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Heidi Newfield -- New Album!

Heidi Newfield Photo Front PageMusic fans have been waiting a long time for another album from Heidi Newfield, the northern California (now living in Nashville) Country singer, songwriter and musician with the Bluesy feel or as she takes occasion on The Barfly Sessions to demonstrate the Blues artist with the Country twang. Just when fans were excited about her new album’s release last spring the COVID-19 virus dashed those plans, but she is forging ahead now with an August 28 th (2020) release.

She explains why, “The light is still on and those of us who are still here, are still looking for great music. Regardless of if I get to tour it or not, I feel it is my duty to put (The Barfly Sessions) out.

Putting a record out like this has been such a labor of love, with so much time and effort by a multitude of people, not just myself. To make a record like this and without having put music out for a while and then boom you go okay I am going to jump. I am going to put this thing out and then this happens.

I had to search my heart and ask am I prepared for what may or may not happen when you put a record out and you cannot tour around it? That is a whole new world for all of us when we are putting music out. It is like stepping off a cliff and you don’t know if you are going to fly or not. I pray that is the case. I hope that is the case. I hope it catches on and if it is a slow burn that is fantastic. If it catches on fire that is great too. The world of uncertainty that we live in right now is very difficult. We are calling it the year that never happened.”

We pointed out to Heidi Newfield there have been many Country music artists who embarked on their careers without ever having set foot on a ranch or a farm, but how her story really reflects the music she writes and the stories she tells.

“It is true. Country Music from its first incarnation with Jimmie Rodgers and the Hank Sr. stuff, from day one it has always been about real-life stories from the narrator to the listener. That has been what has always drawn me in. No matter if you are from Manhattan and you are a city person who wears a suit and tie to work and you never ever wore a pair of rubber boots or gotten on a horse, I don’t think it is difficult for good and well-written Country Music to resonate with you. It is the narrator telling you about what it is like for them to be so lonesome they could cry or to be cheated on or to be in a celebratory mood. It is them making you want to dance, making you want to move, making you want to make love or whatever the situation may be.  It is all about evoking those emotions from the listener and Read More

Katie Ferrara - Break Free

Katie Ferrara for Front Page 2020Katie Ferrara has been a friend of Riveting Riffs Magazine for more than a decade and it fair to say that we have watched her grow as a songwriter, her voice become richer and fuller as a singer and her musicianship as a guitarist has continued to compliment both well. During the course of relating this interview / conversation we are going to break with typical journalistic style and instead of referring to her by just her last name, we will often just call her Katie. You will want to pay close attention during the course of this conversation however, as she recounts an interesting story about her surname.

It had been more than three years since we last sat down to chat and this time the nature of our conversation focused on Katie Ferrara’s current album Break Free, her tours in Europe in recent years and whatever happened to that cute little dog from a previous music video, and finally where does she find all those cute guys that are now appearing in her videos.

Break Free is an album amply populated with love songs, but not the kind of mushy Pop songs that substitute hooks for substance, but rather missives that cause you to reflect on relationships you may have experienced in your own life. We wondered if perhaps we had forgotten love songs she had previously written.

“I did write some love songs before (she laughs lightly), but they weren’t romantic songs,” she replies.

That brings us to the song and video “Living in Black and White,” and she laughs a lot when we ask her where she keeps finding these great looking male actors.

“Yeah, Anthony is really good looking. He is a musician and he acts as well. He played guitar with me on a couple of gigs and I thought he is very charismatic, so I asked him if he wanted to be in a music video with me.

We shot the video at the Riverside Festival of Lights in December. Louie Gooey (That really is his name folks!) shot (the cinematographer) that one as well.

I wrote the song, before the New Year of 2018 and I was feeling a little sad, but happy at the same time. I was nostalgic and I felt like everything was moving quickly. I wanted to capture that feeling in a song. I had the melody first and then the chords. I then brought it to my friend Tom. Read More

Modern Wedding - Designed by drezz2imprezz

Cindy Morawetz Fashion Photo June 8 2020 

Models: Sandra Scheack (L), Vanessa Vinson (R)  Drezz2Imprezz website

Doug Clifford's Magic Window

Doug Cosmo Clifford Photo Front PageDoug “Cosmo” Clifford the drummer for Creedence Clearwater Revival and the drummer and co-founder of Creedence Clearwater Revisited (with Stu Cook) took time to sit down with Riveting Riffs Magazine recently to discuss his new / old album Magic Window. The record is old in the sense it was first recorded in the mid 1980s and he seems to recall 1985 as the year, was forgotten about (we will get to that in a minute) and then digitized when it was rediscovered by Clifford. We need to be honest here, before getting into the album and tell you we were equally fascinated by his alternate life and career in forestry and fire management, which unfortunately for this article we only have time to touch upon briefly.

“The mid-eighties is when I was most active as a songwriter and when I had material that I thought would be an album’s worth and then I started working on my vocals. I am not really known for either one of those things and it is kind of fun. I have been getting really good reviews (and you can add Riveting Riffs Magazine to the list of good reviewers Doug!). It makes you feel good, because at the time you put your heart and soul into it,” he says.

He goes on to talk about why the record is only seeing the light of day now, “We were in a huge drought situation up at Lake Tahoe. I had a biological background and I had a firefighting background, minimal, but enough. I put together a program that would deal with fuels and what to do with a forest to try to get it back to a normal environment. Fire is a culling factor in a forest, but when you put the fires out the fuels continue to build up. That is why we have cataclysmic fires when they hit now, because the fuels  Read More

Actress - Kika Child

Kika Child Photo Front Page Recently Riveting Riffs Magazine sat down with Colombian film, television and theater actress Kika Child, very popular in Colombia, but who for the last (never ask a woman her age!) has made New York City her home. To describe Kika Child as a peaceful human rights activist would be more than accurate. Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic and during the unrest that has enveloped much of the United States she has been translating the Governor’s and the mayor’s press conferences from English into Spanish.

Kika Child, we should point out, in addition to being a wonderful actress is also a trained translator.

“When the pandemic hit in March I was already working in the courts, with attorneys, physicians, within the medical and entertainment (fields). Mostly though, I was focused on writing my television series. I also was cast to star in a play in Washington, but when the pandemic hit everyone stopped working and the courts closed.

I couldn’t travel to Colombia to go and be of service, which is what I wanted to do. I wanted to be there for my parents. Colombia has stricter rules right now than the U.S., but they don’t have the financial help that people in the U.S. receive.

Because I stayed in New York I was wondering what to do with my life. Everyone was hit with shock and (experienced) trauma. I was praying and meditating, asking what should I do with my life?

One day when I woke up, I went in front of the computer and I started recording Governor Cuomo’s briefing. I have a producer here, Read More

Poco - Rusty Young

Poco Rusty Young Photo Front Page“I really am pleased (with that album). It was a neat experience. I had never done a solo record. I had always focused on Poco records and in 2013 and 2014 I was thinking about retiring and just doing things that I enjoyed, fun shows with friends and that kind of stuff. Jimmy Messina called me, and he said I have five or six shows on the west coast, and it would be great if you came out and played with me. We did old Poco songs and it was a fun thing to do.

We were doing a show in California and this guy Kirk Pasich came up to me afterwards and he said have you ever thought of doing a solo record? I said not really. The opportunity has never presented itself. He said, I have a label Blue Élan and we would love to have you make a record for us. I thought about how everybody who has ever been in Poco have done solo records, Paul Cotton and Richie Furay, Timothy B Schmit and Randy Meisner. I thought it might be an interesting thing for me to do at the end of my career. It was the best way for me to illustrate my part in the sound of Poco. If you listen to Richie Furay’s records you can hear what he contributed to the band and the same with Paul Cotton (and the others). They all have their style and their songs. It was a chance for me to show what I brought to the scene. I thought it was a really good challenge at that point in my life.”

Continuing to talk about the album he says, “The first song that I wrote was “Waiting for the Sun.” After I wrote it, I called Kirk and I said listen let’s do this record.

We live in a cabin or a log home in Missouri in the Mark Twain National Forest and it was the perfect environment to start writing songs and Read More

Silvia Marsó and Felipe Ansola

Silvia Marso and Felipe Ansola Front Page PhotoIn May of this year (2020) when Riveting Riffs Magazine interviewed actress, singer and producer Silvia Marsó and film, television and theater actor Felipe Ansola COVID-19 had brought every live performance in the arts and culture world of Spain to a standstill, including the theatrical musical production of 24 Horas en la Vida de una Mujer. The musical produced by Silvia Marsó and which also stars her and Felipe Ansola had been presented to audiences for three years in Spain. In 2018 the musical was awarded a Broadway World Award for Best Small Format Music Show, in 2018 Silvia Marsó was nominated for Best Leading Actress for the Premios Teatro Musical (Musical Theater Awards) and in 2019 Ms. Marsó was again nominated this time for a Valle Inclan Award. The other cast member is Germán (first name) Torres, who acts in the capacity of what Felipe Ansola describes as a master of ceremony, similar to a narrator, but with more direct influence upon the play and the characters.

The accomplishments of both Ms. Marsó and Felipe Ansola speak for themselves. Silvia Marsó is one of Spain’s and in fact the countries that comprise the Spanish speaking world’s most celebrated and widely respected actresses. Silvia Marsó just completed the ninth and final season of the daily series or soap opera El Secreto de Puente Viejo (The Secret of the Old Bridge). Time and space here does not permit us to list all of her accomplishments, but we will list a few, in recent years she appeared in the critically acclaimed television series Gran Hotel (as Adriana) and Velvet (as Julia Lagasca), both of which cannot be viewed on Netflix. She was Elvira Prieto in Gran Reserva. El Origen Noelia for three years in Manos a la obra and in 2019 as Esther in Merlí Sapere Aude. She has also appeared in numerous Read More

Pear Duo - No Boundaries

Pear Duo Photo Front PagePear Duo comprised of pianist / composer and arranger Curtis Brengle and singer / songwriter and musician Julie Ragins recently released their new album No Boundaries, a wonderful and diverse collection of songs that are a mix of original tunes and cover songs. The husband and wife singing combo bring a wealth of musical experience painted across a vast genre palette to this recording. Their combined history has seen them perform with The Moody Blues, Chaka Kahn, Sheena Easton, Pointer Sisters, Ray Charles, Sergio Mendes and numerous other stellar artists. The affable couple sat down with yours truly and Riveting Riffs Magazine recently to talk about their new album.

Curtis notes the fact that they do have such a vast genre palette to choose from is what led to the title No Boundaries for this record.

“We are not going to limit ourselves to a particular style,” he says and Julie adds, “Much to the chagrin of every platform on the internet that wants to pigeonhole you in a single genre.”

Our conversation wanders in another direction for a moment as we ponder whether or not the music industry still wants to pigeonhole artists into specific genres.

Julie Ragins says, “The first question everybody asks you is what kind of music do you play? They want an elevator pitch answer. They want to hear Country. They want to hear Blues; they want to hear Rock and Roll. They do not want  Read More

Alta Mar - Final Season on Netflix

Alta Mar Front Page PhotoThe third season of Alta Mar (High Seas) the Bambuu Producciones series streamed on Netflix fell short of seasons one and two, which had made this late summer offering a much-anticipated event. Most of the original characters were back, veteran actor Jose Sacristán as Pedro Villanueva, Ivana Baquero, who once again is the best actress or actor in this series in her role as Eva Villanueva and Carolina Villaneuva played by Alejandra Onieva. The brother and sister act of Fernando Fábregas and Natalia Fábregas, the former played by Eloy Azorin and the later by Natalia Rodriquez are the owners of the shipping line, which this time instead of departing way from Spain leaves port from Argentina and is heading towards Mexico. Jon Kortajarena, a strikingly handsome actor who plays Ivana Baquero’s romantic interest in seasons one and two as Nicolás is almost a non-factor in season three and with only the filmiest of reasons as to why he is relegated to another ship. We missed that onscreen romantic chemistry and drama that Baquero and Kortajarena create.  

The insertion of two British spies on a ship where everyone else is Spanish simply does not work. The role of Fabio is stilted and that is not on actor Marco Pigossi and the responsibility is entirely with the writers. It is obvious that Mr. Pigossi if given the opportunity had much more to bring to the role of Fabio. The actor who intrigues us is Eduardo Blanco as Capitan Santiago Aguirre. No matter how misguided the writing is for season three Aguirre brings authenticity to his role, as he did in seasons one and two. Ignacio Montes as  Read More

A Little Magic from Belfast, Ireland

Nikola Arkane Photo Front PageWe suppose the place to begin when interviewing someone with a bit of mystique, a lot of charm and with heavy doses of magic is to talk about her name and that is where we started with Nikola Arkane, a magician from Belfast, Ireland. Within the first few minutes of the conversation she draws you in with her wit, her easy laughter and the passion that she so obviously has for her chosen profession.

“My birth name was Nicola and that is the way my mum spelled it. It is quite a controversial name in Ireland, because it can be spelled Nichola, so a lot of people here in Ireland try to spell it that way and I don’t like that. When I was coming up with my stage name, I wanted to keep it as Nicola, because it is an unusual name and not very many people have it. My mum also gave me the name Nicola, because I was a December baby born on December 21st. My mum named me Nicola after Saint Nicholas.

Arkane came about in a strange way too. I needed to have a stage name and I wanted my name to represent storytelling, because I’m Irish (Oh and we can tell you this lady can weave a story and pull you in waiting to find out what happens next!). I wanted something like Irish folklore or something archaic. My boyfriend who is also a magician is into comics and one day we were talking about comics and he told me about Swamp Thing, which is one of his favorite comics. There is a character in there called Dr. Arcane. I thought it was a really interesting name and so I wrote my name as Nikola Arcane. I thought if I was changing my name Nicola to Nikola, I thought I would change Arcane to Arkane. It just fit together. That is the story  Read More

Chicago Band - The Claudettes

The Claudettes Photo Front PageRiveting Riffs Magazine has over the past sixteen years interviewed artists from various backgrounds and genres and we are proud to say that recently we interviewed an Iguana, Johnny Iguana to be exact. Johnny Iguana, a stage moniker that he adopted when he was sixteen years old when he joined his first Blues band called Stevie Lizard and his All Reptile Orchestra is the songwriter, pianist, bandleader and co-founder of The Claudettes (co-founded with drummer Michael Caskey). The Chicago based band released their fifth album, High Times in the Dark, this spring.

The new album is not a theme or concept album.

Johnny Iguana explains, “I am always writing and I got on a really good streak. I read a really great quote once in this book called Listen to the Stories by Nat Hentoff who was a great Jazz critic. There is a quote attributed to Duke Ellington and when he was asked how he managed to write all of those chart hits he said, I just always looked around me and at what particular musicians I had in the band at that time then I asked what can these guys do well. I think that is really smart. A lot of people just write and they have types of songs they want to do and whoever happens to be in their band right then is charged with playing them.  I always try to zero in on people whose ships have crossed my path and at that time in life and ask what do they really do well? Where do they really shine?  

The more you work with someone you get a (better) sense for that. I got in a really good zone for the songs that I could write well for Read More

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Paloma Del Pozo Front Page Main Photo  

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Pam Tillis - New Album

Pam Tillis photo for front pagePam Tillis’ eleventh album Looking for a Feeling, reminds you of being a child, back in the day and standing in the candy store with a quarter or fifty cents and looking at all the penny candy, so many yummy treasures to choose from. Fortunately with this album, Grammy Award and Country Music Award winning singer, songwriter and musician Pam Tillis lets us have all of these delicious songs on one album. Just like the candy store when all of the treats came in different colors and each with its own unique taste, Looking for a Feeling offers the same diversity of colors, shades, moods and vibes.  Pam Tillis joined us recently at Riveting Riffs Magazine to talk about her new album.

Looking for a Feeling, is as personal as anything that I have done, maybe ever. I am in a lot of ways a really private person, which kind of runs counter to what an artist is supposed to be. You know cut a vein and bleed on the page. I am very private and so it takes a lot for me to do that. I think in some ways I am understated with my feelings. In a lot of songs I am just trying to process the craziness that is life and the craziness that is our world and I am trying to put it into context. I (want) to understand it. There is an underpinning and in some ways it is a little bit philosophical. If you listen long enough you will hear it in there,” says Pam Tillis.

As for why she co-wrote the title song with Waylon Payne she says, “Because it said write me (she laughs lightly). You don’t always get a choice. Some days you pick up the guitar and you get out your laptop or your yellow legal pad and you might as well be digging a ditch. Some days you pick up the guitar and it talks and the words are just coming through you. That’s what happened that day. It was kind of a moody gray day.  

I had never written with my friend Waylon Payne, but I am a big fan of his and he is an incredible artist. There was something that happened to me and I was naming all of these things that I was seeing and they just started flowing into a song. All of these people in the song you can relate to them. They are kind of spiritually adrift and they are struggling. They are trying to find their (way) and some kind of satisfaction. It is like a Read More

Ada Rovatti & Randy Brecker

Ada Rovatti and Randy Brecker Photo for front pageThere is something about sitting down for an interview with two people whom you have known for many years, although most of that from a distance, that has more of the feel of friends getting together for a visit, a comfortable conversation if you like. Ada Rovatti and Randy Brecker’s new album, Brecker Plays Rovatti: Sacred Bond creates that same mood when you listen to the collection of songs composed and arranged by Ada Rovatti. The musicians who play on the album were drawn together by Randy Brecker and the album was masterfully recorded at Bunker Studios by Aaron Nevezie, while Cynthia Daniels put her magical touch on the mixing and mastering of the album. Just a word about Cynthia Daniels, we could not possibly do justice to her career, the many artists with whom she has worked, or the Broadway productions, films and television shows that have her fingerprints on them, so we encourage you to visit her website.

In proper journalism practice first names alone are seldom used when referring to the one being interviewed however, in this situation when conversing with the husband and wife team of Randy Brecker and Ada Rovatti and our familiarity with them it somehow would not feel right to refer to them by their last names, so we are going to cast protocol aside. Their daughter Stella also appears on this album, but her demands for a significant appearance fee could not be met by Riveting Riffs Magazine and before anyone takes us seriously, we are joking folks, but we did want to give Stella a nod for her singing performance on the opening track "Sacred Bond," as well as making a debut on her mom and dad’s album.

When this writer opens the conversation by saying the songs on this album seem to create a peaceful vibe and a calming effect for the listener, Randy replies, “I have to agree. Usually, when I do records, after I am done I never want to hear them again, but this one I really enjoy Read More

 

Sagrario Salamanca's Star is Rising

Sagrario Salamanca Photo Front PageSagrario Salamanca is an incredible singer, better known for Opera and Musical Theater, but her vocals are of such quality and her phrasing is so emotive that she can easily transcend several genres of music. Her eyes and her body language when she sings and acts convey that she is totally immersed in the story. Yet as we talked recently, both in our conversations leading up to and following her interview with Riveting Riffs Magazine, there is a perfect combination of strength, intelligence and confidence, but never a sense of hubris.

Sagrario Salamanca lives in Madrid, Spain, the city in which she grew up.

“My father was a military man. When I began to sing he wasn’t very pleased (she laughs lightly). We talk about it now and he only wanted the best for me, because he didn’t think at that time that it was a good future for me. I think that is why he didn’t make it easy for me. He always said this was not something serious, but it was just something that I liked to do. Every time that I sang or did something related to singing I felt more and more that this was something I wanted to do. I am sorry for my dad (she laughs, poking fun at the memory). Now he is very pleased and he is very proud of what I have (accomplished),” she says and it is obvious as we talk more that she loves her mother and father and she is appreciative of the support they have given her through the years.

Just a few days, before we talked, Sagrario Salamanca’s first singing teacher, Maria Luisa Castellanos died from the coronavirus (COVID-19).

“She was really old and I have been thinking about her a lot these days. We have been thinking a lot since we do not have much to do (At the time of the interview Spain was just beginning to emerge from a total lockdown that had been in effect for three months). It is because of her that I am a singer now. I was very shy. I did not have confidence. Read More

            By Swedish Designer  

         Charlott Axenström

Charlott Axenstrom Swedish Designer

                         Swedish television personality Kattis Ahlström

                            

                

Electronic Firefly from Spain

Electronic Firefly Photo Front PageElectronic Firefly combines the extraordinary talents of violinist Silvia Carbajal, cellist Carlos Perez-Íñigo, and keyboardist Rebeca Nayla who all now live in Madrid, Spain, but at one time lived in different parts of the country. Recently, Carlos who prefers to be called Charlie and Silvia sat down with Riveting Riffs Magazine over a Skype call during the middle of the COVID-19 pandemic in Spain and talked about their careers, the formation of Electronic Firefly and the future. For the purposes of this interview, as we often do we are going to dispense for the most part with referring to them by their last names and stick to first names.

The pandemic and for almost three months having to stay inside their homes, put the debut Electronic Firefly album on pause. Sylvia and Charlie have recorded music together aside from Electronic Firefly.  

Silvia begins by talking about their music, “We do different types of music and some covers, because people want to hear something that they know like electronica, Frank Sinatra, Amy Winehouse and AC / DC are our favorite types of music. This music is for events and concerts, because people want to hear something that they know. We also do our own compositions. We work with a pianist (Rebeca Nayla) and we do a mix of electronic music and music for films. We are doing our first album and it will be an album with our songs.”

Charlie continues, “We have quite a lot of songs recorded, but this project with the electronica is new. There are three of us in the group and it is completely different than anything we have done before.  We have recorded five or six songs already.” 

Silvia says, “With this quarantine we went out to do some filming for one of the new songs that we composed with Rebeca Nayla but we haven’t been able to edit everything, because we have to meet with the cameraman and when this thing finishes (the quarantine) we are going to show them to the world (Editor’s Note: As we publish the interview, most of Spain is entering the final stages of returning to a more normal state).”  Read More

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