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Nilla Nielsen Releases New Album

Nilla Nielsen Photo Front PageSinger, songwriter, musician and suspense novelist Nilla Nielsen may be the best kept secret outside of Sweden or at least to North American music fans. The very congenial Swede has just released a brand new album Good Day and it opens with a fabulous the fabulous title song. It starts out slowly, before hitting stride as a mid-tempo song and Nielsen’s vocals are backed by strong musicians, Bengt Johnson on drums, Niklas Ekelund (electric and acoustic guitar, mandolin), Erik Urban on bass, Tomas Pettersson on Hammond organ and Nilla Nielsen also plays harmonica.

Nielsen describes “Destination Unknown,” in this way, “It is about a true adventure. I was traveling around in Sweden with my best girlfriend at the time and we met so many wonderful people. When I sing this line about, “Angels in worn out shoes,” it was a homeless person that we met on the street and it just moved us. We had a very special connection. The song is about us traveling around, all of the meetings, how open the feeling was, how open the world was and how it felt. We were never alone. It doesn’t matter where you are, (because) it is about who you are there with.”

Most of the songs on the album were both mixed and mastered by Nilla Nielsen, with the exception of a couple of them that are from older recordings, but she mastered those ones as well in her own studio. Good Day, the album, showcases Nielsen’s ability to easily transcend genre boundaries.

“It (the album) is put together from different sessions in different places and different collaborations. The bonus track (“Dark Side of the Moon”) is an old recording with my friend Lasse Lindbom who produced it and I just put it on, because otherwise it will never come out and I have very good memories of the song. I love the song. The production is a little bit different and that is why I put it as a bonus track. I thought it fit well on this album,” she says.

“Dark Side of the Moon,” is a really good Rock song and Nilla Nielsen’s vocals are outstanding, as she combines sensuality with edginess.   Read More

Katie Garibaldi and Rooted Clarity

Katie Garibaldi front pageCalifornia singer, songwriter and musician Katie Garibaldi is not a rocker, not a twanger and nor is she a jazzer. Her pretty and ethereal vocals and her relatable songs are self-described as being gentle Americana or orchestral Americana. Certainly the gentle Americana description is appropriate for the five songs from her new EP Rooted Clarity. Nathan Lowry’s beautiful violin and cellist Emily Nelson give a fuller sound to “Bird In A Cage,” and help to create a breathtaking beauty that compliments Garibaldi’s vocals.

“I have heard that a lot of artists sometimes think that louder is better and I don’t fit into that belief. I think the way my voice is naturally and pairing it with the string players and the orchestral sound is what comes with that description. The gentle and ethereal (description of my music) comes from my voice and how it is naturally soft.

Americana to me is music from the heart, it is storytelling and it is truth from your heart. It is all about showcasing the lyrics and the emotion behind the lyrics. It is always most important just to get the story across,” says Katie Garibaldi.  

The other common theme throughout the music of Katie Garibaldi is that of love. It is evidenced on several of her albums in songs such as the upbeat and fun, “Lock the Door, Lose the Key,” and “Always Kiss Me Goodnight,” both from the Follow Your Heart album, “Hey, Hey Darlin’,” “Love Without Chains,” “and “Falling For You,” (all from Next Ride Out), and her single “Baby We’re In Love.”

“I think I am a romantic at heart. I grew up listening to a lot of Pop music and Rock and Roll, (such as) The Beatles, Elvis and Huey Lewis and people like that who were really big on love songs. I am happily married and I get a lot of inspiration from that, with the different little facets of being in love and falling in love. It is an endless bucket of inspiration that I can just grab songs out of and lyrics out of. For my album Follow Your Heart, I wrote most of those songs during the time that I was engaged or newly married, so a lot of those songs revolve around being in love and being a newlywed,” Read More


Singer Andrea Celeste - Jewerly by Comotto Gioielli

Andrea Celeste Front Page Photo
 
Photo by Roberto "Robbo" Vigo

Anna Danes Has Found Her Wings

Photo front page Imagine if you will for a moment living in three different countries by the time you are eleven years old and having to escape the first one under the guise of a vacation. Then you achieve scholastic excellence in your new found home, begin a promising career as an attorney, give it all up for love and move to a fourth country. As a single parent you think you are giving your child a gift by providing her with singing lessons, she stubbornly refuses to take part in them and then magic, at the suggestion of the vocal coach you take the rest of the lessons and you launch a career as a Jazz singer, topped off by recording your most recent album in the very same studio where Frank Sinatra once recorded. It sounds a little farfetched I know, except all of this really happened and it could not possibly have happened to a more deserving person than the warm and gracious Jazz singer Anna Danes, who now makes her home in San Diego, California. This is only part of Anna Danes’ story, read further and you will discover a courageous lady who is always looking forward, who does not dwell on the disappointments of the past and who just released her second album.  

Anna Danes’ story begins in Gdansk, Poland, “Life (in Poland) was certainly very, very different than it is here, especially on the economic side of things and with personal freedoms, because there were none.  It was the time of the communist regime in Poland and so things were scarce and you had to fight to survive every day.  You couldn’t leave the country, unless the government gave you permission to leave the country.  You couldn’t speak your mind and if you could speak your mind it could backfire and it would affect your career, your family and life sometimes.  It was living in hiding in a way. It could put great limitations on your Read More

Jenny Jones - Coconut Cake Recipe

Jenny Jones Coconut Cake recipe Photo Front PageJenny Jones hosted her own nationally syndicated talk show but that was just one of many jobs that Jenny has held, including waitress, bookkeeper, author, comedian, musician, singer, songwriter, caterer and chef.

Jenny Jones Easy One Bowl Coconut Cake

t’s best to have all your ingredients at room temperature and I highly recommend using a cake strip so the edges don't over-bake. Be sure to aerate your flour before measuring.- Jenny Jones

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook Time: 30minutes

Total Time: 40 minutes

Makes:       8 servings

Ingredients:

1/2 cup sugar

2 eggs

1 teaspoon vanilla

1/3 cup oil (any vegetable oil or extra light olive oil)

1/2 cup milk (I use 1% low fat milk)  

Read More

La La Land - Film Review

La La Land Photo for front pageLa La Land is about dreamers and dreams. It is also about falling in love, falling in love with your dreams and falling in love with someone, but not just anyone, someone who encourages you and supports you in the pursuit of your dreams. It is about knowing that realizing your dreams comes at a cost both personally and financially.

Winner of the People’s Choice Award at the Toronto International Film Festival, La La Land, written and directed by Damien Chazelle and with spectacular performances by Ryan Gosling (as Sebastian) and Emma Stone (as Mia), brings back the charm of classic Hollywood musicals, while adhering to a good storyline.

Damien Chazelle says, “With La La Land I wanted to explore how you balance life with art and how you balance dreams and reality,” and he goes on to say, “I wanted to use music and dance to express it. The movie is about passion for art and passion for love. It is about using dreams and using fantasy to comment on reality.”

Sebastian is a Jazz pianist and singer / composer and Mia is a struggling actress. Sebastian is playing in a restaurant where nobody seems to be listening and Mia is a barista with a stack of audition rejections that are piling up. They keep bumping into each other despite themselves and yes they fall in love.

We will paraphrase a line from the film, but remember it. Sebastian tells Mia that he wants to take her to see a film, “strictly for research purposes.”  Read More

Katie Ferrara Takes to the Streets

Katie Ferrara Front Page PhotoNot all buskers get a big breakthrough and not all artists who play in popular clubs make a lot of money or see their stars rise, but we think that Katie Ferrara will likely soon establish herself as an artist who can write her own ticket. The bubbly twenty-something year old singer, songwriter and guitarist has performed at clubs such as the House of Blues and the now departed Key Club, but she saw an opportunity to grow her fan base and her financial reserves more quickly by taking to the streets, breaking the mold of artists who usually start with being a street performer and then graduate to something else. However, her bold moves and her good business instincts opened up opportunities to perform in places such as New Zealand and Italy. Katie Ferrara took time out recently to talk to Riveting Riffs Magazine about her new EP titled Dream Catcher.

Dream Catcher is Ferrara’s third recording, being preceded by Naturally in 2013 and before that When Love Is Not Around in 2011.

“I started (putting together) Dream Catcher in March of 2015. I was looking for a producer and I was doing a lot of busking at the time. I think the song writing is a little bit more developed (than the previous two albums) and it is deeper. (In the beginning) I just wanted something to give to people. I think I am at the point in my career now when I am really starting to think about the marketing side and I (want) to be a better songwriter. I think the EP shows that progression in my artistry.

When I was starting out I didn’t know if I was going to make music my career. I was just  Read More

Passengers - A Film Review

Passengers Photo Front PagePassengers has pretty well everything you could hope for in a movie, drama, suspense, humor and romance. The storyline at times can be a little predictable, but the ending not necessarily so. Aurora Lane (played by Jennifer Lawrence) and Jim Preston (Chris Pratt) are two of 5,000 passengers on a ship. The hitch is they are all on a spaceship, the voyage takes 120 years from earth to a distant planet or moon where they will establish a colony called Homestead II and all of the passengers and crew are in stasis or hibernating. That makes sense or they would all die before they reach the colony. Things do not go as planned however and without giving away too much of the storyline Jim’s pod decides he should wake up thirty years into the trip. He is the only one that is awake. What to do? He still has 90 more years before he reaches Homestead II and unless he discovers that someone has stashed onboard the fountain of youth, he is not going to be around to see Homestead II.

As Jim explores the ship, Avalon, he takes dance lessons from holographic images, dines in fancy restaurants served by robots and he plays basketball in simulated games with holographic crowds. He discovers Arthur the android bartender and they become buddies, well sort of. When Jim tries to talk to Arthur about his loneliness and the dilemma he faces about whether or not to wake up a beautiful woman he accidentally discovered in another pod, Arthur simply does not have the ability to understand, after all he is a machine, no matter how much he looks like a regular bartender. When Jim peeks over the bar he also discovers that Arthur does not have any legs.  Read More

Barbara Dennerlein - DVD / CD

Barbara Dennerlein fpBarbara Dennerlein one of the world’s most highly regarded organists and Jazz composers just released a brand new CD and DVD, My Moments, recorded live at Studio Acusticum in the northern Swedish town of Piteá. The original Jazz compositions are played on both the Hammond organ, for which she is more widely known and the pipe organ. The very congenial Dennerlein who has become a good friend of Riveting Riffs Magazine over the years spoke to us from her home in Germany and referred to this CD / DVD as her most personal recording so far.  

She explains why, “It is so pure. It is a solo situation. I am alone with both instruments. It is so personal. I think my personal style has developed over many, many years and it is very special. When you have a solo situation you can hear it more clearly. Also you can hear the little things. Very often when you have a drummer with you no matter how good he is it is always covering details from the organ sound. I do so many little things, because I love the sound and I love the colors that you can make and little changes. I like to experiment with sound and I can do this alone with my instruments. That is why I think it is my most personal one.

(Also), there is nobody else that you can hide behind. You have your own inspiration. I play the pedals very intensely, I have a whole band in a way, as I play with my feet the bass player’s work and I have both of my hands for comping and soloing. It gives me a lot of freedom and my style, which is very different from other organists, can be heard very clearly on the solo performance. It is wonderful and I just can let it go and it flows. Read More

Gypsy Soul - 20 Years of Great Music

Gypsy Soul 2016 front page photoGypsy Soul, the husband and wife duo of Roman Morykit and Cilette Swan, augmented by an assortment of musicians, just announced the North American release of their new album, simply titled True. It is their thirteenth recording and the songwriting, instrumentals, vocals and production capture the essence of this superbly talented and equally congenial twosome. There are no weak links with this collection of eleven songs.    

When asked to reflect upon the fact that Gypsy Soul has established a musical legacy that has endured for almost twenty years, Roman Morykit says, “It is interesting, because I have never even given it a lot of thought. It is just one of the things that we do, it is like breathing. It’s like it is time for another record, we have enough material. It is part of who we are and what we do. It is only when people like yourself who are friends and fans point out that we have made thirteen albums that we realize we have had a career of (almost) twenty years as Gypsy Soul. It will be twenty years next year.

Back to Cilette’s earlier point, it is short and time flies by and all of a sudden you are on number thirteen. It is astonishing to us actually that we have managed to keep doing this for this long.”

For the Oregon couple, the story of Gypsy Soul begins twenty-seven years ago in Edinburgh, Scotland.

That would make us twenty-nine now,” says Roman.

“I know we met as toddlers right,”  Read More

Cindy Alexander and Deep Waters

Cindy Alexander Photo One 2016Earlier this year Cindy Alexander released her album Deep Waters, a collaborative effort with Colin Devlin of The Devlins. It is Cindy Alexander’s best album yet. It is a collection of songs that are original tunes, with two exceptions a cover of “Heaven’s Wall,” by The Devlins and Jann Arden’s “Good Mother.”

The new album opens with Cindy Alexander covering “Heaven’s Wall,” a 1990s song by the Irish band The Devlins, from their 1997 album Waiting. She has always had a good voice, but this song fits very well with Alexander’s vocals and her phrasing is excellent. As the song builds to a crescendo at the 2:30 mark Cindy Alexander’s connection with this song is evident as she repeats the chorus “Come on, take my hand, we’ll rise above it all / Then we can meet as planned outside of heaven’s wall.” 

“When I was going through Colin’s material, before we were going to start writing together, I was listening to his music and I came across this song. It is a Devlin’s song from the ‘90s and it hooked me. I loved the groove and I loved that the beat was relentless, but there was this slow and steady build. It kept going through my head and it was an earworm. When it came time to put the songs together I thought it would be nice to cover one of his songs. I love the guitar solo by Colin,” says Alexander.

The album Deep Waters was difficult for us to get through the first time and only because each of the songs is so well presented that the Read More

Couture Designs By Isabel Lopez

Isabel Lopez Photo Two


Christmas Magical Musical Moments

Tamela DAmica Photo OneHere are some Christmas singles to add to your collection.

Tamela D’Amico has a fabulous rendition of “Winter Wonderland. Riveting Riffs Magazine has always been a big fan of D’Amico as her phrasing is impecable and she injects personality into each song. The musicians keep it simple allowing Tamela D’Amico’s vocals to be showcased. Brian Ward is on bass, Matt Hornbeck on guitars and Greg Sadler is the drummer.

“Christmas Lights,” is breathtakingly beautiful, as pianist Ben Burget elegantly accompanies Tamela D’Amico. The song has a wishful feel to it. This is a timeless classic and we guarantee you will enjoy this song for years to come.

Please visit Tamela D’Amico on her website.

Our friend Katie Cole, originally from Australia and now living in America, has released a stirring version of “O Little Town of Bethlehem.” Cole is accompanied by Justin Ostrander on guitar and it is a superb mix by Howard Willing. You can listen to Katie Cole singing “O Little Town of Bethlehem,” here. You can also visit Katie Cole's website here.

On the album front Chris Bennett’s When I Think of Christmas brings a Jazzy feel to your holidays. I have never been much of a fan when it comes to the song “Do You Hear What I Hear?” but Bennett brings a gentle swing to the song that makes a familiar tune fun. There is also a nice call and response with a chorus conisting of Anita Sherman, Marion Ramsey, Ariana Howell, Casey Jarvis and Chris Bennett also lends her vocals to the response.

Chris Bennett’s deeply personal  Read More

Kelita Heavenly Night Album

Kelita Photo OneKelita Haverland’s Christmas album Heavenly Night has been out for a few years now, but the nice thing about albums like this is each time December rolls around they take on a new life. This Christmas also served as an opportunity for Kelita (she is easily recognized by music fans by just her first name) and this writer to sit down and do an interview, something that we have attempted to do several times over the years and busy schedules for one or the other or both of us simply got in the way.

The Juno Awards are Canada’s top music award and Kelita has been nominated five different times for an award. She is recognized as an impactful, inspirational speaker who does not try to charm you or sell you some magic potion that will cure all life’s ills and nor does she try to tell you that if you do everything a certain way that you will never have a problem again. She just tells you how it is, through her music and through her speaking. She has experienced more tragic events than most and yet if you did not know her story you would never guess that was the case. When we first became aware of Kelita, about sixteen years ago she brought to life several funny characters she had created over the years. Since that time she has also been featured as a keynote speaker for TED X. She would also tell you that the most important thing you can know about her is that her faith in God informs the way that she lives her life and the decisions that she makes.

Kelita talks about how Heavenly Night came to be, “I saw a program on television that was on the sex trafficking of little girls in Cambodia and I was so impacted by what I saw that I ended up writing a song, “Not Just This Christmas,” that is on the Christmas CD and I ended up performing it on TV. I met the producer of the segment Read More

German Actress Marina Welsch

Marina Welsch Photo OneA.R. Gurney’s play Love Letters was presented in Solingen, Germany during the spring of 2016 and it starred German actors Marina Welsch and Michael Lesch, with Lesch also directing the play. The play originally was staged Off Broadway in New York City and starred Kathleen Turner and John Rubinstein in 1989 and Love Letters was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize for Drama. The story is told through letters that were written by the characters, Andrew Makepeace Ladd III and Melissa Gardner to each other throughout their lives. The response for tickets was so great that an additional performance was added at Theater Kammerspielchen and Welsch and Lesch also have plans to present Love Letters in several other German cities during the autumn of 2016.  

Just prior to the opening of the play in Solingen, the warm and thoughtful Marina Welsch took a few minutes to sit down with Riveting Riffs Magazine to discuss the play, the art gallery that she owns and her life and career.

As for staging Love Letters in Germany, Welsch explains, “It was my idea. Christina, Michael’s wife, was my former acting agent years ago and at the time he was still very busy doing TV serials. He is quite well-known in Germany. When I changed my agency and I lost track of Christina, but when I opened my gallery in September (2015), she went there and meanwhile Michael had returned to Solingen, which was his family’s home years ago. Christina and I talked about what Michael was doing and what I was doing. I always dreamt of having a literature salon, something pure, theater work at home and reading something very intimate. I asked him if he was interested in doing Love Letters. At first I felt that we might do it at their house and then I thought we might do it at my gallery. Since the feedback was so great we couldn’t do it at home. I talked to a theater contact that I had worked with already. Michael said that he always wanted to do Love Letters and we rehearsed it over and over again, usually with a good meal, because Christina is a good cook.  I agreed  Read More

 Jennifer Lawrence, Los Angeles Premiere of Passengers

Jennifer Lawrence Front Page Photo

Photo by Eric Charbonneau © 2016 CTMG, Inc. All Rights Reserved

Time Sailors of Pizzolungo

Time Sailors front page photoIn a world where children have video games, high definition televisions to watch their favorite programs and parents take them to the cinema to watch the latest and greatest movies; it takes a special parent to give a child the gift of a book. Scott Abrams and Adam Blockton are the co-authors of a remarkable children’s book, Time Sailors of Pizzolungo. It is a timeless and classic adventure book that will entertain children and adults alike. More importantly this beautiful book stimulates the imagination in a warm, positive fashion in a world in which our children need to hear a message of hope and dream dreams of what someday might be and that they might become.  Join Guillermo, Piccolo, Enzo, Mario, Luca and Tony as they sail the high seas and create magic five centuries before any of these children were bornAs for staging Love Letters in Germany, Welsch explains, “It was my idea. Christina, Michael’s wife, was my former acting agent years ago and at the time he was still very busy doing TV serials. He is quite well-known in Germany. When I changed my agency and I lost track of Christina, but when I opened my gallery in September (2015), she went there and meanwhile Michael had returned to Solingen, which was his family’s home years ago. Christina and I talked about what Michael was doing and what I was doing. I always dreamt of having a literature salon, something pure, theater work at home and reading something very intimate. I asked him if he was interested in doing Love Letters. At first I felt that we might do it at their house and then I thought we might do it at my gallery. Since the feedback was so great we couldn’t do it at home. I talked to a theater contact that I had worked with already. Michael said that he always wanted to do Love Letters and we rehearsed it over and over again, usually with a good meal, because Christina is a good cook.  I agreed (to do the play) before I knew she was a good cook, so this is a very nice (benefit).”.

Scott Abrams sat down with Riveting Riffs Magazine recently to discuss this children’s Read More

 

 

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