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Eva Gamallo - Actress from Spain

You sit down with someone on the other end of a telephone call or in this case on SKYPE to do an interview or as we prefer to say to have a conversation and neither person knows quite what to expect. All you know about in this case, Eva Gamallo, a wonderful film, television and stage actress from Madrid, Spain is what your research has been able to tell you and all she really knows about you and Riveting Riffs Magazine is what you have told her and what she has read when visiting the magazine’s website. What this writer discovered during our hour long conversation with a very talented actress, is a warm and charming woman for whom you immediately want the best for her in life and career. Take a few moments and listen in on our conversation with actress Eva Gamallo. Oh and yes we do know how to say her name correctly in Spanish, because through much shared laughter and some giggles on her part, Eva Gamallo was gracious enough to teach this writer how to pronounce hers surname correctly. Her first name Eva is also pronounced like we would say Ava in English.

Eva Gamallo was born in Switzerland to Spanish parents. Her mother was from Pontevedra in the north of Spain and her father from Granada in the south of Spain.

“I have one brother and one sister. (My family) was medium size, not so small and not so large.  When I was three years old we moved (from Switzerland) to Granada.  I lived there until I was eighteen or nineteen and then I went to live in Madrid for one year. After that I went to Málaga to study there for four years (Editor’s note: Malaga is located in Southern Spain on Costa del Sol). 

A lot of artists like Frederico Garcia Lorca (playwright and poet) have come from Granada and he is the most (famous). When I act in the plays of Frederico Garcia Lorca I can see the city of Granada, the streets, the fields, the sky and I can feel the magic of the city. It is a big honor for me to act in one of Lorca’s plays.

There is also a lot of Flamenco music and Flamenco dancing in Granada. 

The people from Granada belong to the earth. The people who live there have a lot of Read More

Gary Nicholson - Two New Albums

Gary Nicholson Photo Front PageIt is not often that an artist puts out two albums at the same time, but then when you go by two professional names Gary Nicholson and Whitey Johnson and the albums have entirely different themes then maybe it should not be surprising that is what Nicholson / Johnson did recently.

“I am still writing songs about what is still going on in our culture. I am going to make another record that speaks to this situation that we are in. I want to temper that with the Whitey Johnson music that offers some fun and humor and some rocking Blues music that can go along with the Folk music of the Great Divide (one of the new albums). I think the two things work well together and that is why I chose to put out the two records at the same time. Thankfully Blue Corn Music was agreeable to releasing both records,” says Nicholson referencing the other album More Days Like This released under his other moniker Whitey Johnson.

So, just before we get into the main part of our conversation we thought we would tell you how Gary Nicholson, singer, songwriter and guitarist also acquired the name Whitey Johnson.

“The Whitey Johnson persona started when I wrote a short story about Whitey Johnson who was a composite character from my youth. He was a guitar hero of mine. He was black, but he was albino, so his family called him Whitey and that short story appeared in a book called Guitar in a Tent. A lot of songwriters wrote short stories for this book. (Kris) Kristofferson and John Hiatt and others wrote stories. That is how the Whitey Johnson thing started. When Colin Linden and I started playing a lot of Country Blues together we felt compelled to go to Sam’s Men’s Wear in Nashville and there was a white suit in the window. There was a two for one sale and I got a purple suit for Colin and the white one for me. We went to the Blues festival and that was it. That is when I started performing as Whitey Johnson,” he says. 

There is not time to discuss both albums in-depth and since The Great Divide focuses more on events happening in America right now, while Riveting Riffs Magazine’s audience is more international in scope, we are going to turn our attention primarily to the More Days Like This record.  Read More

Design By Sophie Joy, Rhemy, Olli, FuMoso 

New Zealand Fashion Week Photo One

Photo by Stefan Gosatti Courtesy of Getty Images protected by copyright ©

Eilen Jewell Releases Gypsy

Eilen Jewell replacement Photo Front PageYou will travel a long way and you will meet a lot of singers, musicians and other people in life, before you will meet someone as nice as Eilen Jewell who took time out from writing more splendid songs and family life with husband Jason Beek and their five year old daughter Mavis to talk about her new album Gypsy. A decade had passed since Eilen Jewell had been our guest at Riveting Riffs Magazine, when she released her Sea of Tears album, and our conversation began with talking about the move from the northeast United States back to Boise, Idaho a few years ago. It was an important part of our conversation, because those Idaho roots provide the color and the fabric of Eilen Jewell’s music.

“I felt pretty homesick almost as soon as I left (Idaho). Part of me enjoyed feeling homesick and I wanted to keep it up and to keep it going, which is why I stayed away as long as I did.  I was gone for fifteen years and then I just felt like I had been homesick long enough and it was time to go home. I really have enjoyed being back here. Part of it is Jason Beek my husband and drummer and I, we were ready to buy a house. We felt we would never be able to afford that in the northeast.  Now we have this sweet little home and two years after we bought our house we had our little girl, Mavis. It has been really nice to raise her here in Idaho. I don’t think I could do the big city parenting thing. I see people with strollers on subways and I just cringe. I don’t think I could hack it. I am just a western girl by nature,” she says.

Seguing back to the album Gypsy, Eilen Jewell says, “(It has been four years) since my last album of original material. I released an album of Blues covers in 2017. It was called Down Hearted Blues. I started writing some of the songs (for Gypsy) eight or nine years ago. They were Read More

 

Cool Country Music From Sweden

Cina Samuelson Photo Front PageFresh off of her tour of Finland Swedish Country Music singer and songwriter Cina Samuelson took time with Riveting Riffs Magazine to reflect upon her career and her life.

“We had a wonderful tour and we played at wonderful places that most of the times were near water. We had lovely weather, the sun was shining and the sunsets were so wonderful.  It was a tour that I will have in my mind and in my heart for a very long time,” says Cina Samuelson (pronounced Keena Samuelson).

The year 2020 will mark the twentieth anniversary for Cina Samuelson’s solo career, after spending ten years as a founding member of the band Freetown Highway and another five years performing with other bands. During her career she has toured and performed in the United States with Charlie McCoy, Dale Watson, Teri Joyce and Becky Hobbs.

To celebrate that anniversary she is going to start recording a new album this fall (2019) to be released in 2020 and it will include her recent single “Sweet Mama, Elvis and Me,” (now available to purchase online).

She talks about that single, “It is a song that I wrote about my mother and me and the way that she taught me to dance crazy to Rock and Roll and Elvis Presley. I haven’t got a name for the new album yet. I haven’t decided which song will be the title song. I am going to record this exactly the way I did it with the Roots and Memories album (2014), to sit down with all of the musicians at the same time. I did it that way with this single as well. It was a smaller studio. I would like to do the Read More

Interview with Lisa Dondlinger

Lisa Dondlinger Photo Front PageYou would be hard-pressed to find an iconic music figure with whom violinist, arranger, composer and singer Lisa Dondlinger has not performed with and / or recorded with during the course of her career. To name drop for a moment, Lisa Dondlinger has performed and / or recorded with Lady Gaga, John Legend, Andrea Bocelli, Beyoncé, Stevie Wonder, Rihanna and Tony Bennett. That is barely scratching the surface of her musical resume. Perhaps you have seen her appear as a soloist or concertmaster on the Grammy Awards, American Idol, The American Music Awards, The Voice, The Ellen Show, The Tonight Show or The Academy Awards, Dancing with the Stars, The Emmy Awards and the Latin Grammy Awards.

The former Miss America beauty pageant contestant who represented the state of Iowa (Miss Iowa) sat down with Riveting Riffs Magazine recently to talk about her current album Movies & The Masters, as well as her career.

In talking about her album Dondlinger says, “I have always heard melodies together in my head and I know that sounds really weird, but I always hear things that lend themselves to something else. One of the things on the album that I am the most proud of and sounds the most weird is I was hearing Stravinsky’s Firebird Suite and especially two of the movements Infernal Dance (Of King Kashchei) and the Finale. I was trying to figure out what could go with them? What would sound really cool with them? The thing I came up with was Jai Ho from Slumdog Millionaire. It is definitely a Pop tune (originally recorded for the movie by Sukhvinder Singh, Mahalaxmi Iyer and Vijay Prakash). The Pussycat Dolls recorded it (as well).  It is definitely a Pop dance song. I was working with Chad Rehmann who was the co arranger with me on Read More

Mindi Abair  Interview

Mindi Abair front page photo“We always joke that our band is a sport. Some people just stand there and play or play quietly or play nice little Jazz, but with what we do we are dripping wet by the second song. It is a sport and we all believe that you are supposed to give a pound of flesh and that you are supposed to give a piece of your soul every night to (your audience) That is the deal that you make when you step on stage. I think it is good for us. It is a great catharsis. I don’t need therapy, because I have a band (she laughs) and an audience,” says singer, songwriter and saxophonist Mindi Abair, while talking about her band Mindi Abair and the Boneshakers.

Abair’s comments were part of a conversation when talking about the song “Whose Going to Save My Soul?” from the new album No Good Deed released on June 28 (2019).

About the song she says, “It is a hard song to sing, because you have to give your all. It is one of those songs that you can’t pretend. Every ounce of your being has to emote. This will be one of the songs in the set that takes it out of us.”

Mindi Abair both sings and plays a lengthy saxophone solo during “Whose Going to Save My Soul?” and we wondered how much that is going to sap her energy.

“I think that it is really helpful to have songs that I am singing and then songs that I am playing sax on (both for the same song). It breaks it up. Sometimes if you are just playing saxophone all night, those muscles get broken down and those muscles in your face hurt. As a singer different muscles are going to be worked. It is all energy and it is all (about) you giving, but it is different. It does help to be able to spread it out over the night and to go I am going to sing this song and Read More

Charleene Closshey  Interview

Charleene Closshey Photo Front PageCharleene Closshey has been on a red hot creative streak since the spring of 2018. The cinematic release of the film she produced and starred in,  No Postage Necessary during the summer of 2018  was followed by the release of the soundtrack for the album in October of 2018. Her new orchestral arrangement for the song “I Heard the Bells On Christmas Day,” peaked at # 24 on the AC charts and the Holiday charts in America. The Christmas song is a precursor for the full length Christmas album, which will be released in time for the 2019 Christmas season and it is produced by six time Grammy Award winning producer / sound engineer Brent Mayer. If your head is not spinning by now Closshey is also releasing her album Only Love Remains and as we write this we are getting close to the date for the release of the first single from the album. Charleene Closshey’s short film Perception did well on the festival tour and she received numerous awards for the music she composed for Perception.

We are out of breath after that whirlwind tour of the past year of Charleene Closshey’s career and you probably are as well, so let’s turn out attention to our recent conversation with this multi-talented and creatively brilliant native Floridian.

Even though No Postage Necessary was in theaters during the summer of 2018, it can still be viewed through a variety of means, iTunes, Amazon and through the new media platform Vevue.

Closshey says, “I produced the film with my business and life partner Jeremy Culver. He was the writer and director on this particular Read More

Fiona Joy Hawkins Interview

Fiona Joy Hawkins photo for front pageFiona Joy Hawkins is the owner of Q Pop Up Gallery in Australia, but you know her best as being an amazing Neo Classical / New Age and Contemporary Instrumental Music, pianist and composer, who doubles as a member of the ensemble FLOW and in collaboration with musician (also a member of FLOW) and producer Will Ackerman co-produced an award winning debut album for American artist Jennifer DeFrayne. Fiona Joy, as she is sometimes referred to is also a visual artist and some of her own paintings are featured in the gallery.

Elegant while seated in front of her piano, vivacious while doing this Skype interview and giving us a tour of her gallery and down to earth enough to have become the mother to numerous orphaned Joeys (baby kangaroos), one immediately recognizes the deep connection between nature and her music.

“The love for nature and animals has always been there from when I was a little girl. I used to bring home strays all of the time. I would land at home with a cat or a dog. I would find a dog with a broken leg or a bird with a broken wing or that was starving to death. I have always had a lot of animals. When my kids were growing up I was a wildlife information and rescue officer.  I took some courses about kangaroos, so I was able to hand raise joeys (baby kangaroos). When the mother is killed and the joey gets thrown from the pouch someone has to raise it and that is something that I did. It was a volunteer job, but I loved it, because I love animals,” she says.

Continuing to talk about the connection  Read More

Charlie Faye & The Fayettes

Charlie Faye and The Fayettes Photo for front pageGet ready folks, because coming your way in early February (2019) is a sensational and fun album by Charlie Faye & The Fayettes. The new record is The Whole Shebang, literally the name and the listening experience. The trio of ladies from Austin, Texas, boasts great harmonies, led by Charlie Faye and supported by her Fayettes, BettySoo and Akina Adderley. Influenced by girl group of the sixties and Soul from the sixties and early seventies they are so good that listeners may find themselves saying I am sure I have heard this song before somewhere and assume the trio is merely covering songs from yesteryear and yet that is not the case, as these are all original songs.

“In fact that happened at a show of ours last weekend. Someone who wasn’t really familiar with us, came up to us after the show and that person said I thought these were all songs from the sixties until you said something about that you had written all of these songs. I think that happens a lot,” says Charlie Faye.

The Whole Shebang opens with a song co-written by Charlie Faye and Bill Demain, “1-2-3-4,” feels like it stepped out of the sixties, but more importantly resonates with the audience in 2019. The first four lines recall that feeling of meeting “the one” with “1,2,3,4, That was all it took / A heartbeat and a look, and I was so gone / Felt my whole world tilting left and right / And suddenly a light just came on…”

It is easy to imagine being at a  Read More

Beth Bombara - Americana Rock

Beth Bombara Photo Front Page Credit Nate BurrellWe do not often think of the word Evergreen, as summer is winding down, but Christmas came early this year with a delicious album from Beth Bombara that bears that title. The dual first tracks, which for the music video merge into one another, “I Only Cry When I’m Alone,” and “Upside Down,” are well worth investing in the album, so the listener can discover some other treasures.

Beth Bombara talks about those first two songs, “Social media has changed how we interact socially and what I was really thinking about is how it has enabled us to hide behind this curtain, minus emotion. If you don’t want somebody to know that you’re sad you don’t have to post a picture of you looking sad on the internet. Nobody has to know that you are sad or upset. It is this idea of not letting people behind your emotional curtain. That is what I was thinking about when I started writing,” the she adds that you can also convey your true emotions, “I have cried in front of other people before. It is capturing the idea that it is a lot easier now than ever to let people see when you are feeling sad.”

Although, the song does not focus specifically on the period of her life when Beth Bombara was dealing with depression, she says, “I was not thinking about that, but generally speaking yes. Part of my battle with depression during that time period was the aspect of feeling stuck and not feeling like I had any power to do anything. There is an aspect of “Upside Down,” that alludes to that. It is the feeling of being stuck and not having the power to do anything and then just flipping your whole perspective upside down. If you think you are at a place Read More

Design by Lemon Tree, Rhind, Ruby and Rain

New Zealand Fashion Week Photo Two 

Photo by Stefan Gosatti Courtesy of Getty Images protected by copyright ©

Interview with Charlotte Martin

Charlotte Martin front page photoCharlotte Martin has been a lot of things during her lifetime, a beauty pageant winner and contestant (numerous times), an Opera singer, Classical pianist, she was signed to a major record deal, she is both a private music teacher and she teaches music at a college in the Greater Los Angeles area, but if you asked her what her greatest accomplishment has been and the one from which she has derived the most satisfaction she would likely tell you it is being mom to her son and daughter. If you asked us what strikes us most about Charlotte Martin we would tell you it is her toughness. We are not talking about the kind of tough that comes with an edge or that is confrontational, but rather the kind of strength that wills one through life. She overcame anorexia early in life, for more than a decade she has dealt with considerable physical pain from a condition known as arachnoid neurological syndrome and she has soldiered on with her music career, albeit at the moment she is more focused on the educational and songwriting aspects of it.

Charlotte Martin grew up in Charleston, Illinois the daughter of Becky and Joseph and with a brother six years older. Joseph was a professor of music for forty-seven years and he played woodwind instruments, while Becky was a singer who also taught choirs and music in general.

“I grew up listening to a lot of music. I listened to a lot of Classical and my dad also loved Elvis. My mom was also very influenced by Christian music and I grew up singing in churches. She always sang in the worship band in church and she played as well.

I grew up in a great community for music. The access to music education there is so much more intense than it is even here in California. You would think it would be the opposite. There were a lot of opportunities for me to be involved in things,” she says.

 It was not until she reached college that Charlotte Martin started to broaden her music palette, influenced by her roommates who Read More

Kaitlin Wolfberg - Rising Star

Kaitlin Wolfberg Photo Front PageKaitlin Wolfberg may not yet be a household name, but the people in the Los Angeles music community know who she is and she is highly respected. She appeared on stage playing violin with H.E.R at the 2019 Grammy Awards. It is Wolfberg’s versatility and her ability to shine that have seen her garner praise for her playing (violin and viola), as a conductor, arranger and composer. Oh and did we happen to mention recently she donned the producer’s hat and she also sings. Could there be drums or an electric guitar in her future? We do not know, but Kaitlin Wolfberg did have this to say about her appearance on the Grammy Awards stage.

“Working with H.E.R. and her team on her Grammy Performance was a real treat. Everyone wanted to make the performance perfect and we were all on the same page. So much positive energy swirling around that performance, it was a very special, inspiring and memorable moment for me that I will treasure forever. Also, being on that stage, in front of The Academy and so many legends was certainly a humbling experience.”

Perfect is not a word that you hear very often when Kaitlin Wolfberg describes one of her musical endeavors, as she continually seems to be pushing herself to achieve a higher level.

When asked however, which of the many areas of music that she works within that brings her the most satsifaction she says, “Lately, I get a lot of satisfaction out of arranging and making big, beautiful arrangements. I guess that would be it. Recently, I did a bunch of arrangements on Alice Wallace’s record that I am pretty happy with. I did two string quartet arrangements for Junior Thomas and the Volcanoes (record). I have been working on this new record with Man’s Body, which is my friend Greg Franco’s band and I got to (wear) the producer hat on at least one song. I really like having that control and making the song as beautiful, as I can.  It is like a  Read More

Barbara Dennerlein - Blues Album

Barbara Dennerlein Front Page Photo 2019Barbara Dennerlein has long been considered one of the world’s foremost Blues and Jazz Hammond B3 organists and composers and in more recent years has added to her musical palette by playing the same music on pipe organs. The affable artist who lives in Germany took time out from her busy schedule to chat with Riveting Riffs Magazine about her first ever compilation albumm Best of Blues: Through the Yearss.

“There are two things that came together, one is I love Blues and my roots are Blues. For a long time I wanted to do something with the Blues, because I have a lot of contact with the audience when I play concerts. Over the years many people have asked me on which of your CDs are the most Blues compositions? I realized that one day I should do some kind of a Blues compilation (album). This has been in my mind for many years and I have thirty-three years of Bebab Records, which is my own label. I thought it would be nice to do it now. I have been in the business for long enough now to do a compilation from my label,” she says, laughing lightly..

Because it is a compilation album, it is important to note that the songs were all recorded at different times throughout the years and then remastered recently..

Barbara Dennerlein says, “First I had to pick the songs I wanted on the album. There were many Blues compositions (that I recorded) over the years. The difficult part was to pick the ones that I want on the compilation..  There are so many that I like. There are a lot of different albums with different songs and some of them were recorded live and some of them were recorded in the studio. Naturally the sound and the lineups are very different. I have solo recordings and band recordings. You have to make one kind of sound for a compilation and everything has to connect. It has to work together. I did not want (to leave) the impression that one song sounds different than the others..  That was one of the reasons we had to remaster them.  Read More

Design By Sophie Joy, Rhemy, Olli, FuMoso 

New Zealand Fashion Week Photo Three

Photo by Stefan Gosatti Courtesy of Getty Images protected by copyright ©

Andrea Miller Continuing a Legacy

Andrea Miller Front Page PhotoEarlier this year for the second time in as many years singer Andrea Miller received a blow to her heart. In February of 2017 just prior to leaving for a world tour with Al Jarreau word came that he had passed away. May 2 of this year Andrea Miller was to fly to Chicago to record the George Gershwin song “I’ve Got a Crush on You,” with longtime collaborator, producer, arranger, composer and lyricist Michael Cunningham, for a George Gershwin tribute album he planned to release. However on April 8th word came that her friend had passed away suddenly.

Andrea Miller is one of the more gifted singers of our time and although these days her preference is to sing Jazz, she has clearly demonstrated throughout the years that her vocals translate well into a number of other genres.

Andrea Miller who has become a friend of Riveting Riffs Magazine took time to talk about her three song EP she recorded with Michael Cunningham and she reflected upon their time working together and their friendship.

She says reflectively, “It puts perspective on the big picture of what I do and why I do it and what it is all supposed to be about. You never know. Every performance you do and every recording you make and every song that you sing it makes them even more meaningful. Eventually, at some point in my life it will be my last song and I don’t think the people that I have lost ever knew that would be their last song that they wrote or sang. You have to enjoy and savor every second of it.  

I have lost a lot of people in the last two years and especially in the last two months and it has become even more important to me for what I do, how important music is and how powerful it is. It is humbling in a way and it gives me even more purpose if that makes sense.”

Our conversation shifts to talking about the new EP, “The album that we did in 2015,  Read More

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