With the recent global success of several Pittsburgh-based musical talents — mashup artist Girl Talk, rappers Wiz Khalifa and Mac Miller — there's a feeling in Pittsburgh that this might be an important moment, the time for the world to recognize Pittsburgh's contributions to music. Of course, Pittsburgh has popped up many times on the national radar, from Porky Chedwick DJing early rock 'n' roll to The Silencers and Donnie Iris helping usher in the video era on MTV.
For this year's Music Guide, we've decided to look at how Pittsburgh relates to the national music landscape — and it's not always in ways that are traditional, or obvious. Mac Miller has a TV show and a new label for Pittsburgh artists. Bands like Meeting of Important People and Donora are turning up on your TV set too, but in more subtle ways. And Altar TV is bringing short films on national and local bands to your computer.
We also decided to look at the previous Pittsburgh moment — the mid-'90s, when rock bands like The Gathering Field, The Clarks and Rusted Root were signing with major labels — to see how it compares, and what Pittsburgh musicians of today might learn from it. And we talked to a national booking agent to see exactly how Pittsburgh fits into bands' plans.
We hope it all gives this moment in Pittsburgh music a little more context, and reveals some ways in which Pittsburgh is connecting to the rest of the world. And the next time your friend from Nashville asks what Pittsburgh's music scene has to offer, you'll have a few more answers.