Soulshowmike’s Album Picks: In the Bleak by Geenpool | Pittsburgh City Paper

Soulshowmike’s Album Picks: In the Bleak by Geenpool

click to enlarge Soulshowmike’s Album Picks: In the Bleak by Geenpool
Photo: Mike Canton
Geenpool at Spirit in 2019
In this installment of Soulshowmike’s Album Picks, I’m circling back to an early 2020 album that has kept my personal and broadcast attention all year. It’s from a Pittsburgh vocalist who recently transplanted to Germany. His performance name is Geenpool, but we knew him as Gene Stovall.

In The Bleak breaks down some walls that make it appealing across generations. The rap lyrics are consistently intelligent, clever, or both, and then there’s the singing: Geenpool delivers every beautiful bit of his Duquesne University-trained voice on this album. What makes it even more gratifying is that Gene underwent a medical procedure that might have affected his chords, and as he plowed through final production in his hospital room, he wasn’t sure what he could deliver. Everything worked out.

There are two tracks that have locked into my psyche: “Have You Seen Jesus,” where Gene sings/scats effortlessly between sax notes to present a really fun song, and “Better That Way,” with alternative-rock acoustic strumming in a tune that feels like national-level music.

I’ll interview Geenpool on WYEP’s The Soul Show on Sat., Nov. 14. Join us. Also, I anxiously await AHA, his early 2021 release.


Mike Canton is the longtime host and producer of The Soul Show on WYEP 91.3FM. He recently launched a syndicated edition of the program, now airing in three markets. Both are produced in his Electric Basement Studios. Canton is also a Pittsburgh-area voice artist.