Arts, Entertainment, Living

New Fox comedies: 'Raising Hope,' 'Running Wilde'

Tuesday, 21 September 2010 04:05 AM Written by
RH_HELP_W2.1_rJW3_1One challenge in reviewing TV shows is when the programs come from creators with a track record but the pilot for their latest project is neither their best work nor their worst. It lands somewhere in the mushy middle.

That’s where we find ourselves with two new Fox comedies both from TV veterans who have made us laugh in the past.

“Raising Hope” (9 tonight, WPGH) comes from Greg Garcia, who’s been known to have both critical hits (“My Name is Earl”) and misses (“Yes, Dear”). “Running Wilde” (9:30 tonight, WPGH) was created by Mitch Hurwitz, who previously scored with “Arrested Development” and faced a bucket of cold critical water for the more recent animated comedy “Sit Down Shut Up.”

Read more after the jump. ...

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New Kenny Neal CD --- "Hooked on Your Love"

Tuesday, 21 September 2010 12:00 AM Written by

51r0lUyY13L._SL500_AA300_Kenny Neal is is one of those fine musicians who has taken the music of his roots -- New Orleans -- and over the years combined it with his life experiences, passionate songwriting, swampy guitar playing and soulful vocals that convey the honesty and emotion of his work.

He did all that a few years ago with a kind of comeback album, "Let Life Flow." He's done it again with his latest, "Hooked On Your Love" (Blind Pig Records).

Neal, the son of the great blues harpist Raful Neal, has put together an album here of mostly originals, all crafted with care and sung with gritty feeling.

The title track is simple and smooth, laying down an easy groove that Neal flows through like liquid pleasure. The rest of the track flows out of that into another languid groove, "The Bitter With the Sweet." There's an especially funky "Blind, Crippled or Crazy," and some rousing uptempo tracks like "You Don't Love Me" and "Voodoo Mama," ripe with New Orleans horns and rhythms.

He employs two of his musical brothers here -- Darnell and Frederick -- plus Lucky Peterson on keyboards. It's a very good album, full of tasty blues, all with a touch of that swampy Neal heritage.

Here's a video of the title track:

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The Paper Delivered

Monday, 20 September 2010 05:42 PM Written by


This blog is warming up its engines but still stuck in Pittsburgh -- Eighty Four, Pa., to be exact.

In yesterday's Post-Gazette -- the edition of the PG you can carry around and read anywhere without worrying about a battery  -- I delivered the motivations for my "T w/o C" road trip the old-fashioned way -- via newsprint.  

Stacy Innerst drew a great map. Maps are a pretty big part of this adventure -- there's Steinbeck's original "Travels With Charley" map, Stacy's "Steinbeck" map and this blog's interactive Steigerwald/Google map built by Laura Malt Schneiderman.

Plus, I'll be posting other road maps as soon as I get rolling.


Meanwhile, I'm packing and getting my red RAV4 set up so if I need to crash somewhere -- not literally -- I can sleep in it at campgrounds, rest stops, truck stops or Walmart parking lots.

It's not as homey as Rocinante, Steinbeck's truck/camper, but it'll be a much smoother ride on the road.



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The new season begins: 'The Event,' 'Chase' reviewed

Monday, 20 September 2010 12:00 AM Written by


NBC comes out of the gate at the start of premiere week of the 2010-11 TV season with one of the most interesting pilots paired back-to-back with one of the least remarkable.

Find out which is which after the jump. ...


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Miss Freddye has a new CD -- "That Kinda Woman"

Monday, 20 September 2010 12:00 AM Written by

BDRCD_38I think all is now good with the new blog machine. It's time to get back to business. Whatever it is.

We have lots of new albums and a couple of DVDs to write about. First up from my steady-rollin' pile of new music is an album from one of the Burgh's best blues singers -- Freddye Stover, or Miss Freddye to you.

It's called "That Kinda Woman," from Jeff Ingersoll's sassy Bonedog Records (if there's a recording studio where Pittsburgh music never dies, it's Bonedog).

You most likely know Miss (or Ms.) Freddye from her Pittsburgh band, Blue Faze. This recording features her with a snappy group of Bonedog session musicians, and a batch of mostly original tunes, with most of those by Mike Sweeney. The last track on the CD, "These Are My Blues," was recorded with Blue Faze, and written by Freddye and Bubs McKeg.

But let's get to the point. This is a very good album -- and a bit of a surprise for me. I've heard Freddye shout the blues with her band, creating tough, bluesy music. On this CD, backed by a more full-throated full-band sound with horns and keyboards, Freddye takes sort of a kinder, gentler approach, full of nuance and soul. Not that she's not one tough singer here. She moves from sensual whispers to soulful shouts with ease and authority.

The title track has a sweet funkiness to it that sets the tone for the CD, with strong vocals leading the way as Freddye soulfully sets out her description of that kinda woman. "Sweet Lemonade" swings easily with nice liquid guitar and piano, and sounds very much like some cool jazz. Then, "Instant Everything" (Willie Dixon) cranks out a solid, shouting hunk of horn-laced blues.

The album moves around smoothly like this as it plays out --  Freddye's vocals equal to the musical moods, with a nod to quality of songwriting, plus very capable musical backup, making everything sound just right.

I like this album -- and Miss Freddye's music -- a lot. It's good to find this musical quality and all this talent right under our noses.

Here's a video of Miss Freddye performing the title track:

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Halo Reach: Review

Friday, 17 September 2010 08:39 AM Written by

Nintendo has Mario, Sony has Metal Gear, and Microsoft has Halo.  When the original Xbox was released almost ten years ago, it was considered such an underdog in the console war that it may not be around today if it wasn’t for the Halo franchise.  Not only did Halo carry the first year of the Xbox, but it was also the first step of many to make multiplayer gameplay what it is today. 

The developers, Bungie, are claiming that Halo: Reach will mark the end of their work with the series.  Whether their word holds up or not, the Halo series has definitely left its mark on gaming history. 

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TV Q&A with Rob Owen
Submit questions for a future column.

This week’s TV Q&A (after the “Read more” jump below) responds to questions about “Criminal Minds,” “Parks and Recreation” and “Men of a Certain Age.” As always, thanks for reading, and keep the questions coming.
-Rob Owen, Post-Gazette TV writer

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Some really old blues trumpet - Wingy Manone

Friday, 17 September 2010 12:00 AM Written by

The new blog software is working, but how it shows up on the PG web site is still a work in progress. It's not very visible yet.

So we're just going to tread water, or whatever the analogy might be, by posting a few hopefullyy interesting little items, and get back to our stack of new CDs in a few days.

I found this little gem of a video (audio, really) on YouTube -- it's the great trumpet player Wingy Manone playing and singing "Up the Country," a dandy traditional old blues. This recording is from 1930.

Manone was a one-armed trumpet player, by the way, thus the nickname "Wingy."

Here's the song:


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