BB by Joe Seamans

Thunderbird Cafe

July 18
9 p.m.

Local music, independent business and nationally acclaimed public television will converge on Friday, July 18th, at Thunderbird Cafe in Lawrenceville.

Marking the newest project spearheaded by Polish Hill-based Mind Cure Records, the event will feature the debut of a new recording by Pittsburgh’s own country band, The Beagle Brothers, as well as a celebration of locally produced music and television.

Fresh off the heels of hosting a fourth anniversary party for his store, producing a neighborhood-based video tribute and wrapping up an ambitious 12-month singles club and box set, Mind Cure Records founder and owner Michael Seamans is now focusing his energies on supporting another cause that is very near and dear to his home and heart. Teaming up with The Beagle Brothers, Seamans’ independent record label, which he runs in tandem with his vinyl shop, is releasing a new 7″ featuring the band’s creative interpretation of the iconic theme to Mr. Rogers’ Neighborhood. On the B-side of the “Won’t You Be My Neighbor” single, which features a colorful 1960s-inspired label, is The Beagle Brothers’ original tune, “Hey There Blackbird.”

All proceeds from sales of the record, as well as from digital downloads, will be donated to WQED and The Fred Rogers Company.  For Seamans, connecting all of these dots not only reflects his passion for local music, and the city he calls home, it also resonates on a very personal level, as both of his parents worked at WQED. Seamans’ mother played the famed Mr. Rogers‘ character, Mrs. McFeely, while his father served as a cameraman for National Geographic, when Pittsburgh was the home base for production of the well-respected television program.

The choice to collaborate with The Beagle Brothers came naturally after Seamans saw the band perform Mr. Rogers‘ signature theme song (which was written by Fred Rogers in 1967) at WQED, during an event celebrating the work of historian and filmmaker Rick Sebak. Both Seamans and the band share a love for the local station, and a deeply held belief in the value and significance of public television.

A fixture on Pittsburgh’s local music scene for eight-plus years, the The Beagle Brothers’ unique sound blends elements of honky-tonk and classic country music, along with high octane live performances. In 2012, the band released its fourth album, Dancers of the Drunken Two-Step/Architects of the Bloomfield Sound, which went on to become a #1 played album on Carnegie Mellon’s radio station, WRCT 88.3 FM. They have shared the stage with David Allan Coe, Reverend Horton Heat and Wayne Hancock, and have performed at popular local events such as the Commonwealth Press Beer Barge and Johnny Cash Day. The band features Read Connolly (steel guitar), Sam Cooper (electric guitar), Kyle Kline (upright bass), Jeff Ritter (electric guitar), Gabriel Smith (vocals, acoustic guitar) and Noah Smith (vocals, acoustic guitar).

Attendees may purchase the new Beagle Brothers’ 7″ for $5 or a digital download for $2 via the group’s Bandcamp. Rounding out the bill on July 18th will be rock bands The Bloody Seamen and Mother Hawk.

Last month, Seamans debuted a new 15-minute short film, which marked the culmination of his yearlong single-of-the-month series. Featuring many familiar faces, local celebs and various characters from Pittsburgh’s arts and cultural scenes, including The Beagle Brothers, Seamans describes the film as “a playful take on my life in Polish Hill—beginning at my house and ending at the store—that also highlights the people who support me and make it possible for me to do the projects I do.”

Jennifer Baron

Jennifer has worked at the Mattress Factory, Brooklyn Museum of Art and Dahesh Museum of Art and is co-author of Pittsburgh Signs Project: 250 Signs of Western Pennsylvania. She also is co-coordinator...