July 23, 2008 by [email protected]

Summer in the city means concerts and more concerts.

On August 2nd I’m venturing down the pike to Philly to see Sheryl Crow along with James Blunt and Toots and the Maytals.  To be honest, I’m mostly going to see James Blunt.  The only time James was scheduled to be in the Burgh, his concert was cancelled.  I’ve been looking for the chance to see James, so when I saw he was touring with Sheryl this summer, I had to go.  James is a 21st century singer songwriter with 70s songwriting sensibilities.  I last saw Sheryl almost two years ago when she co-headlined a tour with John Mayer which began in Burgettstown (a first night of the tour is like a glorified dress rehearsal, but fun for a fan to see it all coming together on stage).  I love Sheryl’s new CD “Detours”, I think it’s her best offering in years, taking us back to the “Tuesday Night Music Club” days with catchy timely lyrics.

A few days later, on August 6th I will be heading east again, this time to Greensburg to see Edwin McCain.  It will be an acoustic trio show.  I’ve been a long time Edwin McCain fan, but never was able to see him in concert until this year and that was in the middle of the Western Caribbean on a cruise ship (more on that journey into song in another post).  Edwin is very funny on stage and I believe under-rated as a singer songwriter.  I look forward to another entertaining evening of great music.Speaking of John Mayer, his tour finally rolls through the area again on August 20th.  After seeing John with Sheryl in 2006, about a month later I had the opportunity to see him in a free outdoor concert in downtown Toronto.  I was attending a conference and found out he would be performing nearby.  That was a lot of fun, even though I was standing over a block away, the atmosphere was great.  John still did not yet have the confidence on stage to believe in his music and I’m hoping that touring over the last couple of years has built that level of confidence up.  I have his current CD/DVD “where the light is” and I can see and hear the maturity in his voice.  I’m also digging his new single “Say”.

On September 15th , Shawn Mullins will be back, this time in support of Dar Williams.  I’ve been a fan of Shawn’s music since I heard “Lullaby”.  He seems to play the Burgh at least once a year, and this will be his 2nd visit in 2008, his last solo show being April 1st right after “honeydew” was released.  I believe “honeydew” is Shawn’s strongest release in years.  You can hear the depth and experience in the lyrics.  “honeydew” was also released on vinyl and some of the tracks segue seamlessly into each other, like songs on albums would often do in the 70s.  I’ve never had the pleasure of seeing Dar and I look forward to her set.  Dar has a new CD coming out in September called “Promise Land”.  Lending support on the album are such renowned artists as Suzanne Vega, Marshall Crenshaw, and Gary Louris (of the Jayhawks).

I wonder how many people watching the Oscars® ever heard of Glen Hansard & Marketa Irglova.  I was rooting for their song “Falling Slowly” to take the coveted Best Original Song Oscar®.  A much deserved win for not only the talented singer songwriters, but for independent music as well.  What a moment it was to see Marketa come back out to give her acceptance speech.  The Swell Season will be in town September 21st.  I’ve vowed to finally watch the DVD of “Once”.  I’ve been enjoying listening to The Frames “the Cost” CD.  I was introduced to their music thanks to WYEP.

The fall will hopefully continue bringing us some more great concerts.  I’m looking forward to seeing Joan Osborne for the first time on October 23rd.

Barb S. - Sunday Mix Host

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