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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. When I won, I was like are you sure you have the right girl? That was a night that I will never forget!”

Imogen Tear continues on, as she talks about When Calls the Heart, based on  Read More

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 the album Every Sunday Night. Cutler’s guitar playing are the only reason you need to purchase this album, as he keeps serving up gems and as the album progresses you think he cannot possibly top this and yet he does. Then you add in Julian Pollack and Nick Semrad who both appear on the organ, as well as drummer McClellan and you have a spectacular trio who keep the listener engaged.  Read More

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Rebecca Staab - Film & TV Actress

Rebecca Staab Photo for Front PageFilm and television actress Rebecca Staab recently talked to Riveting Riffs Magazine from her home in California. The former supermodel who was born in Kansas and who grew up in Grand Island and Omaha, Nebraska discussed a wide range of topics from one of her passions, rescuing dogs, to her partner in life William, to touching upon her love for home renovations, which she warned this writer would easily comprise an entirely different interview, to talking about how she enjoyed an illustrious modeling career and currently is one of the film and television industry’s most respected actresses, careers that this former straight A high school student never had her heart set on. In this the first part of a two-part interview with Rebecca Staab she talks about her childhood and later her modeling career. It is our hope that our readers will get a sense for this funny, determined, down to earth, brilliant and engaging woman who recently starred in the ABC television miniseries Somewhere Between, as Colleen DeKizer, was Elizabeth Barrington in the television show Port Charles, is currently shooting the pilot for the television series Manopause, appears as Camille Richfield in the 2017 film Coming Home for Christmas and who has appeared in a plethora of films and television shows, some of which are still in various stages of production. 

“I was born in Kansas, but we moved to Omaha when I was seven. I just have an older sister and a younger brother. My sister is one and one-half years older than me, but my brother is nine and one-half years younger. There were two childhoods in a way. There were a few years when there was just my sister and then my brother was born when I was in the fourth grade and that was like the second half of my childhood. My sister and her husband still live in Nebraska. My brother is in Colorado. My parents had moved to Colorado (and later  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 “Ain’t Nothing Like the Real Thing,” with Sir Elton John, as well as recording duets with artists such 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 remembers.

Ms. Berk is a mezzo-soprano with a three octave range who has become celebrated in  Read More

I Am An Art Superhero

Desiree DiGerolamo Photo Front PageI Am An Art Superhero a book by Desirée DiGerolamo is a book for young children. It is also a book for adults and older children. It is a book for teachers. Most importantly it is a book that teaches a valuable lesson in building self-esteem in our most precious treasure, our children. The fifty-six page book is wonderfully illustrated by Richa Kinra and in a manner that is fun. Oh and do not let the fifty-six pages scare you off, as about half of the pages consist of only an illustration.

Desirée DiGerolamo a former actress, who you may remember from the ‘80s television series Rocky Road (she played Jessica Stuart and was credited as Desirée Boschetti) is now both an art teacher and a drama teacher in an elementary school and she says, “I wrote the book, because it was an actual incident that happened in my art classroom during the first or second year that I was teaching art. The young child dropped a blob of paint on the paper and he started to cry, because he thought he had made a mistake. I thought wait a minute now, how do I deal with this? If I give the child new paper everybody is going to want new paper every time they don’t like something that they do. It’s not about being perfect. It’s about experimentation and trying things. I think as adults what we try to do is to make everything better for the child, whether it is your own child, or you are a teacher with a student. We try to solve the problem for them instead of empowering them to figure out what to do on their own. I think that is such an important part of growing up. At an early age empower them and let them have ownership of the behavior and deal with the consequences, so I wrote the book.

I took the story that happened in the classroom and then I would tell the story to friends over dinner or at parties and everybody fell in love with the story and the idea of how I dealt with it. One morning I woke up at 5 am and the story that Read More

Dakota Danielle - Country EP

Dakota Danielle Photo OneCountry music singer and songwriter Dakota Danielle who grew up in the small town of Teutopolis, in southern Illinois blends the heartfelt lyrics of her original songs with good vocals and drives her tunes with her guitar playing. Her six songs EP opens with “When It Rains,” is it a metaphor for when difficult times come along. It would have been easy to default to cheesy clichés, but instead what Dakota Danielle created is a song that uses the imagery of rainstorms and individual raindrops to depict individual trials and being deluged by them and barely being able to keep one’s head above water.

“I came up with the melody first and then I like the saying when it rains it pours. It was something that has happened to me before in my life, including the last year when I was trying to get my EP together. I wrote a song about when it rains it pours, as when a lot of bad things hit you and you have to stay strong to overcome that. People enjoy the melody and they relate to the (words),” says Danielle when talking about the song.

Dakota Danielle’s entry to the Country music scene is timely, unlike her entry into life, which was premature, very premature.

“I am an only child and I was born one pound and eleven ounces. I was a preemie baby. I was born September 7 th and I was supposed to be born in December. I was in the incubator until Christmastime and then I got to come home as a Christmas present,” she says.  Read More

Actress Barbara Niven

Barbara Niven Photo for Front PageBarbara Niven is a lot of things, but if you were to ask her, she would probably tell you that what she is most proud of is being a mother and a grandmother. She waves that flag proudly and so she should. Barbara Niven, the actress has appeared in more than one hundred feature films and made for television movies. Her roles have been as diverse as currently starring as Megan O’Brien on the Hallmark Channel’s wildly popular Chesapeake Shores, where she is the prodigal mother who returns home to her five adult children and her ex Mick O’Brien or in her role as Delores Swensen, mother to amateur sleuth Hannah Swensen played by Alison Sweeney in the Murder, She Baked mystery movies, also Hallmark productions and the middle-aged Rebecca Westridge in Nicole Conn’s A Perfect Ending with the late John Heard and Jessica Clark,  a story in which her character is trapped in a loveless marriage and she falls in love with another woman.

While there is a part of every actor invested in every role that they play or at least there should be if that role is to be performed well, not every moviegoer or fan who sits in front of their television sets on a Saturday or Sunday night gets an opportunity to discover who the real person is behind the character. We invite you to spend a few minutes with us as we chat with an incredible woman, who seems to find the perfect balance between strength and kindness, while not being afraid to lend her voice to causes she truly is passionate about such as, animal rights, anti-bullying, human rights and helping others to realize their dreams. As Barbara Niven so often likes to say, 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

Kerry Knuppe - New Films

Kerry Knuppe Photo Front PageThe feature film Solver will be in theaters early in 2018, which means once again one of Riveting Riffs Magazine’s favorite actresses Kerry Knuppe will also be on the big screen. Knuppe is one of the most versatile and gifted actresses in film today with other film credits including a major role in Like A Country Song and Nicole Conn’s A Perfect Ending, where she played the daughter of Barbara Niven’s and the late John Heard’s characters.

Solver was a really fun project that we did and we filmed it in upstate New York.  It is a mystery adventure and it has Antonio Jaramillo who was in Shades of Blue and me. He played the bad guy and he was really fun to work with. The people that we worked with were so wonderful. It was so fun to be in a small town where they were appreciative of us being there. It was a different feeling.

It is a fun story and a “what’s going” on mystery kind of a thing. It was a really fun project,” says Knuppe.  

Solver directed by Xandy Smith and also starring John Ruby and Jesiree Dizon, also had some interesting moments before filming began.

Kerry Knuppe shares one of those moments, while laughing, “When I was cast they said you have a week to prepare and I said I would like to come out a couple of days before we start shooting and shadow a mechanic (her character is a mechanic), so they said that was fine. They spoke to the person who owned the mechanic shop Read More

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Amy Black and Memphis

Amy Black Photo Front PageNashville based singer and songwriter Amy Black is a lot of things, but there are some things that we should dispel immediately about what she is not, just in case readers get the wrong idea from some of the titles for her original songs from her new album Memphis. Her song “It’s Hard To Love An Angry Man,” is not about any men she knows, unless we want to count the men she has encountered and observed at Home Depot (more about that later) and it is definitely not about her main squeeze, her hubby, whom she describes as her Zen master. The killer tune “The Blackest Cloud,” in no way suggests that Amy Black suffers from a Chicken Little syndrome either, far from it, as in the view of this writer she projects as being a happy, positive individual and our conversation was often punctuated with her laughter.

Memphis is the fourth album that Amy Black has released and in some ways is a continuation of the stylistic thread of her previous record, The Muscle Shoals Sessions.

Talking about the evolution of her music Black says, “I think the shift started with my second album, This is Home that I recorded in Nashville and you can definitely hear on the first three songs on that album a little bit more of a soulful, Blues thing going on, before the rest of the album goes onto singer / songwriter kind of Americana.

About the same time that I was recording the Nashville album I had this day booked at Muscle Shoals and I was going to record this song called “Alabama,” that I wrote for my grandfather who was from the Muscle Shoals area I thought it would be cool to go to FAME (Studios) and record that song. (Instead) we knocked it out in Nashville, so there was no need to record it (at FAME). I also got sick after that recording, so we had to reschedule FAME. By the time I went to FAME I had a totally different mindset. I had already finsished the Nashville album and I thought I am going to FAME for one day and Spooner Oldham is coming. We booked Spooner to play organ.  Read More

Peter Himmelman - No Calamity

Peter Himmelman Photo Front PagePeter Himmelman is a lot of things and he does them all very well, he is a guitarist, film and television scorer, a composer, a lyricist, an author and he is also a motivational speaker to corporate America. Peter Himmelman is also a husband and a father and we do not want to lose sight of that, because early in his career Himmelman had a very realistic opportunity to explode globally and become part of the very upper stratosphere of Rock artists, but he chose to redefine his career and placed his family as the first priority in his life.

Fast forward and Peter Himmelman is the go to guy for Fortune 500 companies who are looking for a way to refresh and to renew their corporate vision and to expand the vision of their employees. He also has a brand new album with a collection of songs that are thought provoking and that possess contagious grooves and rhythms. We should also point out that these songs were written prior to the fall of 2016.

That is borne out when Peter Himmelman talks about why he chose the title No Calamity for the album, “I just liked the sound of it. It is a lyric from one of the songs on the record. I chose that title well before any elections were in full swing, just to let you know that it is not a comment on any particular thing. It is more of a personal thing.”

Himmelman talks about his unusually named song “245 th Peace Song,” “I think I picked that title, because it is subtle irony, as there are so many songs that are extolling peace as a way of life. The song is personal and introspective in a way. It could allude to the interrelation piece between two people. It could be societal in some ways. It asks questions (about) the holes in people’s lives (that have) to be filled. It is a statement, but “you’ve got to be careful what you fill them with.” “The anger in people’s hearts needs to be cooled,” and then it says, “but you have to be careful what you cool it with.” Read More

Cindy Morawetz - Fashion Designer

Cindy Morawetz Front Page PhotoThe story of German fashion designer Cindy Morawetz who established her own brand drezz2imprezz is both inspiring and amazing. With more and more celebrities wearing her dresses and jumpsuits she can now fondly look back to where even though she did not realize it at the time, it all began, in her teenage years and she can look forward to a bright future. She already has her sights set on making a big splash on the American fashion scene.

Cindy Morawetz started designing her own clothes when she was a teenager, but she very emphatically says “absolutely not,” when asked if that was when she first started thinking about a career in the fashion world.

“I never had this idea, because it was only just for me and I never studied this. I only had fun doing things for myself, because everything that you could buy I did not like. If something was not done like I would have liked it, I recreated it.

My family is also very conservative, so they told me I had to study something to get good money, so after school I started to study (to be) a lawyer. It was my family’s idea but I only studied for one and one-half years and I noticed this wasn’t something that I could be creative doing. Absolutely not. This was the moment when I knew I had to do something creative, but I didn’t know what. Studying fashion was not an option, because my family did not have the money to send me to the school and I had no idea that I could ever earn money with this fashion stuff. It was always only for me. Later on it was never planned, it just came.  

I started to look at other designers and how they do things and I looked at tutorials. I had a woman working for me and she showed me all of the stuff you have to know as a designer. I  Read More

Design by Thomas Rath

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Jesse & Noah - Southern Usonia

Southern Usonia cover art front pageIn an alternate reality Jesse & Noah’s (Bellamy) album Southern Usonia would be topping the charts in America or at least some of the songs would be, because the lyrics are great, but we have come to expect that of this duo, and there are some great guitar solos that make your ears perk up. It just so happens that the album title plays to that alternate reality.

Jesse explains, “It could refer to the American South in an alternate reality.”

To which Noah adds, “Usonia is an archaic term for the United States that was favored by Frank Lloyd Wright and some other great thinkers of his day.  Everyone in Americana was making “identity” albums. It plays with that idea by coming from a place that doesn’t exist. It’s an imaginary identity album!”

The ten track album opens with “This Town Was Built On Heartbreak Songs,” which pays homage to Nashville where both Jesse and Noah live. The companion music video has cameo appearances in the audience by some storied musicians, singers and songwriters.

Noah explains, “We wanted people with some history behind them. We put the concept out there and ended up with a group of legends with a deep history in Nashville (such as), Tanya Tucker, Deborah Allen, T. G. Sheppard, Ronnie McDowell, and (of course) the Bellamy Brothers (David Bellamy is the father of Jesse and Noah and Howard is their uncle).” 

Jesse says, “We knew that we wanted to do a video, but ultimately we didn’t know what form it would take. Our friends at the publicity firm Webster & Associates were kind enough to help us coordinate with some of the country legends on their roster. To work with Read More


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