Music | BLOGH: City Paper's Blog |
Wednesday, November 14, 2018

Posted By on Wed, Nov 14, 2018 at 9:06 AM

click to enlarge Krishna Sharma at Carnegie's Indian Community Center - CP PHOTO: JARED WICKERHAM
CP photo: Jared Wickerham
Krishna Sharma at Carnegie's Indian Community Center
When 11 people lost their lives to the mass shooting at the Tree of Life synagogue in Squirrel Hill, a diverse set of Pittsburghers stepped up to help with the healing.

The Muslim community raised hundreds of thousands of dollars. Pittsburgh Catholics organized special collections. Black and Latino activists joined the Jewish community in mourning and in marching. Celebrities like Tom Hanks and Michael Keaton recently joined the cause, too.

Now, the Indian Community Center in Carnegie is doing its part. Yesterday, the center organized an interfaith prayer for the Tree of Life victims that brought together Indian-American Muslims and Hindus, as well as non-Indian people from Carnegie. More than 150 people attended.

And today, the center is continuing its support efforts with a brass band concert, where proceeds will go to the Tree of Life congregation to assist victims and their families.

Krishna Sharma runs the Indian Community Center, which functions as a gathering space for the Pittsburgh’s large Indian community. She says it's important for the Indian community to support the victims.

The concert will feature the River City Brass Band, which plays a variety of Big Band music. Sharma says the concert will also include traditional Indian music, as a way to showcase Pittsburgh’s diversity and spirit of the aftermath of the Tree of Life shooting.

Ashkay Hari will provide vocals for the show. The concert starts at 7 p.m., and is preceded by a light dinner at 6 p.m. A flier for the event is shown below.

Music Night at the Indian Community Center, 6 p.m., 205 Mary St., Carnegie. $15. facebook.com/paicc/

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Thursday, October 11, 2018

Posted By on Thu, Oct 11, 2018 at 2:46 AM

click to enlarge Elton John on stage at PPG Paints Arena on Wed., Oct. 10, 2018 - CP PHOTO: MIKE PAPARIELLA
CP photo: Mike Papariella
Elton John on stage at PPG Paints Arena on Wed., Oct. 10, 2018
Elton John said goodbye to Pittsburgh last night. Kind of.

The 71-year-old "Rocketman" took the stage Wednesday night for his "Farewell Yellow Brick Road" tour at PPG Paints Arena, decked out in rose-colored, heart-shaped glasses and sparkles for days.

“It’s time to come off the road so I can fully embrace the next important chapter of my life,” he writes on his website.

Well, not quite yet. Wednesday night's show was just the first of two planned concerts in Pittsburgh for his three-year long tour. It officially kicked off in Allentown on September 8 and will include over 300 stops including a second show in Pittsburgh on Nov. 13, 2019.

Check out photographer Mike Papariella's favorite shots below from Elton John's first goodbye. Pre-sale tickets for his final Pittsburgh concert go on sale at 8 a.m. on Thursday morning, with tickets for the general public going on sale at 10 a.m. on Fri., Oct. 19.

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Wednesday, September 26, 2018

Posted By on Wed, Sep 26, 2018 at 2:23 PM

click to enlarge Justin Timberlake performs at PPG Paints Arena on Tue., Sept. 25. - CP PHOTO: MIKE PAPARIELLA
CP photo: Mike Papariella
Justin Timberlake performs at PPG Paints Arena on Tue., Sept. 25.

There’s one quote that sums up Justin Timberlake’s performance: “Every girl in here is going crazy, and all the guys are standing still.” My boyfriend leaned over to tell me this as we watched Timberlake serenade the crowd and effortlessly move his body in time with the music last night at PPG Paints Arena.

And he was right. Justin Timberlake is for the ladies. Upon entering the arena, it was astonishing how many women filled the seats. Baby boomers, millennials, it didn't matter the age, JT’s appeal transcends generations. 

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Friday, September 7, 2018

Posted By on Fri, Sep 7, 2018 at 12:03 PM

click to enlarge Dawes - PHOTO: MAGDALENA WOSINSKA
Photo: Magdalena Wosinska
Dawes

Honesty isn’t something Taylor Goldsmith, lead singer and songwriter of the Southern California band, Dawes, takes lightly.

Two days before kicking off the North American An Evening With Dawes: Passwords Tour, Goldsmith set aside 15 minutes to discuss the upcoming tour and Dawes’ latest album, Passwords. While talking to Goldsmith, I was stuck with how raw his responses where. He oozed honestly through the phone and didn’t fall into the trap many artists tend to when interviewed, which is filling your ears with PR jargon. I left our conversation feeling like I got an intimate peek into the mind of Taylor Goldsmith.

The same can be said for Dawes’ sixth album, Passwords. This album is the first Dawes recorded purely for themselves, without critics and fans in mind.

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Friday, August 17, 2018

Posted By on Fri, Aug 17, 2018 at 11:00 AM

click to enlarge Laurel Hill Bluegrass Festival - CP PHOTO BY LISA CUNNINGHAM
CP photo by Lisa Cunningham
Laurel Hill Bluegrass Festival
Daily grind got you dreaming of an escape? Then head to the hills!

Tucked into the beautiful wilderness of Laurel Hill State Park in Somerset, about an hour drive from Pittsburgh, the cheerful picking of strings will flow through the trees this weekend for the annual Laurel Hill Bluegrass Festival.

The stage is set up under a large tent, with seating available on a first-come, first-serve basis. It usually fills up fast. City Paper recommends bringing chairs or a blanket to sit on the grass. You can still hear the music, and you'll get a better view of the mountains against the skyline as you listen.

click to enlarge Colebrook Road
Colebrook Road
Seven bluegrass bands play over the course of the fest — four on Saturday, three on Sunday. Aren't able to get there when it starts? No worries. Stick around — each band plays a second set.

Favorites include Harrisburg band Colebrook Road, whose contemporary, upbeat strings are perfect for dancing, and Jakob's Ferry Stragglers, who bring a fresh take to bluegrass tunes with hints of rockabilly. Fans of Pittsburgh's Three Rivers Arts Festival will recognize its annual Bluegrass Day staple Allegheny Grifters, a must-see for lovers of traditional tunes.

And the festival is totally free! But bring cash for food trucks and church stands, providing cheap eats like barbecue, haluski, and desserts. There's also a vendor area with wares from local artisans, typically selling homemade goods like candles, jams, and pottery. Somerset County is renowned for its maple syrup, if you can find some.
click to enlarge Allegheny Grifters
Allegheny Grifters

Want to fully embrace the retreat from city life? Sign up for a wagon ride or check out the old-timey village set up at the top of the hill, with demonstrations by reenactors dressed in period garb.

The festival's organization is impressive — volunteers direct traffic, there's ADA parking and shuttle drivers to give lifts to folks with disabilities, and people walking around the park the entire length of the festival, happy to help when needed. You can also bring your pup. The festival is dog-friendly.

One note of caution: Right now, there's a chance of thunderstorms, but in years past, when the storms come, the bands pack up then start again when and if the skies clear. Fingers crossed for sun.

Laurel Hill Bluegrass Festival. Sat., Aug. 18, Noon-8 p.m., and Sun., Aug. 19, 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Laurel Hill State Park, Somerset. Free. laurelhillbluegrass.com

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Thursday, June 14, 2018

Posted By on Thu, Jun 14, 2018 at 12:29 PM


click to enlarge PHOTO COURTESY OF MARCELO KRASILCIC
Photo courtesy of Marcelo Krasilcic
Stephin Merritt knew when Magnetic Fields’ contract with Nonesuch Records came up for a renewal because the date coincided with his 50th birthday, in 2015.

When he and Nonesuch president Robert Hurwitz
discussed its renewal — over lunch at the Grand Central Station Oyster Bar — Hurwitz suggested the voice behind Magnetic Fields should celebrate his half-century on their next album. Merritt immediately devised a 50-song album, and Hurwitz responded enthusiastically.

To some musicians, this might seem like a daunting concept.

But Merritt is the same songwriter who created
69 Love Songs, the Magnetic Fields’ opus that approached the idea of amour from that many angles, lyrically and musically, from ukulele-driven folkiness to synth-pop to experimental sound. Released on Merge Records in 1999, the album is considered a high watermark for indie rock and established Merritt as a skilled composer with an unmatched lyrical wit and sense of melody.

Speaking from his New York home in his dry, understated
manner, Merritt explains his approach to the five-record/five-CD 50 Song Memoir.

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Monday, June 11, 2018

Posted By on Mon, Jun 11, 2018 at 4:17 PM

click to enlarge PHOTO COURTESY OF ALISTER ANN
Photo courtesy of Alister Ann

Jenny Lewis has a wicked sense of humor and a gift for crafting brilliant songs.

Since her early days with Rilo Kiley to her current thriving solo career, Lewis continues to make art that's entrancing but still accessible. Her 2014 record, The Voyager, was a spectacular alt-country release with smart lyrics and captivating melodies. CP caught up with Lewis as she prepared for a tour in the midst of mixing her forthcoming, still unnamed record.

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Wednesday, April 18, 2018

Turn up the heat on your party with these hot summer jams

Posted By on Wed, Apr 18, 2018 at 9:26 AM

Music can make or break a party, and there's nothing worse than a lifeless fiesta. Pittsburgh City Paper has your back this Cinco De Mayo with the hottest Latin hits of today and yesterday. Hey, we even took the time to compile them all in a neat Spotify playlist! You're welcome amigo.

BUT if you're more of a party attender rather than a party thrower, why not come to Pittsburgh City Paper's Cinco De Derby party at the Rivers Casino on May 5th, 2018? If you didn't catch it from the name, Cinco De Derby is the rare day when the worlds and cultures of Kentucky and Latin America come together. There will be entertainment, food, drink, and games! We guarantee it'll be a lively evening! 🔥🔥🔥




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Thursday, March 1, 2018

Posted By on Thu, Mar 1, 2018 at 3:31 PM


“We’re not expecting to walk out with any answers,” Abby Goldstein said on Tue., Feb. 27, from the stage of the Kelly-Strayhorn Theater, in East Liberty. “We’re gathering input.” The general manager of 91.3 WYEP-FM, Goldstein was there to moderate the Pittsburgh Music Ecosystem Project Town Hall Meeting, a mouthful of a title for an effort geared toward strengthening the Pittsburgh music scene.

The event served as the next step following a joint effort by WYEP, the City of Pittsburgh and the Pittsburgh Downtown Partnership, fueled by a $30,000 grant from Heinz Endowments. Five panelists, all with some connection to Pittsburgh music, spoke candidly with Goldstein and fielded questions from the audience.

The panel consisted of: Emily Plazek, CEO of MIC (Music Industry Connected); Charles “Poogie” Bell, Grammy-award winning jazz drummer, producer and composer; Liz Berlin, of Rusted Root and co-owner of Mr. Smalls Theatre, among other things; Thomas Agnew, editor in chief of JENESIS magazine and co-founder of BOOM Concepts, a community organization that works with artists and musicians; and Dave Wheeler, guitarist/vocalist of Outsideinside and Carousel.

Audience members were encouraged to submit questions to the panelists. Volunteers handed out blue index cards at the entrance to jot them down. In a savvy technological move, the meeting was hooked up to the sli.do app, allowing the chance to inquire that way, take a couple surveys, or — as many did — to simply vent. The submitted text was then projected onto screens above both sides of the stage.

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Friday, February 16, 2018

Posted By on Fri, Feb 16, 2018 at 11:58 AM

click to enlarge Palm - PHOTO COURTESY OF DYLAN PEARCE
Photo courtesy of Dylan Pearce
Palm


When City Paper recently called Eve Alpert, she was pulled over on the side of the road to talk on the phone “without being a distracted driver!” The guitarist and vocalist of pysch-pop band Palm was en route to vacuum the van before their latest tour.

In the following forty minutes, we chatted about Palm's latest record Rock Island, making pop music that's also weird and writing music patiently and slowly. 


Rock Island, the latest Palm record, came out Feb. 9. How does it feel to finally have that body of work out in the open?

It feels longer, maybe because the stream came out a week ago. This is the most excited we’ve been about a release and about the music and recording that we’ve ever been. I’m really happy and very happy with the music.


This is the first time we felt very confident about all the songs we wrote, and we’ve really focused on making a cohesive, unified record. With all our previous releases, they were just the songs we had at the time, so making the songs feel cohesive and whole was always an afterthought, but this time it was an intentional act from the first song we wrote. It was also the first time we’ve had a lot of time to record.


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