Music artists from Aliquippa, Fombell and Chippewa are making an impact

Aliquippa’s Melvin and Mervin Steals are once again writing songs for the stars.

The Steals twins co-wrote Russell Thompkins Jr.’s new single “Say Hello,” whose lead vocals propelled The Stylistics through Billboard’s 10 Songs of the 1970s “You Are Everything,” “Betcha by Golly, Wow” and “Break Up to compensate.”

A jangly guitar burst, swirling keys, relaxed drumming, and caressing flute and sax kick off “Say Hello,” raising anticipation for when Thompkins will go wild with that famous soothing falsetto and tenor that has helped sell more. a few million records.

“Say hello to the fool who broke all the rules and got nothing,” is his attention-grabbing opening line, setting the tone that is powerfully relatable to anyone whose mistakes or misdeeds prompted remarkable love to leave.

The Steals wrote “Say Hello” with their Detroit business partner McKinley Jackson (manager of Marvin Gaye’s band) on their MoPhilly International Record label. Find the song on major sites like Amazon, Apple, Pandora and Spotify, all easily accessible via

While working as songwriters in Philadelphia, the Steals wrote the Spinners’ 1973 huge hit “Could It Be I’m Falling in Love”, and also wrote songs “Trusting Heart” for the Trammps and “Honey Bee” for disco. Queen Gloria Gaynor.

“Looking back where I’ve come from [our dad] died of pancreatic cancer at the age of 5 and became legally blind in my right eye from a self-inflicted injury, I still marvel at the miraculous way which God brought me to this point in my life,” Melvin said recently.

Melvin, a former principal of Aliquippa Schools, will share entertaining stories of songwriting success when he appears on an upcoming episode of “Bridging The Gap,” a new YouTube series focusing on the music history of Western Pennsylvania and Emerging Artists, co-hosted by Jack “Johnny Angel” Hunt and rocker Byron Nash.

Fombell singer advances on ‘Idol’

Morgan Gruber dazzled the “American Idol” judges on last Monday’s episode, earning a standing ovation and a golden ticket invitation to the Hollywood tour of the panel’s famous TV singing competition.

Proudly identifying herself as a country girl from “Fombell” – the address of the post office for the townships of Franklin and Marion in northern Beaver County – Gruber, 17, sang an Elle King song, “Can’t Be Loved”, demonstrating vocal power and range.

“Let me tell you why I’m so happy about this,” said “Idol” judge Lionel Richie. “You came here and not only gave us a fabulous delivery, but that’s your style.”

Richie sprung from Gruber’s style offering such a unique sound.

“That’s what you expect from this company,” he said.

Pop star judge Katy Perry told Gruber, “It was amazing…I don’t really have a lot of criticism for you.”

The third judge, country star Luke Bryan, said he and Perry both put Gruber in the Top 20.

The grateful Gruber, a senior at Riverside High, cited as inspiration her grandmother, who died two years ago after a five-year battle with cancer. Grandmother is the one who encouraged her the most to sing, she said.

“Your grandmother, like so many other grandmothers, was right,” Bryan said.

Fombell's teen Morgan Gruber hit Hollywood tours on

Blackhawk guitar-slinger gives back

Local music fans held fundraising concerts last year at a few Beaver County taverns to help Blackhawk High student Amico Demuzio plan a trip to Memphis, where his guitar prowess had him. earned an invitation to represent Southwestern Pennsylvania in a youth showcase at the prestigious International Blues. Challenge (IBC) last February.

Alas, the IBC was postponed to May, due to COVID-19 protocols, and now Demuzio cannot attend as he has exams and other senior school obligations.

So Demuzio, known by the nickname Meex, decided to donate the money generated during these fundraisers to organizations that help young talents achieve their artistic goals, in particular the Blues Society of Southwest Pennsylvania and the Beaver County Career & Technology Center which supported its mission in Memphis. The BCCTC will use its share to pay for welding student graduation certificates needed to achieve their career goals.

It’s a thoughtful gesture from Demuzio, the highly gifted guitarist who has already made an impact on the local music scene.

He works to form a group and participates in recordings with other young musicians. You can often catch him playing with local guitarist David Granati at Mario’s Dockside Grille in Bridgewater on Thursday nights, and with Blues Attack at Thursday’s Restaurant on Wednesday nights.

Amico Demuzio, a senior from Blackhawk High, is giving back to the local community that has supported him.

JOm Hanks

Tom Hanks made some friends in Ambridge last week. There’s great video footage – shared on social media sites Ambridge Connection – of the two-time Oscar winner taking a break from filming his new movie ‘A Man Called Otto’, to say hello to Ashley Glass and her son from 2-year-old Charles, who watched intently from an Ambridge balcony.

“We’re making a movie,” Hanks said warmly, smiling at the youngster.

Filming took place primarily at Stangl’s Bakery on Merchant Street.

Hanks has had a strong presence in our area since filming began a month ago. While heading to Market Square in Pittsburgh last weekend, he posed with a surprised but delighted bride for her wedding photos outside the Fairmont Hotel. Hanks also appeared in photos with store managers at the Busy Beaver in Lawrenceville and greeted neighbors at Bellevue, another filming site.


The Oscars are this Sunday night, and yeah, I know, a lot of people don’t care anymore, they think Hollywood is too elitist, blah, blah, blah, moan, moan, moan. Sorry (not sorry), I do care about the Oscars and always make sure you see all the films nominated for Best Picture. I’m rooting tonight for “Coda,” the most heartwarming movie in several years, centering on a couple in love with deaf blue-collar workers and their socially awkward daughter with full hearing who yearns to sing.

I’d also agree with the Best Picture trophy going to ‘Belfast’, another heartfelt family portrayal with a moving historical context of the political-religious conflicts of the late 1960s in Northern Ireland.

My ranking of the value of this year’s Best Picture nominees: 1. “Coda”; 2. “Belfast”; 3. “Don’t look up”; 4. “King Richard”; 5. “Driving my car”; 6. “The power of the dog”; 7. “Licorice Pizza”; 8. “Dune”; 9. “Alley of Nightmares”;10. “West Side Story”.

The comforting

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Scott Tady is entertainment editor at The Times and easy to reach at [email protected]