The High Level

The High Level

Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, United States | Established. Jan 01, 2017

Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, United States
Established on Jan, 2017
Band Rock Funk




"Scott Tady: Jambridge ruled; Beaver Falls gets Taylor gang Xmas show"

Scott Tady: Jambridge ruled; Beaver Falls gets Taylor gang Xmas show
Buy a 2023 calendar right now, and circle the date of Sept. 23.

You don't want to miss next year's Jambridge, the sequel to last weekend's thoroughly amazing local music and beer festival in Ambridge.

I've covered musical events in the Beaver Valley for 25 years, and never saw one as well-run as Jambridge, a rookie festival that delivered 10 hours of nonstop music via two side-by-side stages in the spacious parking lot next to Merchant Coffee Co.

From the cosmic soul of Mean Blue Planets to the virtuosic funk jazz of the Abby Gross Sextet; and the tight, accomplished pop-punk of Shy Birds to the deep grooved acoustic duo Too Hearted, the music sounded fantastic. Tasty mood enhancement came from a corner of the parking lot where Ambridge craft breweries Fermata and Altered Genius, alongside friends from Lincoln Brewing of Bellevue, Allegheny City Brewery of Pittsburgh and Union Brothers of Harmony, poured seasonal suds in commemorative Jambridge plastic cups.

Concertgoers strolled both sides of the street visiting vendors such as InnerGroove Records with sweet stacks of vinyl records, and Ambridge author J.R. Mason giving out pastries and selling her new book "Soulmate Setbacks: Confessions II" a humorous and cautionary look at dating in Pittsburgh during a pandemic. She says it's rough out there.

More:Page Turners: Ambridge author looks at local dating scene

Jambridge's attention to details — I'll credit the female touch of Merchant Coffee owner/festival co-creator Kim Fabrizio — made the festival a standout. Little but important things mattered, like having plenty of tables and chairs, an efficient check-in for beer imbibers, and convenient portable potties close by but out of view in the adjacent alley.

Jambridge peacefully complemented an equally large festival run by Ambridge churches a few blocks away at P.J. Caul Park. Jambridge had food trucks, though I know I wasn't the only attendee who also paid a visit to the church festival to nosh on pirogi from St. Peter & Paul Ukrainian Church.

The music-loving owners of Fermata spearheaded the Jambridge concert lineup that also included The High Level, hard-edged rockers impressing with originals and a fun cover of Bob Dylan's "Mighty Quinn." Sorry I missed indie-funk/neo-psychedelic band Different Places in Space, and funk-rock headliners Nash.V.Ill, which I caught a night earlier blowing away an outdoor crowd at Beaver Station Cultural & Events Center.

The Jambridge performance that had everybody talking was Beaver County blues-rock masters Bobby Thompson & The Groove joined their entire 100-minute set by guest guitar ace, Johnny Baab of Ghost Hounds. The large but not unwieldy crowd loved the thrill of watching lefty six-stringer Thompson trading fiery guitar licks with Baab, fresh off Ghost Hounds' European tour opening for the Rolling Stones. Thompson and Baab unleashed guitar greatness on songs like "Crossroads," Jimi Hendrix' "Voodoo Chile," Stevie Wonder's "Superstition," Steve Miller Band's "Fly Like an Eagle" and a few Thompson & The Groove originals like "Hurricane." With the deft rhythm section of Rob Sinchack and Cody Fritzley, and the soulful keys and vocals of Rich Mannion, the band sounded smooth, and you'd never have known Baab hadn't rehearsed with them. It was special.

Wonder how anyone will top that in the already announced 2023 Jambridge date.

More:'Frozen' star says 'mind-blowing' stage show will enchant Pittsburgh audiences

Taylor made for Xmas

Bailey Taylor will release a 10-track Christmas CD, "Christmas Love," with seven original songs, all recorded in Nashville.

The Moon High graduate also will perform in a Christmas concert Dec. 15 at Beaver Falls Middle School, patterned after the popular Yuletide shows her uncle, the late B.E. Taylor, played for many years.

Joining Bailey on stage will be a rocking band including most of the regulars from those B.E. Taylor Christmas concerts: Hermie Granati, Rick Witkowski, Jeff Jimerson, Jamie Peck, plus B.E. Taylor's son, professional drummer BC Taylor, and brother, Dan Taylor.

Tickets for the Beaver Falls show cost $35 to $45. The same lineup also performs holiday shows Dec. 16-17 at Moon High School with tickets $30 to $60. Get tickets at

"The demand for the show to return has been strong over the last couple of years," Dan Taylor, father of Bailey, said. "We are all very excited to see everyone and feel the love together again."

B.C. Taylor, and North Hills raised rocker Anthony Rankin back Bailey Taylor on the CD that's rooted in pop and includes a piano-driven ballad "Christmas With You Again," she wrote with her late uncle in mind. It's a song that will resonate with anyone bereft by loss. whose Christmas dinner table has an empty chair.

Bailey's merch table will sell CDs when she performs at the Christmas In The Woods festival in Columbiana, Ohio, at noon and 2 p.m. on Oct. 8-9 and 15-16.

Digital copies come out Nov. 25.

Blues in the open air

There's not much time left to catch an outdoor concert this season, so consider the drive to Coopers Lake Campground in Butler County next weekend to see the Home Brews 'n Blues Festival.

The Oct. 7 opening night stars Beaver County talent Charlie Barath Band & Friends and Blues Attack, along with the venerable Bubs McKeg. The Oct. 8 lineup, beginning at 1 p.m., offers The Grubbs, The Blues Drivers, The Stevee Wellons Band, The Gordon James Band, Lori Russo & the Uppercuts, The Jeff Fetterman Band and Bail Jumpers.

Regional craft breweries will pour beer.

And if the weather doesn't cooperate, organizers will be ready to put up large tents.

More details at

Mourning Coolio

Rap star Coolio, a Monessen native, died Wednesday at the age of 59. A cause wasn't immediately announced.

Coolio had found international fame and acclaim after his family had moved to Southern California and he became a recording artist. His song "Gangsta's Paradise," became an iconic hit,, with a popular MTV video, and appeared in the 1995 film "Dangerous Minds". That song, from his sophomore album, won a Grammy Award.

In the song "I Remember," on his1994 debut, Coolio addressed his Mon Valley upbringing with the verse:

"Well I remember yesteryear like it was yesterdayRunnin' through the streets of Monessen, P-AI take you through my childhood step by stepDaddy always told me to maintain my rep thoughDaddy was a dawg he ain't raise no punksIn the midst of the trees we learned how to thumpAt the tender age of nine momma put us on a planeNext stop -- the land of the insaneCompton California where the killers growForced to live a life that I didn't know."

Coolio was part of the "I Love The '90s'" tour with Vanilla Ice that played Rivers Casino in Pittsburgh on Nov. 27, 2021.

Scott Tady is entertainment editor at The Times and easy to reach at - Times Online


That’s what we try to do right? Form Great Habits? Sure, we try to eat healthy, maybe quit smoking, or just say no to that 3rd shot of Tequila, but it’s tough! Lucky for us, listening to The High Level is one habit we won’t need to kick!

The High Level, based outta’ Pittsburgh, just dropped their first EP called “Great Habits”. They have a unique sound. It wouldn’t do them justice to pinpoint their genre, but it’s certainly a collection of influences. From groove rock to music with some real grit, and vibes of blues and reggae, The High Level has developed an eclectic album for their fans.

What’s cool about The High Level is that they infuse Pittsburgh’s culture into their songs as well. You’ll hear them name-dropping some iconic Pittsburgh spots in their songs like “South Side Man” and “61B”. The High Level is definitely proud of where they came from. That kind of attitude has helped them carve out their style over the years.

The High Level has been hustling for the past couple of years, showcasing their music to the area. They’ve already performed at some notable shows like Deutschtown Music Festival and Millvale Music Fest. This year is no different! They kicked off 2020 with an electric performance at Howler’s February 8th along with Rebel Revolver and Wildy Uncomfortable. Next up is a show on March 27th at Ace Axe Throwing in Homestead, Pa. So, if you’re about as stressed out as a Yinzer sitting in rush hour traffic at the Squirrel Hill tubes, no need to fret, axe throwing and The High Level will have you feeling cooler than the other side of the pillow. If you can’t catch em’ that night, check out their schedule below for some other venues that they’ll be at this summer.

The High Level even hooked up with Fernando De La Cruz at Ambriek Creations to shoot their first official music video. The video features their hit “Blackout”. You’ll enjoy this clip because this jam is a certified headbanger and also highlights some legendary streets of Pittsburgh.

The High Level consists of band-mates Mark, Rob, and Tom. They have dual vocalists with Mark playing guitar, Rob slappin’ the bass, and Tom with the sticks. Years of friendship and experience have brought them together to create The High Level. Do yourself a solid and give them a listen! You can find their music at

By Tyler Tournay - IndulgePGH

"Musicians from Western Pa., other states booked for Latrobe’s virtual banana split festival"

Musicians from the region and beyond are lined up for Tuesday’s virtual Great American Banana Split Celebration in Latrobe.

Because of pandemic restrictions on large gatherings, the annual festival this year won’t have any public participation in downtown Latrobe. Instead, it will feature a day of entertainment and activities streamed beginning at 11 a.m. on the event’s website and Facebook page.

Just like the frozen treat with chocolate, strawberry and pineapple toppings that Latrobe claims as a local invention, the related festival’s musical offerings cover a variety of flavors — ranging from pop and rock to folk and country.

Among several Pittsburgh-area performers on the bill are a rising young guitarist and vocalist who is a sophomore at Point Park University and a trio of friends from Aliquippa who have reunited to evoke good times — as well as the region’s grit — through their music.

Elias Khouri, 19, is studying entertainment management and business at the Pittsburgh university while also making strides in his budding career as a musician.

Inspired by classic artists like The Beatles, James Taylor, Eric Clapton and Carlos Santana, he mixes acoustic numbers with funk, soul and rock. He’s played at area venues including Mr. Smalls Theatre and the Andy Warhol Museum and has released an original single, “I Got You on My Mind.”

He said his acoustic set for the banana split celebration will include original material as well as a cover of a number that should bring back memories for those age 45 or older.

The virtual festival is providing artists like Khouri one more way to connect with audiences while the pandemic has limited opportunities for in-person performances.

He’s had some gigs at area wineries and gathered a backing band for a socially distanced performance at a rented warehouse. Mostly, he said, “It has given me a lot of time to hone in on my skills. I’ve been listening to many jazz records and making connections. When I do come out of this (pandemic) I will be ripe and ready to get right back into the game.”

“Have fun and rock on” is the motto of The High Level — featuring Swissvale residents Mark Bodrog, on guitar, and Tom Persson, on drums, along with bass player Robb Turnbull, who still lives in the trio’s hometown of Aliquippa.

After separate, sometimes overlapping, projects, they came together in their current band more than three years ago, focusing on original music ranging from rock to funk.

“It’s pretty positive music,” said Bodrog, who shares vocals with Turnbull. “We emphasize just having a good time, but we also have some chilled-out grooves,” Bodrog said.

The band members have released a five-track EP and a video of one of the songs, “Blackout.” Bodrog said they’d anticipated a busy festival season before dates were cancelled by the covid-19 pandemic.

Instead, they’ve made backyard acoustic “COVIDEOS” and posted them on their Facebook page. They retreated indoors to record performances for the banana split stream.

“We’ve got some local artists, but because the event is virtual, we’re able to bring in some musicians from out-of-state as well,” said Isaac McDaniel of the Greater Latrobe-Laurel Valley Regional Chamber of Commerce, who is event director for the banana split celebration. “It’s really cool to be able to expand our reach this year. It’s the silver lining of this whole process.”

Country musicians who will be checking in from outside Pennsylvania include Ohio native A.C. Jones, teen singer and guitarist Daelyn Avril Ellis, from Texas, and Andrew Mack, an Indiana County native who relocated to Nashville.

Nebraskan folk artist and singer-songwriter Orion Walsh also will be featured.

Other slated performers with area ties include: Western Pennsylvania-based band Flying Blind, with a variety of rock and country music; singer-songwriter Aubrey Burchell from Irwin, an “American Idol” competitor in 2018; Vanessa Clarke-Deaver, who has performed in musical theater productions in the Latrobe area; the festival’s own Banana Band; and The Crystal Blue Band, featuring original members of Tommy James and The Shondells — Westmoreland County natives Mike Vale, Ron Rosman and Eddie Gray.

Other portions of the banana split stream will offer: Red Tie Variety, a juggling act; selection of the banana split princess and court; a virtual pie-eating contest; an interview with former Steelers lineman Craig Wolfley; art projects and other activities.

Those who want to participate in the virtual Banana Run race have until Aug. 31.

Visit for more information. - Trib Total Media, LLC


Role Models EP - 2022

  1. For Getting Together
  2. Here Now
  3. Killing Time
  4. Hard Had

South Side / Trainwreck - 2020

  1. South Side
  2. Trainwreck

Great Habits EP - 2019

  1. Blackout
  2. Lost My Phone
  3. 61B
  4. Gone
  5. Aftermath



The gritty groove-rock of The High Level was forged in the old steel town of Aliquippa, Pennsylvania. Mark Bodrog, Tom Persson, and Robb Turnbull had been friends for many years, each working on different projects which occasionally overlapped. During a killer jam session in the Outer Banks of NC, Mark and Robb created the first iteration of The High Level's earliest songs. Deciding too much time had passed since either had worked on a music endeavor, the two called on Tom to complete the group. Though the style ranges from hard-edged rock to mellower jazzy funk and everything in between, the motive always remains the same: have fun and rock on!

Band Members