Sound Scene Express

Pittsburgh Musicians Team Up For Compilation Album + ACLU Benefit Show on Saturday, 4/8

By Don Strange, via Melanie Stangl

Immediately after the 2016 election, Pittsburgh-based songwriter Don Strange rallied some of the city’s best musicians to create a compilation of politically charged original music to benefit the American Civil Liberties Union. Recorded, organized and designed by Strange, “Pittsburgh Songwriters Respond: Good Tunes for Bad Political Times” captures a moment unlike any other in our country, as interpreted by local singer-songwriters, and will be released at Cattivo on Sat., April 8.

“So many of the people I knew who were having these [visceral] reactions were songwriters and musicians,” says Strange. “This is a way we can mobilize and do something worthwhile.”

Contributors include popular Steel City musicians such as Chet Vincent, Molly Alphabet, André Costello and the Cool Minors, Swampwalk, Jeremy Caywood, Liss Victory, DRU, Amy Mmhmm, as well as Strange himself and his band, Strange Monsters.

“The 2016 election stole my voice,” says Victory. “I felt artistically drained, yet desperate to take action. This project brought inspiration back into my life.”

The album opens with Jeremy Caywood’s call for communication and peace in “Raise You Up” and is followed by tongue-in-cheek songs from Molly Alphabet and Amy Mmhmm, as well as a pared-down version of the André Costello fan favorite, “NSA.” Poetic folk-inspired songs by Chet Vincent and Don Strange add a traditional twist to the album, and dystopian anthems by Liss Victory and Swampwalk deal with some of the more challenging subject matter. A pair of ‘up yours’ send-offs by Strange Monsters and DRU round out the playlist.

Join the songwriters (minus Chet Vincent and Molly Alphabet, who will be at Club Cafe that night) for an evening of solidarity, resistance, and new original music, at 8 PM at Cattivo on Saturday, April 8th. Tickets are $10 at the door. Limited Edition CDs and download cards will be available at the show, also for $10, with all merchandise and artist proceeds benefiting the ACLU. You can find the Facebook event page here. The album is also available for streaming and download on Bandcamp in case you already have weekend plans.


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About The Author

Melanie Stangl

Melanie, 28, is a graduate of the University of Pittsburgh, and has been contributing both articles and photos to Sound Scene Express since April 2016. Her work has previously been published on Huffington Post Women,, and in the New York University textbook Mercer Street. Her goals include diving deeper into music journalism, traveling the world, and eventually being financially stable enough to own two dogs.

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