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Leah Belle Faser - Rising Star

Leah Belle Faser Intro Photo OneIt has been a long time since Riveting Riffs Magazine has said of any young artist that she or he has superstardom in their future. In fact, the last time we said that was when we sat down in April 2005 with then little-known singer, songwriter and guitarist Kimberly Perry of The Band Perry and that is exactly what we predicted. Here we are almost sixteen years later and having recently spoken with sixteen-year-old Leah Belle Faser from Atlanta, Georgia, we are saying the same thing. She has the voice, the songwriting skills and the maturity to become a really special artist, one that we suspect someday will receive serious consideration for and could possibly be the winner of any of the top music awards in Country music.

When you first listen to songs such as “Better Than Mine,” “Back Home,” “The Lift,” and “Second-Hand Store,” from Leah Belle Faser’s new album Crossing Hermi’s Bridge, songs about relationships and longing for home, the first thing you want to do is go to the album credits to find out who co-wrote these songs with her. Surely, you think, a sixteen-year-old could not write so insightfully about such mature themes and compose such well constructed songs. Then you think there must be information missing from the album credits, because all of these songs are attributed to this affable teenage girl who answers your questions thoughtfully and you realize not only are her songs mature, but so is she. Yes, she has all the exuberance of a sixteen-year-old, but she also is wise beyond her years.

Leah Belle Faser says, “There is only so much that has happened in my life at sixteen, so there are only so many things that I can write about. There are ideas and concepts, but I like to observe things and people around me. They are not happening to me, but it is what is happening to other people in my life and even to strangers. It is like listening to the booth behind you in a restaurant (you can hear the smile in her voice), not in a creepy way, but as you observe what people are going through. They may not be my age and they may be older than me with problems that I might not experience at this age. I think that is a really cool way to approach writing.

We share a joke about your writer imagining her slinking around restaurants with a wig and dark glasses looking for new stories. She replies with a laugh and says, “Everybody better watch out! I am on the hunt for hot new stories!”

“I worked with my mentor Phil Barnhart, a veteran songwriter up in Nashville and he gave me that piece of advice, to observe the things around me. I think it holds true with my writing today and it is a great piece of advice. He also told me that not every song is worth writing. When you write songs, a lot of songs have the same core idea, heartbreak or love or happiness and it is important to write (the songs) in a fresh way that nobody has heard before. It is why I like to weave stories into my songs, because you can follow along with the melody and the lyrics and it (becomes) Read More

October 1993 A Magic Evening

Jaime James Photo Front PageActor, singer and musician Harry Dean Stanton released a new album in February. Well actually, Omnivore Recordings released October 1993, an album by Harry Dean Stanton with the Cheap Dates, produced by Jamie James and Greg Allen (co-produced by Slim Jim Phantom, of the Stray Cats) comprised of some songs that were recorded live at the Troubadour and others that were recorded in the studio. You see, Harry Dean Stanton passed away on September 15, 2017 at the age of ninety-one.

Jamie James who had a band called the Kingbees and who also had played with Dennis Quaid and the Sharks, explains how this album, which was never intended to become an album, was born.

“My sister called me and said, Jaime I saw a picture of you online that I have never seen before. Where and when is it from? She sent me the link and I looked at it. I told her that is a band that Harry and I had for about six months back in 1993. It was called Harry Stanton with the Cheap Dates.

I remembered that Slim Jim Phantom had been digitizing music from cassettes. We had recorded four songs in Paramount Studios on Santa Monica Boulevard, back in ’93. He sent me a track, but I couldn’t find it. I called him and I said, could you resend that to me? I listened to it again and it was the Bob Dylan song “Baby Tonight.” I liked it.

I thought I like this, and I wonder if other people would enjoy it. I called “Slim” back and he had four songs, but it wasn’t enough to do (an album).

I called up Greg Allen at Omnivore Recordings and they had put out a soundtrack for a Harry Dean documentary called partly fiction. They are really nice guys who do really great work, so I asked them if they would be interested in doing another Harry Dean Stanton thing. They said absolutely. I told them I would send them one song and I asked them to tell me what they thought.

He called me back and he said I love it, but the quality is not good enough to release. You have to get better quality. I called Slim back and that is all he had. I remembered I had some tapes out in the garage and I called up the representative for the Harry Dean Stanton trust in Kentucky. They said if I was able to get it together it would be great to honor Harry.

I looked through a bunch of boxes and I found an old DAT (digital audio tape) tape and it said Harry Dean Stanton with the Cheap Dates. It had the four songs. Then I looked further, and I found one that said Cheap Dates Live at the Troubadour.

I called Greg back at Omnivore and he said listen we have this guy that we work with and he does incredible stuff with tapes and mastering. He won a Grammy with us for bringing back to life some old Hank Williams tapes. He said take them up there and see what he can do. I took them up to Michael Graves and left them with him for Read More

 Cozy Rebel

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Cozy Rebel, A New Collection from DREZZ2IMPREZZ and Beatrix Reuschel

Montse Muñoz - Actress, Model

Montse Munoz Front Page 2What happens when you have a beautiful model, a daring stuntwoman and a fabulous actress and they all meet? Well when they are three different people, we are not sure and this story is not about three different people, because our guest at Riveting Riffs Magazine recently was Montse Muñoz and she is actively engaged in all three careers. Perhaps the story of how she received her first name is a good place to begin.

“My first name Montse comes from Montserrat, which is a really high mountain mountain range, and they are difficult to climb. My name comes from these mountains. I always asked my mom why she chose this name and she said, because you asked for this name when you were born. She said all of your life you wanted to climb, and you always looked for the difficult way to arrive at the top. You are doing it step by step and that is why you have this name,” says Montse Muñoz.

She was born in the small city of Manresa, sixty-seven kilometers from Barcelona, located in Spain’s autonomous region of Catalunya. Legend has it that St Ignatius of Loyola, while on his way back from Montserrat stopped in Maresa to pray and that for one year he lived in a cave not far from Maresa.

She was one of only two children in her family and her extended family on her maternal and paternal side was even smaller.

When asked if her creativity is something naturally flows from her family, she laughs lightly and says, “My mother is the only one in Read More

French Actress Sandra Leclercq

Sandra Leclercq Front Page 2Sandra Leclercq is an actress, playwright and screenwriter from France, with a green card for the United States and she had a puppet flirt with her recently, she designed a support chair to enable a young man with disabilities to compete in an Iron Man competition and she has travelled back in time from a women’s dominated society, 1,000 years into the future. Just to round things out she also used to be a tennis coach. Recently, Sandra Leclercq was our guest at Riveting Riffs Magazine, and we have become big fans of this delightful and fun lady.

We asked her how it felt to have a puppet flirt with her, “It felt really good!” she says laughing.

We were of course talking about her voiceover work for a French advertisement for Spotify and Sandra Leclercq was the voice for the female puppet.

I really love it (voiceover). It is really interesting. Even when I audition for animated movies or things like that, I like to have the picture of the character and to see what the animated version looks like. If it is an animal what kind of animal is it? Even when you are just using your voice, you are still acting. I think if it is TV, theater or voiceover in my opinion it is still the same, it is acting.

I did an audition before, but this was the first time that I recorded something that I booked.

I looked at the puppet and I loved it. It was very technical to have my mouth in rhythm and moving at the same time as the  Read More

Actor German Torres

German TorresActor and singer German Torres who in recent years starred in some impressive musicals in Spain, Beauty and the Beast and 24 horas en la vida una mujer (24 Hours in the Life of a Woman) and in 2013 he received the award for Best Supporting Actor from the La Unión de Actores (the equivalent of the American Screen Actors Guild), for his role in Anton Chekhov’s Ivanov, was our guest recently at Riveting Riffs Magazine to talk about his career in theater, film and television, both as an actor and a producer.

At the time we spoke, 24 horas en la vida de una mujer, produced by highly acclaimed actress Silvia Marsó, who also starred in the musical with Felipe Ansola had just returned to the stage at Teatro Galileo in Madrid, after an absence of nine months due to the COVID-19 pandemic. We asked German Torres what that experience was like.

He said, “It was fantastic, after the world stopped, returning to the stage is a miracle. The theater has maximum security and culture is safe now in Madrid. We are allowed to have fifty-five percent (of capacity) for the audience now. In other communities only thirty people are allowed.

We had forgotten, just a little about the energy of the stage, because it had been so long since we had performed.”

There were also adjustments the actors had to make, “It is difficult because the audience has masks on, and we can only watch Read More

Jemima - Things I Never Said

Jemima Photo AA young Australian singer, songwriter and musician from Newcastle, by the name of Jemima just released her EP Things I Never Said, a collection of five songs that are more value for your money than most full-length albums. Get ready world, because this young woman is going to be a star. She writes good lyrics, has good vocals and has an engaging personality. She also has a very sharp marketing mind.

The first song on the EP, is “As You Are,” and it clocks in at three minutes and twenty seconds and has the perfect blend of retro Pop and modern Pop, with an easy flowing melody. Jemima tracked her own background vocals creating the feel of some of the early sixties all-girl groups. One should not however think of this song as an attempt to merely giving rebirth to an era of music that has long since vanished, by the time she was born, but instead it is an artist who knows what she likes and has taken the best from what she heard as a child, while listening to her parents’ records and bringing to both her songwriting and to the studio a keen sense for what resonates with audiences today.

She says, “I am twenty-four and I discovered this music by sitting in my garage, as a kid and going through my parents’ records and cassette tapes. I really liked that music. I wasn’t into Justin Bieber or whatever other music kids my age were listening to. It (the music on the records) sounded so intriguing to me and there is such a focus on storytelling, which I loved. It sounded more genuine to me. I went to school as Elvis when I was ten years old. I had the black wig on, and I wore a gold cape. I had this skintight white jumpsuit. I don’t know why my parents let me do that.”  Read More

Cina Samuelson Has a New Album

Cina Samuelson BIn a quiet, confident voice, Swedish Country music singer and songwriter Cina Samuelson says, “Everyone likes to listen to songs about life,” and that pretty well sums up what her current album Sing with Your Heart and Soul is about. Marking her twentieth year as a solo artist (she performed earlier in her career in other bands), she has put together a collection of songs that in many instances are deeply personal. This is also an album where her husband Johnny once again joined her as one of the musicians, this time playing the baritone tic-tac guitar, her daughter Malin and Johnny sing background vocals and her other daughter Emilie was the photographer.

Cina Samuelson says it was special to have her entire family participate on the creation of this album.

“I love it when I can have them with me. Johnny doesn’t work so much with music these days. It is very nice to do this with my family. Malin has been touring with me for nine years now. She is great with harmony singing and playing guitar on stage, so it is very nice to have her voice on the record with mine. I think my voice fits very good together with Malin and Johnny. I love to sing together with them. My other daughter Emelie sings wonderfully, but she can’t sing harmony, but she said she could do other things. She said she could take the photos and I love that she can also be a part of it,” she says.

Cina Samuelson wrote all of the songs for this album. Read More

Actor John De Luca

John De Luca AWe sat down recently and chatted with actor, producer, director and screenwriter John De Luca about his career, recent projects and his life’s journey. That story begins in Buenos Aires, Argentina where he was born and where he grew up, the only son of Italian parents. It took him to Miami, Florida (United States), a few places in Spain, primarily Madrid and Malaga, London, England and Denmark, before he returned to Malaga.

We caught up with John De Luca, after he filmed the four-part miniseries Palomares, was awaiting the release of the feature film NATO 0 (Born 0), in which he has a leading role and after the debut of his short film Entre Nosotros (Between Us) on Amazon Prime. Entre Nosotros was produced by his own film production company First Round Films, in which he partners with David Smith. DeLuca’s co-star in Entre Nosotros is Spanish actress and renowned cellist Irene Rouco.

Take us back to when and where it all began John.

“I was born in Buenos Aires, Argentina, and I discovered acting at a very early age in school. I am an only child. My mother worked at a few stores and then when my mother had me, she became a housewife. My dad had auto repair (parts) stores. He used to sell clutches and brakes and other things for cars. I had a normal childhood, nothing big, middle class and in a big city. I learned English from an early age. I think I was three.”

He describes himself as an Read More

Rebecca Howell

Rebecca Howell Photo Front PageWhen you hear singer Rebecca Howell talking about how Carrie Underwood has been her role model since she was a child and she is effusive about Kelly Clarkson who served as her coach on the televised music competition The Voice, you sense that you are speaking with a very well-grounded young woman. When you add to that incredible and powerful vocals, complimented by an engaging personality, you know you have a winning combination. Riveting Riffs Magazine sat down on the phone with Rebecca Howell, and from her home in Cochran, Georgia she talked about growing up in a musical family.

“I have quite a large family.  My immediate family (consists) of my parents, my older brother and me.  With my extended family both my mother and father have huge families and we are very close. Even with my third cousins I know who all of them are.  We get together every year and I have a huge support system. It is really great.

When my father was in college, he was the lead singer in a Rock band. He also plays the guitar. That is where I got my love for music. His whole family (she pauses momentarily) his mother, a lot of his siblings and many of his cousins, they all sing or play an instrument. Growing up I was always around other musicians or people who sing and at gatherings I would sit on the porch and sing at family gatherings. I have been around music since the beginning.

They are happy memories, especially now since there are so many people in my family who have passed. It is special to reflect upon those days when I got to sing with my grandmother, my aunts and uncles at family gatherings. It was really a great experience to sit there and Read More

Alice Berry - French Fashion Designer

Alice Berry Atelier AWhen it comes to the world of fashion, whether you are talking about couture or made to fit (custom fit) clothing for women, there are really two options trendy, cutting edge or classic designs. With the former what was in style last year is no longer fashionable this year and you have to replace those clothes, which means you need to have a big clothing budget and it contributes to the amount of waste that ends up in landfill sites and in turn that contributes to damaging our environment further. With the more classic designs, they are timeless, which means for quality you can afford to pay a bit more, because you do not have to replace your wardrobe every year or every second year. It therefore follows that those clothes are more sustainable in environmental terminology. Even if the original owner decides to one day part ways with quality classic designs, there are plenty of eager buyers in the women’s consignment market.

Recently, Riveting Riffs Magazine sat down with fashion designer Alice Berry of Alice Berry Atelier from Paris, France to talk about her timeless clothing designs for women and the importance she places on her collections being sustainable.

“I think timeless dresses are a better choice, because for example in ten years my customers can always wear them. On the contrary if the dresses are on the cutting edge of fashion in one year or two, they will no longer be able to wear them. The fashion changes very quickly and I think too quickly. I would rather (create) slow fashion rather than fast fashion.

I choose sustainable fabrics and Read More

         Cozy Rebel

Cozy Rebel B

 A New Collection from DREZZ2IMPREZZ and Beatrix Reuschel

Cecilia Krull - My Life is Going On

Cecilia Krull AOne should not be surprised that the team of composer Manel Santisteban and lyricist / singer Cecilia Krull from Spain have another hit song, but nobody could have anticipated the enormous success of “My Life is Going On,” the theme song for La casa de papel (Money Heist) (Editor’s note: In Spanish all of the words in a title do not always appear in capitals) which is directly linked to the second most watched Netflix show in the world. This is not the first time that Cecilia Krull has made a big splash on the movie, television and Netflix scenes, as she collaborated with Mala Rodríguez on “Agnus Dei,” for the Netflix series Vis a Vis (2015 - 2019). Other collaborations with Manel Santisteban include, “La Verdad,” for the television series El Accidente (2018), “Something’s Triggered,” for the film Trés metros sobre el cielo and “All My Fears,” for the film Fuga de cérebros.  In addition, Cecilia Krull is a highly respected solo artist, known for writing, recording and performing songs that blur the genre lines between Jazz, light Pop and Adult contemporary themes. She will also soon be releasing her first album.

Cecilia Krull was gracious enough to take a few minutes and visit with us at Riveting Riffs Magazine earlier this month.

As for the success of her song “My Life is Going On,” from La casa de papel Cecilia Krull says, “It is a dream come true! I never expected that success and worldwide. It’s crazy. All of my life I have been a singer and I grew up in a musicians’ family, so this is a very huge thing. It is like the difference before and after La casa de papel. I am not famous, but the song is famous. I am traveling all around the world. Many people in many countries know about me, because of the song. Personally, I am the same. I am a mother, I am a sister, I am a daughter, I am a friend, and I am a lover. I am the same person as I was when I wrote the lyrics and when I (recorded) the song.”

She uses the same words as the actors from the series often use in describing the effect that Read More

Marta Bascuñana - Actress Interview

Marta Bascunana AThe Costa Blanca coast in southeast Spain is famous for many reasons and soon it may become well-known for being the place where actress, singer, dancer and screenwriter Marta Bascuñana  grew up. Fluent in Spanish and English, tall, with a supermodel’s face and build and blessed with enormous talent as an actress, she is a casting director’s dream. She can have a commanding presence in a scene, while still possessing the sensibility to be more demure when filling a lesser role. Whereas in bygone days taller actresses often were overlooked for roles they easily had the talent to warrant their being cast for them, actresses such as Geena Davis, Brooke Shields, Uma Thurman, Nicole Kidman, Rebecca Romijn and Gal Gadot, long ago vanquished those oversights. Talent always triumphs and for Marta Bascuñana her time is now.

She sat down with Riveting Riffs Magazine recently on the eve of recording a commercial for an NGO and discussed her theater and film career.

“There were not any actors and actresses in my family. I am the first. Since the time I was a little girl I loved watching classical films on TV, theater that were shown on television and films like Gone with the Wind that I would watch whenever I had the chance.

I loved reading a lot when I was a child. That love for reading grew naturally, as it was also one of her mother’s great interests and her brother would often bring home books for her from the library. She loved the stories she was told by both of her parents and her grandmother. She also hints at being perhaps inspired by an uncle who was both a journalist and a television producer.

“We also used to go to the plays that took place next to our home in Torrevieja and Read More

Enola Holmes - Film Review

Enola Holmes A Photo by Alex BaileyEnola Holmes, a feature film released on Netflix in the fall of 2020 is a fun, adventurous movie set in England during the 1800s and as the title might suggest there is a connection to Sherlock Holmes and his older brother Mycroft, but in name only. In Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s books Mycroft was referenced, but to our knowledge there was never any mention of a younger sister of the two brothers. This fabulous, all ages film directed by Harry Bradbeer stars now sixteen-year-old actress Millie Bobby Brown, who was cast in the role in 2018 and also is one of the named producers. By then Brown had already been twice nominated for an Emmy Award and once for a Screen Actor’s Guild Award.

The storyline of the film goes like this Sherlock is disinterested in his family, as he is heavily focused on solving crimes in London, which is not where Enola and her mother Eudoria Holmes live. The widow, Eudoria is portrayed by British actress Helena Bonham Carter looks as beautiful as ever. Her performance is both sublime and powerful. Carter plays a feminist, a suffragette using the language of the day, who is raising her daughter to be independent, strong of character, equipping her with knowledge and even with martial arts. Really it is Millie Bobby Brown and Helena Bonham Carter who are the stars of the movie. It is a strong film that presents in a lighthearted way the importance of women’s rights whether in the 1800s when none existed or today when women often still find themselves struggling to be considered as equals in every facet of society.  

Henry Cavill is cast as Sherlock Holmes, Sam Claflin as the evil Mycroft and Louis Partridge as Tewkesbury, a young member of the nobility who becomes Enola’s friend, with hints of a budding teenage romance. In a nice plot twist for a change, it is the young woman who is always rescuing the young man, instead of the other way around. There are the usual adversaries that one would expect, Miss Harrison, played by Fiona Shaw who conspires with Mycroft Holmes to confine Enola  Read More

                    French Designer: Alice Berry Atelier

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                         Alice Berry Atelier Website



Heidi Newfield -- New Album!

Heidi Newfield AMusic fans have been waiting a long time for another album from Heidi Newfield, the northern California (now living in Nashville) Country singer, songwriter and musician with the Bluesy feel or as she takes occasion on The Barfly Sessions to demonstrate the Blues artist with the Country twang. Just when fans were excited about her new album’s release last spring the COVID-19 virus dashed those plans, but she is forging ahead now with an August 28 th (2020) release.

She explains why, “The light is still on and those of us who are still here, are still looking for great music. Regardless of if I get to tour it or not, I feel it is my duty to put (The Barfly Sessions) out.

Putting a record out like this has been such a labor of love, with so much time and effort by a multitude of people, not just myself. To make a record like this and without having put music out for a while and then boom you go okay I am going to jump. I am going to put this thing out and then this happens.

I had to search my heart and ask am I prepared for what may or may not happen when you put a record out and you cannot tour around it? That is a whole new world for all of us when we are putting music out. It is like stepping off a cliff and you don’t know if you are going to fly or not. I pray that is the case. I hope that is the case. I hope it catches on and if it is a slow burn that is fantastic. If it catches on fire that is great too. The world of uncertainty that we live in right now is very difficult. We are calling it the year that never happened.”

We pointed out to Heidi Newfield there have been many Country music artists who embarked on their careers without ever having set foot on a ranch or a farm, but how her story really reflects the music she writes and the stories she tells.

“It is true. Country Music from Read More

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