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First/Last-Black Little Birds

April 6, 2015

“Prominent members of Pittsburgh’s music community came together with their own respective styles to create a fresh sound that alludes to the best of the early Roots.”

Black Little Birds are an exciting new Pittsburgh group comprised of musicians that have joined together to form a soft Pop/R&B sound with a heavy singer-songwriter bent. They are working on recordings right now to be released soon and play a show Tuesday night (3/7). I want to thank Crystal Lee Morgan (Vocals), Buddy Rieger (Piano), Manny Guevara (Drums) and Morgan Erina (Vocals) for taking the time to participate in this edition of First/Last.

The first album you ever bought?

Crystal Lee Morgan: My mom bought me a subscription to a mail order CD company. I remember punching out the stickers and ending up with a huge music catalogue. I can’t remember which the first CD was, but it was probably either Sarah McLaughlin “Surfacing” or Usher “My Way”.

Buddy Rieger: “Whatever and Ever Amen” Ben Folds Five.

Manny Guevara: Snoop Dogg “Doggystyle” (Tape), Billy Joel “Turnstyles” (Vinyl)… can’t remember which was first.

Morgan Erina: The Cranberries “No Need to Argue”.

Your last album bought?

Crystal Lee: Bahamas “Bahamas is Afie”.

Buddy: “First Steps” Cory Henry.

Manny: Rat Habitat “Guns That Shoot Bubbles”.

Morgan: Kendrick Lamar “To Pimp a Butterfly”.

Favorite album of all time?

Crystal Lee: My favorite album and one of the most influential on me is Janet Jackson’s “The Velvet Rope”. I still reference it a lot in conversations and sing her songs at Karaoke.

Buddy: Stevie Wonder “Songs in the Key of Life”.

Manny: Stevie Wonder “Songs in the Key of Life”.

Morgan: Nirvana “Nevermind”.

Least favorite/most disappointing album?

Crystal Lee: Justin Timberlake’s “The 20/20 Experience”. I had dreams about being in the studio with JT and sitting him down to encourage him to rework this record before releasing it. With all of his talent and resources I was hoping for something… earth shattering.

Buddy: “Light Grenades” Incubus.

Manny: Tool “10,000 Days”.

Morgan: Deer Tick “Divine Providence” (their first album though is another favorite of mine!)

First concert attended?

Crystal Lee: Metallica on August 12, 1994 at Starlake Amphitheatre. It’s what got me hooked on live music. The energy of the crowd was amazing (I was 9 years old).

Buddy: Billy Joel and Elton John at Three Rivers Stadium.

Manny: TLC/Boyz II Men at Starlake Amphitheater.

Morgan: The Cranberries, when I was 13.

Last concert?

Crystal Lee: Cory Henry (of Snarky Puppy) played with his trio at the Thunderbird. I was really happy to get to experience that with Manny and Buddy. Oh!

I just saw Buddy’s response. I also saw Yo Mammas Big Fat Booty Band, Black Masala, and Chop Shop at The Rex.

Buddy: Yo Mammas Big Fat Booty Band, Black Masala, and Chop Shop at The Rex.

Manny: Cory Henry at Thunderbird Café.

Morgan: Father John Misty.

Favorite concert ever?

Crystal Lee: A sound check with Jerry Douglas. I was sitting in the grass before the show at Hartwood Acres and watched the whole sound check in awe. The full concert late was great too.

Buddy: I have to give my top 3: Roger Waters ‘The Wall’ at Consol, Radiohead at Blossom, and Phish at Starlake.

Manny: Santana.

Morgan: Marilyn Manson, his theatrics are incredible.

Least favorite concert?

Crystal Lee: Lady Gaga’s first tour through Pittsburgh. I didn’t like her live, though she is a pretty killer vocalist.

Buddy: When Kenny Chesney plays at Heinz Field.

Manny: Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros.

Morgan: Probably Hole, while I love the original band, none of the original members were there and Courtney Love looked tired.

Favorite thoughts, experiences about Pittsburgh?

Crystal Lee: Pittsburgh is quirky, loyal and unrelenting. There is always something to discover.

Buddy: The legacy of fine Jazz musicians from Pittsburgh Art Blakey, Mary Lou Williams, Billy Strayhorn just to name a few. Also, I watched the documentary Muscle Shoals about the recording studio in Alabama. They discussed the influence of the nearby river and it lead me to consider how the four rivers of Pittsburgh greatly influence my music playing and life in general.

Manny: Sandwiches with fries on them.

Morgan: Close knit music community, the growing amount of vegan options and of course, Pizza with Ranch.

Thanks, all. Can we officially categorize your band as a ‘supergroup?’ Heck, I’m going with it.