The following is an excerpt from a piece I recently wrote for the online journal Wake about Pittsburgh’s quiet influence on American popular music over the past 150 years.
“Usually, midsized American cities invade the national musical landscape when several local acts share a “sound,” a fresh approach to pop music that is instantly recognizable. It’s the gritty soul of ‘60s Memphis, the outlaw county of ‘70s Austin, the sharp funk of ‘80s Minneapolis or the grunge of ‘90s Seattle. There is probably a beloved club where these acts play, and a legendary studio where they record, and a renegade college radio station broadcasting their songs to the public. All those things exist in Pittsburgh, too — The Mr. Roboto Project, Get Hip Records, WRCT-FM — but there is no “Pittsburgh Sound,” no imaginary place that exists only on the airwaves.” Read the rest here.