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Band of the Week: The Commonheart 

MEET THE BAND

Shawn McGregor (drums), Ava Lintz (bass), Mike Minda (guitar), Jess Hohman (flute, vocals), Mikey DeLuca (guitar, vocals), Crystal Morgan (vocals), Buddy Rieger (organ), Clinton Clegg (vocals)

RETRO-LEANING

Singer Clinton Clegg and drummer Shawn McGregor had played in a previous band and "things started to dissipate." So they wanted to start something "new and fresh," as Clegg puts it. They'd been working with a few other musicians and the Commonheart came together about a year and a half ago. "We'd done so many things genre-wise in our previous group," says Clegg. "We might do a rock or reggae thing in one band. That got frustrating," he says. "We wanted to go in this rock-soul direction. I have a Joe Cocker kind of thing going on with my voice. We wanted to build something around my vocals and do something more retro."

STRAIGHT OUTTA STEEL TOWN

Clegg says Pittsburgh has had its ups and downs but is currently teeming with solid bands. "At this point, the Pittsburgh scene is really great," he says. "The community is coming together. There are great local festivals. We have support from the local rock station. They involve local music. The scene down here is pretty hip."

WHY YOU SHOULD HEAR THEM

Shortly after forming, the band recorded a live show and posted a series of videos from that session. One highlight includes the somber ballad "Save Me," a tune that shows off Clegg's Joe Cocker-like vocals. The group has also written most of the songs for a full-length and plans to head into a studio in Squirrel Hill, a small Pittsburgh neighborhood, in the new year to record. One of those songs, "Questions," thrives on a beefy organ riff. Most of the songs are written for the full-length. "We want to have a 10-track full-length," says Clegg. "We have really morphed as a band since starting out. Now, we have a different guitarist and three backup singers. The backup singers have brought an extra element to the band. They add another layer to it." Clegg has performed in Cleveland a few times in the past and says the band had a particularly good time at the Music Box Supper Club, where it's set to perform again this weekend.

WHERE YOU CAN HEAR THEM

thecommonheart.com.

WHERE YOU CAN SEE THEM

The Commonheart performs at 8 p.m. on Saturday, Jan. 2, at the Music Box Supper Club.

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