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WW Club Dancing In My Dreams

WW Club Photo Front PageThe last time that we spoke to Amanda Walther she was on the verge of a huge musical breakthrough as one-half of the Rootsy duo Dala. Along with her musical partner Sheila Carabine, Walther embarked on several years of touring more than 200 days per year primarily in America and Canada, with some additional concert dates in the U.K.

Fast forward to 2015 and Amanda Walther says, “I am a new mom. I am a year in and I love it. It is wonderful. I wasn’t a mother when we started this album (More Better by WW Club, pronounced as Double W Club), but I am now. It is quite fitting and it has been helpful.”

The children’s album opens with a song that takes its title from the group’s name WW Club, a gentle rap / R&B blend that gets your toes tapping, your hips moving and your head nodding to the beats and grooves. The message is simple to love, “love like your mom makes, love like syrup on pancakes,” and “we don’t exclude, we just love,” and the harmonies on the chorus are beyond smooth, while inviting you to sing along with them, whether you are a child or an adult. The liner notes do not tell us whether it is Tim or Mike Walther leading the rap, but whoever it is does a good job.

Then there is the Pop song “Dancing In My Dreams,” oh yes!! With Amanda Walther singing lead vocals, sign this lady up – wait she is already signed. She is joined by Mel, Tim and Mike Walther. Yes More Better is a family affair. This is an upbeat, beautiful little song that made this writer wonder if there is a children’s Top Forty, because if there is, this one would rank at the top of the charts.

When and how was the album More Better created? A better question might be where were the seeds of creation first sown? Would you believe in the hearts of some children in a crawl space when cousins were visiting one another?

Amanda Walther explains, “I have always been very close to my cousins. We grew up together and we saw each other every weekend.  In the Willson family my aunt and uncle had six kids. My brothers, my other cousins from Toronto and I would go and visit them in Brampton almost every weekend to hangout and play.

We found this crawlspace in the basement and we turned it into a clubhouse, which we called the WW Club (Double W Club). That is where our creative juices started to play off of each other.  Read More

Interview with Michael Maron

Michael Maron Photo front pageMichael Maron’s has enjoyed an illustrious career as a makeup artist, critically acclaimed photographer and beauty consultant. He has authored books such as Child Inside Me and Makeover Magic, which took a look at corrective cosmetics and cosmetic surgery and his book Michael Maron’s Instant Makeover Magic was a New York Times best seller. Maron has been sought out by some of the beauty industry’s top models, as well as some of the entertainment world’s biggest stars and yet he also delights in being of service to clients whose names are only known to their families and neighbors. Michael Maron has been a radio and television personality and worked on the production side of television as well. He was thrust firmly into the spotlight when an entire hour of Oprah’s television show was dedicated to Maron doing a makeover of Oprah in front of the cameras. His work with charities and with burn victims has earned him a special place in the hearts of those who have worked with him, in the hearts of his friends and with those who have been the recipients of his generosity. Riveting Riffs Magazine was honored when Michael Maron accepted our invitation to be interviewed by this publication.

Michael Maron was born in New York City and as a child moved with his family of four to Los Angeles.

“(One of) my mother’s many sisters lived in Southern California and she said to my mother, ‘It’s time you took your family and moved here.’ We did and she (the sister) sort of orchestrated everything about where to live and so we could be near her. It may be one of the best things that my parents ever did,” he says. 

Maron talks about his early creative endeavors, “When a kid starts drawing instinctively or maybe even in school you just sort of know that you are doing something that you love. I didn’t necessarily know that I did it better than others. Maybe after getting some reinforcement from the teachers you figure out that you are doing something that you are supposed to do and that maybe is excelling what some other children are doing. I never really compared, because I always thought everyone saw what I saw through my own eyes.  When I would paint a portrait or later on when I would do photography, I would always hope that people would see the shadows that I would see until I learned that not everybody sees that and you are seeing it through an artist’s eyes. It was a gradual thing when I started learning and it was instinctive to me.  Read More

Riani Show Mercedes Benz Fashion Week Berlin

mercedez benz fashion week riani show

Model: Stefanie Giesinger Photo by: Frazer Harrison
copyright © 2015 Getty Images, All Rights Reserved

Melanie Stace - The Key To Me

Melanie Stace the key to me cd cover front pageMelanie Stace in collaboration with Wayne Brown has created a breathtaking album of beautiful and original songs with the album The Key To Me. The songs range from the tender love letter “Change of Season,” to the up-tempo “Waiting Game,” a song about waiting for a lost love to call again and the song “The Night Has Just Begun,” about a lady of the night.

“Change Of Season,” expresses all of those feelings that come to the surface when you finally realize this is the one! This is the person with whom you are in love and how your step has a little more bounce, how you take great delight in the smallest of things that perhaps you didn’t notice before. Ms. Stace’s phrasing is impeccable and in the lines “You opened up my eyes / To ever sunny skies / Exactly! What I have been missing,” she sings exactly with conviction.  It is easy to imagine “Change Of Season,” as the first dance between and groom at a wedding reception. It is just as easy to imagine two lovers driving down the road in a convertible, with the radio turned up and singing this song together, sharing smiles and knowing looks.

“I wrote this song when I had returned from a long but great seven months working in Seattle with Teatro Zinzanni. It had been raining almost non-stop during the time I was there, and I arrived back at Heathrow (airport in London) to unexpected sunshine. I reflected on what an amazing time I had in Seattle (performing) in the show and what a personal journey I had been on. Having never thought the weather affected me much previously, I thought a lot about how it can have a big influence on practically everything. It’s fairly obvious that this song is about being happy to be in love, but it’s also about love being the reason for many things including the reason to step out and change things up a little in order to experience  Read More

New Merle Jagger Album Soon

Mark Christian front page BTake a little bit of Merle Travis, a touch of Buck Owens, mix in a Rock guitarist who played on a Berlin (“You Take My Breath Away”) record and received an invitation to join the band, was a session player for Moon Martin, The Monkees, Robert Palmer and The Village People (also served as a songwriter) and you have a pretty highly regarded and eclectic guitarist. Los Angeles guitarist Mark Christian who is also a well-respected producer and sound engineer now has people whispering his name respectfully in Country Music circles as his band Merle Jagger causes ears to perk up with their original songs “Hillbilly No. 9,” and “Ranch Party,” as well as their cover of Earl Scruggs’ “Randy Lynn Rag.”

Mark Christian explains how the band’s name was determined, “The Merle of Merle Jagger is actually Merle Travis. Merle Travis was in behind the calculated science of my band name.  Merle Travis was the first Country guitar hero. He wrote “Smoke, Smoke, Smoke That Cigarette,” and he wrote “Sixteen Tons.” He was the Bruce Springsteen of the 40s. He played a Bigsby tremolo (guitar). He was playing with a thumb pick and he would pick the guitar like a banjo. He played all of the bass lines and the guitar lines together at the same time.

Chet Atkins admitted he got everything from Merle Travis. He basically stole his style. He applied it to what he was doing and then everybody else followed. Pretty much the whole Chet Atkins thumb picking thing was basically started by Merle Travis.

I figured I was a Rock guy trying to play Country. I figured the guitar hero of Merle Travis meets the bad boys of Rock and Roll, The Rolling Stones and I came up with Merle Jagger. There were some runner-up names like, Gringo Star. I also wanted to have a band name like Jethro Tull  Read More

Ada Rovatti's Disguise

ada rovatti disguise coverItalian / American saxophonist Ada Rovatti is a renowned saxophonist, composer and arranger and her current album Disguise also serves as a testament to her versatility in all of those areas, as eight of the ten songs are original compositions and there is a re-arranged interpretation of Charlie Chaplin’s “Smile,” and a funky version of Led Zeppelin’s “Stairway To Heaven,” with guests Adam Rogers (guitar) and Randy Brecker (trumpet).

As she did with Harold Arlen’s “Somewhere Over The Rainbow,” on her previous solo album The Green Factor, Ada Rovatti created a new arrangement for another classic song “Smile.”

She says, “The melody is gorgeous and the lyrics are amazing.  It is kind of interesting that the title is “Smile,” but there is really nothing to smile about it. He’s totally sad. It is one of those melodies that every time I hear it, it gives me goosebumps. It was one tune that I always thought was beautiful and I always wanted to do it. Here again I didn’t wanted to use the Classical chords, the original chords and I just heard the little darkness, because the title is “Smile,” but the words and the lyrics are so sad. I wanted to add a little extra on the chords. I wanted a little darker chord progression.”

As for the Led Zeppelin tune, “People never expect “Stairway To Heaven.” “Usually, when I play live I say the title (for other songs), but when I (introduce) “Stairyway To Heaven,” I say, we will play a tune that you have probably heard a few times before and let’s see if you can recognize it.  As soon as Randy (Brecker) and I do our intro, you can see big smiles on almost everybody’s faces, like I got it. (We joke that now she is a Rock star and she adds) too bad I don’t make that money (she laughs).” Read More

Interview with Corey Allen

Corey Allen Front Page PhotoIt is probably far easier to ask what Corey Allen has not accomplished in his career than to ask what he has accomplished, but then that would be a negative way to approach this brilliant arranger, composer, producer, conductor (orchestras worldwide) and multi-instrumentalist’s career. That said, he also established the curiculumn for Escuela Internacional de Musica Contemporaneá y Artes in the Dominican Republic where he now lives and teaches.  It is a long way from Portland, Maine where he was born and grew up in a family of five and even further removed from the Berklee College of Music where he was first a student and later a member of the faculty.

Corey Allen’s music has appeared in feature films such as Just Cause starring Sean Connery and Laurence Fishburne, as well as television programs such as, The Tonight Show with Jay Leno, Late Show with Joan Rivers and Eye On Hollywood. In addition he was awarded the LA Drama Critics Circle award for Outstanding Musical Director for his work with the live theater production of Nightclub Confidential.

Talking to us before he headed into a recording session, as the producer, Allen joked that his musical career “pretty well started out of the womb.”

He says, “I can remember my mother gave me my first piano lessons, when I was a kid. She taught me the fundamentals early on. I remember tracing the notes and not being too interested in practising the piano, but tracing the staff and the Read More

Lisa Hilton Talks About Horizons

Lisa Hilton front page 2015Malibu, California Jazz pianist and composer Lisa Hilton’s current album Horizons is another masterpice by an artist who continues to compose breathtakingly beautiful songs. The recording consists of nine Hilton original compositions, plus Duke Ellington’s “Sunset and the Mockingbird,” the Black Keys’ “Gold On the Ceiling,” and Johnny Mercer and Henry Mancini’s “Moon River.”

The album opens with the spritely “Vapors and Shadows,” showcasing Lisa Hilton’s exquisite playing with Rudy Royston backing her on drums, while he adds some percussion panache. The album then segues into the head nodding, toe tapping “Nocturnal,” and it’s time to showcase Sean Jones on trumpet and J.D. Allen on tenor saxophone, while Hilton sets a brisk tempo on the piano. Let’s not forget Gregg August.

While taking a sip of her ice water, Hilton says, “On the horns, I try and mix things up. New York Sessions (the album) had a horn and two saxophones and Twilight Blues (another one of her albums) had a horn and a saxophone.  I guess I just thought I would try it again. I had told myself at one time that I was never, ever going to do a quintet again, (she whispers as if she is confiding a secret), because it is a lot more work.  I wanted to mix it up and to do something different.  I know a lot of people prefer horns and you know you are always trying to find the magic secret to create the sound that everybody loves.

On a few pieces (on the album Horizons) Read More

Joanne Tatham Out Of My Dreams

joanne tatham front page thumbnail"You Taught My Heart To Sing,” the McCoy Tyner and Sammy Cahn song opens Joanne Tatham’s new album “Out Of My Dreams,” and Tatham’s vocals are out of this world. Add to her lush vocals the scintillating piano solo by Tamir Hendelman, the wonderful John Clayton on bass, Peter Erskine on drums and an accompaniment by saxophonist Bob Sheppard and you have an all-star cast. Platinum award winning singer and lyricist Mark Winkler is the producer and the result is a gorgeous collection of songs and an experience that definitely should not be missed by any true lover of Jazz music.

Jamieson Trotter beautifully arranged Harry Nilsson’s “Without Him (Without Her),” and Trotter also accompanies Joanne Tatham on piano. As for Ms. Tatham her phrasing is masterful. She makes this song dance and likewise the scenes dance in the listener’s imagination.

Mark and I knew each other from being on the same circuit and we would go to see each other’s shows. Then one day a couple of years ago he said I would like to produce an album for you.  I am no fool, so I said sure, when do we start? We sat down and we started talking about the kind of music that we like and we wanted to do what we like. We really hit it off. We were a good team. There were a number of tunes that I had been doing around town in clubs that I had not yet recorded and I enjoyed and I thought were really a good fit for me.”

As for the title of the album it is drawn from the Richard Rodgers and Oscar Hammerstein II song “Out Of My Dreams,” the closing   Read More

Cherie Currie Interview / Review

Cherie Currie Reverie Artwork for front pageIf you only have enough money to buy one album this year then buy Cherie Currie's brand new album Reverie. Cherie's vocals have never been better and the song "Inner You," is an absolute musical gift. The album is produced by Jake Hays, Cherie Currie's son and he contributes vocals to many of the songs and takes the lead on "Shades Of Me," another treasure. Reverie is the best Rock album that Riveting Riffs Magazine has heard in many years.

In the 1970s Cherie Currie was the lead singer of The Runaways, an all-girl teenage group managed by the late Kim Fowley. Although, there is no doubt that Reverie sends a loud and strong message that Cherie Currie is an exceptional solo artist, she collaborated on the songwriting portion of this album with Fowley and Hays and Lita Ford another former member of The Runaways lends her vocals to Currie’s new album.

Cherie Currie sat down with Riveting Riffs Magazine to discuss her new album, three days after it was officially released through iTunes.

She says, “It took over a year (for the album to come together) and it happened when Kim Fowley reached out to Blackheart Records to see if there was any paper (legal contract) between myself and them, which I did not have one. He had heard that I had said that I would work with him again, so he reached out to me, knowing that I was a free agent. Working with Kim again was something that I wanted to do. It was a way to bury the past and to start over and that’s what we did.” Read More

Angela Parrish - New EP Soon

Angela Parrish Photo front pageThe first thing you notice about Los Angeles based, Kansas born and raised, singer-songwriter-musician Angela Parrish is her vocals. Her vocals to the casual listener sound effortless as she masters Jazz, Americana and lighter Pop songs, but to the trained ear, one realizes right away that this is an artist who has invested a lot of time in honing her craft. The second thing that jumps out at you as you listen to songs such as, “Higher,” “The Couple Down The Hall,” “Hand Me Down,” and “Noon In Denver,” is Angela Parrish is a skilled songwriter.  In the autumn of 2015 Parrish will be releasing a new EP and she collaborated with producer Jamie Candiloro who has worked with artists such as Courtney Love and R.E.M. and who regularly composes and produces for television and film.

Life began for Angela Parrish in the small town of Newton, Kansas and she has one sibbling, a younger sister Abbey.

She says, “Newton is a small town and it has a small town feel and I like everything about that.

I come from a family of music appreciators. They participated in choirs or lessons growing up, but I am the only professional musician in my family.  I am the only one in my family, who went into it, but everyone in my family is supportive and they have a strong appreciation for music.

My parents had me late in life. They were in their mid-forties when I was born and the music of their generation was always playing. There was Carole King and a lot of James Taylor, hits from the sixties, Rock from the seventies,  Read More

Tuvanam Golden Bazaar Haute Couture

Tuvanam Golden Bazaar Photo Front Page
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Jean Harlow - A Book Review

Jean Harlow front pageBombshell The Life and Death of Jean Harlow, a biography by David Stenn and published by Doubleday in 1993 is a must read for any true fan or history buff when it comes to the early days of the film industry. Stenn who is also the author of the book Clara Bow: Runnin’ Wild crafted a masterpiece that is well balanced, insightful and portrays Jean Harlow in a humane way.

David Stenn whose writing credits include Hill Street Blues, 21 Jump Street and Beverly Hills, 90210, conducted interviews with many of the people who knew Jean Harlow personally, including one of her closest friends Barbara Brown, a member of what Jean Harlow referred to as “my gang.” Others included Irene Mayer Selznick, the wife of film producer David O Selznick (Gone With The Wind) and daughter of Louis B. Mayer the MGM movie mogul, countless interviews were conducted with the children and other family members of those close to Jean Harlow, including the family of her ex-husband Paul Bern whose death remains a mystery. The author also spent a copious amount of time exploring legal and medical documents to which he was given unrestricted access.

The prologue sets the scene at Jean Harlow’s deathbed and immediately raises a number of serious questions about how a beautiful 26 year old woman, adored by fans and viewed as sex siren and goddess and loved by friends and co-workers for her down to earth attitude, her gentle, kind spirit and her generosity, could perish so quickly from what had been misdiagnosed and broadcast in the media as a cold or pneumonia or influenza.

Born Harlean Harlow Carpenter the granddaughter of Skip Harlow, a wealthy Kansas City real estate broker, the daughter of Mont Carpenter a dentist and the real Jean Harlow, her mother who dominated and controlled her daughter’s life and it can be argued without a shade of doubt abused and used her daughter for her own personal gain. The early 20 th century was a disturbing time in many ways and particularly in the way that women and girls were treated as mere chattels with no rights. It was into such a world that Harlean was born on March 3, 1911. Combined with her mother’s desire to vicariously live her dreams through her daughter, the shy young Harlean (Jean Harlow), became Read More

Asha Puthli In The Studio Again

Asha Puthli Photo Front PagePop / Jazz singer Asha Puthli. with some assistance from her friends Ron and Mara New, has been recording songs for a new and yet to be named album. When Ms. Puthli left her homeland India in the 1970’s and traveled to America on a dance scholarship, armed with a background in Classical and Opera music, her goal was to bridge the Indian and American cultures and to record and perform the type of music she had listened to on the radio shows Voice of America, hosted by Willis Conover and Radio Ceylon.

“I listened to what was called Radio Ceylon in those days and now it (the country) is called Sri Lanka. I was fascinated by Jazz, because of the similarity of Indian music and Jazz in so many ways, in the sense of the freedom and the improvisation quality and a lot of it used chords (similar to) raga music, which I was studying. It was Jazz, which I was so passionate about, but it only came on for an hour. The other one was the Voice of America.  Radio Ceylon taught me Rock and Roll. It had Elvis Presley, Pat Boone and Cliff Richard. Little did I realize that one day I would meet Pat Boone and one day I would do a television show with Cliff Richard. A year and one-half after I left for America Willis Conover, was playing Ornette Coleman’s album that I had sung on, so it was like a cycle coming complete.

In Willis Conover’s autobiography called Broadcasting To The World he mentions John Coltrane and me as being the first people to bring Indian music to Jazz and mixing the two genres of music,” says Asha Puthli.

It was not the only time that Asha Puthli had been referred to as an innovator. Ann Powers writing for the New York Times referred to her as a pioneer of Fushion music, along with Ravi Shankar. Read More

Ingrid Bergman My Story

Ingrid Bergman Book ReviewBook Review:    Ingrid Bergman My Story / Written by:         Ingrid Bergman and Alan Burgess / Published by:     Delacorte Press, 1980

Some of the best books you will read were not written today, or yesterday or even last year, but if you look carefully you will find treasures written many years ago. Such is the case with the book Ingrid Bergman My Story published in 1980. The book is told for the most part through the eyes of the beautiful and talented Swedish born actress Ingrid Bergman and complimented by the sometimes narrative of Alan Burgess or the words of those who worked with and knew Ingrid Bergman personally, including one of her daughters Pia Lindström.

Through Ms. Bergman’s eyes and heart we experience her childhood and the tragedies she endured from an early age, as her mother died when Ingrid was three years old and her father passed away when she was twelve. The aunt she then went to live with died in her arms one year later. Ingrid Bergman knew from very early in life that she wanted to be an actress and eventually she auditoned for entrance into the Royal Dramatic Theatre in Stockholm, Sweden. Misreading the body language and intent of the judges, she went to the harbor and contemplated ending her life. Instead, Ingrid Bergman gave audiences in both cinema and live theatres outstanding performances for most of the 20 th century, including the last years of her life, before breast cancer finally took her away from us on August 29, 1982.

IIngrid Bergman does not whitewash her life. This is not a santized story that only makes you feel good, but it talks about the errors she feels she sometimes made both personally and professionally and it lays bare the fondness and the difficulty for her three husbands Petter Lindström (her first and father of Emmy Award winning  Read More

Lindsay Ferguson In Concert

Lindsay Ferguson

Photo of Lindsay Ferguson by Steve Gerecke
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Julie Budd Interview

Julie Budd front pageShe was born Edith Claire Erdman, in Shore Haven, New York, the daughter of Saul and Joan and when she was three months old her parents bought what she describes as “a big old house” on the corner of 54 th Street and Avenue K in Brooklyn. You have known her for most of her life as Julie Budd, a prolific singer and a well-respected vocal coach. She was one of three daughters and her immediate and extended family was instrumental in cultivating a love for music early in Julie Budd’s life.

She recalls, “My mother was an outstanding singer, not a good singer, she was an outstanding singer. My grandfather, my mother’s father, used to write music and so did his brother. There were a lot of people, my cousin Emily Remler was a world class, Grammy Award winning international star. She was a very famous guitarist.”

Then the memories start to flow and you can hear the warm glow in Julie Budd’s voice as she says, “My sister Jill took me into Manhattan to see Fiddler On The Roof.  I was about ten or eleven years old and I had never seen a Broadway show before and it was a matinee, a Sunday matinee or something and Jill took me on the train from Brookyn. In those days, it is not like today (her voice deepens), people go to the theater and they don’t look all dressed up and that annoys me.  It really annoys me, you see a ten million dollar production and somebody is wearing shorts. I still get dressed up and I got very dressed up that day and so did Jill. We went into Manhattan and we saw Herschel Bernardi in Fiddler On The Roof and it was glorious (you can still hear the excitement in her voice).  I will never forget the opening scene, it was the bottle dance. Remember the bottle dance?  I couldn’t even breathe it was so exciting.

Every Saturday night my parents would go into Manhattan and see another  Read More


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