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Give Up Your Ghosts - Rebecca Loebe

Rebecca LoebeWith the recent release of Rebecca Loebe’s fifth full length album Give Up Your Ghosts she has sent a clear and powerful message to the music community that she is a singer and songwriter to be reckoned with. Her vocals are pristine, her phrasing is impeccable and her songwriting draws you in as she paints vivid word pictures.  Loebe (pronounced Low Bee) was born in Arlington, Virginia, her family moved to Atlanta, Georgia when she was eight years old, she was schooled at Berklee College of Music in Boston and she now calls Austin, Texas her home. She took time out from her rigorous North American and international tour schedule to talk to Riveting Riffs Magazine about the record Give Up Your Ghosts and her career.

“The record is called Give Up Your Ghosts, because it is about what is holding you back or what is no longer serving you. That is the global theme of the whole record. It is pulled from specific lines from the song “Ghosts,” which are “Give up all of your ghosts / At least the ones you love the most / They were never holding you as close / As you were holding them.” That song came together pretty quickly in the writing process. Some songs I labor over for many months, but this one was a stream of consciousness writing experience. It felt like I was writing gentle instructions to myself for how to be happy, how to handle my life right now and how to handle (times of) feeling overwhelmed by the world at large. I just have to remember to relax and to chill out a little bit. I feel those lines in particular are about letting go of your fears or these giant roadblocks that you see ahead of you, because often they are really only in your own mind or they are much bigger in your mind than they are in reality,” explains Rebecca Loebe.

“Ghosts,” is the second song on the new album and the song poses questions that cause the listener to be introspective and ask have I? Word such as, “Don’t forget we are all worthy / Of a little faith and a lot of mercy,” remind us to perhaps to forgive ourselves or simply just to cut ourselves some slack. Perhaps if you are someone whose confidence is a bit shaken or you still have some healing to do in your life, you need to make this song, your song this year.  Read More

Kaitlin Wolfberg - Rising Star

Kaitlin Wolfberg Photo Front PageKaitlin Wolfberg may not yet be a household name, but the people in the Los Angeles music community know who she is and she is highly respected. She appeared on stage playing violin with H.E.R at the 2019 Grammy Awards. It is Wolfberg’s versatility and her ability to shine that have seen her garner praise for her playing (violin and viola), as a conductor, arranger and composer. Oh and did we happen to mention recently she donned the producer’s hat and she also sings. Could there be drums or an electric guitar in her future? We do not know, but Kaitlin Wolfberg did have this to say about her appearance on the Grammy Awards stage.

“Working with H.E.R. and her team on her Grammy Performance was a real treat. Everyone wanted to make the performance perfect and we were all on the same page. So much positive energy swirling around that performance, it was a very special, inspiring and memorable moment for me that I will treasure forever. Also, being on that stage, in front of The Academy and so many legends was certainly a humbling experience.”

Perfect is not a word that you hear very often when Kaitlin Wolfberg describes one of her musical endeavors, as she continually seems to be pushing herself to achieve a higher level.

When asked however, which of the many areas of music that she works within that brings her the most satsifaction she says, “Lately, I get a lot of satisfaction out of arranging and making big, beautiful arrangements. I guess that would be it. Recently, I did a bunch of arrangements on Alice Wallace’s record that I am pretty happy with. I did two string quartet arrangements for Junior Thomas and the Volcanoes (record). I have been working on this new record with Man’s Body, which is my friend Greg Franco’s band and I got to (wear) the producer hat on at least one song. I really like having that control and making the song as beautiful, as I can.  It is like a painting. It is like getting the whole finished product, because often when I do arranging I don’t get to have a say in what the mix is going to be and I don’t have a say in how to edit it. Very rarely do I say oh wow, I really like what I did (she laughs lightly).”  Read More

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Charlie Faye & The Fayettes

Charlie Faye and The Fayettes Photo for front pageGet ready folks, because coming your way in early February (2019) is a sensational and fun album by Charlie Faye & The Fayettes. The new record is The Whole Shebang, literally the name and the listening experience. The trio of ladies from Austin, Texas, boasts great harmonies, led by Charlie Faye and supported by her Fayettes, BettySoo and Akina Adderley. Influenced by girl group of the sixties and Soul from the sixties and early seventies they are so good that listeners may find themselves saying I am sure I have heard this song before somewhere and assume the trio is merely covering songs from yesteryear and yet that is not the case, as these are all original songs.

“In fact that happened at a show of ours last weekend. Someone who wasn’t really familiar with us, came up to us after the show and that person said I thought these were all songs from the sixties until you said something about that you had written all of these songs. I think that happens a lot,” says Charlie Faye.

The Whole Shebang opens with a song co-written by Charlie Faye and Bill Demain, “1-2-3-4,” feels like it stepped out of the sixties, but more importantly resonates with the audience in 2019. The first four lines recall that feeling of meeting “the one” with “1,2,3,4, That was all it took / A heartbeat and a look, and I was so gone / Felt my whole world tilting left and right / And suddenly a light just came on…”

It is easy to imagine being at a Charlie Faye & The Fayettes concert and everybody being up on their feet dancing to their music. These are songs that their fans are going to be singing back to them and singing with them. Read More

Doubledown Cosmetics - All Natural

Kristen and Marvin Photo Front PageOne listens to Marvin and Kristen Speller talk about their married life, about Doubledown Cosmetics, the work they do in the community and Kristen’s music and you are immediately struck by how supportive they are of one another and the warmth of their love for one another.

The seeds were sown a long time for their cosmetic line, as Marvin explains, “I will give the shorter version of this. Almost nine years ago when we first met, I was in North Carolina and I had custody of my daughter and she had a dance recital that weekend. As a guy I knew nothing about makeup. I didn’t know what I was going to do. I put my thinking cap on and I called Kristen up and I said I need help and lots of it.  She knew a lot about makeup and I thought she was an expert. She was always so passionate about it.

Fast forward down the road and she was always sharing makeup tips with people and always watching people and the gurus. I have always been of the mindset that when you are with someone that you love, a close friend or family member and definitely a significant other you try to help them make their dreams come true.

I kept saying to Kristen you really need a product, because this is something that you are so passionate about and you are so great. She was a guru from my perspective. She was really into it. Last year (2018) we just decided to go for it. The first product was a makeup bag. It is vegan and cruelty free and it coincided with what we do with wellness. It was a great product and there was a market out there for that.”

Kristen picks up the story about why Read More

Fiona Joy Hawkins Interview

Fiona Joy Hawkins photo for front pageFiona Joy Hawkins is the owner of Q Pop Up Gallery in Australia, but you know her best as being an amazing Neo Classical / New Age and Contemporary Instrumental Music, pianist and composer, who doubles as a member of the ensemble FLOW and in collaboration with musician (also a member of FLOW) and producer Will Ackerman co-produced an award winning debut album for American artist Jennifer DeFrayne. Fiona Joy, as she is sometimes referred to is also a visual artist and some of her own paintings are featured in the gallery.

Elegant while seated in front of her piano, vivacious while doing this Skype interview and giving us a tour of her gallery and down to earth enough to have become the mother to numerous orphaned Joeys (baby kangaroos), one immediately recognizes the deep connection between nature and her music.

“The love for nature and animals has always been there from when I was a little girl. I used to bring home strays all of the time. I would land at home with a cat or a dog. I would find a dog with a broken leg or a bird with a broken wing or that was starving to death. I have always had a lot of animals. When my kids were growing up I was a wildlife information and rescue officer.  I took some courses about kangaroos, so I was able to hand raise joeys (baby kangaroos). When the mother is killed and the joey gets thrown from the pouch someone has to raise it and that is something that I did. It was a volunteer job, but I loved it, because I love animals,” she says.

Continuing to talk about the connection between her art, music and nature Fiona Joy Hawkins says, “It is all the same daydream. It is that same type of daydreaming world.  As for my love for animals, sometimes you can connect more with animals than you can with people.  Animals are so Read More

Hope Juber Interview Part One

Hope Juber Photo Front PageShe we cannot say much about this yet, but even though Hope Juber is an actress, a very successful playwright and screenwriter, singer, songwriter and oh let’s not forget that she also produces music, as well as films, She may just have another really good movie on the way. Sorry that is all we can tell you for now…except…

“I have had readings of my movie that I wrote with my partner Ellen Guylas (Full House, Newhart, Three’s Company, Who’s The Boss?) I am very passionate about this particular project, because it is totally mine,” says Hope Juber.

For those not familiar with her work, among other things she has acted in, worked on and produced the television series for, movies of and musicals based on Gilligan’s Island and The Brady Bunch, both of which were created by her father Sherwood Schwartz.

“I had the idea for this movie a few years ago and I brought it to my partner Ellen Guylas and we started talking about it. It was the only project I ever took to my dad. I told him all the different ideas I had and what I was working on. When I took him this one he said you keep going with this one, because this is your commercial hit movie. He said I want you to keep going. Will you promise me you will? I said yes.

I have been working on it for a long time and I am hopeful, because this is a movie that has to be made. It is a very expensive movie, so it involves major studio involvement and that is not easy to do. It is going to take me a while. I won’t say exactly what it is now, but it is a big family movie. I am very passionate about it.  Read More

Stellar Album by Mandy Barnett

Mandy Barnett photo for front pageAlthough Mandy Barnett made a name for herself portraying the legendary Country music singer Patsy Cline in the musical Always…Patsy Cline, her new album Strange Conversation showcases in splendid fashion her versatility as an artist, as she easily transitions into other genres. The album opens with Blues singer Mable John’s “More Lovin’,” and Barnett turns up the heat right away with a sultry vocal performance that will have you tapping your toes, nodding your head and moving your shoulders.  The song is a duet with Arnold McCuller and the two singers complement each other well. 

It becomes immediately apparent on this album that the producers Marco Giovino (Norah Jones, Robert Plant, and Patty Griffin) and Doug Lancio (Gretchen Peters, John Hiatt, and Patty Griffin) ensured that Mandy Barnett was accompanied by musicians who understood that their role was to compliment Barnett. They become the perfect dance partners with Mandy Barnett leading the way and like any truly great performance you find yourself caught up in the moment. Tom West’s organ sets the mood, Viktor Krauss is on bass, Giovino keeps beat on drums and Lancio is the guitarist. Grammy Award winning sound engineer Gord Hammond from The Nuthouse studio in Sheffield, Alabama does a superb job.

Released on Dame Records, Mandy Barnett’s own label and distributed by Thirty Tigers, Strange Conversation is a collection of songs that is a “must have” for anyone who truly appreciates well thought out song selections that showcase a singer and make you sit up and go “wow.” Read More

Interview with Brad Cole

Brad Cole Front Page PhotoWhen you listen to Brad Cole speak, the casual way in which he talks about his own accomplishments and the gratitude that he expresses would lead the uniformed to conclude that he is just a guy trying to find his way in the music world. That is unless, you already know enough about Cole to ask him about being the musical director and keyboardist for Phil Collins for twenty-eight years or his work as a musician, sound engineer, arranger and producer with a star studded array of artists that includes Paula Abdul, Gino Vanelli, Dave Koz, Michael Bolton, Darlene Koldenhoven, Rita Coolidge, Brenda Russell, Peabo Bryson, Al Jarreau and the late Natalie Cole, as well as numerous others. Brad Cole who as we write this is in the midst of a North American tour with Phil Collins, took time out recently just prior to his leaving for the tour, to talk about his career.

Brad Cole grew up in a suburb of Philadelphia and despite the fact it was a burgeoning scene for Doo Wop, Pop Music and Rhythm and Blues in the late 1950s and throughout much of the 1960s, Cole was drawn to music far removed from what most people his age were listening to at the time.

“That is a somewhat amusing part of it, because when I was a kid after a certain time I had no interest at all in listening to AM radio and bubble gum Pop music. Even The Beatles and stuff I became a real snob about. I was a Jazz purist and a Classical purist and I was that way for much of the rest of high school. By the time The Beatles’ Abbey Road came out, which was 1969 that is when I started getting reacquainted with mainstream Pop and Rock. I also liked Cream (Eric Clapton, Ginger Baker, Jack Bruce). I came back to it Read More

Karin Risberg and Angel Blue

Karin Risberg Photo for Front PageFrom Pop singer to Swedish Country music star and from the small town of Skelleftehamn, just a couple of hours from the Arctic Circle to France, back to Sweden and onstage in Nashville with the legendary Time Jumpers and Vince Gill, that just about sums up Karin Risberg’s career as a singer, songwriter and guitarist.

Risberg has a 2019 tour planned with her friend Country music singer Cina Samuelson as the duo Honky Tonk Angels, a duo that still performs at times with Kerstin Dahlberg as the trio Three Chicks. The group Three Chicks has been performing together since the 2010 Lida Country Music Festival in Sweden, while Honky Tonk Angels made their debut in September of this year (2018) when they performed at the Sweden Country Music SM.

So where did this all begin for Karin Risberg? Her answer is not surprising, as she continues the long line of outstanding Swedish singers and musicians who have come from small towns and villages throughout the country.

“I was born in a small town called Skelleftehamn and it is in the north of Sweden, eight hundred kilometers north of Stockholm. It is very close to the Arctic Circle. I grew up in a family with my mom and my dad and a little sister. My mom used to sing in the choir and she also sang for me every night when I was going to sleep. She was the only (musical person) in our family. My father always encouraged me. He heard me singing all of the time when I was a little girl. He was proud of me, so he had me sing everywhere that I went  Read More

Hayley Sales - "Like Never Before"

Hayley Sales Photo front pageRarely in this century has an individual come along who possesses the ability to equally amaze others with her acting and her musical talent to the degree that American / Canadian Hayley Sales does. It has been an incredibly busy late summer and early fall for the affable Hayley Sales, as she recorded one album, is recording another, shot a film and a television episode and in the midst of all that she also got married.

Sales, took time out from her busy schedule to sit down with Riveting Riffs Magazine to discuss at length her album Slightly Out of Tune, which will be released in the spring of 2019 (She has posted some songs on YouTube), her twin careers and to share a little bit about her life.

The self-described romantic co-produced her album (and yes she really does know her way around a recording studio) with her father Richard Sales, known for his work as a producer and sound engineer with the Grateful Dead, The Ramones and Miles Davis. The songs on Slightly Out of Tune range from those that invite the listener to dance, such as the opening track “I Don’t Believe,” and the retro infused “Waiting It Out,” backed by a stellar horn section and the soulful “Out of Tune,” to her romantic love letter “Like Never Before,” co-written with Sharon Stone.

Often punctuating our conversation with light laughter Hayley Sales talks about her musical influences, “I have always been in  Read More

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Terri Lynn Davis

Terri Lynn Davis Photo for front pageChasing Parked Cars a new album from Portland, Oregon’s Terri Lynn Davis scheduled for release on February 15th on the eve of her national tour may be the best album that you hear by a still relatively new artist in 2019. Consisting of five songs, which we suppose many would refer to as an EP, but here at Riveting Riffs Magazine we do not make a distinction, it boasts a collection of finely crafted original songs and superb musicians. While the album is more Country than it is of any other genre the best song on Chasing Parked Cars is “Times Past,” which merges pedal steel guitar and electric guitars with fabulous vocals that remind one of Stevie Nicks. The melody also suggests, but in no way copies Fleetwood Mac.

Terri Lynn Davis wrote the song “Times Past,” which showcases her fabulous vocals, surprisingly so, because she had very limited formal vocal instruction earlier in life. Yet, those amazing vocals were also evident on a previously recorded album with, “Montana Love Song.” Davis is also an amazing songwriter and “Times Past,” paints word pictures, “river of time,” and the desire to slow everything down “be still my mind.” The gentle melody is matched by lyrics such as “floating down the river with you.” You watch a story unfold of two people the first time they met with the sun glistening on their skin and with their toes in the sand. Musicians of note on “Times Past,” are Tucker Jackson on pedal steel, lead guitarist Nick Champeau and rhythm guitarist Jacob Miller. Ben Nugent keeps time on drums.

Terri Lynn Davis gives credit to her producer Ryan Oxford for assembling the fine cast of musicians for Chasing Parked Cars, which also includes Andew Jones on bass guitar. Michele Linn who appears as a background vocalist as performed with Terri Lynn Davis for several years.   

“I met them the day that we recorded the album in person, but I had sent those charts, rough recordings and the ideas for some changes a couple of weeks prior to that. The magic happened in one day at the studio and before each song I explained what I wanted. The charts were revised, tempo was discussed and the feel of the song Read More

Nichole Wagner

Nichole Wagner Front Page PhotoThe album And The Sky Caught Fire by Austin, Texas (by way of Colorado) singer and songwriter Nichole Wagner opens with the laid-back song “Winner Takes All,” demonstrates Wagner's ability to create a cinematic landscape with her lyrics, as she explores both the physical and emotional uneasiness of a relationship coming to an end.

Nichole Wagner says, “(The song) “Winner Take All” is interesting to me, because a lot of my songs tend to be very storytelling, so they cover a large period of time. “Winner Take All,” is about a moment shorter than the actual song. It is that last few seconds while the sun was setting on this breakup that I was going through, but that is not when I wrote the song. I wrote the song a couple of years after the breakup.  Things in your mind get triggered and you think about what it was like to be in those very few seconds and if anything could have possibly changed the outcome.

It is a song that came together fairly quickly and I wrote it in maybe an hour and one-half, which is also unusual for me. I tend to sit around with songs and work with them instead of just letting them come. There were a couple of verses that got cut, because they didn’t say anything new.  They just delved into more of what went wrong in the relationship. It turned out it didn’t really matter, because the song is not about the relationship, so much as it is about the last few seconds.”

As to whether or not Nichole Wagner finds it easier to write about those more personal times, while still sitting with those feelings or if it is easier once she has a little bit of emotional distance, she says, “It really depends on the subject matter. There are other songs on this record that were written very much in the moment. “Let Me Know,” was written when I was out of town and getting ready to go on an adventure. I was going out for dinner with somebody that I fancied and I was really struggling with the feeling. That song was written in the moment whereas  Read More

Tom Saviano - Interview Part One

Tom Saviano Photo Front PageIn one or more of the following capacities, Tom Saviano has played live or recorded in the studio with and / or composed for or arranged music for artists and bands such as, Chicago, Juice Newton, Sheena Easton, Dolly Parton, Sweden’s Björn Skifs, KISS, David Foster, Dusty Springfield, Melissa Manchester, Bill Champlin, Leo Sayer and many other iconic artists.

One might say that Tom Saviano’s journey to becoming one of the most respected individuals in the music industry began with his childhood in a multi-ethnic neighborhood in Chicago. On the other hand it is far more likely that we can say that odyssey began with his father Albert who was born in 1920.

“My dad came through the depression. By the time he was fifteen they were six years (removed) from the ’29 crash. There were fourteen children in the family and there was not enough money to buy each of the children instruments, so he waited until he was married to my mom and I think she helped him buy his first instrument. 

(When he was growing up) he wanted to play so badly, while he watched his older brothers play (an instrument) that he would play a paper accordion. It was almost sad and funny at the same time. He was so hungry to be a musician that once he got a horn he just ate it up. That is all he did.

He found Zilner Randolph (Jazz trumpeter) when he saw Lil Armstrong, Louis Armstrong’s wife coming down the steps of a hotel, the Grand Terrace in Chicago. He approached her and asked if she knew anybody who would be a good teacher and who would teach him how to arrange. She gave him Zilner Randolph’s phone number.  Zilner was the conductor and the music director of the Louis Armstrong band,” says Saviano.

Continuing he says, “In the forties for the most part when you traveled to gigs it was by train and there were not many pianos on the trains. Read More

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The Age of Adaline - Film Review

The Age of Adaline Photo Front PageThe Age of Adaline is a film directed by Lee Toland Krieger and starring Blake Lively (Adaline Bowman) and Michiel Huisman (Ellis Jones). Harrison Ford, Kathy Baker and Ellen Burstyn co-starred in this film. The film was co-produced by Lakeshore Entertainment and Sidney Kimmel Entertainment and it was released to cinemas in 2015. Think of this review, as revisiting a classic, only it is not old enough to yet be considered vintage. It would not be correct in referring to The Age of Adaline as a romantic movie, although it has that element to it. In some ways the film is a tragedy without a tragic ending and in other ways it is a drama with many moments of both joy and sadness.

The Age of Adaline received mixed reviews and the box office take is best described as modest, even though during the first week it ranked as number three.

J. Mills Goodloe and Salvador Paskowitz crafted an excellent screenplay that drew some criticism for being slow moving in the beginning, but that criticism came from people who obviously do not understand the necessity of building a strong backstory for a character, Adaline Bowman whose life spanned 107 years. Did we happen to mention that she stopped aging, when she was twenty-nine years old?

We are not going to give away all of the secrets of this movie, but suffice to say that Adaline endures a life that simply does not allow her to live.  The fact that she never ages would become suspicious and subject her to becoming a medical sideshow, so she stays in one spot for a year and then moves on.  As the decades pass, so do the people she has known and her own daughter (Flemming played by Ellen Burstyn) becomes the senior citizen that Adaline will never be.  

Blake Lively puts in one of the most powerful acting performances by a man or a woman in any era of film and after his appearance one-half of the way through the movie Harrison Ford is Read More

All written material, all photographs and all designs are protected by copyright © and patents by the writers, photographers, editors, designers, musicians, songwriters musicians and filmmakers who contribute to Riveting Riffs Magazine or have by consent allowThe third song on the album “Black Rain,” is poignant in its social commentary, Thompson explains, “Black Rain was inspired by all of the shootings that have been happening for a good long while. I was thinking about Ferguson when Ferguson first happened. Then I got thinking about Virginia Tech and some of these other instances, which were not police oriented shootings, such as San Bernardino with the terrorists. It is making me ill. If you think about these schools it just keeps getting worse and worse with the copycat scenario.  It is just too much and I felt like I needed to write something. I just want to say how can we stop this? People need to think about it. ed their work to be exhibited in Riveting Riffs Magazine, and / or Riveting Riffs Magazine and Joe Montague. Use of any material that appears in Riveting Riffs Magazine, without the written permission of the publisher and where applicable other rights holders, is strictly prohibited and is subject to legal action. This includes the reprinting, in whole or in part on the internet, by photocoping, reposting on blogs or other websites or magazines or newspapers that appear in print or quoting more than 200 words of any one composition, on terrestrial radio, internet radio, satellite radio, webcasts or television. The Riveting Riffs Magazine logo is copyright and trademark protected any infringement will result in legal action.