Live & Direct Volume 14
April 30th marks WYEP’s 38th birthday and another celebration of live music with the release of Live & Direct Volume 14. Once again we’ve collected some of the best live on-air performances of the past year. Most of these occurred before a live WYEP studio audience, a few took place in the confines of a smaller studio with only the artists and a host in the session.
Live & Direct Volume 14 opens with an audience favorite. The Avett Brothers and Music Director Mike Sauter crammed into WYEP’s intimate small performance space. “Tear Down This House” is one of the boy’s more introspective and subdued songs. In this setting the sweetness of that song blooms as The Avetts pour out their hearts. The following tracks by Mason Jennings and Sahara Smith were also recorded in the small studio sans an audience. Morning Host Cindy Howes helped introduce 20 year old Sahara to WYEP listeners. There is a reason T Bone Burnett took this youngster under his wing. She’ll be performing at the CD release party this weekend. Mr. Jennings is a seasoned WYEP visitor who’s proven to be an honest, forthcoming interview. He alternated between his keyboard and guitar and gave us several lovely rendition of “Raindrops On the Kitchen Floor.”
Some of the artists on Live & Direct Volume 14 are new to WYEP listeners and it’s a privilege to bring them the well-deserved attention they deserve. Eric Lindell is an artist who has toured small clubs for years and has released several great releases. His music straddles soul and blues. Jason Isbell was a member of Drive By Truckers. His solo work is bold and unflinching in its account of hard lives and battered love. Ron Sexsmith’s craftsmanship of songwriting has been lauded by Paul McCartney and Elvis Costello. Seattle band Motopony offered wonderful insights into their music and gave us a stirring rendition of “King of Diamonds.” Sam Roberts Band are megastars in Canada but in the U.S. they’re still a secret – unless you listen to WYEP. And Justin Townes Earle proved that he isn’t just Steve Earle’s boy, he’s a powerhouse in his own right.
Sometimes you have to have a big room and a live audience to get the best out of a band. Fitz & the Tantrums were new to Pittsburgh when they performed early in 2011. The WYEP audience got the full blast of energy from the L.A. band. Fitz & the Tantrums came back to play WYEP’s Summer Music Festival. Over the Rhine is a band you must hear live to fully grasp how good they are. Karen Berquist and Linford Detweiler were fabulous performing “The King Knows How.” Iron and Wine was a highlight of 2011. Sam Beam brought with him Academy Award Winner Marketa Irglova and singer songwriter Rosie Thomas as back-up singers. K.T. Tunstall wowed the audience with acoustic versions of her hits.
Occasionally WYEP is lucky to get visits from legendary performers. Warren Haynes of Gov’t Mule, The Allman Brothers, and The Dead, gave a fabulous performance and interview. Former Bauhaus member and Godfather of Goth Peter Murphy, dropped by to confirm his iconic status. The Jayhawks songwriting team, Gary Louris and Mark Olson captivated us with “Closer To Your Side.” Sarah Lee Guthrie, daughter of Arlo and granddaughter of Woody, came by with her husband, Johnny Irion, for a stirring winter radio concert.
Rounding out the disc is two performances by local artists. Big Hurry proved to be a big sound while Mark Dignam adds finesse to “Tallahassee.” He’ll also be playing at WYEP’s Live & Direct CD release party.
You likely didn’t get to hear all of these and other performances when they aired live but now you have a chance to keep them for posterity. Already this year WYEP audiences have enjoyed nearly a dozen live performances with many more to come. Listener support makes it possible. Sign up to support great radio and live music and get a copy of WYEP’s Live & Direct, Volume 14. (Rosemary Welsch - Afternoon Host)