The Bible, a bottle − maybe a phone call to your mama or best friend.
When adversity arises, find your best defense mechanism and hang on, advises Morgan Gruber on her radio-featured debut single "Whatever Gets You Through It."
In rotation now on Pittsburgh's Froggy FM and The Beaver 95.7, Beaver County's new country and rock station, "Whatever Gets You Through It" showcases the vocal maturity and artistic evolution of Gruber, Beaver County's first "American Idol" Top-30 finalist.
Recorded on Music Row in Nashville, "Whatever Gets You Through It" rides a mid-tempo groove that grabs you with its chorus.
There's whisps of organ, and a brief, flashy solo from Spence Peppard, Scotty McCreery's guitarist, but the spotlight never strays from Gruber, a 2022 Riverside High grad, whose rousing voice sings convincingly of bouncing back from unexpected dead-ends and brutal work weeks that knock you off your feet.
"I love the song because it's so relatable," Gruber said in a Monday phone interview. "Honestly, you could have a group of very different people all listening, and they'd relate to it in different ways."
"Whatever Gets You Through It" premiered Sept. 15 on Spotify, YouTube Music and other major streaming sites. Since its release, Gruber has been busy building her brand by engaging audiences on social media, especially TikTok
"I love hearing peoples' feedback. They all seem really happy with it," she said.
She sounded poised and charming last Thursday in an interview on WBVP-FM in Brighton Township, noting she initially considered pursuing a pop music career until acknowledging "what am I doing, I live between two corn fields."
She's from Franklin Township (mailing address Fombell, where the population is 2,237.)
As a new country recording artist, Gruber's learned, "the hardest part is the promotion."
She's getting savvy at publicity, launching a text service where fans subscribing at 724-230-8969 get the scoop on Gruber news.
"I thought that would be better than email because inboxes get flooded with all kinds of crazy stuff," Gruber said.
Her website, itsmorgangruber.com, includes updates, too, along with merchandise and a blog where she shares thoughts like, "Writing music at the beach is the best place ever," asking supporters, "Where is a place where you feel the most inspired?"
As for live performances, you can see her Oct. 6 in the "Country for a Cure" show at the Hard Rock Cafe in Pittsburgh with fellow Beaver County recording artist Dawn Savage and Melissa Quinn Fox.
"Whatever Gets You Through It" makes Gruber a recording artist, a term that has a nice ring.
"It boosts my career, and is an important thing," she said, "because I'd love to do this full time."
Good bands, good cause
A stellar lineup of Beaver County bands will align Oct. 1 for the Beat For Life: Musicians Helping Musicians benefit concert at the Hopewell Township VFW.
The music begins at noon.
Billy The Kid & The Regulators, Bobby Thompson & The Groove, Slap Shot, Mojo Dia and The Usual Suspects, Sundog Rising, B.O.L.O., the Reloads, Bazooka Joe & The Wildcats, a Fifth of Friday and an all-star jam finale at 9 p.m. will entertain,, with all proceeds benefitting the Doe Jones Cancer Fund.
Jones, who is undergoing cancer treatments, is the wife of Mojo Dia founding member Harold Jones, a fixture in the local music scene for decades, including stints in blues-rock band 32.20, and one of guitar ace Thompson's first bands, Blue Soul. Harold Jones also co-founded the monthly jam at the Fallout Shelter in Aliquippa that just celebrated 10 years.
"It is our mission to give back to the communities that support local live music," event organizer Patrick Escoto said. "When it's one of 'our own,' well, there's nothing more important than that. The lineup of bands is proof that the local music community is packed with talent and shows just how tight we are as musicians when someone is in need."
A $20 donation at the door is requested. There will also be a basket auction and 50/50 drawings throughout the day, and plenty of food and beverages, Escoto said.
The Hopewell VFW is at 138 Stone Quarry Road, just off the Hopewell exit of Interstate 376.
'Burgh bands get national exposure
Beano’s Deli Condiments found a way to spread the publicity nationally for 10 of Pittsburgh’s finest music artists.
The Pittsburgh-based Beano’s slapped a scannable QR code on 2.5 million bottles of Beano’s Original Submarine Dressing that leads to a curated playlist featuring favorite local bands like The Clarks, The Commonhear, and Gene the Werewolf.
“Our local musicians are so good, I thought there must be a way to let more people know about them," Jim Conroy, president of Beano's parent company Conroy Foods said, adding the idea for the QR Code playlist came to him while attending a Clarks concert in 2022.
Other featured bands/singers: Bill Deasy, Peter Perkins, Jim Donovan & The Sun King Warriors, Buffalo Rose, Bill Toms, Good Brother Earl and The Living Street,
Beano’s also is sponsoring two “Jam and Sam” sessions to celebrate the condiment’s success and give Pittsburghers a chance to see some favorite local musicians.
The first music session, Sept. 24, at Johnny Angel’s Ginchy Stuff & Museum on Pittsburgh's North Side, will feature The Vindys and Mark Ferrari, top vote-getters in a social media contest run by John Chamberlin and Rachael Rennebeck from Q92.9 and the YaJagoff podcast. The concert takes place from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. and will be streamed live on YaJagoff's Facebook page.
Then on Oct. 15, a band-to-be-announced will perform at Mancini’s Bakery in the Strip District, with five contest winners getting a hands-on lesson in sandwich making from the iconic bakery, using Beano’s Submarine Dressing, of course.
Thanks for the memories
John Garry, a supreme Pittsburgh radio talent in the 1970s and '80s, died a week ago, at the age of 91.
Paired with Larry O'Brien, Garry delivered high ratings and laugh-out-loud humor for morning listeners of WTAE-AM and later its FM sister station WHTX (96.9).
O'Brien and Garry sketch characters like Lt. Macho, Mary Heartbeat, Tethers The Clown and Mr. Science & Jimmy spoofed pop culture with an irresistible silliness.
They had a thing for "Pineapple Princess," a godawful 1960 novelty hit for Annette Funicello. I vividly recall one snowy morning when schools were canceled, and O'Brien & Garry's normal mid-day deejay replacement apparently was having trouble getting to the studio. The DJ duo had to stay on-air past their quitting time and protested by playing "Pineapple Princess" over and over and over again − maybe a dozen straight times − still one of the funniest things I ever heard on the airwaves.
Radio was more laid-back in those days, and Garry was a master at making it mirthful.
Remembering Bob Corbin
Another notable death last week was Bob Corbin, half of Pittsburgh's Corbin/Hanner country-rock band that was regionally popular in the 1980s.
Corbin was an excellent songwriter, who penned songs for the Oak Ridge Boys ("Still Holding On"), Mel Tillis ("Pyramid of Cans") and Hank Williams Jr. ("Dinosaur"). During its comeback tour stop at PPG Paints Arena, famed country band Alabama took a moment to thank Corbin for writing their hit "Can't Keep a Good Man Down."
Corbin avidly supported the Pittsburgh area country music scene. His mentoring helped launch the career of Beaver County vocal group Chandler, triplets from Hopewell who toured with Kenny Rogers. Corbin also guided the early career of Povertyneck Hillbillies, Western Pennsylvania's top country band in the early 2000s.
Scott Tady is entertainment editor at The Times and easy to reach at email@example.com.
This article originally appeared on Beaver County Times: Tady: Morgan Gruber releases radio single; Hopewell show brings top bands