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Kate Bass - Songs of the Open Road

Kate Bass Front Page PhotoIn recent years singer and songwriter Kate Bass had the opportunity to return to her personal roots and her career roots and it brought back special feelings for her. Most recently in July of this year (2017), Bass returned to perform in Alaska where she grew up listening to music ranging from Beethoven to The Beatles and a time when the animated film The Little Mermaid served as one of her early inspirations to pursue her lifelong dream of becoming a singer.

“Alaska was a particularly special tour for me, because it's my home, and I'm very proud to be from such an amazing place. I hadn’t been back in about five years, after my family moved out of state, so it was even more emotional for me because of that. The community out there is very strong, so I saw a lot of very special people from my past, and it really felt like the homecoming I was dreaming of having. My mother even flew out to surprise me. It was a very special moment getting to perform the song "Denali" in Alaska, since I wrote it about missing Alaska and wondering how I could ever find my way back there,” says Kate Bass.

Reflecting upon her childhood she says, “Alaska is one of the most beautiful places that I have been to in the world. There are vast amounts of wilderness, with big towering mountains and I grew up in Anchorage right on the coast. At least a couple of times a week you would be driving on a highway on the edge of the Pacific Ocean and on the other side there would be a mountain. It is really beautiful there.

“It is a surprisingly cultured place. There are a lot of people who move up there. Very interesting kinds of people move to frontier areas like Alaska. Both of my parents were musical, although they weren’t professional musicians. It was an important part of my family’s dynamic, enjoying music together.

My parents made sure that my sister and I had music lessons (from the time that) we were very little kids. I took the flute and she took  Read More

Makeup Artistry of Margret Avery

Margret Avery Photo for front pageFor someone who never planned on a career as a celebrity makeup artist, Margret Avery has done a good job of becoming one of America’s most sought after artists. A very small sample of her clients has included, Christy Turlington, Cindy Crawford, Barbra Streisand, Isabella Rossellini, Annette Benning and Naomi Campbell. Margret Avery has worked with some extraordinary photographers including, Helmut Newton, Denis Piel, Herb Ritts, Eric Boman and Irving Penn, to name but a few. She has worked with major brands such as, L’Oreal, Max Factor and Revlon.

She says, “I never thought of having a career as a makeup artist first and foremost. It never entered my mind.  I came to New York City from Ohio to go to college. I went to Parsons School of Design and my major was fashion design.

I came from a lower middle class family in Ohio and there wasn’t any money to put any of us six kids through college, so I had to put myself through college. I had a partial scholarship the first year and then full scholarships onward. I had to work a lot and at one point I had three part-time jobs with a full load of school. At one of the part-time jobs I met two guys who were aspiring photographers and they wanted to keep taking my picture. I felt so free in New York and being able to have this creative expression. Studying fashion design, I wore different wigs and makeup and clothes every day and it was like a game to me. It was a lot of fun. That is why they wanted to take my picture.

I however, am not comfortable with that and I didn’t really enjoy it, so I would start to grab fellow classmates and I would take them and I would transform them. We had all of these pictures that we had finished together  and a fellow classmate suggested that I take the pictures and I go to a magazine and show them what I could do, because I am actually really good as a makeup artist.

I had never thought about that, so I thought okay I will do that. I needed work. I needed yet another job during the summer, so, I was happy to go anywhere and I went to a magazine and I showed them the pictures. They hired me on the spot. I worked for the summer breaks from Read More

Design by Lara Krude


Peek and Cloppenburg Photo One

Peek & Cloppenburg KG Düsseldorf Designer for Tomorrow Award 2017

Photo Courtesy of Getty Images All Rights Reserved, protected by copyright  ©

Fashion Designer Pamela Quinzi

Pamela Quinzi Photo FivePamela Quinzi, a fashion designer originally from Rome, Italy, via Milan and who now makes her home in New York City, is considered to be one of the rising young stars on the international fashion scene. Her collection of couture shoes, Kilame is popping up in boutiques in Beverly Hills and in New York City and since there are no two shoes exactly alike you can also contact Pamela Quinzi directly through her website and follow her on the official Kilame Facebook page. Pamela Quinzi also has an accessories collection, but her main focus right now is Kilame. In the past she has collaborated with some of the world’s leading designers and fashion houses to design dresses, handbags and other accessories and she still does create new designs for dresses, jewelry and accessories. Kilame however is her baby and she works feverishly day and night to grow the international presence of her brand (the shoes) and it has earned her the nickname Cinderella of New York.

During our recent conversation Quinzi was in the southern part of Italy on the coast of the Adriatic Sea for a month where she works closely with manufacturers, creating new styles and in May she will be heading back to Los Angeles for the second time in 2017.

“I had been before to LA for traveling and for checking out everything, but this was the first time for the collection to be in LA and a whole new world opened up to me.  I will be in New York and then in Los Angeles for a month in May. I will be with the showroom (in Los Angeles) that is representing the shoes for all of the celebrities. We had a connection with the Oscars through Blanca Blanco the actress. We are (making connections) every day in photoshoots and we have other Read More

Joan Severance - Manifest Your Mate

Joan Severance Front Page PhotoWhat do you do when you are a super model who has graced the covers of every notable fashion magazine for decades and who is also a film and television actress? You have been the face that launched campaigns for Versace, Armani and Chanel. You were asked to endorse Maybelline, Clairol, L’Oréal and Revlon and you have had a career in which you were in demand as a model for top designers worldwide. Well if you are Joan Severance you are confident enough to let your thick hair stay gray and you write a book called Manifest Your Mate. Severance also acts as a personal coach providing guidance to others in the area of manifesting their mate, as well as other areas of their lives. There may be those who are somewhat dubious about how someone so beautiful and accomplished could possibly understand their plight of attracting Mr. Right to their lives, so we posed just that question to Joan Severance when we chatted with her recently.

“First I would say to them, they are incorrect in making the assumption that I can attract any man that I want.  They are incorrect and they don’t know my life and I can’t (attract any man that I want). You can’t just go and get exactly what you want, because of your looks or your status. That’s not it. They can make assumptions and I can say the assumptions that they make are probably not only about me, but those assumptions are against themselves.

The book and the content of the book (as well as) the method in the book really have nothing to do with me or with looks. The method is known to work.  It is not about how you look, but it is about understanding the power that is within each of us, which is not an exterior power. It lies within every single person, no matter who you are  Read More

Pegi Young Releases RAW

Pegi Young Photo Front PagePegi Young’s new album RAW featuring her band The Survivors opens with the plaintive song “Why,” a question one party or the other always seems to be left asking when a divorce takes place. RAW is Young’s musical chronicle of her journey through divorce from Neil Young. “Why,” a song written by Kelvin Holly, Spooner Oldham and Pegi Young asks the question “Why’d you have to ruin my life?” The song looks through the eyes of the one being left and she wants to know why he avoided the hard questions and she says he was not straight with her. The playing of Holly, Oldham and newcomer, bassist Shonna Tucker is perfectly balanced and serves as a fine accompaniment to Young’s vocals.

Guitarist Kelvin Holly has performed and / or recorded with Little Richard, Bobby Blue Bland and Gregg Allman to name a few. He also was a studio musician at Muscle Shoals. Keyboardist Spooner Oldham was also part of the Muscle Shoals Rhythm section and he has played on such iconic songs as Percy Sledge’s “When A Man Loves A Woman,” and Wilson Pickett’s “Mustang Sally.” He co-wrote  “Cry Like a Baby,” for The Box Tops and “I’m Your Puppet,” recorded by James and Bobby Purify, a tune that rose to # 5 on the charts. Shonna Tucker played with the Drive By Truckers and appears on records by Booker T. Jones and Bettye LaVette.

As for the album RAW, Pegi Young says, “When (the album) was done and I was listening to it as I was driving down the road one day, I thought shoot this is like the soundtrack of the stages of grief. It was all over the map emotionally as I was for a good amount of time after things changed as dramatically as they did.

I was fishing around for a title in my Read More

Jesse & Noah - Southern Usonia

Southern Usonia cover art front pageIn an alternate reality Jesse & Noah’s (Bellamy) album Southern Usonia would be topping the charts in America or at least some of the songs would be, because the lyrics are great, but we have come to expect that of this duo, and there are some great guitar solos that make your ears perk up. It just so happens that the album title plays to that alternate reality.

Jesse explains, “It could refer to the American South in an alternate reality.”

To which Noah adds, “Usonia is an archaic term for the United States that was favored by Frank Lloyd Wright and some other great thinkers of his day.  Everyone in Americana was making “identity” albums. It plays with that idea by coming from a place that doesn’t exist. It’s an imaginary identity album!”

The ten track album opens with “This Town Was Built On Heartbreak Songs,” which pays homage to Nashville where both Jesse and Noah live. The companion music video has cameo appearances in the audience by some storied musicians, singers and songwriters.

Noah explains, “We wanted people with some history behind them. We put the concept out there and ended up with a group of legends with a deep history in Nashville (such as), Tanya Tucker, Deborah Allen, T. G. Sheppard, Ronnie McDowell, and (of course) the Bellamy Brothers (David Bellamy is the father of Jesse and Noah and Howard is their uncle).”

Jesse says, “We knew that we wanted to do a video, but ultimately we didn’t know what form it would take. Our friends at the  Read More

October Wish from Australia

October Wish front page photoSarah Gurry and Matt Leffanue from Melbourne, Australia comprise the musical duo October Wish who just released their first album Grief And Grace. If you are looking for a reference point for their music you are going to find that a little more difficult genre wise, because they do an excellent job of blurring those lines, while keeping the songwriting and the music at a high level. There is a little bit of Blue Rodeo’s “Try,” in their music, a touch of Matchbox Twenty’s “3 AM,” a dash of another Melbourne, Australia band, Crowded House’s “Don’t Dream It’s Over,” and a smidgen of Coldplay, reflected Gurry and Leffanue’s songwriting.

The production quality on Grief And Grace is excellent with producer Michael Oliphant at the helm. Oliphant who is also a superb keyboardist, singer and songwriter is well-respected by those in the Australian music community.

Sarah Gurry talks about their music, “Because we took so much time (the album was recorded over three years) and we weren’t scared to take time with it we didn’t race any of the songs over the line. I think it has a natural breath about it and sometimes it opens up into orchestral moments that really just showed us what they wanted us to do. Probably one of the best examples is the song that we just debuted as a clip (“Caught Up In This Lie”). Going into the recording process we thought we would have to rewrite it. Matt at one point wanted to ditch it. My partner Johnny was saying that’s my favorite song. You’ve got to keep it  Read More

Jenny Jones - Fall Off the Bone Ribs

Jenny Jones Fall Off The Bone Ribs front page photoJenny 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 Fall Off the Bone Ribs

This is a never-fail recipe and it’s so easy. Rub and cook ribs right away or rub and refrigerate for a few hours. Using a disposable foil pan or a foil-lined pan means no cleanup. These amazing ribs are equally delicious finished in the oven or on the grill. Don’t expect leftovers! - Jenny Jones

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Cook Time: 2 hours and 30 minutes

Total Time: 2 hours and 30 minutes

Makes:       One rack of ribs

Ingredients:

one rack of pork baby back ribs

juice of one lemon

1/4 cup of dry rub       Read More

Valerian - A Film Review

Valerian Front Page PhotoIn a studio interview actress Cara Delevingne talks about why she was drawn to the character of Laureline in Luc Besson’s Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets, because Laureline is a strong female character, something for which Besson is known. The twenty-five years old actress turns in an absolutely smashing performance in the role of an intergalactic agent and hero.

The only misstep in the opinion of this writer that the studio made was dropping the name Laureline from the title of the film or perhaps more accurately put since the film was based on Pierre Christin and Jean-Claude Mézières’ comic book series Valerian and Laureline. You have a strong female lead and at a time when young women and girls need to see women in strong female roles and someone at the studio decided to only include the male character's name in the film’s title. That aside Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets is a film that should be seen more than once…at the theater. If we want to continue to see quality films made then we need to support them at the box office.

For his part, Dane DeHaan portrays Valerian with a mix of the charisma and charm of Michael J. Fox’s Marty McFly in Back to the Future and some of Harrison Ford’s reckless abandon as Han Solo in the first Star Wars film. Major Valerian wants to be a good soldier, but his impulsive nature sometimes clouds his joint missions with Laureline. He also has a flirtatious side that at times frustrates his partner Laureline and rather than spoil this film Read More

Lene Fogelberg - Beautiful Affliction

Lene Fogelberg Front Page PhotoIt almost does not seem appropriate to refer to Lene Fogelberg as an author, because that moniker almost sounds too distant, too formal, for the young Swedish woman, for really she is a storyteller and that has a much warmer feel to it, as does her book, Beautiful Affliction A Memoir. Not many people write their Memoir when they are still thirty-something, but Lene Fogelberg has already lived a lifetime and more. Her story begins as a young child in Sweden when the doctors determined that there was absolutely nothing wrong with her health and how throughout her life when it became apparent that something was going on inside of her and that she could not do even the simplest of activities without tiring quickly, that indeed something was wrong. This is also a love story, about the love of Lene and her husband Anders who met when Lene was twelve years old and he was fourteen. It is the love of a family, their two young daughters and Lene and Anders’ parents. It is about how Anders’ job transfer to America for the briefest period of time, slightly more than a year, became the catalyst in enabling doctors to discover that if Lene did not have open heart surgery quickly that she would die.

Like no other book that we have ever read before Beautiful Affliction A Memoir will have you crying, will have you believing once again that miracles really do happen and will have you grow in admiration of Lene Fogelberg and be moved by her husband’s devotion to her. The book Read More 

Design by Lara Krude

Lara Krude

Peek & Cloppenburg KG Düsseldorf Designer for Tomorrow Award 2017

Photo Courtesy of Getty Images All Rights Reserved, protected by copyright  ©

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 potential.”

Anna Danes says that she was quite aware as a child in Poland of the environment she was living in, “because my parents told me what was  Read More

Elisabetta Russo

Elisabetta Russo front page imageElisabetta Russo is an Italian soprano soloist and Opera star who was born in Bari in the Puglia region of Italy and who grew up in Calabria in the town of Cariati. She now makes her home in Los Angeles, California and recently she received her green card. She has performed with some of Europe’s and North America’s most well-known members of the music community including, Andrea Bocelli, David Foster and Renato Bruson.

Describing her childhood she says, “It is a beautiful city in the Calabria region. I had a loving childhood and I was raised in a very loving family who always supported me. Living in Cariati it was nothing short of an amazing privilege, because I was incredibly lucky to play by the sea, inspired by nature and the coastline. I was twelve years old when my father brought home a magazine, along with a Classical CD of the opera Aida by Giuseppe Verdi. I fell in love with the story, but most of all with the beautiful music. It was my soundtrack for the whole next month. I just couldn’t stop listening to it.

I used to sing Pop music as a child, but then I am an old soul and Rossini, Verdi and Puccini were the right companions for the musical adventure that I was about to start.”

During her youth Elisabetta Russo played Classical piano and she also took vocal lessons. She later auditioned for the S. Cecilia Conservatory of Music in Rome, from which she graduated in 2004 with a Bachelor degree in Vocal Art and she also has a Master’s degree cum laude in Chamber Music and she attained the highest marks possible. She studied with some of the most iconic figures in Italian music, Edda Moser, Renata Scotto, Alberto Zedda and Renato Bruson. Read More

AJ Lee - Releases New EP

AJ Lee front page photoFor those of you who are reading this and thinking that Bluegrass music is a forgotten genre, I challenge you to spend one-half hour talking to nineteen year old Bluegrass singer, songwriter and musician AJ Lee, because by the time the conversation is over, she will have you ready to try your luck at Bluegrass and she may even have convinced you to try and recruit others. Lee has already been the recipient of numerous music awards in California and if her new self-titled EP, featuring a collection of six songs is any indication; her future looks to be shining pretty brightly.

Lee’s vocals on the opening track Gillian Welch’s “Miss Ohio,” are reminiscent of Alison Krauss when she was the same age. The electric guitar solos are excellent and unfortunately we do not have a breakdown of album credits by individual song, so we cannot tell you if it is Jon Abrams or Paul Lacques on his Telecaster. Throughout the album AJ Lee accompanies herself on her 1954 accoutic Martin guitar and at times on her mandolin. This may surprise some readers, but we prefer Lee’s vocals over Welch’s when it comes to the song “Miss Ohio,” because we with think AJ Lee’s vocals are more subtle and prettier, whereas Welch’s have more of a bite to them. We suppose the argument could be made that the lyrics lend themselves to Welch’s more sardonic take, but we still prefer Lee’s interpretation of a young woman cruising with her “rag-top down,” and who is resisting her mother’s persistent efforts to get her married off.

The rest of the musicians who appear on this EP are from the Shady Mountain Band, Dave Zirbel is on pedal steel, Marc Doten plays Hammond organ and the drummer is Anthony Lacques.

Lee says, “(The song) “Miss Ohio,” made people feel good when they listened to the song (at her shows). There is something about the melody and the words. Certain songs portray certain emotions or make people feel happy and  Read More 


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Nancy Valentine - Lovesome

Nancy Valentine front page photoLovesome is the name of Nancy Valentine’s current album and we would love some more of that and if you are patient you are going to get more, because she has already recorded five songs for another album. On the cover of her album it says Nancy Valentine sings the music of Billy Strayhorn, to which we might add, she sings it pretty well.

The album opens up with Boris Kozlov’s double bass introducing Ms. Valentine’s exquisite vocals as she coos “You Better Know It,” a song by Billy Strayhorn, Duke Ellington, with a new arrangement by John di Martino. There is a sultry tone to Nancy Valentine’s vocals that is further enhanced by her “in the moment” phrasing. Harry Allen (tenor saxophone) and Joe Magnarelli (trumpet) take turns soloing. The song also lends itself to Valentine showing off her scatting chops.

The torchiness, if the readers will permit us to invent that word, is evident throughout Nancy Valentine’s interpretation of Billy Strayhorn’s “So This Is Love,” as she is accompanied elegantly by John di Martino on piano.

“It (the album) didn’t start as a tribute to Strayhorn. I like to get that out of the way. I am just an interpreter of this fabulous music written by the composer Billy Strayhorn and that has surrounded my life.  I have tried to find as many of his songs as possible that resonate with me and to bring them to the public and to have him stand on his own separate from Ellington. This is what it grew into. We didn’t have enough music to fill a CD (originally), so it was through research, study and meeting other people that I found all of this.

Now it is a bittersweet situation and it is also a tribute to the work and perseverance and love for the craft of engineering from Jim Czak, who worked with me meticulously on the vocals for this. He made sure we would talk about the intent of the song   Read More

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