WYEP fm is a popular public radio station in Pittsburgh which is supported by its listeners. The station has been a long time staple in the city delivering fresh surprises and ‘The Soul Show’ hosted by Mike Canton is one such surprise. The show airs Saturdays 2-5 pm and showcases a variety of artists ranging from James Brown and Etta James to Chicago and Jimi Hendrix. The underlying essence of the show many would consider an educational primer, a collective presentation of historical works of art that celebrate a strong black influence as well as the contribution of many other ethnic sounds to the contemporary rock genre.
Mike was raised in the Virgin Islands where he was exposed to calypso, reggae and latin rhythm indigenous to the locale and his father was a music lover who also served as a significant influence in his musical interests. Mike attended a broadcasting class in highschool but for the most part developed a personality and voice for ‘The Soul Show’ purely out of passion for the music itself. The show has been hosted by Mike for nearly 4 years of his 7 year tenure at WYEP.
“The show changed my life!” he states as he gives some insight as to the philosophy behind it all. Mike aims much of the music he plays at making connections between artists such as Billie Holliday and the influence she had on Janis Joplin later. Jimi Hendrix was connected to soul music early in his career playing guitar for the Isley Brothers and yet today many metal musicians salute Hendrix as the creator of “heavy.” These connections are links in the evolutionary chain that are vital and rudimentary components of rock music.
So indeed the “Soul Show” provides historical perspective but it’s also good plain fun and Mr. Canton does a fine job of throwing in an unexpected gem or two. The show recently aired a piece that featured only musical selections recorded on vinyl and also ran a spot that celebrated the music of the iconic show ‘Soul Train.’
Artists such as Aretha Franklin, War, Electric Flag, Ronnie Laws, Cameo and Parliament are some of the many names that have been known to pop up on ‘The Soul Shows’ playlist so there’s certainly plenty of variety to please a broad listening audience.
Next time you’re in search of something delightfully different tune in to ‘The Soul Show’ on WYEP 91.3fm in Pittsburgh, streaming worldwide at www.wyep.org/listen-live.
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