November 18, 2016 by cindy@wyep.org

Friday mornings on WYEP, Chef Bill Fuller (Corporate Chef for big Burrito) joins Cindy Howes at 7:30am for Pairings! Bill & Cindy challenge each other to pair up your favorite music with matching menus. Let’s see what they came up with this week. Listen to the audio: 

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November 16, 2016 by mike@wyep.org

 

 

On November 20, 1961, Bob Dylan's recording adventure for his own albums began in a New York City recording studio. The 20 year-old singer and songwriter began making his debut album on that day, and now, 55 years later Dylan has a body of work to his credit that includes 37 studio albums, 58 singles, and something in the neighborhood of 14 live albums. He has also been awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature, for "having created new poetic expressions within the great American song tradition." So, in his honor, let's chat about his career.

 

Mike Sauter, Direct of Content and Programming: Let's begin with something simple, and still hard -- what is your favorite Bob Dylan album of all, and why is it your favorite?

 

Brian Siewiorek, Production Director: His first recording session was in June, 1961 - for Belafonte's "Midnight Special". Belafonte did so many takes, and Dylan had to play the same harmonica part over and over that it changed the way he would later want to record his own albums.

 

 

My favorite Dylan album depends on my mood. But the one I come back to the most is Highway 61 Revisited - I love it when he goes wide with the long rambles - "Ballad of a Thin Man" is just brilliant... it all still holds up well these days.

 

Mike Sauter: My album pick is Blood on the Tracks. Love this album from start to finish. It's not as strident as The Freewheelin' Bob Dylan and more low-key than either Highway 61 Revisited or Blonde on Blonde (though all fine albums).

 

I find this to be an especially great record to crank up in the fall and winter months. And you really can't get much better as an album opener than "Tangled Up in Blue." -- a cinematic masterpiece of a song. And then the mellow contemplation of songs like "Simple Twist of Fate," "Shelter From the Storm," and "Buckets of Rain." And the rollicking good fun of "Lily, Rosemary and the Jack of Hearts."

 

Brian Siewiorek: ...and "Idiot Wind" - one of the best "f-you" songs ever written.

 

Dave Blaushild, Volunteer Host: I agree with Brian. "Idiot Wind" is my favorite song on Blood on the Tracks. There is so much strength in the keyboards and it is lyrically strong. "The idiot wind, blowing every time you move your teeth, you're an idiot babe, it's a wonder that you still know how to breathe". Dylan wrote two of the best F-you songs: "Idiot Wind" and "Positively 4th Street."

 

I have three Dylan albums that I consider favorites: Highway 61 (1965); "Queen Jane Approximately" is my favorite song "Won't you come see me Queen Jane?". I especially like Dylan's piano playing on this one; New Morning (1970) has a number of great songs and Bob is backed up by some quality musicians including David Bromberg, Harvey Brooks (bass), Charlie Daniels (bass), Al Kooper (keyboards), and Russ Kunkel (drums). I really like his use of wrong grammar on "Day of Locusts": "And the locusts sang, and they were sang-ing for me" and the title track is a really upbeat song for a sunny morning in the spring. I also like Street Legal (1978), an album that got panned by the critics. It was released in 1978, after Blood on the Tracks and Desire which did extremely well. My favorite song is the lead-off single "Changing of the Guard". There is a cool Patti Smith cover of that song.

 

Sean Fogarty, Thursday Night Block Party Host: One of the fascinating aspects about Bob Dylan is he constantly did what he wanted. Dylan always seemed to thrive on challenging the notions of who he is or who his audience thinks he should be. His moves seem at once calculated and at other times, confounding. Weather plugging in, finding Jesus or releasing a pair of LP’s of pop standards, Dylan thrived on being confrontational.

 

I remember seeing Dylan and his band play Pittsburgh at the A. J. Palumbo Center in November of 2002. It was little more than a year since he released Love and Theft and the setlists were peppered with selections from that LP. Dylan was also playing covers on this tour. Two selections in particular were on the setlist that night, as they were just about every night of that leg of the tour. Warren Zevon’s “Mutineer” and The Rolling Stones’ “Brown Sugar”. After the show I remember asking a friend: with volumes of his own songs in his canon to play, why Dylan would start covering those songs?

 

Performing the Warren Zevon number made sense. It was 10 days earlier that Zevon made his last public performance on The Late Show with David Letterman before he began to succumb to cancer. Playing the Rolling Stones number was baffling to me. Why would Dylan play a by-the-numbers cover of one of the Rolling Stones most popular songs about an inappropriate sexual relationship between a master and slave? Because he’s Bob Dylan, and he doesn’t care what anyone thinks.

 

Brian Siewiorek: ...and that goes in line with his wicked sense of humor. I think that really confuses people.

 

Rob O'Friel, Rollin' and Tumblin' Host: I remember an interview with a rap star on an MTV special about Dylan. I can't recall the artist's name but I remember first just being surprised that this rap star had been influenced by Bob. And then the artist said something to the effect of, "in all of Dylan's hundreds of songs, there was never a 'throw away' line or word. Every line had a part to the story." Hearing that perspective from a rap star who really thrives on making it up as the song goes really brought Dylan full circle for me.

 

Mike Sauter: And, Sean, the interesting thing about Dylan's perspective is that although we often associate an "I don't care what anyone thinks" attitude as being purely cantankerous (a la Johnny Rotten/John Lydon personality), Dylan generally isn't going to be defiant for defiance's sake. I remember when Bob won the Academy Award in 2001 for "Things Have Changed" from the Wonder Boys soundtrack, I just assumed that his acceptance speech would strike at least some sarcastic tone in some way--I mean, as I thought at the time, isn't Bob Dylan so far outside of the pull of award gravity?--but he reacted warmly and genuinely and gave a fairly typical thank you speech. So Dylan will always follow his own path, be it away from mainstream thought processes or be it right down the middle of Mainstream Boulevard.

 

 

That Oscar win--and his confounding of my expectations as to his reaction--made me think from the beginning that he would be pleased and humbled by being awarded the Nobel Prize.

 

Does anyone have any special moments in Dylan's history that you'd like to point out or share?

 

Dave Blaushild: I visited the Country Music Hall of Fame last year in Nashville. There is an interesting exhibit called Dylan, Cash, and the Nashville Cats. It profiles Bob, Johnny Cash, and the session musicians who played with them. Between 1966 and 1970, Dylan recorded four albums in Nashville: Blonde on Blonde, John Wesley Harding, Nashville Skyline, and Self Portrait. Blonde on Blonde was still electric in nature and a great album. Dylan brought in Robbie Robertson, then of the Hawks to play guitar, John Wesley Harding was more folky, while Nashville Skyline incorporated more country elements. It's an interesting period in Dylan's evolution as a writer, and musician.

 

Mike Sauter: And one final memorable Dylan moment I'd like to share. Dylan's gospel period is sometimes overlooked, but it's a fascinating time in his career. There's a great video of a show in Toronto from April of 1980 which begins with an almost seven-minute long sermon by Bob and then blasts into a terrific rendition of "Solid Rock" from Saved.

 

 

When it comes to Dylan's career, we won’t let go and we can’t let go and we can’t let go no more...

 


 

 

More about Bob Dylan from WYEP:

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November 16, 2016 by cindy@wyep.org

1buzz_web 
Every Wednesday at 9:13 am, one of our most trusted music aficionados joins me (Cindy Howes) on the Morning Mix to play a couple favorite new songs and share some insight. Today we welcome Justin Jacobs

In case you missed it, here's what Justin played (commentary by JJ):

Valerie June, "Astral Plane" - That voice! Valerie June is not from this world, and her new album proves it. Following her incredible folk breakthrough "Pushin' Against a Stone," she'll release "The Order of Time" in January. The new album is a bit more plugged-in and kicked-up, with less of a dusty, dirt road vibe that encapsulated her debut. But it's another pure soul stunner, and it'll push June to a new level of popularity, if there is any justice in the world. 

Islands, "Rough Gem" - This pick is cheating a bit, because it's 10 years old. Islands was one of the bands that formed after the dissolution of the Unicorns, one of the most fun (and certainly weirdest) indie pop bands of the early 2000's. The band released "Return to the Sea" in 2006 to lots of critical acclaim — it toned down the freakout vibes of the Unicorns into a catchy, more easily digestible package. A decade later, they're rereleasing the album for a new generation of indie kids. "Rough Gem"  is exactly that: a shiny jewel covered in a thin layer of grime. You'll love it. 

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November 14, 2016 by cindy@wyep.org

Every Wednesday at 9:13 am, one of our most trusted music aficionados joins me (Cindy Howes) on the Morning Mix to play a couple favorite new songs and share some insight. Today we welcome Patrick Bowman!

In case you missed, it here's what Patrick played: 

NX Worries, "Another Time"Anderson Paak and producer Knxwledge just dropped their proper full-length as NxWorries Yes Lawd! On October 21 via esteem underground hip hop label Stones Throw. Paak has momentum after his exciting debut Malibu dropped earlier this year. "Another Time" is just a smooth neo soul song that has Paak and Knxwledge vibing deep, with the whole album in the same mindset. 

 

Lizzo, "Worship"Coconut Oil is the debut major label EP written and conducted by Minnesota-based singer-songwriter/rapper Lizzo, dropped earlier this month on Atlantic Records.  "Worship" is the lead track off the new ep and it's just this exuberant combination of rapping, singing, and fast stepping production that shows Lizzo at her most dynamic. 

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November 11, 2016 by cindy@wyep.org

Friday mornings on WYEP, Chef Bill Fuller (Corporate Chef for big Burrito) joins Cindy Howes at 7:30am for Pairings! Bill & Cindy challenge each other to pair up your favorite music with matching menus. Let’s see what they came up with this week. Listen to the audio: 

Posted in
November 11, 2016 by cindy@wyep.org

Friday mornings on WYEP, Chef Bill Fuller (Corporate Chef for big Burrito) joins Cindy Howes at 7:30am for Pairings! Bill & Cindy challenge each other to pair up your favorite music with matching menus. Let’s see what they came up with this week. Listen to the audio: 

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November 4, 2016 by cindy@wyep.org

Friday mornings on WYEP, Chef Bill Fuller (Corporate Chef for big Burrito) joins Cindy Howes at 7:30am for Pairings! Bill & Cindy challenge each other to pair up your favorite music with matching menus. Let’s see what they came up with this week. Listen to the audio: 

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November 2, 2016 by cindy@wyep.org

Every Wednesday at 9:13 am, one of Pittsburgh’s finest music writers joins me (Cindy Howes) on the Morning Mix to play a couple favorite new songs and share some insight. Today we welcome Scott Tady!

In case you missed it here’s what he played with commentary by Scott:

The Commonheart, "Who Dat Mama" - They're an exhilarating live act, including a dazzling performance this summer at Stage AE as a last minute opening act addition for Gary Clark Jr. On Nov. 12, Pittsburgh band The Commonheart  releases its first album with a show at Mr. Smalls. The album, "Grown," is chock-full of rocking, soulful goodness spearheaded by the testifying vocals of Clinton Clegg. There's a reason he gets so many Joe Cocker comparisons. The Commonheart also call to mind Nathaniel "S.O.B." Rateliff & the Night Sweats, with such an intoxicating mix of full-bodied organ swirls, spirited horns and piercing, perfectly-timed guitar licks. A must-see/must-hear band deserving of national stature.

Paul & The Tall Trees, "React"Soul-stirring, pleading vocals are a specialty of Paul Schalda, frontman for this Brooklyn indie-rock band that released an excellent debut album on Oct. 21. Formerly the guitarist for acclaimed, late-blooming soul singer  Robert Bradley, Schalda hearkens a bit to Jeff Tweedy, and on at least one other song, Paul Westerberg. Though this revved-up album leadoff track, with its urgent, train-like harmonica and keys, is a bit of a standout, with an "It ain't too late" to hold politicians accountable message that seemed a perfect fit with election day dawning.

 

 

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October 28, 2016 by cindy@wyep.org

Friday mornings on WYEP, Chef Bill Fuller (Corporate Chef for big Burrito) joins Cindy Howes at 7:30am for Pairings! Bill & Cindy challenge each other to pair up your favorite music with matching menus. Let’s see what they came up with this week. Listen to the audio: 

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October 26, 2016 by cindy@wyep.org

 
Every Wednesday at 9:13 am, one of WYEP’s trusted music experts joins me (Cindy Howes) on The Morning Mix to play a couple favorite new songs and share some insight. Today we welcome Jess Phaneuf from WUMB in Boston!

In case you missed it, here's what Jess played:

Jonny Fritz, "Are You Thirsty" - Thankfully he's ditched the moniker Jonny Corndog and Jonny Fritz has also enlisted the help of Jim James and members of Dawes for his new album Sweet Creep. His sound is killer and his lyrics are clever...I'm really digging this song in particular. For fans of Devendra Banhart, Father John Misty or Edward Sharpe.

Hiss Golden Messenger "As The Crow Flies" - MC Taylor has admittedly injected a lot of personal struggle in his new album Heart Like A Levee and it shows. These songs breath with life and have made for a wonderful soundtrack as the seasons change. I particularly love this track, which reminds me of Robert Plant.

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October 21, 2016 by mike@wyep.org

 

WYEP's hosts have been digging through the music library to find the spookiest, most scary, ghoulish songs we can find! Well, at the least, we'll have a lot of music chock full of Halloween spirit.

 

Here's what we have on deck for you:

 

Saturday, October 29:

  • The Soul Show, 2-5 PM: featuring some soul and funk with a Halloween theme

 

  • Rollin' & Tumblin', 9 - midnight: The spooky blues!

 

Sunday, October 30:

  • The Roots & Rhythm Mix, 11 AM - 2 PM: Listen for a few Halloween-themed songs each hour.

 

Monday, October 31:

  • The Afternoon Mix, 2-6 PM: Host Rosemary Welsch will give you a mix of Halloween classics, songs about pumpkins/zombies/ghosts, and more. A variety of guests will share their personal stories of Halloween.

 

  • Block Party, 8 - midnight: This special Halloween night edition of the Block Party will showcase spooky music, plus an assortment of goth and darkwave songs throughout the night

 

 

 

image by Idea go via FreeDigitalPhotos.net

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October 21, 2016 by cindy@wyep.org

Friday mornings on WYEP, Chef Bill Fuller (Corporate Chef for big Burrito) joins Cindy Howes at 7:30am for Pairings! Bill & Cindy challenge each other to pair up your favorite music with matching menus. Let’s see what they came up with this week. Listen to the audio: 

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October 19, 2016 by cindy@wyep.org

Every Wednesday at 9:13 am, one of WYEP’s trusted music experts joins me (Cindy Howes) on The Morning Mix to play a couple favorite new songs and share some insight. Today we welcome Sarah Wardrop from WFUV in New York!

In case you missed, it here’s what she played:

Honeyblood, "Babes Never Die" - This Scottish duo is set to release its new album on November 4, called Babes Never Die. Its title intrigued me and the title song didn't let me down, mixing rebellion with humor, and some White Stripes with a bit of the Letters to Cleo/Best Coast continuum into pure pop rock.

Hope Sandoval & The Warm Inventions, "Let Me Get There" - There's an element of nostalgia and a November 4 release date with this song too, as the voice of Mazzy Star once again steps out with her band The Warm Inventions. The new album is called Until The Hunter and on this song Sandoval is joined by Kurt Vile, creating a duet that's a doubly laid-back beauty. 

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October 14, 2016 by cindy@wyep.org

Friday mornings on WYEP, Chef Bill Fuller (Corporate Chef for big Burrito) joins Cindy Howes at 7:30am for Pairings! Bill & Cindy challenge each other to pair up your favorite music with matching menus. Let’s see what they came up with this week. Listen to the audio: 

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October 12, 2016 by mike@wyep.org


 

Paul Simon has been a hugely influential figure in music history. He's been successful with the public, earning four chart-topping songs and three number one albums to his credit. He's been acclaimed by his peers in the music industry, winning twelve Grammy Awards. And he's been inducted into the Rock 'n' Roll Hall of Fame both as a member of Simon & Garfunkel and as a solo artist. Simon was born October 13, 1941, so in conjunction with his 75th birthday we're discussing his career and impact. Some of the WYEP staff had an online chat about some of our favorites in Simon's extensive catalogue.

 

Mike Sauter: (Director of Content and Programming) What songs from any part of Simon's career do you consider his most important, either culturally or to you personally?

 

Joey Spehar: (Morning Mix Co-Host) This will always be my favorite Paul Simon album.

Paul Simon, Paul Simon

It's completely perfect from beginning to end. I'm sure it has a lot to do with my mom playing it a ton around the house when I was a kid. When I "discovered it" on my own in my 20s, it all felt so familiar. There's a great mix of styles on the record and it's (without a doubt) the best use of a coat on an album ever.

 

Mike: That is a nice coat!

 

Cindy Howes: (Morning Mix Host) I agree with Joey about Paul Simon, Paul Simon. It's a perfect album. I always knew "Me and Julio Down By The Schoolyard". A friend of mine pointed out the song "Armistice Day" to me for being a really special song. The dynamics and lyrics were amazing to me. I also love that you can hear creaky chairs and face scratching on the record.

This song will always remind me of living in Somerville, MA with my roommates playing music in our kitchen. We had a cranky older woman living below us that would bang on our door or use a broom to bang her ceiling when we were disturbing her. She was the worst! She would leave nasty notes on our door and was never a pleasant person to deal with. We would turn up the volume to loud and dance around to this Paul Simon song. It was very cathartic.

 

 

Also "The Only Living Boy In New York" is a favorite. I remember watching Garden State in the movie theater and being very moved by the placement of the song.

 

I know everyone loves Graceland (I love it, too!), but there is something to be said for the album The Rhythm of The Saints. The way he incorporated more Latin sounds to his songs as well as African was very effective. The drums on the opening track are incredible!

 

 

Rosemary Welsch: (Afternoon Mix Host & Senior Producer) I also love The Rhythm of the Saints and think it didn't get its due because it followed Graceland. "Can't Run, But" is one of my favorites on that album. The lyrics are so beautiful and the music so haunting.

 

Cindy: Can't even tell you how pleased I was with Paul Simon's 2011 record [So Beautiful or So What]. After the disappointment of Surprise, it was hard to say what would come next. The whole album sounds great. He sounds free and open on that album. I especially love the title track.

 

       

Kyle Smith: (Music Director & Midday Mix Host) I have many Paul Simon memories, but one song in particular always makes me stop what I'm doing, in order to listen to every note. "The Only Living Boy in New York" was playing on WYEP on a Thanksgiving evening, roughly one year after I moved to Pittsburgh. I was driving on McArdle Roadway up to Mount Washington to a gathering at a friend's house. I was the only car going up, the city was illuminated and almost empty, and the song was the perfect one at that moment.

 

Cindy: Two very impressive live albums that he's released were the two Central Park shows he recorded (one billed as a "Paul Simon" show and the other "Simon & Garfunkel):

Paul Simon's Concert in the Park

The Concert in Central Park

 

Joey: Also, I'm pretty partial to "Father and Daughter" ever since I became a dad. I can't listen to it without tearing up. Like, it's impossible to not cry for me :sob::sob::sob::sob:

 

Kyle: "Father and Daughter," over the years, has brought in some of the highest volumes of requests, reactions, and tears from WYEP listeners.

 

Cindy: This is one of my favorite music videos ever. Chevy Chase is so funny:

 

Mike: For me, I'd have to go with Bridge Over Troubled Water for my favorite album from Paul Simon's career. I mean - c'mon! Side 1 of this album is pretty perfect: "Bridge over Troubled Water," "El Condor Pasa," "Cecilia," "Keep the Customer Satisfied," and "So Long, Frank Lloyd Wright." And side 2 is no slouch either.

Simon has always been a fascinating lyricist, from "The Sound of Silence" in 1964 all the way through to his recent song "Wristband." "The words of the prophets are written on the subway walls" has to be up there among my favorite lines he's ever sung. What do you think are among his best lyrics?

 

Kyle: “Cattle in the marketplace, scatterlings and orphanages/He looks around, around, he sees angels in the architecture” in "You Can Call Me Al". Simon sees the beauty juxtaposed with poverty in South Africa.

“The way the camera follows us in slo-mo/The way we look to us all” in "The Boy in a Bubble" is even more relevant today with the 24-hour news cycle of competition and repetition of message. I think Simon was saying it's forcing us all to see ourselves through the lens that gets turned into entertainment and how we view people in other cultures.

 

Mike: I've always been impressed with his song "Old," from 2000's You're The One. Like this year's "Wristband," "Old" manages to blend his own rock and roll experiences with some social commentary and he pulls it off with a deft mix of seriousness and lighthearted wordplay. Like in the opening verse:

"The first time I heard Peggy Sue I was twelve years old

Russians up in rocket ships and the war was cold

Now many wars have come and gone, genocide still goes on

Buddy Holly still goes on but his catalog was sold..."

 

Rosemary: Another cool note about the album There Goes Rhymin' Simon is the female back-up singers were Maggie & Terre Roche. Simon went on to produce the first Roches album – just Maggie & Terre, Seductive Reasoning – shortly after this album.

People tend to focus on Simon's "serious" work. I like his humor as in "Cecilia," "50 Ways to Leave Your Lover," and "You Can Call Me Al."

 

Mike: One thing I have to say. When I was doing research in 2015 about the history of music on Saturday Night Live in conjunction with its 40th anniversary, I found that Paul Simon is the music guest who has appeared on the most episodes of SNL over the years (16, to be precise). No doubt that's partially due to his friendship with show producer Lorne Michaels and being a "local" to where SNL originates.

But it also speaks to the enormous longevity of Simon's relevance. He has been recording songs and albums that matter, and that have a life outside of his hardcore fan base, longer than the vast majority of performers.  And while there are certainly others from his generation who still make music of high quality and that resonates in popular culture, it's a very small club.

Plus, reviewing his SNL appearances, it's clear that few other musicians of his caliber would ever agree to appear on the show in a turkey costume. So there's that, too.

 

What are your favorites from Paul Simon's career? Let us know via our Facebook comment thread.

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