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Interview with Louise Goffin

Louise Goffin Front Page PhotoJust in time for Valentine’s Day singer, songwriter and musician Louise Goffin is releasing a new song this week, “Good Times Call.”

Goffin says, “Releasing this song the week of Valentine’s Day made sense. It’s an upbeat love song. The conventions of this holiday push so many buttons. What’s love? Are people supposed to feel less-than if they’re not in a relationship? The cultural messages for Valentine’s Day are full of myths that have nothing to say about love being a state of being. The myth is that love is a state of having. “Good Times Call,” is not about roses, chocolates and chivalry. When we are open to loving ourselves as we are while loving and allowing others to be who they are, that’s when the good times call." 

Louise Goffin originally wrote “Good Times Call,” with songwriter / producer Chris Seefried and singer / songwriter Ethan Burns, with Burns being the intended singer. Goffin’s recording provides us with the perspective of an empowered woman.

"Whenever cars are involved in songs, it’s 98% the man driving. It makes a nice change to hear a woman say what “Baby, drive my car means," she says.

Recently Riveting Riffs Magazine chatted with Louise Goffin and we could have covered a wide variety of subjects that relate to this very talented lady’s life, but we decided to ask her for her thoughts about songwriting and along the way asked her to talk about some of the songs she has recorded, both of her own and of her iconic parents Carole King and Gerry Goffin.

“I used to think so hard about my songwriting, how to do it and what worked and ohhh that person started that first line in that song with a question. I am going to start a first line with a question. You notice things and you go I’m going to try that. I like that. I like what that person did in that song. That song has a section that never comes back and a middle 8.

There are all of these rules that when they get broken they sometimes work. Read More

Alexandra Dean - Film Director

Alexandra Dean Front Page PhotoWhile in conversation with film director / producer and co-founder of Reframed Pictures Alexandra Dean it becomes immediately apparent that you are talking to one of the industry’s top documentary filmmakers. Partnering with producer Adam Haggiag and Academy Award winning actor and producer Susan Sarandon, Dean explains their self-made mandate, “Reframed Pictures is called Reframed Pictures, because we wanted to reframe the conversation around various topics. For me first and foremost it was the questions of gender and what does it mean to be a woman in America today? For my brother Adam Haggiag who is a producer it was about the environment, the most pressing issue of our time. I agree with him and we have to find new ways to tell the story of the environment in a way that is entertaining, brings in the crowds, but also delivers the message. We want to talk about human rights in general. All three of those needed to be reframed we felt and brought back into the conversation in a way that feels fresh and exciting to people. Also it needs to make people go to the ballot box and vote differently.”

It is therefore an easy step to understand what attracted Reframed Pictures and in particular Emmy Award winner Alexandra Dean to make the film Bombshell: The Hedy Lamarr Story, a film about an iconic actress and an astounding inventor.

“There were two reasons (I was drawn to Hedy), I was interested in inventors. I was doing the series with Bloomberg and I was looking at all the inventors who created and shaped our world today and seeing the obstacles that they faced. I found out that those who didn’t look like Thomas Edison felt they were at a disadvantage when it came to getting funding in Silicon Valley. I wanted to find somebody who would shatter our tidy notion of who would invent. I found that person in Hedy. Secondly, as a woman I was very interested in somebody who was not constrained by any of the boundaries laid out by the culture of her time. She was completely unaware of those boundaries and she transcended them with the force of her personality and her bravery. She forged her own path completely. At the same time she seemed to have all of the blessings that all of us wish to be born with, the brilliant mind, the beautiful face, the bold nature. All of that attracts me as a woman to   Read More

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Cindy Alexander - Nowhere To Hide

Cindy Alexander Front Page PhotoYou should purchase Cindy Alexander’s new album Nowhere To Hide, you really should, because it is a beautiful collection of songs that will stir your soul, remind you of what it feels like to be in love and most importantly what it feels like to really live.

The album opens with Cindy Alexander’s original “I See Stars,” one of the prettiest songs you will hear this year. She is elegantly accompanied by Paul Trudeau on piano, while Ali Handal plays acoustic guitar and provides background vocals.

Alexander says, “(The song) “I See Stars,” is one of the first songs that I ever wrote and it came about in my life at the time when I didn’t know that I was a songwriter. I was making stuff up. I took my diary and set it to music. I was reading the book Running From Safety: An Adventure of the Spirit by Richard Bach. I have always been fascinated by time travel and in the book he goes back and he meets himself as a child. It turns out that the child knows more than the adult. I think it is true that as we get older we struggle to believe the things that we innately knew as children. That is what this song is about. I wrote it as a love song to myself, but I know that other people may take it as a love song (written) about another person. That’s great. That is the goal that somebody can find their own story in my songs.”

We were not willing to let Cindy Alexander off quite that easily, so we asked about her fascination with time travel, “I don’t believe that time is linear. I think that we accept it, because it makes life easier to understand. There have been too many times in my life when I knew what was going to happen next or I meet somebody and I feel like I have known them my whole life. That idea seems to support those feelings that I have in my gut, so I embrace it.  Read More

Sass Jordan - Racine Revisited

Sass Jordan Photo Front PageRacine Revisited is a fabulous new album from Rock singer and songwriter Sass Jordan. The original album Racine was first recorded in 1992 and Jordan refers to it as her most successful album to date. The new album is not simply the same songs remastered or remixed, but instead the decision was made not to go back to 1992, but to record all of the songs again only this time as though they were being recorded in 1975.  

“We did that on purpose, because the question that I had to the people I was working with was, why the hell would anyone want to buy a record that they already have? We wanted people to talk about 2017 is the 25 th anniversary of the release of that record. That record was a big record for me. I think it was the biggest record that I ever did. There are a lot of fans that were directly affected in some way.  

I said if we record it again, let’s put a twist on it. Instead of bringing it up to date and making it sound all spangly (This word is a Jordanism) fresh in 2017 why don’t we make it sound as much as possible and to the best of our ability as if it was recorded in 1975. Let’s record it as if we were in 1975.

There aren’t any click tracks and there isn’t any Auto-Tune. We adhered as much as we could to the idea that it was 1975 and not 1992 and not 2017. That is when I would love to have made this record,” says Jordan.

The album opens with “Make You A Believer,” a powerful, vocally driven song, backed by strong guitars from Chris Caddell and Derek Sharp (The Guess Who), electric bass by Rudy Sarzo (Queensrÿche, Ozzy Osbourne) and booming drums and percussion courtesy of Brent Fitz (Alice Cooper, Streetheart. It is a song that can best be described as Gospel meets edgy Rock and Sass Jordan says that would be a good way to describe Read More

Opportunities for Women In Music

A Guest Editorial by Manda Mosher

Manda Mosher Photo Front PageThere is a significant divide when it comes to opportunities for women versus men in the music business. I currently co-lead a female-fronted band, CALICO the band, and jointly operate a female owned record label, California Country Records, both with Kirsten Proffit. I know what it is like to be completely DIY (Do It Yourself) and participate in every aspect of the business. I come from a music business background and graduated from Berklee College of Music. I have lived and breathed music my entire life. At one time our band was being considered by a significant record label. Although that label expressed their love of our music, they were unable to work with us because they already had another “girl group” on the roster. I had to laugh at the ridiculousness of that notion in particular. I cannot imagine that being the case for any “guy bands.”

From the comments that I receive on social media, it is clear many men believe the divide in equality is fabricated, imagined, or an effect of women not wanting to do the work or take a seat at the table. This is untrue. I have had the pleasure of working with and witnessing incredibly hard-working women threaded through the entirety of the business; it is just that there are so few of them.

Billboard recently spotlighted a new report from the USC Annenberg School for Communications and Journalism that states:

“In 2017, 83.2% of artists were men and only 16.8% were women.  Read More

Actress Charlene Tilton

Charlene Tilton Front Page PhotoI had a lot of days with really dark times and that were really challenging. There were times when I didn’t want to get out of bed. Things had happened, but I have also had some really blessed days and some really good days. Even on the darkest and most challenging days the one thing that I will say is life is exciting no matter what it brings,” says film, television and stage actress and playwright Charlene Tilton.

Charlene Tilton did not have time to be bored in (2017), even if that was in her nature, as she co-starred with Lauren Aliana in the movie Road Less Traveled, as an eccentric wine making aunt, had another major role in Second Chance Christmas, as the meddling mother of Katrina Begin’s character Caroline who is dealing with amnesia and she appears in the drama Vengeance: A Love Story with Nicholas Cage and Anna Hutchinson, as the mother of two meth addicts and a drug dealers. In the latter role she says some of her own friends did not recognize her when they saw the film. She appeared on the revived Battle of the Network Stars and she wrote the script for a one woman play Tammy Faye Tweets. At the beginning of 2017 Charlene Tilton starred in the stage production of Driving Miss Daisy. Along the way there was a stop in October of 2017 to speak at Voices for the Voiceless: Stars for Foster Kids, hosted by Seth Rudetsky in New York City, just one of several charitable causes that Ms. Tilton is involved with.

Charlene Tilton talks about Voices for the Voiceless: Stars for Foster Kids, a star studded evening that featured Broadway stars, Tony Award winning actors and producers, as well Grammy Award winner Stephanie Mills and stars from television and film. 

“Everybody comes in and donates their Read More

Interview with the Cast of Solver

Solver Photo Front PageThe feature suspense filled PG rated film Solver opens in theaters across America on January 29 and simultaneously is being released on the digital streaming services of Amazon and iTunes. There is not a single weak actor in this film from the local Sheriff Riley (played by Timothy Brennen) to the lead actors Kerry Knuppe as Alex Derringer and John Ruby who plays Luke Williams. The two other protagonists are Jesiree Dizon who makes a spectacular major film debut portraying Nadine Simms and Antonio Jaramillo as badass Demien LeBlanc who will give you nightmares, while your eyes are still wide open.

Solver is the brainchild of actor / producer John Ruby and producer / screenwriter Jack Kelley who crafted a mystery that is chalk full of clues that easily engage the filmgoer, has as an underlying element a budding romance between Luke and Alex and even serves up amateur sleuth Diego Gonzalez played by Pablo Castelblanco. Luke Williams works in the corporate world of the big city and his grandfather with whom he was very close passes away, taking Luke back to his roots in small town America. What begins as a trip to tidy up his grandfather’s affairs and to take care of funeral arrangements, becomes the catalyst for a high stakes adventure.

John Ruby talks about why he thinks Solver will appeal to audiences, “What is really fun and exciting about this film is it is a mystery adventure where you have certain pieces of the puzzle, but you don’t have all of the pieces until the end. What I enjoy about that and I think what people will enjoy is you are putting the pieces together, as  Read More

Celia Berk

Celia Berk front page photoThere is something about listening to a singer who knows how to infuse each and every phrase of a song with authenticity and when she is accompanied by superbly orchestrated musicians playing exquisite arrangements that puts you right in the middle of the scenes that she has vividly brought to life. Celia Berk’s interpretation of the songs on her current album Manhattan Serenade accomplishes all of that. The collection of thirteen songs by composers and lyricists such as David Heneker, Irving Berlin, Richard Rodgers / Lorenz Hart, Cy Coleman and David Zippel and others is Ms. Berk’s love letter to the city she has lived in and around her entire life. This is home for Celia Berk and in the midst of the hustle and bustle and masses of people she finds beauty and peace. That is really what this album Manhattan Serenade is all about.

It is about a woman who was born in Manhattan and grew up on Long Island, before eventually moving back to New York City, as an adult. As a young girl her mother would take her to the Opera on Saturdays and Celia Berk’s father inspired within her a love for the Great American Songbook.

“My mother took me to the Opera and she started out when she first came to the city and they had a subscription at the Metropolitan Opera. My father, because he commuted all week long into the city, the last thing that he wanted to do (was come back to the city) on a Saturday afternoon.  Frequently I was the one who went with my mother. I saw some of the absolute greats doing the Opera repertoire. That was my whole life,” she Read More

Maria Elena Infantino Interview

Maria Elena Infantino Photo for Front PageSinger and actress Maria Elena Infantino will be performing on November 3rd (2017) at the Egyptian Theatre in Hollywood for the opening ceremony of the ARPA International Film Festival’s screening of the film Dalida. Dalida is based on the life and career of the legendary singer by the same name and as Infantino notes, of course she will be performing one of Dalida’s songs.   

Maria Elena Infantino’s performance at the ARPA International Film Festival could not come at a better time, as she continues to develop a new one woman show (she is well celebrated for her Édith Piaf show), this time featuring the music of Dalida.

Infantino says, “Dalida sang in fourteen languages. She was the Disco queen and she was huge in the seventies. She inspired me in the sense that it is so dramatic and theatrical to represent her life on stage. This year marks the thirtieth anniversary since her passing. I met the actress and the director from the movie Dalida, which was filmed in France and I thought why don’t I do this? She had such a wonderful life and for two years I have already incorporated some of her songs into my show. I sing “Bambino,” and “Paroles, Paroles,” the famous duet that she did with Alain Delon. I think I will be doing a show about her very soon, because everyone claims her. The Lebanese love her, the Armenians, the Egyptians, the Italians and the French. I would combine all of these cultures together and you can imagine the audience I would get with such an international flavor. It would unite all of the nationalities together. Read More

The Admired with Jacqueline Murphy

Jacqueline Murphy Photo Front PageDo you like those classic Hollywood movies, the kind where the dramatic tension between the actors is so riveting that you hold your breath and when the clothes define elegance? Have you ever fantasized about what it would be like to be someone else and / or to be somewhere else and perhaps in another period of time? If you answered yes to all of those questions then you are going to love the film The Admired, which marks Jacqueline Murphy's directorial deubt. She also produced the film, while writing the screenplay in collaboration with Lynne Newton and Leonid Andronov. She also stars in this fabulous film as actress Olivia Spencer who tempts fate to grant her wish of being transported to Hollywood in the 1940s.

Ms. Murphy talks about her decision to set the story in this time period, “The Admired is set in the forties, because I have a fascination with Veronica Lake and old movie stars like Rita Hayworth. When I was growing up I would watch old movies with my mom and my grandparents. I fantasized about being these amazing actresses. When Rita Hayworth was in Gilda (1946, directed by Charles Vidor) she sang on stage. She threw her beautiful red hair back as she sang “Old Devil Moon,” and I thought I want to do that.

I was very inspired by the glamor of old Hollywood and movie stars of that time. I really feel like it was the heyday of Hollywood. Everything   Read More

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Interview with Imogen Tear

Imogen Tear Photo Front PageActress Imogen Tear just turned fourteen years old and she has already won several awards and when you are in a conversation with her she sounds like she has been at this for years. In fact, she has been acting for years, not many years, but the past five years. Throughout the conversatino you are also reminded of something else that she is a teenager and she still sees the world through the eyes of a teenager and in a very positive way. She defaults to superlatives when describing the people who are her friends and while talking with enthusiasm about the television and movie sets on which she has worked. She also does something else that immediately stands out and that is that she expresses gratitude often for the opportunities that she has been given, for her family and for other actors who have helped her along the way.

She talks about winning the Young Entertainer’s Award for best actress in a television series (awarded to those between the ages of five and twenty-one). Recently, she also won a Joey Award for Best Lead Actress in a television role (an award, which is also given to youth actors).

“I won the award for my role as Hattie in When Calls the Heart and it was an incredible experience. It was my first time ever going to LA and the experience was totally amazing!

I never go anywhere thinking that I am going to win otherwise I will always disappoint myself. Even after I win I remind myself that awards are the result of hard work. It was pretty amazing, because it was my first award ceremony ever and winning on top of that was super cool. I was quite surprised to win something, because there were so many people there and some of the people that I was up against were in shows that were really well-known. I went whoa. Read More

Marcella Detroit

Marcella Detroit Photo Front PageDetroit (also known as) Marcy Levy is in her words “the thing that wouldn’t go away.” She says that half in jest and half seriously, as she has enjoyed an incredible career as a stunning vocalist, a good guitarist, one of the best songwriters on the planet and more recently she has added to her vast repertoire fashion designer.

For the sake of this interview we are going to toss accepted writing style out the window and dispense with referring to her by only her last name and default to Marcy or Marcella Detroit. After all when this writer asked at the beginning of the interview if she had a preference she said in a mock, snooty, upper class British accent “No you may only call me Marcella,” before saying yes it was okay to call her Marcy, and for the record Marcy was in fact born in Detroit. This is the first part of a two-part interview with Marcella Detroit aka Marcy Levy.

Marcy toured as Marcella Detroit on two separate occasions with Eric Clapton and co-wrote several songs with him. She toured with Bob Seger, Leon Russell and was the co-founder of Shakespeares Sister (with no apostrophe) who stayed perched in the # 1 spot on the U.K. charts with their song “Stay,” for eight consecutive weeks.

It is simply not possible to name all of the people with whom she has worked as a session singer, but we will name a few, Aretha Franklin, George Duke, Stanley Clarke, Al Jareau, Bette Midler, Burt Bacharach, Leiber and Stoller and Carole Bayer Sager. Her songs have been recorded by Chaka Khan, Belinda Carlisle, Al Jareau and Philip Bailey.

She also recorded the duet  Read More

Maria Schafer - To Know Love

Maria Schafer Front Page PhotoTo say that Maria Schafer is an old soul, a beautiful and classic voice from another era would seem to be stating the obvious, whether she is singing the Harry Warren and Mack Gordon song, “The More I See You” or Cole Porter’s “You’d Be So Nice To Come Home To,” when she demonstrates her smooth, effortless scatting ability. Both songs are from her current album To Know Love. Where does that old soul vibe come from?

Maria Schafer explains, “I have always been a quiet, curious, studious type of person. It was not that I didn’t get along with children my own age; it was just that as I was growing up I was more interested in spending time with adults. I (wanted to know) what they were concerned about and I wanted to be a part of their conversations. I loved to do well in school and I was very shy. I loved to read and I was interested in the culture of the old school society that was presented in old movies from the forties through the sixties.

In high school I came across a movie called The Girl Can’t Help It featuring Jayne Mansfield and Julie London. Julie London plays a sultry ex-lover of one of the male leads. She keeps coming up in the movie singing “Cry Me A River,” which is the song that got me into Jazz. The way in which people conducted themselves and the way they communicated was always a little more attractive to me than present day communication styles. It branded me as an old soul and I hear that quite often.

One of the benefits for me of being a singer rather than an instrumentalist is we get these wonderful lyrics that are poetic and heartbreaking or uplifting, but they are poetry. We have the opportunity to sing those and they should not only be sung, but they should be conveyed in a way that is very personal and in a way  Read More

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Stew Cutler - Every Sunday Night

Stew Cutler Front Page PhotoDrop on in every Sunday night and hear us play. After listening to Stew Cutler’s album Every Sunday Night that is exactly what you will want to do and you will be checking out his website to figure out where he is playing his next gig. For the first time in more than a decade (our fault not his) we sat down with the affable guitarist / composer and talked about his new album.  

The album opens with “The Grind” introduced by Nick Semrad’s organ, percussion by Bill McClellan and a scintillating guitar solo by Cutler. If you like Funk and you salivate over a good groove with a late night nightclub feel then you are going to love “The Grind.”

Cutler talks about when he first started working on this album in 2015, “I was trying to arrange for somebody to come into the club and to just record us there, but for a variety of reasons I couldn’t get it to work. I went to a studio where I had previously recorded and I was very comfortable with the place, plus the engineer (Rich Gaglia) is brilliant. I thought it could flow pretty well if we came in and just more or less played live. It was recorded in one and one-half days.  There aren’t a lot of overdubs.  “The Grind,” was done in just one take.

I met Rich when I was still involved with Fountainbleu (Entertainment Inc., the record label) and I recorded a record there called So Many Streams. We played these songs and we didn’t do it piece by piece. There were no overdubs and there were no songs when I decided I would add acoustic guitar or there was a second synth track. There was none of that, but at the same time Rich Gaglia did his tinkering. He’s tremendous.” 

The hybrid Funk / Jazz groove continues with “Gumbo Trane,” the second song on Read More

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