The Pittsburgh Cultural Trust is excited to announce the return of Pittsburgh’s holiday showcase A Benedum Christmas – Home for the Holidays, featuring a lineup of vocalists, songwriters, and musicians born in our city. The 2019 concert is presented in partnership with the Pittsburgh Winery and will take place at the Benedum Center at 7:30 p.m. on December 17, 2019. Tickets are on sale now, with the option to purchase a preshow Wine Tasting Reception ticket.
Following the success of last year’s concert, Home for the Holidays presents local artists and bands performing unique renditions of holiday classics along with their own original hit songs. An opportunity to see some of the best singers and musicians our city has to offer, this year’s festive showcase features Scott Blasey, Lyndsey Smith, Billy Price, Clinton Clegg, Margot Bingham, Joy Ike, Anthony Jardine, Jimbo Jackson, Morgan Erina, John Schisler, TRIO+, the Steeltown Horns, and Buffalo Rose, along with other special guests. See the full list of musician bios at the end of this release.
“I love this time of year because I get to experience the wonders of Christmas through the eyes of my children,” said musician Scott Blasey. “I’m very excited to sing at A Benedum Christmas - Home for the Holidays and to perform with all of these incredibly talented musicians. I’ve been fortunate enough to sing on many stages in and around Pittsburgh, but it’s always special to perform at the Benedum Center. I saw my first concert in this venue. I saw Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers in 1980 when it was the Stanley Theatre, and to be able to stand where Tom stood is a thrill for me!”
This year, attendees are invited to join the Pittsburgh Cultural Trust an hour before the show at the Benedum Center for an exclusive Wine Tasting Reception. Guests who purchase a preshow Wine Tasting Reception ticket have the opportunity to sip a seasonal selection of Pittsburgh Winery’s premium collection with paired cheeses while a representative from Pittsburgh Winery provides tasting notes, offering a lively beginning to a night filled with vibrant music, good company, and festive spirit. Reception tickets include one ticket to Home for the Holidays, a guided tasting from Pittsburgh Winery beginning at 6:30 p.m., a glass of your favorite selection, access to a private VIP space, and a one-year introductory Partners membership with the Pittsburgh Cultural Trust. S
Home for the Holidays began at the Pittsburgh Winery in the Strip District as a way to gather people together for a good cause and an uplifting musical experience during the holiday season, a time when Pittsburghers return home to connect with community, family, and friends. In keeping with prior years’ commitment to increasing the supply of resources to community members in need during the holiday season, the Benedum Center lobby will be a donation location to benefit the Greater Pittsburgh Community Food Bank. Most-needed donations include diapers, laundry detergent, paper products, pasta, pasta sauce, peanut butter, dried or canned beans, pouched or canned tuna, rice, and instant mashed potatoes. Perishable food and glass items cannot be accepted.
“I always look forward to visiting and performing in Pittsburgh. But I especially love being part of events hosted by the Pittsburgh Winery,” said Joy Ike. “Each event is truly a collaborative effort which translates into a rewarding experience for everyone involved - artist, audience, and venue. I love the spirit and hospitality of Tim Gaber and his team and know it's going to be another magical night!”
Regular tickets start at $29, and Wine Tasting Reception tickets start at $54. Both are available for purchase at the Box Office at Theater Square, online at TrustArts.org, or by phone at (412) 456-6666. Tickets for groups of 10 people or more are available at a discounted price. Visit TrustArts.org/GroupSales to learn more.
The Pittsburgh Cultural Trust has overseen one of Pittsburgh’s most historic transformations: turning a seedy red-light district into a magnet destination for arts lovers, residents, visitors, and business owners. Founded in 1984, the Pittsburgh Cultural Trust is a non-profit arts organization whose mission is the cultural and economic revitalization of a 14-block arts and entertainment/residential neighborhood called the Cultural District. The District is one of the country’s largest land masses “curated” by a single nonprofit arts organization. A major catalytic force in the city, the Pittsburgh Cultural Trust is a unique model of how public-private partnerships can reinvent a city with authenticity, innovation and creativity. Using the arts as an economic catalyst, the Pittsburgh Cultural Trust has holistically created a world-renowned Cultural District that is revitalizing the city, improving the regional economy and enhancing Pittsburgh’s quality of life. Thanks to the support of foundations, corporations, government agencies and thousands of private citizens, the Trust maintains a Charity Navigator Four-Star Rating and stands as a national model of urban redevelopment through the arts. TrustArts.org | @CulturalTrust on Facebook · Instagram · Twitter
The Pittsburgh Winery is a boutique urban winery located in Pittsburgh’s historic Strip District founded by winemaker and owner, Tim Gaber. As an urban winery, Pittsburgh Winery is committed to using wine grapes from some of the best vineyards in the world, sourcing premium California and Chilean fruit to produce world class wines right here at home. This access to high quality grapes, along with an imaginative winemaking style has resulted in hand crafted, fine wines that are anything but ordinary. www.pittsburghwinery.com
A Benedum Christmas – Home for the Holidays Performer Bios
Margot Bingham is best known for her role as jazz chanteuse Daughter Maitland in the HBO series Boardwalk Empire. Bingham appeared as a principle, playing the gallerist Clorinda Bradford, in the Netflix reboot of Spike Lee's iconic She's Gotta Have It, with both seasons now streaming and available. Catch her Tuesday evenings with the small ensemble cast of NBC's New Amsterdam. Also seen on ABC's The Family, CBS Blue Bloods, CBS All Access and Pittsburgh filmed One Dollar, Barbershop 3, Mark Ruffalo's collaboration with Netflix for the indie darling Anything, and indie and soon-to-be cult classic Saturday Church. Bingham also appeared in the 2011 off-Broadway revival of Rent. You can follow Margot on Twitter or Instagram @margotbingham.
Scott Blasey is the lead singer, guitarist, and songwriter for Pittsburgh-based rock band The Clarks. The Clarks formed in 1986 at Indiana University of Pennsylvania and have since released nine studio albums over a 30-year career. They have toured with Steely Dan and John Mayer, among others. In 2004, they appeared on the Late Show with David Letterman and that same year, The Clarks received the Distinguished Alumni Award from their alma mater. Scott has also released three solo albums, and opened for rock icons The Beach Boys and Neil Young. When Scott is not on tour, he enjoys spending time with his wife Denise, and their daughters Sofia, Ava, and Gracelyn.
Morgan Erina is a singer-songwriter with a finger-picking, Indie Folk style and a raw, hauntingly ethereal voice. A prolific composer of over 700 songs, Morgan Erina is a New York City native who has lived in Pittsburgh for the past ten years. In 2009, she released her debut albums Skeleton Butterflies and Whatever. From 2011 to 2014 she was one-half of the band Broken Fences, releasing the album Broken Fences in 2012. That album's single, "Wait" was used on the television shows Flashpoint and The Young and the Restless. She is a regular performer in both Pittsburgh and New York, playing at venues including the Three Rivers Festival, Club Cafe, Rockwood Music Hall, and the Pittsburgh Winery. She has toured the continental U.S., London, Denmark, and Germany. In October 2015, she released her solo single “October" and in May 2016 released her solo EP “Lady.” “Lady" was named as #2 on Pittsburgh radio's WYEP’s Top 5 Local Albums for 2016. She is currently performing and is working on a single titled “Are You Happy?” to be released by the end of 2019.
Joy Ike -- polished and precise, yet buoyed with an airy grace -- paints with a broad palette that defies easy categorization. Born to Nigerian immigrants, the singer/songwriter’s music, voice, and writing have drawn comparisons to female musicians such as Nina Simone, Laura Nyro, and Regina Spektor. But her percussive piano-playing and soaring vocals give homage to her African upbringing. Leaving her career as a publicist in 2008, Joy has spent the last 10 years playing thousands of shows across the country. A write-up on NPR's All Things Considered says "The depth of subjects she tackles in her poetic lyrics are perfectly complemented by a unique blend of neo-soul, with just the right dash of pop...a truly compelling act to watch in person, with the ability to create an intimate setting in locations big and small." Ike's April 2018 release, Bigger Than Your Box, is her most accomplished work to-date. Written over a four-year period that included a relocation from Pittsburgh to the gritty, thrumming metropolis of Philadelphia, the record is joyously defiant, standing proud and wrapped in blasts of exotic color. It dares us to believe in ourselves, to knock down the walls of fear and doubt we build around ourselves. “This is an open-armed invitation to dive head first into the unseen”, says Ike. Bigger Than Your Box boldly explores what Ike often refers to as divine discontentment; the restless middle ground between what is and what ought to be. “The spiritual mystery of life and the ever-present Spirit of God that embraces us in our most helpless state.” For additional details visit www.joyike.com.
Jimbo Jackson is a member of the band Jimbo and the Soupbones, a band that doesn't even need to play a single note to make people happy – the name alone prompts a chuckle. Luckily, the good feelings don't stop at the name. At the core of this Soupbone collective is singer/songwriter/guitarist James “Jimbo” Jackson. Everything about this man is big – his body, his voice, and, most importantly, his stage presence. With charisma to spare, Jimbo is the quintessential frontman. His curiously unique voice that is powerful yet remains pleasant and familiar is a result of being raised on a blend of music ranging from ‘70s soul artists like Curtis Mayfield and Marvin Gaye to folk artists such as James Taylor and Jim Croce. As the band songwriter, Jimbo lets no lyrical rules govern. Tragic and often humorous stories and songs are written with specific intentions. From the unsure father’s perspective on “What Kinda Daddy” to the festive nonsense of “I Would Eat a Bug for You,” the purpose of each song is clear.
Anthony Jardine is a singer-songwriter from Pittsburgh. He has written and performed since he was about 12 years old, and underlying music style that initially intrigued Anthony and has been foundational throughout his endeavors consists of blues, singer-songwriter, and soul. At a very young age, Stevie Ray Vaughan had always been an influence in his pursuit and as Anthony matured in his musical realm, he began studying and honing the songwriting aspect of music. In 2009, he started the band These Lions. His influences include Elliott Smith, Jeff Buckley, and Nick Drake, with a twist of soulful Sam Cooke and Joe Cocker. “Anything with substance and feeling” is the mentality that Anthony hopes to achieve when it comes to songwriting and art in general. He now plays in a project called Some Kind of Animal, but is always writing material for solo endeavors as well.
Billy Price, the 2016 Blues Music Award Winner, first attracted national attention during his three-year association with guitarist Roy Buchanan. Price is the vocalist on two of Buchanan's LPs, That's What I'm Here For and Live Stock. Since then, with the Keystone Rhythm Band, the Billy Price Band, and solo projects, Billy Price has recorded and released a total of 17 albums, CDs, and DVDs. In April 2016, he was officially recognized and inducted as a Pittsburgh Rock ’n Roll Legend at an award ceremony. Price’s album This Time for Real on Vizztone Records, with the late Chicago soul singer Otis Clay, received a 2016 Blues Music Award in the category of Best Soul Blues Album of 2015. His 2018 album Reckoning, produced by Kid Andersen at Greaseland Studios for Vizztone, was nominated for a 2019 Blues Music Award in the category of Best Soul Blues Album of 2018. His new album Dog Eat Dog, also produced by Andersen, was released on Gulf Coast Records in August, 2019. The Pittsburgh-based Billy Price Band consists of Dave Dodd (drums), Tom Valentine (bass), Lenny Smith (guitar), Jim Britton (keyboards), Eric Spaulding (sax), and Joe Herndon (trumpet). The Billy Price Charm City Rhythm Band, based in Billy’s new hometown of Baltimore, MD, consists of El Torro Gamble (drums), Greg Haughey (bass), Pete Kanaras (guitar), Tam Sullivan (keyboards), Dan Gutwein (sax), and Vince McCool (trumpet).
John Schisler is the singer for the Pittsburgh band, New Invisible Joy. From 2000 to 2012, NIJ was well known in the area by fellow Pittsburgh musicians and fans for their heavily melodic and textured songs. Throughout their career the band toured extensively in Philadelphia, NYC, Harrisburg, Ohio, Boston, and West Virginia. and have opened up for national acts: The Strokes, The Killers, John Mayer, Hoobastank, Dave Navarro, and Thirty Seconds to Mars. Besides NIJ, John has also leant his vocal stylings to recording projects for Pittsburgh-based progressive rock band, The Mandrake Project, a host of tv and radio commercials for Sheetz (produced by sound design studio Big Science)-- and more recently the atmospheric-pop music project, Three Easy Secrets. While he’s not recording ambient, electronic music in his home studio John is a work-from-home photographer, who lives in Mt. Lebanon with his wife Alicia, and their three amazing kids- Jack, James, and Maddie.
Lyndsey Smith & Soul Distribution have been bringing music to music lovers for the past five years, gaining loyal fans on a regional, national, and international level. The band’s rock ‘n’ roll style gives shows a high energy, and fans are there as part of the show. The band raises the bar as to what music should be, and how an album and concert should make each fan feel. Lyndsey Smith & Soul Distribution has been performing in Pittsburgh to more than 200 people a night over the past two years. Lyndsey Smith & Soul Distribution was recently nominated in four categories at the Pittsburgh Underground Music Awards for Best R&B Artist/Band, Best Neo-Soul Artist, Best R&B Single (“Can't Resist It”), Best Group, and was awarded for Strong Vocal Performance category from BEAT100.com. Other band recognition includes the 2015 New Year Critic’s Pick by Pittsburgh City Paper, Steel City Entertainment Magazine’s “Pittsburgh hidden sensation,” and POPgh Magazine shared that they “possess the it factor,” and are “pure ear candy” by AXC.com. Made up of unsigned artists, the band is rated in the top five for R&B/Soul in the Pittsburgh region, and the top 100 in R&B/Soul nationally and globally. Lyndsey Smith & Soul Distribution has performed original music on nationally-broadcasted television for the CW Network (CBS/Time Warner), and music is in rotation on several internet radio, college radio, and terrestrial Florida radio stations. They are in negotiations for a distribution deal with Sony Music Group and have opened for national acts including Space Capone, Caroline Smith, and legendary funk band Tower of Power.