The Commonheart
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The Commonheart

Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, United States | Established. Jan 01, 2014 | SELF

Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, United States | SELF
Established on Jan, 2014
Band Rock Soul

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Music

Press


"Gary Clark Jr.'s guitar chops on full display at packed Stage AE"

By Scott Mervis / Pittsburgh Post-Gazette


Pittsburgh band The Commonheart has its own guitar hero in 22-year-old Mike Minda, who plays with the stinging tone of Carlos Santana. You listen to the songs just waiting for him to erupt and he never lets you down.

But the focus of the band is formidable frontman Clinton Clegg, a soul belter in the tradition of Gregg Allman and Joe Cocker. Watching this band, with its horns and backup singers, is like seeing the rise of a young Keystone Rhythm Band. And like that other soulful Pittsburgh group, it’s way too good to remain a hometown secret. - Pittsburgh Post Gazette


"Gary Clark Jr. turns up the guitar heat in Pittsburgh; The Commonheart impresses, too"

Clark didn't talk a lot, though one of the first things he said was to praise Pittsburgh band the Commonheart for its splendid opening act set.

“I liked that,” Clark said.

Having learned just 25 hours earlier they had gotten the gig, the Commonheart quickly won over the crowd with a sound reminiscent of Nathaniel Rateliff and the Night Sweats, but with superior lead guitar.

Somebody write them an “S.O.B.”-caliber novelty hit, pronto.

The Commonheart's frontman, Clinton Clegg, vocally testified with Joe Cocker-like soul and vigor, and the audience ate it up. Though the 10-piece band's subtle touches mattered, too, like some nice flute playing.

They made many new fans Tuesday, a bunch of whom made sure to pat Clegg on the back after they spotted him near the bar late into Clark's set.

Clegg is the support act Sept. 16 for the CD release show by Beaver County's Dan Bubien Band at the Pittsburgh Winery.

"The Commonheart are a powerhouse," said Bubien, another area guitar ace who checked out Tuesday's show. "Dynamic and as good as anything out there on the highest of levels." - Times Online


"Clinton Clegg puts a little bit of soul into The Commonheart"

Enter Clinton Clegg.

The 33-year-old Monongahela native has been part of the scene for a while, working in the bands Jazzam and Backstabbing Good People and doing solo/acoustic work, but it's his new band, the Commonheart, that best frames his growling soul vocals.

The Commonheart, formed in September and featuring singer-guitarist Clegg, guitarist Arianna Powell, keyboardist Buddy Rieger, bassist Matt Booth and drummer Shawn McGregor, is built to capture the feel of those organ-drenched Stax bands such as Booker T and the MG's or the Bar-Kays and the rock bands that followed. Mr. Clegg has come up with four songs to match that classic vibe, including "Cannonball" (very Joplin) and the Allman joy of "Pray."

Rather than going into a studio, The Commonheart is rush-releasing a debut CD recorded live with an audience of about 40 at the drummer's apartment in Lawrenceville. In addition to the originals, it throws in a slow-burning cover of the Beatles' "Don't Let Me Down."

The Commonheart
With: Andre Costello and the Cool Minors.
Where: Club Cafe, South Side.
When: 7 p.m. Friday.
Tickets: $10; clubcafelive.com
The Commonheart plays a release show at 7 p.m. Friday at Club Cafe, South Side. A video recording of the songs can be found on the band's YouTube channel.

Here's what Mr. Clegg had to say about his new project:

I hear this Otis Redding/Joe Cocker/Greg Allman thing happening. Tell me about your influences.

When I first started getting into music I was drawn to metal, punk and rap, which I still enjoy. Then my mother gave me a B.B. King record when I was like 14. It opened a door to say the least. That record led me to guys like Otis Redding, Bobby Blue Bland and Sam Cooke. I can't get enough of those old soulful singers.

Do you have any gospel roots?

My mother is the organ player at our church. My aunts -- one's a minister and the other a music teacher and tremendous singer.

When did you realize you could sing like that?

I was in a few different bands over the years and actually started out rapping. It developed into singing as the bands changed over the years. More time passed and I just kept singing and writing. I started working with other musicians who would encourage me to push myself and go for it more. I'm not where I want to be yet, but where I am now I owe it to them.

So, what is your timeline of bands: You were in Jazzam, Backstabbing Good People ...

Numerous Cats, R Date W/Poverty, if we're going way back. Then when I went to IUP for college, I was fortunate to get involved with Jazzam. Then Backstabbing Good People developed out of that. More recently, I stepped back a bit and started writing music more to that old soul sound, really trying to write songs that catered to my vocal, and with the collaboration of some amazing musicians, those songs brought us to The Commonheart, my current band.

It sounds like you're getting away from the funky stuff a bit ...

There's always time to get funky! But, yes, I do think that we are trying to go somewhere different.

How did you put the band together?

I came to Shawn with this idea to form a new project. We worked in Backstabbing together. We met Arianna of Velvet Heat on a gig she filled in for us. And once she played I wanted to work with her; she's incredibly talented. I worked with Buddy in Jazzam and knew he could play and was a great guy as well. I knew of Matt Booth from City Dwelling Nature Seekers as well, but it was actually Shawn who was gigging with Matt on different things and suggested him. It all fell together really fast and we wanted to put something out, and we thought, rather than spend thousands in a studio, let's track it live with our fans and see what we get.

"Pray" has a real Allman feel.

Oh yeah, I'm like a die-hard Derek Trucks guy.

And "Cannonball" kinda sounds like a Janis Joplin tune.

I can hear that for sure. When writing these tunes I really wanted to echo music that made me love music. - Pittsburgh Post Gazette


Discography

Still working on that hot first release.

Photos

Bio

The Commonheart

Formed to invoke emotion through tone and energy, The Commonheart is a band configured of up and coming artists from the Pittsburgh area who came together to create a soulful sound for music lovers.

"We know exactly what we want to sound like and we are ready to go out and bring it to the people."

said front man Clinton Clegg.

The Commonheart takes rock riffs, gritty vocals and a screaming organ to deliver rock 'n' roll with a heavy blues, soul and gospel influence. Their music is a true testament to the past, echoing once again the full circle of music and sound.

Band Members