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The Show drops two singles, plays Rex Saturday

Written by Scott Mervis on .

TheShowA new full-length from The Show won’t arrive until spring of 2017, but the Pittsburgh band known for indulging its Britpop instincts is giving us a sweet taste in a pair of digital singles.


The Show, fronted by co-singer-songwriter-guitarists Johnny Saint-Lethal and Brandon Mitchell, love their Oasis, Stone Roses and Verve, which you can hear in the soaring melodies and jangling to grinding guitars of “Sunglasses” and “I Would.”


“ ‘I Would has been around since the ‘Jigsaw’ days,” Saint-Lethal says, referring to the band’s 2009 debut “Here’s To Your Jigsaw.” “Finally one day it worked for us. ‘Sunglasses’ I wrote during what I call my last adolescent summer, 2013...I think you can stretch your adolescence.”


The singles arrive ahead of two-LPs worth of music the band recorded with John Stoecker of Johnny and the Razorblades. The album “Mantra” is slated for spring 2017, followed by “Threadbare” later that year, but there might be a vinyl EP before then.


“We are re-recording both to tape; we’ve only done the demos so far,” Saint-Lethal says, “which is where these recordings of ‘Sunglasses’ and ‘I Would’ came… John Stoecker mixed them up a little bit, fattened them up, we played down a couple harmonies, and sent them off.”


The songs will be available for streaming Saturday on YouTube and at the band's site will be released to radio (The Show has received international airplay). Proceeds from the streams will be donated to Creative.Life.Support program at Mr. Small’s.


The Show will be at the Rex Saturday with Ethan Frano Band, My Friday Slacks, Big Time Machine and Maytide.

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RIP blues guitar great Lonnie Mack

Written by Scott Mervis on .

 

lonnieBlues guitar great Lonnie Mack, who visited Pittsburgh many times in his heyday, has died at age 74, according to Alligator Records.

The guitarist born near Cincinnati first hit the charts in 1963, influenced by T-Bone Walker and Merle Travis. He was noted as an influence on Eric Clapton and Jimmy Page, among others.

One of his standout moments here was The Great American Guitar Assault at Graffiti in 1986 with Roy Buchanan and Dickey Betts.

He told me in a 1987 interview: "I met Stevie [Ray Vaughan] back in the '70s and we became good buddies. I was going to try to do a record with him. Then my partner (Ed Labunski) got killed in a car accident and that didn't happen. Stevie ended up going on and doing well, and I wasn't doing so well. He helped me out on my album."

It was "Strike Like Lightning," his 1985 comeback.

Here is the release sent out by his label:

"Groundbreaking guitarist and vocalist Lonnie Mack, known as one of rock’s first true guitar heroes, died on April 21, 2016 of natural causes at Centennial Medical Center near his home in Smithville, Tennessee. His early instrumental recordings – among them Wham! and Memphis -- influenced many of rock's greatest players, including Eric Clapton, Duane Allman, Keith Richards, Jimmy Page and especially Stevie Ray Vaughan. He was 74.

"Rolling Stone called him “a pioneer in rock guitar soloing.” Guitar World said, “Mack attacked the strings with fast, aggressive single-string phrasing and a seamless rhythm style that significantly raised the guitar virtuoso bar and foreshadowed the arena-sized tones of guitar heroes to come.” The Chicago Tribune wrote, “With the wiggle of a whammy bar and a blinding run of notes up and down the neck of his classic Gibson Flying V, Lonnie Mack launched the modern guitar era.”

"Drawing from influences as diverse as rhythm and blues, country, gospel and rockabilly, Mack’s guitar work continues to be revered by generation after generation of musicians. He recorded a number of singles and a total of 11 albums for labels including Fraternity, Elektra, Alligator, Epic and Capitol.

:Mack was born Lonnie McIntosh on July 18, 1941 in Harrison, Indiana, twenty miles west of Cincinnati. Growing up in rural Indiana, Mack fell in love with music as a child. From family sing-alongs he developed a deep appreciation of country music, while he absorbed rhythm and blues from the late-night R&B radio stations and gospel from his local church. Starting off with a few chords that he learned from his mother, Lonnie gradually blended all the sounds he heard around him into his own individual style. He named Merle Travis and Robert Ward (of the Ohio Untouchables) as his main guitar influences, and George Jones and Bobby Bland as vocal inspirations.

"He began playing professionally in his early teens (he quit school after a fight with his sixth-grade teacher), working clubs and roadhouses around the tri-state border area of Indiana, Kentucky and Ohio. In 1958, he bought the guitar he would become best known for, a Gibson Flying V, serial number 7, which he equipped with a Bigsby tremolo bar. (After the release of Wham!, the tremolo bar became known worldwide as a “whammy bar”.) In addition to his live gigs, Lonnie began playing sessions for the King and Fraternity labels in Cincinnati. He recorded with blues and R&B greats like Hank Ballard, Freddie King and James Brown.

"In 1963, at the end of another artist's session, Lonnie cut an instrumental version of Chuck Berry's Memphis. He didn't even know that Fraternity had issued the single until he heard it on the radio, and within a few weeks Memphis had hit the national Top Five. Lonnie Mack went from being a talented regional roadhouse player to a national star virtually overnight.

"Suddenly, he was booked for hundreds of gigs a year, crisscrossing the country in his Cadillac and rushing back to Cincinnati or Nashville to cut new singles. Wham!, Where There's A Will There's A Way, Chicken Pickin' and a dozen other records followed Memphis. None sold as well as his first hit (though Where There's A Will earned extensive black radio airplay before the DJs found out Lonnie was white), but there was enough reaction to keep him on the road for another five years of grueling one-nighters.

"Fraternity Records went bust, but Lonnie kept on gigging, and in 1968 a Rolling Stone article stimulated new interest in his music. He signed with Elektra Records and cut three albums. Elektra also reissued his original Fraternity LP, The Wham Of That Memphis Man!. He began playing all the major rock venues, from Fillmore East to Fillmore West. Lonnie also made a guest appearance on the Doors' Morrison Hotel album. You can hear Lonnie's guitar solo on Roadhouse Blues preceded by Jim Morrison's urgent 'Do it, Lonnie! Do it!' He even worked in Elektra's A&R department. When the label merged with giant Warner Brothers, Lonnie grew disgusted with the new bureaucracy and walked out of his job.

"Mack headed back to rural Indiana, playing back-country bars, going fishing and laying low. After six years of relative obscurity, Lonnie signed with Capitol and cut two albums that featured his country influences. He played on the West Coast for a while and even flew to Japan for a “Save The Whales” benefit. Then he headed to New York to team up with an old friend named Ed Labunski. Labunski was a wealthy jingle writer that wrote "This Bud's For You" who was tired of commercials and wanted to write and play for pleasure. He and Lonnie built a studio in rural Pennsylvania and spent three years organizing and recording a country-rock band called South, which included Buffalo-based keyboardist Stan Szelest, who later played on Lonnie's Alligator debut. Ed and Lonnie had big plans for their partnership, including producing an album by a then-obscure Texas guitarist named Stevie Ray Vaughan. But the plans evaporated when Labunski died in an auto accident, and the South album was never commercially released. Lonnie next headed for Canada and joined the band of veteran rocker Ronnie Hawkins for a summer. After a brief stay in Florida, he returned to Indiana in 1982, playing clubs in Cincinnati and the surrounding area.

"Mack began his re-emergence on the national scene in November of 1983. At Stevie Ray Vaughan's urging, he relocated from southern Indiana to Texas, where he settled in Spicewood. He began jamming with Stevie Ray (who proudly named Wham! as the first single he owned) in local clubs and flying to New York for gigs at the Lone Star and the Ritz. When Alligator Records approached Lonnie to do an album, Vaughan immediately volunteered to help him out. The result was 1985’s Strike Like Lightning, co-produced by Lonnie and Stevie Ray and featuring Stevie's guitar on several tracks.

"Mack’s re-emergence was a major music industry event. Keith Richards, Ron Wood, Ry Cooder and Stevie Ray Vaughan all joined Lonnie on stage during his 1985 tour. The New York Times said, “Although Mr. Mack can play every finger-twisting blues guitar lick, he doesn't show off; he comes up with sustained melodies and uses fast licks only at an emotional peak. Mr. Mack is also a thoroughly convincing singer.” Other celebrities -- Bob Dylan, Mick Jagger, Paul Simon, Eddie Van Halen, Dwight Yoakam and actor Matt Dillon -- attended shows during the Strike Like Lightning tour. The year was capped off with a stellar performance at New York's prestigious Carnegie Hall with Albert Collins and the late Roy Buchanan. That show was released commercially on DVD as Further On Down The Road.

"Mack recorded two more albums for Alligator, 1986’s Second Sight and 1990’s Live! Attack Of the Killer V. In between he signed with Epic Records and released Roadhouses And Dancehalls in 1988. Mack continued to tour into the 2000s. He relocated to Smithville, Tennessee where he continued writing songs but ceased active touring. In 2001 he was inducted into the International Guitar Hall Of Fame and in 2005 into the Rockabilly Hall Of Fame.

"He is survived by five children and multitudes of grandchildren and great-grandchildren."

 

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New Dan + Shay album, 'Obsessed,' coming June 3

Written by Scott Mervis on .

DanShayDan + Shay topped the country charts with their debut album, “Where It All Began,” and now the pop-country duo that features Pittsburgh native and CMU grad Dan Smyers will follow that with “Obsessed” on June 3.

 

The album, to be released on Warner Bros. Nashville, got its title from the fans, according to Shay Mooney: “Our fans know we live on social media both when we’re in and out of the studio, and we started noticing that hashtag ‘#obsessed’ being tagged in all our fans’ posts when we first revealed our single, ‘From The Ground Up.’ So when it came time to pick a title for this album, it seemed pretty appropriate that we’re even more obsessed with making music for our fans than they are to hear it.”

 

“From the Ground Up,” a silky smooth ballad, is currently Top 30 on country radio.

 

The debut album produced three Top 40 singles -- “19 You + Me,” “Show You Off" and “Nothin' Like You” -- that sold more than 1.6 million tracks and were streamed 140 million times.


Dan + Shay will open for Darius Rucker at the First Niagara Pavilion on June 26.

 

 

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Brian Johnson explains why he had to leave AC/DC

Written by Scott Mervis on .

acdc-620x400 2Singer Brian Johnson has released a statement that explains the hearing difficulties that forced him to abandon the AC/DC tour.
 
On Saturday, AC/DC confirmed rumors that Guns N' Roses singer Axl Rose would close out the dates fronting the Aussie band.
 
Here is Johnson's statement in full:
 
 
"As many AC/DC fans know, the remaining shows for the 2016 AC/DC Rock or Bust World Tour, including 10 postponed U.S. shows, are being rescheduled with a guest singer.  I want personally to explain the reason because I don't believe the earlier press releases sufficiently set out what I wanted to say to our fans or the way in which I thought it should be presented.
 
On March 7th, after a series of examinations by leading physicians in the field of hearing loss, I was advised that if I continue to perform at large venues, I risked total deafness.  While I was horrified at the reality of the news that day, I had for a time become aware that my partial hearing loss was beginning to interfere with my performance on stage.  I was having difficulty hearing the guitars on stage and because I was not able to hear the other musicians clearly, I feared the quality of my performance could be compromised.  In all honesty this was something I could not in good conscience allow.  Our fans deserve my performance to be at the highest level, and if for any reason I can't deliver that level of performance I will not disappoint our fans or embarrass the other members of AC/DC.  I am not a quitter and I like to finish what I start, nevertheless, the doctors made it clear to me and my bandmates that I had no choice but to stop performing on stage for the remaining shows and possibly beyond.  That was the darkest day of my professional life. 
 
Since that day, I have had several consultations with my doctors and it appears that, for the near future, I will be unable to perform on stage at arena and stadium size venues where the sound levels are beyond my current tolerance, without the risk of substantial hearing loss and possibly total deafness.  Until that time, I tried as best as I could to continue despite the pain and hearing loss but it all became too much to bear and too much to risk.
 
I am personally crushed by this development more than anyone could ever imagine.  The emotional experience I feel now is worse than anything I have ever in my life felt before.  Being part of AC/DC, making records and performing for the millions of devoted fans this past 36 years has been my life's work.  I cannot imagine going forward without being part of that, but for now I have no choice.  The one thing for certain is that I will always be with AC/DC at every show in spirit, if not in person.
 
Most importantly, I feel terrible having to disappoint the fans who bought tickets for the canceled shows and who have steadfastly supported me and AC/DC these many years.  Words cannot express my deep gratitude and heartfelt thanks not just for the recent outpouring to me personally of kind words and good wishes, but also for the years of loyal support of AC/DC.  My thanks also go to Angus and Cliff for their support. 
 
Finally, I wish to assure our fans that I am not retiring.  My doctors have told me that I can continue to record in studios and I intend to do that.  For the moment, my entire focus is to continue medical treatment to improve my hearing.  I am hoping that in time my hearing will improve and allow me to return to live concert performances.  While the outcome is uncertain, my attitude is optimistic.  Only time will tell.
 
Once again, my sincere best wishes and thanks to everyone for their support and understanding.
 
Love,
Brian"

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Axl Rose is the new singer for AC/DC

Written by Scott Mervis on .

axl-credit-Katarina-BenzovaKatarina Benzova photoAnd the rumors are true... Axl Rose is the new frontman for AC/DC for the remainder of the Rock or Bust Tour.

 

With Axl preparing to take the stage at Coachella with Guns N' Roses for the band's third show since the reunion, AC/DC sent out the following release:

 

"AC/DC band members would like to thank Brian Johnson for his contributions and dedication to the band throughout the years. We wish him all the best with his hearing issues and future ventures.  As much as we want this tour to end as it started, we understand, respect and support Brian's decision to stop touring and save his hearing.  

 

"We are dedicated to fulfilling the remainder of our touring commitments to everyone that has supported us over the years, and are fortunate that Axl Rose has kindly offered his support to help us fulfill this commitment."

 

The AC/DC European stadium tour dates begin on May 7 in Lisbon, Portugal and run through June 12 in Aarhus, Denmark. After that, Rose will head out on the Guns N' Roses 'Not In This Lifetime' Summer Stadium Tour, playing Heinz Field July 12.

 

The 10 postponed AC/DC shows in the U.S. will be rescheduled and announced soon.

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