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Fashion Design by Tete by Odeltte at the Madrid Fashion Week
Fashion Photo Two April 2020

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Chicago Band - The Claudettes

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

The new album is not a theme or concept album.

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

The more you work with someone you get a (better) sense for that. I got in a really good zone for the songs that I could write well for Berit (Ulseth, the singer). She brought a couple of cover songs to the band when we first met. I could see why she brought them and how they were up her alley to sing. I figured out what kinds of notes they were on the piano and what kinds of phrases.

Berit is my favorite singer. This is the second album we have recorded with her. She recorded DANCE SCANDAL AT THE GYMNASIUM! (Yes this is supposed to be all in capital letters) which came out in 2018. She really came alive on the (current album) and she was a lot more comfortable in the studio.”

He goes on to say that he got into a really good zone and did a lot of writing. A year passed by and it was time to start thinking about recording another album and he already had fifteen songs written. He refers to the songs on this album as a snapshot of what was taking place in the world around them during the year or so that it took to  Read More

Doug Clifford's Magic Window

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

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

He goes on to talk about why the record is only seeing the light of day now, “We were in a huge drought situation up at Lake Tahoe. I had a biological background and I had a firefighting background, minimal, but enough. I put together a program that would deal with fuels and what to do with a forest to try to get it back to a normal environment. Fire is a culling factor in a forest, but when you put the fires out the fuels continue to build up. That is why we have cataclysmic fires when they hit now, because the fuels haven’t been burned at low levels and that is because of our fear of fire. I teamed up with the University of Reno Nevada’s biological department.

Anyway that program was deemed number one in the nation by the department of agriculture. It was all volunteer and it was something that I was doing for the good of the environment. It overrode the artist in me and my civic duty came out. I put the tapes away. Thirty-five years later I found them.”

IIf you are wondering if there are challenges involved with trying to restore a thirty-five year old analog tape, you are not alone.

Doug “Cosmo” Clifford says, “Nobody knew this back in the day, but with a lot of analog tape there was whale oil in it and if I had known that Read More

Design by drezz2imprezz

drezz2imprezz 2020 front page

Dress modeled by German television personality Frauke Ludowig, Drezz2Imprezz website

Pear Duo - No Boundaries

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

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

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

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

Julie Ragins says, “The first question everybody asks you is what kind of music do you play? They want an elevator pitch answer. They want to hear Country. They want to hear Blues; they want to hear Rock and Roll. They do not want (to hear you say well we are a group that is kind of rooted in a fusion of Jazz and Pop, but we also have a lot of elements of Soul and R & B, Rock  Read More

Pam Tillis - New Album

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

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

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

Sweet Lizzy Project - What A Band!

Sweet Lizzy Project Photo Front PageImagine living in a country where you become a microbiologist and when you graduated you were at the top of the class and began a career as a university professor and you performed music on the side, as a hobby. You were probably thinking at the time even though you enjoyed being a singer what was the point, considering a broken guitar string was a tragedy, as there were not any places to buy more guitar strings and if a piece of your equipment failed well good luck on replacing that. Combine that with the challenges you faced with forging a music career in Cuba and no it made much more sense to keep teaching at the University of Havana and one certainly would never have imagined then moving to the United States to pursue a music career. It sounds like quite the adventure or someone has an active imagination, except these are the real life adventures of Sweet Lizzy Project.

Lisset Díaz is the lead singer for the Cuban band Sweet Lizzy Project a group that plays a mixture of Rock, Pop and Americana music and they do all of it well. The electric guitar work by Miguel Comas is stunning and echoes Eric Clapton in the days of Cream (with Jack Bruce and Ginger Baker) and as another musician suggested to us there are also shades of David Gilmour (Pink Floyd) in his playing. The rest of the musicians Angel Luis Millet (drums and percussion), bass player Alejandro González, Wilfred Gatell on synthesizer, Lenard Delgado the other electric guitarist (as well as acoustic and backing vocals) and cellist Yanet Moreira are all fabulous. Comas, also provides background vocals. Although, the music is considerably different, Sweet Lizzy Project may be the best band to emerge with Cuban roots since Gloria Estefan and the Miami Sound Machine.

On February 21st Sweet Lizzy Project Read More

Christina Mauro, Actress & Writer

Christina Mauro Front PageThere are many facets to Christina Mauro’s career as an actor, screenwriter and a producer and there are also many facets to her life and so it was with great interest that we sat down with this native Texan, now living in Los Angeles. Life began for Christina Mauro in Beaumont, Texas, before her family moved to Falfurrias and then to Conroe, Texas. Her family tree on her father’s side has roots in Texas before it was Texas. Her heritage on that side is Colonial Tejano or Tejano Texians, who were citizens of what was then known as the Kingdom of Spain and who moved into the territory now yet known as Texas, started settling there in the 17 the century and through to the Texas revolution during the 1800s.  

As for her mother’s side of the family she says, “My mom’s family is English, Scottish and Irish. They are a very different kind of people and they are a lot quieter, whereas my dad’s family is more opinionated. When I think of my dad’s family, I think of these warrior people who are not afraid to voice their opinions and to get into the frontline. Many in my dad’s family are activists. The people in my mom’s family are more soft-spoken. I come from two different cultures.”

In conversation with Christina Mauro some things immediately become apparent, she is passionate about the things that are important to her, family, career and her involvement with Peace Over Violence, which on April 29 th, which just past used Denim Day to draw attention to and to educate people about gender violence.

“I am a survivor of teen dating violence when I was in my late teens. I am also a survivor of sexual assault. I have always talked about Read More

Actress Natalia Fisac from Spain

Natalia Fisac Front Page PhotoThe road to an acting career is not the same for everyone, some you read about living in their cars, before fame found them, some are discovered while they are children and others toil for years in obscurity, prior to getting their big break. For Spanish film, television and theater actress Natalia Fisac the pathway to becoming an actress was far removed from any of those scenarios. The very personable native of Madrid, Spain has a law degree and she obtained it while earning very high marks. She always had a passion for acting, but it was not until she came to a crossroads in her life with the death of the love of her life, after completing her fourth year of university that Natalia Fisac made the decision to pursue her dream of becoming an actress.

She explains, “I always wanted to be an actress. The first time I remember wanting to be an actress I was seven years old. I was playing at home all of the time. In school I participated in all of the plays. I even wrote and directed some of the plays. I was also a very, very good student and you know there is this idea that you have to study something if you are so clever. You are meant to get a degree in something and that was my mistake. I studied law and I could have studied communications or become a journalist or something that was more related to my skills and the things that I liked.

I had spoken to one of my uncles who and he was a lawyer who spoke very highly about (a career in law). That is why I ended up studying law.  The good thing is I still have very good friends from that time. Read More

Ada Rovatti & Randy Brecker

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

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

 

Katja Rieckermann - Double Release

Katja Rieckermann Front Page PhotoYou know the song “Da Ya Think I’m Sexy,” from when Rod Stewart recorded it on his 1978 album Blondes Have More Fun, but you have never heard it played like this before. Saxophonist, arranger and composer Katja Rieckermann and TMTQ turn in a stunning dance version of the song, with new vocals by Sir Rod Stewart. Rieckermann who toured with Stewart for fourteen years and during that time she began her solo career, which to date has produced three albums, the self-titled Katja (2007), Horn Star (2010) and Never Stand Still (2014). Katja Rieckermann has performed with a diverse group of artists, which include, Carole King, Brooks and Dunn, David Foster, Mary J. Blige, Al Green and Jeff Goldblum.

Katja Rieckerman first started thinking of recording “Da Ya Think I’m Sexy,” “about two and one-half years ago. Originally it was going to be an instrumental version of “Da Ya Think I’m Sexy?” and it was going to be very close to the original with the tempo and the vibe of it. I wrote a couple of horn sections for it and we recorded it.

I sent it to Rod for approval and said what do you think? I said hey Rod what do you think? I am thinking about releasing this version. Do you like it? He wrote back, yes I love it. How about I sing on it? I was like wow! That is crazy. Of course, that would be fantastic. He ended up singing over the original track that I sent to him.

I thought now I have these newly recorded vocals of Rod and it is too close to sounding like the original, so I should do something super hip and Read More

NEVERWONDER

NEVERWONDER Photo Front Page“2020 is going to be a great year for NEVERWONDER. We have a new record coming out, we have some great shows coming up and we will be at SXSW (in Austin, Texas). We have had radio play and we have some more coming up,” says Fabienne Grisel, the Swiss born leader singer of the melodic Rock band NEVERWONDER (yes the name is all in capitals), while in conversation with Riveting Riffs Magazine.

About the new album she says, “We are experimenting a little bit more with effects. We work together as a unit even though we all have our own instruments. We collaborate, for instance if I hear something that the drums are or are not doing we can talk about it.  If the guys hear something that I am doing vocally they will say something.  We might say (to one another) why don’t you try this or that? I can’t wait to see what comes out of these songs in the studio, because they are already great, but I think we can take them to the next level for sure.

(The album) will first be recorded in analog and then it will be put through the digital (process). I like analog, because as a singer you can hear every crack and every crisp in the voice. I like to hear things that are not so perfect. I am not talking about notes or anything, but the things that make music interesting or the moment interesting; the crack in the voice or that little screech in the guitar. It is those things that you might not be able to hear as much in a digital recording. I am not trying to disregard people who are digital. I think for certain genres of music that is totally Read More

Design by Ojalá Paloma del Pozo

Paloma Del Pozo Front Page Main Photo 

Photo Protected by copyright ©  - Designer website

Marisol Rozo - Dance / Theater

Marisol Rozo Front Page PhotoMarisol Rozo may very well be the most creatively gifted person that Riveting Riffs Magazine has interviewed and yet she is also one of the most modest about her own achievements. Marisol Rozo was born in Colombia and twenty-two years ago she arrived in Madrid, Spain with only her two suitcases. Her career, as a dancer and began at the age of fourteen and she later appeared as an actress on Colombian television. In the years that have passed since she moved to Spain, Marisol Rozo has become a well-respected dancer, choreographer, director, playwright, appeared in films and not many people realize she is also a noted author of books for both children and adults, although she admits almost somewhat shyly that not many people are aware that she is an author. She says it is almost too much to tell people about. She has performed in and directed numerous theatrical projects in several countries, including major European cities and in New York City, as well as in China.

While conversing and getting to know Marisol Rozo one becomes aware of three things, her passion for her creative endeavors, her ability to balance a family life with a very busy artistic schedule and her kind and generous heart. 

As for finding the time to do everything she laughs and says, “It is very difficult to be a mother, a couple, dance, and theater and to write, but when you are passionate about what you do and you love it, I think that time is your friend. When I talk about that I can’t understand how I made it (she laughs). It is better if I don’t think about it.”

“At this time I am working as an actress and director with the beautiful Spanish play Tratado de culinaria para ser felices (Editor’s note in Spanish complete titles are often not capitalized unlike in English). It is a text (script) by the Colombian writer Hector Abad Faciolince and I share the stage with two wonderful fellows, Jorge Furnadjiev who is a cellist and actor and dancer Fernando Trujillo,” she says, and then continues, “I am also on tour with one of my oldest works, which is over eighteen years already, Mis primeras cuatro estaciones (My First Four Seasons).”

Life began for Marisol Rozo far away from big theater stages and movie screens  Read More

Paloma del Pozo - Spanish Designer

Paloma del Pozo Photo Front PageIt was a Friday afternoon in February when I left the Melia Princesa Hotel in Madrid walked to the estacion de metro Ventura Rodriguez and made my way by train to another station Gran Via – Pedro Zorolo. It was a sunny day and the open square, like so many in Madrid was bustling in a good way. There was energy, laughter and a lot of people in this city of seven million. I was on my way to Calle de las Huertas, Number 5, fashion designer Paloma del Pozo’s shop. Like many of the shops in this neighborhood of narrow winding cobblestone and pavement streets, the shop Ojalá Paloma del Pozo has a somewhat modest storefront, but it is full of treasures inside.

My journey to interview this warm, delightful woman began several months earlier when I noticed a fabulous blouse that was worn by Spanish television, film and stage actress Silvia Marso. When I commented on Ms. Marso’s Instagram account about the blouse, she immediately without my asking directed me to Paloma del Pozo. The interview was arranged by her equally warm and personable assistant Sara.

So here I found myself thousands of miles at home surrounded by blouses, skirts, dresses and slacks rich in texture and colorful and in the presence of two fabulous women.

“We don’t make a collection,” says Paloma del Pozo, “We make what we want. We don’t have the same calendars as other designers, (referring to seasonal collections), but we do create throughout the year. We have different colors and different fabrics. You might see one (design) in the wintertime and another similar (item) in the 

As for her customers she says, “We have a lot of different customers, but if I am outside the store, I see the men call to the women to come into the shop. It is incredible, because they will say to their girlfriends come into this shop. They see something that women don’t always see. Read More

Charlott Axenström - Designer

Charlott Axenstrom Photo Front PageWhen you are a little girl growing up in a tiny village in the very far north of Sweden where during the middle of the winter you may only have at most two hours of daylight and you are in some of the best ski country in Sweden, one supposes like most children you turn to sports or music. Charlotte Axenström became an avid skier, something she still enjoys today, but her imagination and creativity, also took her in another direction.

“It was kind of boring,” Charlott Axenström says chuckling, “I think that was the key (to where this all began), you are so bored and it is so dark. I am a skier and a swimmer and I was into clothes. I started sketching clothes when I was five years of age. I think when you have so much time to think about it you (become good at what you are doing). That is what I tell my daughter you have to be bored (first) to be good. If you have everything just in front of you there is no reason for your brain to work.”

“I grew up in the same village in northern Sweden as Ingemar Stenmark the skier (Editor’s note: Ingemar Stenmark won more international ski races than any other skier in history, including eighty-six World Cup wins). I think with it being dark for twenty-two hours every day (in the winter) that was part of the creative process. Yes it is dark and you are out skiing, but you also stay home a lot. In the summer I was outside all of the time. From April until September you don’t sleep that much (Editor’s note: there is almost continual daylight),” she says.

When this writer comments about how for such a small country in terms of population Sweden is and yet how it seems like from every little village and town across the country extraordinary athletes, musicians, singers and artists have emerged over the years, Charlotte Axenström Read More

By Swedish Designer Charlott Axenström

Charlott Axenstrom Swedish Designer

Swedish television personality Kattis Ahlström, Designer website

Actress Antonia Jones

Antonia Jones Photo For Front PageIt was a few years ago during one of the many wildfires in California that I noticed online a woman was rallying people to save the horses and being a horse lover that caught my attention, so I decided to connect with Antonia Jones on Facebook. The next time I tuned in she had posted a video of her running routine and I thought this is pretty serious stuff. Over the years we became online buddies or friends and as I became more aware of just how dedicated film and television actress Antonia Jones was to having a healthy lifestyle I approached her a few months ago about doing an interview with Riveting Riffs Magazine and as part of our conversation talking about that aspect of her life, as well as her career. Although, she will be the first to admit that occasionally she will treat herself.

As we are writing this in early April (2020) if you are living in a part of the world where you have to stay inside your home, you may have seen Antonia Jones on one of the four national television commercials that she appears in, two for Humira and the other two for AT & T.

She says, “I grew up with the nickname Boney (by her friends as a term of endearment) for a reason, because I have always been very lean and very active. I am not a big gym person. I like to exercise outside. I do not approach my fitness with the idea that I have to go and exercise, but it is more with the approach that I want to be outside and do the things that I love. I ride horses, I hike and I love to run. I have recently started to do one of the things I did as a young adult and that is rock climbing. I started again, because I had to submit a video of me rock climbing, so I went to a rock climbing gym. The first thing that I did was to go out and buy a pair of rock climbing shoes, so I can start doing that regularly, because it is so much fun. In one evening of doing that for a few hours I felt muscles that I had not used in a long time. I used muscles in my core, my legs and my arms. There is also a big cardio aspect to it and not to mention the psychological part. I am also a little bit afraid of heights, so it was (learning)  Read More

 

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