From the quick rhymes of a budding rapper to the rocking sounds of a local pianist, 2012 certainly sounded good with Pittsburgh’s local musicians. Whether they are relatively new to the scene like Point Breeze’s Mac Miller or have slaved away for years like singer-songwriter Bill Deasy, there’s no denying 2012 was a significant year for these five singers and bands. Some reformed and regrouped while others partnered with other legendary and breakout artists, resulting in a year of musical genius. If you’re looking for some new tunes or rediscovering your old favorites, don’t miss these breakout music acts.
Surrounded by the sounds of Aerosmith and classical piano, Nina Sainato grew up just north of Pittsburgh to become one of this city’s hottest music acts of 2012. Earlier in the year, she joined Martyr Kanin on the album “Palm of a Shadow” singing background vocals on four tracks, including “Take Me Away” and “Fall.” In May, Sainato joined several fellow Pittsburgh musicians, including Scott Blasey, Joe Grushecky and Donnie Iris, at South Side’s Rex Theater for a 40th anniversary celebration of The Rolling Stones. Most recently, she released her Christmas album “Holly and Ivory” that features five holiday songs that pay homage to her rocker side and five instrumental songs that showcase her classical training in piano. “Holly and Ivory” is available for purchase on iTunes.
The Hillbilly Way
Turn your radio to Froggy 103.5 FM and you’re guaranteed to hear the latest hit from The Hillbilly Way “My Kinda Sunday Drive.” If the band’s sound and name sounds familiar, it’s because many of its members are former members of the Povertyneck Hillbillies, which dissolved in 2008 and reformed as The Hillbilly Way this past April. To kick off its reunion, a concert was held at CONSOL Energy Park in Washington Aug. 25, the same day the band released a four-song EP featuring its new single “My Kinda Sunday Drive,” which pumped up fans for the spring 2013 release of the band’s full album. If the first single’s break into the Top 100 on MediaBase Country Charts is any indication of the success to come these hillbillies’ way, you’ll want to get your hands on this CD.
Twenty-year-old Mac Miller has been riding a wave of rap stardom since the release of his debut album “Blue Slide Park” last November, and it doesn’t look like this success is slowing down anytime soon. After uploading a trailer to YouTube for his highly anticipated song “Missed Calls,” in early 2012, Mac Miller’s hits just kept coming with the release of his seventh mix tape “Macadelic” and the single “Loud.” Rapper Pharrell soon caught wind of Mac Miller’s unique style and collaborated with him on the single “Onaroll” that will be featured on his upcoming album “Pink Slime” to be released before the end of the year. Most recently, Mac Miller joined fellow Pittsburgh rapper Wiz Kahlifa for their summer tour “Under the Influence of Music.”
Related: Best Local Musicians In Pittsburgh
The rockers in Roundhand Rowan have been bringing their self-described “melodic metalcore” to fans since 2006 but have remained one of western Pennsylvania’s most underrated rockers — until recently. This past year, this Burgettstown-based band announced the release of its new full-length album “The End In Return,” which promises more of the hard-hitting, energetic jams its fans have come to love. In August, these five friends hit the road for their summer tour that reached more than 14 cities throughout the Midwest and east coast, kicking off and wrapping up in Pittsburgh.
Singer-songwriter Bill Deasy is no newbie to the Pittsburgh music scene. He’s been plugging away at his music since the late 1980s and released six solo albums in the early 2000s. In September, he announced that he will release his seventh full-length album tentatively named “Start Again.” “Start Again” is expected to be released in 2013 to the relief of long-starved fans.
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Jessica Wasik lives in Pittsburgh where works as a full-time figure skating coach sharing her passion with today’s generation of young skaters. A graduate of Robert Morris University with a degree in English Studies, Jessica is also a contributing writer for Allegheny West Magazine. Her work can be found at Examiner.com.