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The Brother Brothers

The Brother Brothers Front Page PhotoThe new album Cover to Cover by The Brother Brothers, released on Compass Records is a solid album pulling songs from diverse genres and artists and as the title suggests all of them are cover songs. Although, it is not unusual at some point during a band or a solo artist’s career to release an album of cover tunes, this is the first time The Brother Brothers have done so, because they are usually recording their original songs, as they are skilled songwriters and arrangers.

David Moss, one-half of the duo sat down with Riveting Riffs Magazine recently, “I think you can tell this from this record that most of the songs are older and not that modern. We really cherish the songs that we grew up with. We listen to a lot of new music too, but when we are making music, we gravitate to older music and an older sound.  

Any musician has an arsenal of songs that they didn’t write, even if they are songwriters and I think when you are sitting on so many songs, you do them yourselves and when you do them in your own style, you go man, I should really record one of these. I like my version and I want to share it.

During the pandemic we released our album Calla Lily and we had not been able to tour it, so we barely played those songs out on the road. Calla Lily slipped by the wayside, but we thought if we put out an album of covers, we could fill a concert with both albums at the same time. It also seemed like a very good time to come into the studio and put out (a covers album) with the pandemic and the way touring had been.

As for the diversity of songs on the album, David Moss says, “We wanted to make a good album that people would want to listen to and that we wouldn’t mind listening to. The other thing was we wanted to introduce people to (things like) you might know who Richard Thompson is, but I bet you haven’t heard this song (Waltzing’s for Dreamers”). You might not have heard of The Revelers, but this is one of their great songs (“If You Ain’t Got Love”). The James Taylor Read More

Carla Olson - Triple Threat

Carla Olson Interview Photo front page by Markus CuffIt is rare for an artist / musician / producer to have three almost simultaneous releases and even more rare to have those three be simply outstanding, while being considerably different and yet that is exactly what Carla Olson has accomplished this spring with first her album Americana Railroad, secondly with her cover of The Who’s song “I Can See For Miles,” with proceeds going to Teen Cancer America. The find project is a beautiful collection of Gordon Lightfoot songs, on an album titled Ladies Sing Lightfoot, featuring artists such as The Kennedys, Natalie Noone, The Textones, Susan Cowsill, IIsey Juber, and Carla Olson sings the closing song, “Ringneck Loon.”

The seeds for Americana Railroad, the album, began to take root in the early 1990s with Carla Olson, Gene Clark and Saul Davis, Carla’s manager and husband.

Carla Olson says, “It was a nice idea to be a vehicle for a couple of Gene’s songs, one of which is “I Remember the Railroad,” and not many people know about it unless you are a big Gene Clark fan. Also, his songs, “Train Leaves Here This Morning,” and “Kansas City Southern.” Gene was a railroad guy. I remember buying a package of shirt patches that they used to sell in train stations and train shops and I bought four or five of the Rock Island Line. I gave a couple of them to Gene when we were first hanging around together in the eighties. He said this is so cool I am going to sew them on my jean jacket as soon as I can. He was a huge reason why we tried to cobble this together. The other song was The Long Ryders’ song that Stephen McCarthy wrote called “Here Comes That Train Again.”   Those were the songs that started the ball rolling.”

We wondered what attracted Carla Olson to create a concept album around the theme trains.

She explains, “I am a child of the fifties who walked home with her buddies, while listening to The Beatles, the Stones Read More

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Madeleine Davis - One of a Kind!

Madeleine Davis Front Page PhotoIf we told you that Madeleine Davis has lived a life full of adventure some might easily argue that is an understatement. She grew up the daughter of a Gospel singing mother, and a pharmacist father in Columbus, Georgia, near the Chattahoochee River, with one sibling, a brother at home and a sister eighteen years older, who had pretty much left home by the time Madeleine appeared on the scene.

Madeleine Davis had a lengthy career with Boney M (By the Rivers of Babylon, Rasputin) and a small sample of her work in the studio and / or live performances includes artists such as Precious Wilson, Hoyt Axton, Peggy March, Terence Trent D'Arby, Rick Astley, Klaus Doldinger, La Bionda and Amanda Lear. She was in demand by producers such as, Ralph Siegel, Tony Monn, Michael Kunze, Sylvester Levay, Giorgio Moroder and Frank Farian.

She sang in church as a young child, acted on stage as a teenager (there is a motorcycle story we will get to in a minute) and she was a soloist with the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra, while still in university.

“My father was a lot older than my mother. He was fifty-nine when I was born and he was seventy-five when I was eighteen.

I grew up with a father who was in World War I. He had so much information for me when I went to school. When he was a paperboy the Titanic sank, so he knew the information from the newspapers of that time. He told  Read More

Beatrix Löw-Beer - German Violinist

Beatrix Low Beer Interview Photo Front PageWhile on her way from Munich, Germany to play a gig in Frankfurt, uber-talented saxophonist Beatrix Löw-Beer, whose performances have taken her to England, the United States, the Netherlands, Spain, Ibiza, Mallorca, Italy, Luxemburg, France, Austria, Switzerland, numerous other European countries, Jordan, Egypt, Lebanon, Dubai and some parts of Asia, took time to talk to Riveting Riffs Magazine about her career and her life. The very congenial Beatrix Löw-Beer, while setting a high standard for herself, is as nice a musician as you will meet. She has been compared to her contemporaries, celebrity violinists such as Vanessa-Mae from England via Singapore and American violinist Lindsey Stirling. Beatrix Löw-Beer has performed with such stars as Rod Stewart, Dutch singer Caro Emerald, award winning Pop singer Sarah Connor, the first German performer to ever have four consecutive #1 hits on the German charts. Beatrix Löw-Beer’s music ranges from Classical to Rock to House, Pop, Jazz and everything in between.

Artists such as Beatrix Löw-Beer are the reason why people are discovering the saxophone for the first time. When you watch her concert performances or videos to promotional videos everything from her movement to her attitude and her costumes exhibits an exuberance for performing music. One is never left with the impression that you are watching someone playing an instrument, because her saxophone becomes an extension of her persona.

Take us back to where this all began.

“I grew up in Augsburg, which is one hour from Munich, which is the capital of Bavaria. It is in the south of Germany Read More

Woman On The Moon

Giulia Millanta Interview 2022 front page photoGiulia Millanta who makes her home in Austin, Texas and is originally from Italy is a perpetual songwriting machine. Shortly after releasing her album Tomorrow Is A Bird two years ago, she began writing more songs, the best of which now appear on her album Woman On The Moon, to be released on April 8 (2022).

She explains, “It is part of my natural cycle. I release a record and then I take a little bit of time to promote and play shows and regroup. I then start writing again. I never write for a record, I just write.

Once I have thirty or forty songs, I start looking at them and choose what to record. I had a few songs that I wrote early in 2021 or maybe the end of 2020. I write often, but not every day, there are people who are way better than me at that. I write fairly consistently, probably every week. If you think about the fact there are fifty-two weeks in a year and I write every week, by the end of the year I have forty to fifty songs. Probably half of them nobody should ever hear and half of them are decent.

This one was different than my previous records, because I didn’t record it all at once and normally, I do. I (usually) sit down with all of my songs and decide which ones I want to record. I then go ahead and book my session and record everything in three days. This time I did it differently. In June of last year, I approached Gabe and I said, hey I have a few songs. Can we record them, because I think I want to release some singles? I wasn’t planning on a record. (She starts to laugh) We started recording and then one Read More

Nick Pagliari - Hard Lessons

Nick Pagliari Interview Photo Front PageWe have all at some point in life had hard lessons to learn and so we can relate to the title of Austin, Texas singer and songwriter Nick Pagliari’s new album Hard Lessons, which was released on July 22nd. You have to dig much deeper into a conversation with this amiable musician to discover that some of his greatest influences come from his wife Carmen and the jukebox that was in his parents’ home when he was a young boy.

Reflecting upon that jukebox he says, “That is where my early influences in music were from in general. I was probably six or seven years old when my father had that jukebox. We would sit in the living room and he would play little 45s on the jukebox and we would dance around and sing those songs. I was really fortunate and it was really, really cool. My brother who is about three years younger than me has that jukebox. I don’t know if it still works, but I would love to hear some of those songs again someday.

There were all kinds of Motown music and I remember specific artists like The Four Tops, The Beach Boys’ song “Fun, Fun, Fun,” and “Uptown Girl,” by Billy Joel. My mom was a huge fan of Huey Lewis, but that might have been later in her car.

All that music was an influence on me and it stuck with me as an artist. I think when you are that young, in that stage of your development you are like a sponge. Musically I soaked that stuff up and it stuck with me.”

Just as he was about to embark on a month-long residency at Geraldine’s in Austin, Nick Pagliari took time to talk with Riveting Riffs Magazine about his album Hard Lessons. Read More

Rain Perry - A White Album

Rain Perry Interview Front Page PhotoA White Album, by American singer and songwriter Rain Perry, which will be released on April 15 (2022) is a lot of things, a collection of songs with an activist theme, some original and some covers from music icons, it is heartfelt, and it is sincere, but what is most of all is very, very good. It was our pleasure to sit down with Rain Perry recently to discuss her new record and why these songs are so special to her.

She says, “It is definitely a concept album. It is somewhat of a sequel to my album Cinderblock Bookshelves, and it was a memoir in music about me growing up as a hippie kid raised by my dad. This record, A White Album, is me looking back at my same life and my same family, but through the lens of race. It is called A White Album, because it is me telling my story. I think most larger topics are best addressed through people and it is my way of wading into a fraught conversation and to talk about some issues that we seem to be having a hard time talking about right now.”

Although the common thread is raising awareness of societal issues, the songs on the album do not come across as preachy or even protestation, but instead seem to be asking the question, why are we still here after all these years, far removed from the civil rights movement of the 1960s and yet in many ways the needle seems to have barely moved.

“Thank you, that is what I was shooting for. I think the best way to empathize is getting to know somebody and to see the way they are trying to solve the problems we are all trying to solve, how to be happy, to be fulfilled, and to be successful in life. I don’t think Read More

Love & Gelato

Love and Gelato Film review photo threeThe lighthearted RomCom Love & Gelato directed by Brandon Camp for which he also wrote the screenplay, based on Jenna Evans Welch’s novel, is a delightful film, now streaming on Netflix. The female protagonist Lina, played by Susanna Skaggs, opens the film on a tragic note, with her mother’s funeral being the first scene and then fulfilling a promise made to her mother, to visit Italy and her godmother Francesca (Valentina Lodovini). If you are a romantic you will love this film. If you have been on a journey of self-discovery, perhaps this movie is for you.

Love & Gelato was filmed on location in 2021 at several places in Rome and Florence, Italy. I imagine for those who have visited Italy, it is much like the experiences this writer has when watching a film shot on location that he has visited, you feel like you are back there again. The cinematography is excellent, with the grips and camera people catching the essence of motorcycles and cars speeding their way along narrow Italian streets. The architecture is breathtaking and at times the relaxed nature of the culture and people makes this North American envious.

Twenty-year-old Susanna Skaggs delivers a brilliant performance as she is transformed from being an awkward young woman who due to being her mother’s caretaker for four years had little chance to explore anything remotely resembling romance. Arriving in Italy her godmother Francesca gives her the diary Lina’s mother had kept, before Lina was born and when she had spent time in Italy. Under the tutelage of Francesca Lina grows in confidence and becomes friends with Francesca’s cousin Howard Riley played Read More

The Bablers from Finland

Bablers Photo Front Page“In all art you have to do something that is meaningful for you. If it is not meaningful for you it will not touch another heart,” says Finnish singer, musician and songwriter Arto Tamminen of the band The Bablers. “It has been a bit scary, especially when it comes to the Psychadilly Circus album some of the songs are deep and even spiritual and very personal. They are not just Pop nonsense.

Talking to us from his home in Finland, the affable protagonist of this conversation explains when and how the band’s name was birthed, “When young people are choosing the name for a band it is not always logical and it can be quite chaotic. In many cases later on many bands regret (the name they chose).  In this case we don’t. It came from the word babble or bubbling. It is active. Then we took one “b” out of the word and it looked right. We ended up using it and we never looked back since. I think one of the most important things with a band’s name is it has to stick in your mind. Many of the crazy names stick there.

We (Janne Haavisto) were located in the same area and we were friends. Many of us went to the same school. The drummer Janne Haavisto’s older brother and my older brother were great mates. Janne’s brother’s band rehearsed in the basement of our house. I come from a family with five children and we lived in quite a big house. They also had great parties (he laughs). I was there as a little boy in my pajamas listening to how they played the old Blues stuff and Irish Folk music. Janne and I just became friends. Read More  

Kincső Nóra Pethő - Actress

Kincső Nóra Pethő Photo Front PageFresh from performing as a futuristic computer from the year 2100 who is named after the Greek goddess of earth Gaia IA 01, and who sends a message back to today to warn others about a pending environmental apocalypse unless we change our ways, Hungarian actress, choreographer and dancer Kincső Nóra Pethő sat down for a conversation with Riveting Riffs Magazine, over Skype.

Obviously, only the Gaia part is taken from the Greek goddess, as Kincső Nóra Pethő explains, “I am like a computer program from the future who becomes a real person by the end of this 70-minute show. It was called Heroes of the Future and it was part of Planet Budapest 2021. There were about fifty actors and actresses working on this project, which was intended to raise the interest of kids for protecting the environment. For one week (in early December) the program ran from morning until evening. It was a wonderful experience to see how enthusiastic the kids were! I felt great about contributing to such a good goal!”

Continuing she says, “We talk to the children about how in the year 2100 there is not enough air, and the environment has been destroyed. (The message is) they have to be conscious of what they are doing in the present in 2021.

When we had some rehearsal groups and I could see a small guy, who was ten years old and he wore glasses. I was sitting in a box and at first, they could only hear my voice. They could not see me. I could see the Read More

 

 

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Stranger Things Season Four

Stranger Things Review Photo Front PageIf you have followed the Netflix series Stranger Things from season one, you have watched the cast members grow up before your eyes. While Millie Bobby Brown garners most of the attention as Eleven or El, it is the depth of this cast and the superb casting by one of the industry’s best Carmen Cuba that has allowed the show to maintain fan interest despite lengthy delays in launching season four, mostly due the COVID pandemic. On May 27th Netflix gave us the first half of season four, with Volume Two scheduled to stream on July 7th.

Matt and Ross Duffer wrote some great scripts for season four and further diversified both the cast and the locations. The result is we have five parallel stories within one greater story, but all of them linked. Will (Noah Schnapp) Jonathan Byers (Charlie Heaton) and Mike Wheeler (Finn Wolfhard) are traveling all over the United States for various reasons, with their newfound friend the eccentric Argyle played by Eduardo Franco.  If you want to know why they are traveling you will have to watch the series.  

Back at home in Hawkins, Nancy Wheeler (Natalia Dyer), Steve Harrington (Joe Keery), Dustin Henderson (Gaten Matarazzo), Lucas Sinclair (Caleb McLaughlin), Robin (Maya Hawke) and Max Mayfield (Sadie Sink) are fighting monsters once again from the Upside-Down world. The chemistry within this group of actors makes the show worth watching and they are joined this season by new character Eddie Munson played by Joseph Quinn. There is a little bit of everything within this group, romance, adventure, they are on the run, new friendships form and old relationships…. well, you will just have to watch the series, because we are not giving you cheat codes here!

Millie Bobby Brown’s character Eleven is prominent again, but it would be difficult to tell you much here without getting into spoilers. Let us just say that she is struggling to fit in her new surroundings, Mike is coming for spring break to visit her and she is looking forward to the arrival of her boyfriend and Will wonders where he fits in now. On the flip side, this would not be Stranger Things if Eleven was not in the eye of the storm and every indication is she soon will be.

This brings us to Joyce Byers played by Winona Ryder who aligns herself with Murray Baumann (Brett Gelman) as they hatch a plan to travel to Russia to spring Jim Hopper (David Harbour) from a Russian jail. We told you earlier that Eddie Munson was eccentric, to quote a Bachman Turner Overdrive song, which fits right in with the era in which Stranger Things is set, “You Ain’t Seen Nothing Yet.” Baumann in previous seasons was incredibly eccentric, but now he is completely off the wall.

The seasons in the Russian jail with Hopper are brutal, but realistic or as far as the knowledge available to us in the real world indicates. Some interesting dramatic tension is on display between Harbour’s character and Tom Wlaschiha’s character prison guard Dmitri Antonov.

Back home in Hawkins the town folk are more prominent than they have been in many previous episodes and especially as the bodies start piling up again.

Since we have bee trying hard not to provide you with spoilers, here are some things we can tell you about Season Four of Stranger Things. There is more gore than we think is probably necessary, but this is the horror genre. There is much more humor infused into the characters, their lines and interaction with one another than there has been at anytime during this series. It nicely balances off Read More

Sylvia Hutton

Sylvia Interview Photo Front PageNature Child - A Dreamer’s Journey released recently by Sylvia Hutton, better known to music fans all over the world as the American Country Music Award, Billboard’s # 1 Country Music Female Artist and Grammy nominated singer Sylvia, is one of the most beautiful collections of story songs you will hear this year. With numerous # 1 and top ten hits to her credit, the former RCA artist, who has for many years recorded as an independent artist, once again collaborated with longtime friend John Mock (Dolly Parton, The Chicks, James Taylor, Kathy Mattea). Other co-writers includes Verlon Thompson, Craig Brickhardt and Thom Schuyler.  

The opening song for the album “Avalon,” transports the listener to Camelot and the days of King Arthur. Sylvia and Verlon Thompson wrote “Avalon,” a beautifully orchestrated song with lush vocals by Sylvia. For any child, any teenager, any adult whoever wished you could close your eyes and open them to find yourself in a magical place, Sylvia invites you to take her hand to travel to a place where the walls are made of freedom and every tear becomes a shining star.  

Normally, we would not credit so many musicians, but they earned their due on “Avalon,” guitars, both electric and acoustic by John Mock, as well as mandolin and percussion. Matt McGee played bass, Skip Cleavinger played the Uilleann pipes, oboe by Somerlie Pasquale, Emily Bowland on clarinet, trumpet (Jeff Bailey), French horn (Jennifer Kummer), violins by Conni Ellisor and Mary Kathryn Van Osdale, viola (Betsy Lamb) and cellist Nicholas Gold.

About the musicians, Sylvia says, “They are wonderful people and fabulous musicians. John Mock is playing many of the instruments on the record. He did the strings arrangements, the wind arrangements and he and I arranged the ethereal vocals together on this record. I have worked with the bass player Matt McGee since 1983. We worked together on the road in the eighties and he is a fabulous, world class bass player.”

She takes time to explain what the Uillean pipes are that Skip Cleavinger plays, “A few years ago we put Uilleann pipes on Where in the World for the song “Crazy Nightingale.” They are similar to bagpipes. They are quieter and they operate a little differently. They have a similar sound to bagpipes, but they are not as loud and you can control the sound a little bit more. There is a bag of air under your arm that you pump the air into, as you finger the pipes. It is a very complex instrument to play.

Sylvia talks about the song “Avalon,” saying, “I thought about naming the album Avalon, but I thought it would be too confusing to people and they would think it is about King Arthur and it is not. I felt really good about naming it Nature Child – A Dreamer’s Journey.

This album Nature Child is for families and for children and my dream for Nature Child is that people will feel like it is a journey they can take with their own families. That is both the difference and the correlation between the two.”

Although Sylvia’s roots are in Country Music and she was influenced Read More

Laura Blossom - Madrid's Finest

Laura Blossom Photo Front PageActress and singer Laura Blossom, may be someone you have not heard of yet, but you soon will, because she is superbly talented in both of her career choices and although we have not yet had a chance to watch her dance, we understand that she is also an accomplished dancer. If we were casting a musical, whether on stage or in film, we would have her in our cell phone as someone to present to the producers and directors.

Laura Blossom is what many would consider to be a late bloomer when it comes to acting.

“I started acting when I was twenty years old. My uncle, Balbino Lacosta, is an actor in Madrid and I often went to the theater to see him. He was the only (person in the arts) in my family. My grandmother and my mother played piano, but as a hobby,” says Laura Blossom.  

She explains another factor that led to her pursuing a career in the arts, “There was an acting course at the university where I was studying art history and I thought why not and I loved the course.”

Laura Blossom grew up in Zaragoza, the capital of the autonomous region of Aragon located in northeast Spain. The city is located between Madrid and Barcelona.

“It is a big city, but not as big as Madrid. There are theaters there, but I had to move to Madrid, because in Zaragoza you can’t live from art and from acting, because there aren’t enough opportunities,” she explains.

She says, “I started to sing when I was five years old and at the same time my parents paid for me to take piano lessons. I loved that. I then took a music course and it was the best experience of my life. I was in music courses for eleven years.

When I was ten years old, I started studying ballet in a school near my home. I studied for twelve years and then I broke my leg when I was practicing. Two or three years later I was watching musical theater dancing and I thought it was so beautiful, so I decided to learn.

I was eleven years old when I first performed for an audience. For the music course I was in we played a concert and we sang. It was really fun and I liked that. It was in the principal auditorium. There were a lot of people, family, friends and others. The feeling was special. It was amazing.”

When we suggest to Laura Blossom that she is one of those rare triple threats, an actress, dancer and singer (and keep reading and you will read more about this talented young woman), she says, “It is so necessary if you want to work in a musical.”

She got to realize that dream a few years ago when she performed in the musical stage production of Mary Poppins. Read More

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Julia Helbich - Actress / Host

Julia Helbich Interview Photo Front Page“With acting you put yourself into a role to tell a story. I like to work on that and to touch the people out there,” says our guest at Riveting Riffs Magazine, Julia Helbich, from Germany.

Acting represents just one of the many facets of Julia Helbich’s career and education, including, her television hosting in which she has established a noteworthy career, as an interviewer of top athletes, both American and European, she also has an MBA Global Management, an MBA in Business Administration, two bachelor’s degrees, one in political science and the other in the arts.

For now, her primary focus is on acting and continuing to interview others.

“It is a tough decision to go to a new road in your career, but that is what you have to do. You have to go a few more steps, to see where it (takes you) because if you don’t you will stay in the same place,” she says

Finding herself attracted to the arts is not an accident with Julia Helbich.

“It is definitely in the family. Let’s start with my parents. My dad, Wolfgang Helbich was a very famous conductor and my mom Ortrun Helbich sang in my father’s choir. That is how they met! Later on, my mom managed my dad, because he traveled all over the world conducting. He was an amazing conductor and musician. He was a typical musician and conductor who worked late at night. He also composed his own music.

At his funeral there were over 2,000 people from all over the world. He was so appreciated. It was very touching.

My dad was not such a good businessman and that is why my mom took over at one point. We had five kids though, so my mom still had to be a mom. She gave piano lessons and she opened up a music school. With five kids she studied culture and music management and got her master’s degree. My dad and my mom were an amazing team,” she recalls.

Continuing to talk about her early artistic endeavors, Julia Helbich says, “I started off with singing, I played the violin. I then started with theater.

I guess I always had it in me (to become an actress), but I was afraid and I didn’t know where to start. I didn’t want to do just an acting school. I also wanted to have the assurance that I was safe. I had that from my parents. I grew up in an artist’s family and my parents were always focused on us getting a great education.

I started off very quickly with great roles in Germany (appearing) in pretty big series and movies. That gave me the (confidence) that I do have talent.

One of those series Read More

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