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Sweden's David Carlson

david carlson photo front pageThere are some things that strike you immediately about David Carlson and despite his great talents as a songwriter, singer, guitarist and a poet, all of that takes a back seat to his personal achievements that are of far more importance, becoming sober eleven years ago when he won the battle over alcohol and after many years of being misdiagnosed, he finally obtained the correct medical assistance in the past couple of years and with the aid of the correct medication and hard work on his part he now effectively manages the bipolar part of his nature.   

One of the more striking things that you notice about David Carlson when he speaks is the genuine sense of gratitude with which he lives his life. It is never pretense, but it flows as naturally from his lips as his beautiful vocals on songs such as “Till Alla Dom.” You hear the warmth and the pride in his voice as he pauses momentarily during our conversation to take a call from his son.

Carlson has worked with some of Sweden’s more prominent artists, as a member of the Raj Montana Band with Dan Hylander and Py Backman, a band that garnered four gold abums. He has also performed and / or recorded with Tove Naess, Susanne Alfvengren, Mikael Rickfors and the late Ted Gärdestad. Carlson toured as a member of The Crickets, which at the time included two original members of Buddy Holly’s band. Yet despite all of his musical accomplishments over the past four decades, at Read More

Nilla Nielsen

Nilla Nielsen review front pageRecently, Riveting Riffs Magazine came across a musical gem that we had not heard previously, the 2008 album release Shellshocked from Swedish singer, songwriter and musician Nilla Nielsen. One of the responsibilities of a songwriter and singer is to evoke a strong emotional response from listeners and this collection of songs accomplishes that.

These songs demonstrate imagination and versatility. The hard hitting instruments and jagged pace of the vocals on “The Mister Song,” remind one of early Alanis Morissette meets early Sheryl Crow. The song opens with ethereal keyboards which quickly give way to cutting guitars and booming drums, matched by edgy lyrics about experiences with men who “lie until they believe themselves,” and others who simply present a façade hoping that you will buy the romantic lines that they are selling.

“Just Don’t Want To Talk About It,” has an easygoing melody and it is hauntingly beautiful. In the first verse one gets the sense of being lost or trying to navigate this sense of aloneness. Like an actor ‘in the moment’ Nilla Nielsen’s vocals match that emotional void that now exists after a relationship has ended. Her lyrics “love is fragile and it bleeds,” and “But I feel alone and I just don’t wanna talk about it,” as well as, “…is it hurting you this way?” reflect the heartbreak and asks are you struggling to deal with this as much as I am? Linnea Olsson’s cello is breathtakingly beautiful as she compliments Nilla Nielsen’s vocals and her acoustic guitar. Read More

Kirsten Nash Releases a New Album

Kirsten Nash 2016 front pageFrom the artwork that adorns the front cover, to the graphic design of the CD cover, inside and out and the songs that comprise A Feather And A Scale the new album from Canadian singer, songwriter and musician Kirsten Nash, this is a masterpiece. Oh did we happen to mention that the artwork on the front cover is a painting by Nash, just one of the many gifts that this artisan possesses. The graphic design is by Heather Aston.      

Kirsten Nash vocals are sublime and they are showcased in her song “Easy Gets So Hard,” with its mix of R&B, Soul and Funk grooves and rhythms. Kirsten Nash’s saxophone is superb, Darryl Havers’ organ compliments nicely and adds texture and Pat Steward (The Odds, Bryan Adams, Matthew Good) is his incredible self on drums.

“I think the lyrics speak for themselves. We all have dreams and things that we want to do and things that we think maybe are going to be easy. We go down that path and it turns out to not be as easy as you thought it was going to be.  Life just takes you where it is going to take you. It can be rather tricky to deal with it. Sometimes easy just gets so hard. That is basically what (the song) is about,” says Nash.

She describes the new album as being about life and says that the initial inspiration came about when a friend of Nash’s youngest son, experienced his mother’s dying when she was still Read More

Rich Spina and The Fire

Rich Spina Front Page PhotoRich Spina (pronounced spee nah) earlier this year (2015) released Silly Melodies & Soliloquies, a solo album comprised of twelve songs, eleven of which were written and arranged entirely by him and the third track “The Fire,” was a co-write with Cindy Smart. Those who live in Cleveland, Ohio may recall the teenage Spina bursting onto the local music scene and fronting a couple of bands, the most notable being Love Affair, which enjoyed some success with the song “Mama Sez.” When Love Affair disbanded on amiable terms, Spina put together another band, Richard & The Heartbeats, whose song, “Somebody Loves You,” was a national pick by Billboard Magazine. Those who are aficionados of the 1960s music scene may recognize Rich Spina as the former keyboardist and music director for Gary Lewis & the Playboys for eighteen years, before he started touring with Peter Noone of Herman’s Hermits. Spina’s songs have been recorded by artists such as Billy Hufsey, Gary Lewis and Sonny Geraci (The Outsiders – “Time Won’t Let Me,” and Climax – “Precious and Few”). In addition he has produced Billy J. Kramer, Mark Lindsay and others.

“It took much longer (to complete) that the album should have taken, because I was doing it in between my touring. It took me a year or a year and one-half to get the album done and I was knocking off songs whenever I could. I was purposely putting a collection together that was a little more adult. In other words, I stayed away from my Rock side on that album and I was keeping it more Pop. In  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. Read More

Cindy Alexander An American Girl

cindy alexander photo front pageMusic fans everywhere are in for a real treat, as Cindy Alexander is about to release her new EP An American Girl, which can stand on its merit as a quality collection of great songs, but it also serves as a prelude to an even bigger undertaking, a double album that is already in the works.

On the phone from her home in Los Angles, singer, songwriter and musician Cindy Alexander explains, “I am doing a series of EPs and I am working with different co-writers / producers, so the next EP I will be doing is with Colin Devlin and I have some more surprises in store. We are going to take these EPs and put them together into a double album with probably some extra tracks, some live tracks and a couple of extra songs. We are going to create a double LP, Four Sides of Cindy Alexander. The next EP will probably come out in March and three to four months after that there will be another one. I would say probably next year by this time.”

The eight song An American Girl record demonstrates masterful songwriting, fabulous vocals, top-notch production quality and good musicians.  In addition to Alexander playing piano and singing the EP also features, Chip Moreland (drums and background vocals), Carl Sealove (bass), Phil Parlapiano (keyboards and piano), Dave Darling (guitar and background vocals), Randy Ray Mitchell (guitar, dobro), percussionist Tina Trevino, violinist Serena McKinney,  Read More

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