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March was the month of thinking that there may not be any good music coming out of the USA with my ‘Import Charge’ playlist. Don’t worry though, in July I will be addressing that very question. But for this month I will be smashing a perceived stereotype of a specific genre of music with my ‘Easter Eggs’ Spotify playlist. This month is Easter and so it’s the time of year where if you attend to...

Kristen Beard

Last month I introduced you to local singer Steve Hawk.  This month there are no April fool’s jokes when it comes to the talented Kristen Beard. As with many local artists, I met her at the former Keynote Café that was located in Jeanette, PA. I have heard her play many times and always look forward to when I hear her next. Kristen is the youngest person I’ve interviewed in the short time that Humble...

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February was the month of broken romance with my ‘Love Songs?’ playlist. But this month we are sneaking across the American border with my Spotify playlist ‘Import Charge’. I know I never really paid attention to the country of origin for most bands. Sure most people, even if it was before your time, remember hearing about the ‘British Invasion’ in music. Bands like the Beatles and the Rolling Stones were the recipients of young ladies...

Steve Hawk

Last month I introduced you to former opera singer Chelsea Ritenour.  My Humble Beginnings guest for this month’s interview was SW PA’s own Steve Hawk. I’ve been a fan of his music since I first heard him a couple years ago at the former Keynote Café in Jeanette, PA. The ironic thing of first meeting Hawk at a venue named the Keynote Café is that one of his early musical inspirations, his own grandfather Joseph...

Marimba TV

I was watching a TV show called Rosewood the other day when one of the songs in the show’s soundtrack caught my attention. I immediately had to pause the show, grab my phone and find out who performed the song. Once I found out who the artist was, as you may have guessed, I added it to one of my Spotify playlists. Unlike my monthly series “Music Makes Me”, this article is not about playlists....

the_end_mask-1

Over the past couple of weeks I have shared with you some stories of different people’s experiences during the challenges that COVID has brought to all of us. I had initially thought that this series was going to last another couple of weeks, but that was not to be the case. In hindsight, I realize now that most people don’t want to talk about the past year. No matter where we are mentally, physically or...

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COVID did its part to convert “Music Talks” into “Music Silence” for significant parts of 2020. I wrote an article late last year about local cable show “Music Talks”. It is the brainchild of host Chelsea Ritenour and behind the scenes guy Rick Fike. The show was created to promote the local music scene by having an interview with local artists followed by the musicians performing a set of songs. The show was birthed in...

Not alone musician

When venues closed their doors to live entertainment, the life of a lot of people in the music industry took on a whole new look and feel. You’ve heard the stories in previous episodes of “Not Alone’ with photographers and open mics. This week I had an opportunity to interview musician Brad Abbott to hear a musician’s story. As with all musicians, Abbott was also impacted when music venues closed their doors in mid March...

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January was the month of ‘New Beginnings‘ and February is the month of romance.  This makes perfect sense since it is the month that has Valentines Day.  People are buying flowers, eating dark chocolates out of gaudy heart shaped boxes or creating a sappy Spotify playlist of romantic music.  Others may pick this month to propose or get married, as it is the month for lovers.  But that isn’t the case for everyone.  Some people...

Chelsea Ritenour

This month’s ‘Humble Beginnings – Chelsea Ritenour’ is about a well known person in the local music scene. You may know Chelsea from the Armstrong Cable show ‘Music Talks’.  First Angel Media had an article about the show back in 2020.  She is the lovely host that interviews all the musicians before their set. Not only is she a talented interviewer, but she comes from a musical background herself. Chelsea was born and raised in...

Not Alone Open Mic

Two childhood friends have tried to do their part to keep the local music scene alive. Mike Berkey and Devin Russian have known each other since the 6th grade, which in their case is over 20 years. Their love of music has been one of the things that have been a common bond throughout the years.  They are not alone during their COVID experiences.  Like most people, their musical life experienced a radical change in...

Covid photography

What a crazy time it has been since March of last year. Some days it feels like Groundhog Day where I wake up in the morning, do the exact same things, rinse and repeat day after day. Only 10 months have passed since the first real COVID lockdowns had started, but some days it feels like 10 years. If I look at my calendar that used to be full of activities, it is like a...

Humble Beginnings - Greed

I have only known Russ Burchell a couple years and have always known him just as the talented guitar player for his daughter Aubrey. But as with all great musicians and fathers, there was a life before children and being on stage. This article is the first in an upcoming series where you’ll read some of those stories. The first in this series is, titled ‘Humble Beginnings – Russ Burchell.’  If you’d like me to...

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A song performed by over 60 artists from over 27 bands, SOS 2020 is a call for help in the middle of a pandemic as well as an anthem of hope across the music community of Pittsburgh. Even with the approval of the Save Our Stages Act, there is an immediate need for funds for Pittsburgh’s venues as has been seen with the closure of The Rex Theatre from the coronavirus pandemic. When it comes to...

Craig Ferry

Last month I wrote an article about creating the playlist, ‘Story of Craig’, and the impact that it had on me. Selecting the songs from my past and reliving the memories associated with them was an emotional rollercoaster. Little did I realize how this article would touch other people as well. I received emails, texts and messages from people telling me they created their own playlists. One particular person gave me her top 10 songs...

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As we come to the end of 2020, I can’t help but feel caught between some relief at seeing an end to the craziest year I’ve endured, and looking at the ‘anniversaries’ quickly coming up in a new year that has yet to show change. For some 2020 has been hell, for the music scene it’s been the closest we’ve ever come to music dying. We in the music industry, fans, bands, venues and more,...

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I’m all about playing new & classic Christmas music every year at Christmas time in my house, on my phone and in my car.   I grew up listening to my parents play old time musicians like Bing Crosby and Andy Williams singing songs like ‘Frosty the Snowman’, ‘Silent Night’ and ‘Winter Wonderland’. Every year I try to find something new to listen to as you know I love exploring the world of new music....

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Look, we all know this year has hit everyone hard. There’s no denying that fact. But one record label has taken the pandemic to new heights – Brutal Business Entertainment. And to close out their year, they are dropping a compilation disc filled with some of the hardest hitting players in the game, crammed full of unlimited talent and tracks from some of their longest standing artists, as well as some fresh new talent they’ve added...