Christopher Magee's mansion in Oakland, "The Maples," on the site of today's UPMC Magee Hospital.

In 1902, the club admitted non-musicians as associate members, resulting in larger audiences and more presentations. They played in top flight halls like the Schenley Hotel, Soldiers and Sailors Hall, the Masonic Club, and the Fort Pitt Hotel.

The hall-to-hall existence led to their most notable achievement, a collaboration among themselves, Pitt and a well-to-do Stephen Foster collector from Indiana.

They naturally wanted their own hall, and wanted it dedicated to Pittsburgh's own Stephen Collins Foster. TMC worked together with Chancellor John G. Bowman of Pitt and Josiah Lilly of Indianapolis for ten long years to achieve their goal. Bowman gave them some land and helped with fundraising while Lilly donated 10,000 pieces of Foster memorabilia and wads of cash. The building cost $550,000 in depression-era money, and Lilly and his son Eli (does Eli Lilly & Company ring a bell?) came up with nearly half the cost.

The result was the Stephen C. Foster Memorial, dedicated in 1937 on the lawn of the Cathedral of Learning. In a nice touch, ground for it was broken on January 13th, 1935, the 71st anniversary of Foster's death.

The Stephen Foster memorial from All

The club didn't stop there. TMC members are credited with forming the Pittsburgh Opera Society in 1939, as well as the Pittsburgh Concert Society and The Renaissance and Baroque Society of Pittsburgh.

And though it took a few decades, TMC broached the final frontier and began admitting men in 1976.

More than a century after its inception, TMC remains on the go. Their first scholarship was awarded in 1928, and auditions for the scholarships are held biannually, with $40,000 in tuition money going to young musicians in the latest round. TMC also has a community outreach program called Musicare, which provides recitals for residents of nursing homes, subsidized housing, and senior centers throughout Allegheny County. The club musicians often perform at public and city events as well.

Many club activities are in-house and take place during their meetings in member's homes or churches (which are awesome venues in their own right), with musical performances as well as coaching sessions provided by PSO musicians and university faculty.

This year, they'll present eight free public Tuesday afternoon concerts, three Saturday afternoon recitals and one Sunday afternoon concert to showcase current TMC scholarship winners. 125 years and still going strong...

(The info on this post was shamelessly swiped almost verbatim from Anne Marie DeGeorge's TMC history on their website. Check them out; they're one of the oldest-running and quietly active musical groups in the region and handily headquartered at the Stephen Foster Memorial in Oakland.)