The Keynote Cafe in Jeannette, PA started twelve years ago because the owner Jill Sorrels wanted to hear more music. The last Saturday in June was the venue’s final show. Jill had decided it was time to retire.
The show started at noon and there was act after act continuously until after midnight. Even though the venue is in a small town in southwestern PA, the amount of talent that played the last day was incredible.
There was a twelve year old who is working with a producer in NY. One of the singers had opened for Nine Inch Nails. Another performer got a golden ticket on American Idol in a recent season. Another has performed on WDVE. One group had one of their songs picked up last year by the Pittsburgh Pirates. And this is just a partial list of accomplishments of performers that day. This list would grow exponentially if it contained every performer that had ever graced Keynote’s stage.
Pretty much any type of music you can imagine was played that day. Most of the performers had at least one original song if not their whole set. The genres varied from country to rock and from Whitney to Sinatra.
There wasn’t an empty table during any part of the twelve hours of music. Lots of tears were shed that day over the venue closing and many memories of Keynote were shared by the performers. Several of the acts actually met at the Keynote and there was a marriage proposal at the end of one of the sets.
Even though this was the end of an era for music locally, it is just the beginning for many of the talented young people that got their musical birth at the Keynote Cafe.
Review and images by Craig Ferry