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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 loyal, so trusting and so innocent, whereas some people can be so bloody horrible. Animals love you unconditionally. I love my pets. At one stage I think I had four dogs and six cats. I had a cage full of birds and I was hand feeding joeys. I just loved it.  I had the good fortune to raise my children on a farm. It was a hundred acres and I spent sixteen years there. That was really great. Now I only have one cat, because I travel so much for my music career. My cat owns the house. He is in  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.

Right now what I am focusing on is casting the Brady reading. We have a reading of A Very Brady Musical, which is going up in New York in February. We are going to be doing a reading for a couple of producers and we would like to get that up on the stage. It is coming up to the fiftieth anniversary of The Brady Bunch, which is amazing to say that, but it is true. We would like to get a production of the musical going. We are thinking of an Off-Broadway production.  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

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 with him. They started to pay me with chocolates and things like that. He was a ship broker and he took me onboard all of these big, big boats.  I got to sing when I was very little. 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.”

In 1962 The Tams released the song “It’s All Right (You’re Just In Love),” and Barnett puts her own stamp on the tune, as she brings it back to life with a new arrangement and a stunning  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 love with Judy Garland who was my first influence. When I was five years old I was madly in love with her and that introduced me to a different time. In some ways I was that absolute dork. I didn’t know that Pop culture existed until I was eleven or Read More

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 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

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 Read More

Andrea Miller - Maybe Today

Andrea Miller Photo Front PageAndrea Miller, Jazz singer, by choice, but who measured up well with the best R&B and Pop singers when she delved into those genres earlier in her career, may be one of the best young singers on the music scene today. She has drawn praise from the late Al Jarreau with whom she was booked for an extensive tour, before his passing in 2017 (Editor’s note: Al Jarreau passed away, before the tour took place.), from Celine Dion for whom she recorded a demo, as she worked with David Foster, as well as Alan and Marilyn Bergman and from producer, arranger, songwriter and musician Tom Saviano (Dolly Parton, Melissa Manchester (as musical director and arranger), Dusty Springfield, Sheena Easton and others).   

Andrea Miller recently released her new album Maybe Today, composed and arranged by Michael Cunningham, an album that they hope to tour with full orchestral support.

She talks about the album, “They are all of Michael Cunningham’s arrangements and compositions. It is almost like I am the voice of Michael Cunningham on this particular album. These are his wonderfully orchestrated string arrangements. A lot of his original material is on the album.

We did some covers, “It’s All Right With Me,” “The Water Is Wide,” and “You Would Be So Nice To Come Home To.”  He wrote everything else on the album.  I love his writing so much and he in turn likes my voice a lot, so we decided to make an album together.  Read More

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Nobody's Girl Releases Waterline

Nobodys Girl Photo front pageNobody’s Girl a trio of young women from Austin, Texas (Rebecca Loebe, Grace Pettis and BettySoo) have released a terrific new album titled Waterline, comprised of mostly original songs, plus a cover of the Blondie hit “Call Me,” which they do in fine fashion. Of all the songs on the album the title track “Waterline,” signals that this is a Pop / Rock group with the potential to be something really special. The harmonies are superb and subtle the way harmonies are meant to be, three voices blending into one and yet each having a distinct role to play.

Drummer J.J. Johnson keeps the beat on “Waterline,” David Grissom on electric guitar leads the way eloquently and bass guitarist Glenn Fukunaga is his equal.

BettySoo from Nobody’s Girl took time out from her busy schedule and her touring to talk to Riveting Riffs Magazine about “Waterline,” and the new album.

“The song “Waterline,” is the most straight ahead Rock song on the record. It is a little less Pop and positive. David Grissom’s guitar is all over it and he is really fantastic. The song is about things slowly coming apart.

The metaphor used in the song is of water rising and you do not realize it until you are under water. You are in the middle of a disaster. As you get older and you get into adulthood there are things that don’t turn out the way that you wanted them to and there were signs all along the road.  

All of us have lived in Texas for a long time and I grew up around a lot of flood culture it just seemed like a very salient metaphor for us,” she says.

As for why the group decided to name the album after the song “Waterline,” BettySoo says, “We had the most emotional investment in that song. We also felt that the forming of the group, the record deal and with all of the momentum that it was a demarcation point for all of us. Even though, it is a grim marker, a waterline just expressed how we felt.”

There is always a danger in covering an iconic song by an equally iconic band, group or solo artist that it will draw comparisons to the original that are both unfair and that fail to recognize what the new artist or group brings to their rendition. With all that being 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

Jesse & Noah and Neon Pike

Jesse and Noah Bellamy 2018 Front Page PhotoWhile in the studio recording a few songs, Jesse & Noah (Bellamy) kept writing more songs and before they knew it they had enough for a new album. The album became Neon Pike.

Jesse says, “We cut three songs to begin with and it was going to be a tip our toe in the water kind of a thing, but we realized we might as well keep on making an album.”

Noah says that they wrote about forty songs in total and then they picked the best ones for this record.

The album opens with the up-tempo love song “Unconfined,” driven by Jesse and Noah Bellamy’s acoustic and electric guitars and featuring some great fiddle playing by Lillie Mae Rische who also provides background vocals for this tune.

Although, Jesse & Noah have always played the guitars on their previous albums, we asked why it seemed for Neon Pike that their talent as superb guitarists seems even more highlighted.

Noah says, “We brought in more musicians and other engineers, so we were able to focus more on our parts because of that, whereas before we were producing and engineering a lot of it ourselves. It took the pressure off with not having to do that.”

To which Jesse adds, “We could just come in and be the players and not have to worry about (the rest). We were also able to cut it a little more live.”

Both men are multi-instrumentalists and in the past they utilized those skills for their albums, but this time many more musicians appear on the album.  

“We brought in Lillie Mae Rische (fiddle and background vocals) and Scarlett Rische (mandolin). Linwood (Regensburg) has been our bass player on the road now for a couple of years (also plays synthesizer on the album). Herschel Van Dyke has been Read More

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Arrica Rose's New Album

Arrica Rose Photo Front PageThe name of the album is Low as the Moon, but after listening to Arrica Rose’s new album you will be on a high. Each album by the California singer, songwriter and musician, just seems to keep getting better.  From the hypnotic, rich vocals of “All and None of These Things,” featuring some scantling guitars by Rose and Marc Thomas, to the intriguing retro vibe of “Bobby,” written with Dan Garcia and “X-Ray Eyes,” an introspective journey from childhood through youth and beyond, there is not one weak song on this entire album. The latter song showcases Rose’s rich vocals and her ability to tell a story that leaves a powerful impression on her listeners and if you have never heard Kaitlin Wolfberg play the violin then you are in for a real treat.    

In describing Low as the Moon, Arrica Rose says, “I think for me the theme became reaching for the silver lining when it seems to be the most obscured and finding the brighter side when hope seems to be lost. I went through some challenging times and people around me were going through challenging times. There was a point when I did not want to be working on anything and I used this set of songs to help pull me through that place that I was in. It was cathartic. It helped me to process some of the things that I was going through at the time.

These songs are specifically written for this record. Everybody in the band and the producer that I work with everyone was going through a bit of upheaval, so it took a while to make this record. I started writing these songs around 2015. I worked on this collection of songs for about six months to a year and then we started making the record.”

In her songwriting Arrica Rose likes to create word pictures with tones and shades others seldom, if ever use and it draws the listener in.

“I am trying to provoke a feeling. I am not trying to be so precise in my wording in an actual scenario, but I am trying to describe said scenario that will capture the most feeling for my listeners. I utilize that in songs,”  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.