Tamara and Bill Champlin front page
                                                                            

Tamara Champlin & Bill Champlin in Concert, photo by Garbis H. Sarafian, protected by copyright © 

                                  Jazz / ClassicalRockBlues - Roots - CountryPOP - AC - Dance  R&B / Soul

                                  Film & TheatreConcert ReviewsAbout UsAlbum Reviews  Contact Us

Hypnotist Kellie Karl

Kellie Karl Photo FourKellie Karl has performed as a singer and a dancer, but her celebrity for many years now has been attached to her performances as a hypnotist in Las Vegas where she lives, as well as her performances in other parts of North America. It is a career that started when a friend who was the assistant to a hypnotist was moving and asked Kellie Karl if she would like to take over for her.

When asked if she had any preconceived notions about hypnosis, prior to her involvement Kellie Karl replied, “I wasn’t suspect. I wasn’t the type of person who said, oh that’s just not real. I had really never seen a hypnosis show, so I was pretty open-minded about it. When I saw his (the hypnotist that she assisted) show I was very intrigued, because I had always known about the power of the mind. It is something I have always embraced and I had done my own study about it.

Once I really got into hypnosis I realized my aunt taught me hypnosis when I was eight years old. I had been doing progressive relaxation on myself since I was eight.  I thought I had this super-duper power. I would tell all of my friends, if you have a headache I can get rid of your headache. I would do progressive relaxation on them and they would not have a headache anymore.  It was pretty amazing when I realized that I had actually been doing this my whole life. 

This is what I was meant to do for sure. I absolutely believe in the power of the mind. People can help themselves and people can change themselves by accessing the subconscious and wanting change or improvement. It is an amazing thing.”

Life for Kellie Karl started far from Las Vegas. She grew up in New Orleans, as an only child, quite a different start than her mother had for she grew up as one of ten children in the small town of Marksville, Louisiana.  Read More

Lisa Hilton Is Nocturnal

Lisa Hilton Photo Front PageJazz pianist and composer Lisa Hilton who makes her home in Malibu, California recently released her eighteenth album, titled Nocturnal and this time she combines both Jazz and Classical elements for some of her compositions. She also previously released in Asia, two compilation albums and she has one vinyl. Ms. Hilton debuted her new album at Carnegie Hall in January (2016) and radio stations such as KVNF in Colorado, Virginia’s WTJU and WUNH in New Hampshire have given her the thumbs up. Those accolades however are not restricted to America, as they have also flowed in from places such as Australia, Spain and Italy. Lisa Hilton’s albums are entirely instrumental, which also helps to create a broader international audience.

“I thought my concert at Carnegie Hall went really well and I felt really good about my band and we performed what was very exciting and different for me. It was my third time at Carnegie Hall.

I was doing “Midnight Sonata,” and I had never done a piece of music that is essentially twenty minutes long. Stuff like that is fun and exciting for musicians. We always want to do the hard and complicated, so those things are fun and interesting to us. It was my first time stepping up to that level for a longer piece of music. What was most important to me was how it came through and when I finished playing it I saw someone in the audience do a two thumbs up. That person mouthed the word beautiful. 

Afterwards I asked a couple of people whom I respect for their opinions and they said that the sonata was beautiful.

That was a big exciting moment. I played it as a trio and I also had horn players for other pieces, but the sonata was just for the trio. (For some) upcoming (concerts) I am going to play solo piano, so there will be a little bit more on my shoulders. I am very excited about playing solo, because musicians really like challenges and I have not played solo for a little bit. When I am playing with a band I have to make sure that I leave room for everybody and when I play solo I have to make sure that I fill up all those nooks and crannies. I am kind of  Read More


Marina Welsch - Actress, Artist & Gallery Owner

Marina Welsch Photo Front Page A


You can visit the Welsch Arts
Website Here
Or visit Marina Welsch's Acting Website

 Actress Mara New

Mara New Photo front pageMara New has accomplished much during her lifetime and in a lot of areas that those of you are reading this may not even know about. You may recognize the name Mara New as a Los Angeles film, stage and television actress or you may know her for the philanthropic work that she has done over the years. Throughout her lifetime she has been a model, was the driving force behind a 2004 fashion show in Los Angeles that highlighted the clothing of emerging, but not yet well-known fashion designers. She was a member of the dance ensemble at the Roger Hazel American Dance and Musical Theater Company in Australia. Mara New is also fluent in Italian, English, French and Spanish. In collaboration with her husband Ron New, Mara produced an album for highly respected Blues and Jazz singer Barbara Morrison, as well as the husband and wife team were the executive producers of a musical about the life of Blues singer Big “Mama” Thornton that was staged at the Stella Adler Theater in Hollywood. In 2004 Ms. New was also the recipient of an award that acknowledged her as being one of the most influential women in the city of Los Angeles.  

The pretty and personable Italian actress born Mara Beltrami in Milan, Italy spent some of her teenage years in France and later moved to Australia, before she moved to Canada for five years, during which time she also hosted a radio show. The first two moves were due to her father’s work building hospitals. Then the final moved happened, the one to Los Angeles.

Mara New explains, “I went to L.A., because when I was in Canada I was working for the Italian Canadian Club and I went to Hamilton Place where there was a Liberace show. I went to Read More

 Emy Persiani from Rome

Emy Persiani Photo OneFrom an early age Italian singer Emy Persiani seemed destined for a career in music. She is the daughter of preeminent composer and pianist Cesare Persiani who also performed with some of Italy’s most highly acknowledged artists including conductor, arranger and musician Cinico Angelini, Pippo Barzizza (composer, conductor, arranger and music director), singer and actor Alberto Rabagliati (The Barefoot Contessa, Montecarlo and Il Vedovo, The Christmas That Almost Wasn’t – as Santa) and songwriter, musician and band leader Gorni Kramer.

About one of the people her father performed with Emy Persiani says, “You probably know Gorni Kramer (She sings a song in Italian). He is very famous in Italy and I don’t know if he is famous in America, but it is a kind of Swing after the Second World War made (famous in Italy) and my father played piano for him.

My father was a very famous pianist and when I was born my house was full of piano notes. My father was the most important figure in my family of course, first for the music and he got a diploma at The Accademia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia, which is a very famous music academy here in Rome and in Italy. He played Classical music, Chopin, Rachmaninoff, Beethoven and Mozart. He was born very early in the 20th century and fifty years before me. That is an important fact, because a lot of the heritage from, I don’t if that is the right word him comes to me from the early years of the 20th century. He was a piano player between the two world wars and he was a very famous piano player after the Second World War.

(During) that period there was kind of a mirroring of the music between Italy and America. My father played lots of Swing, so he was Read More

Ulrika Ölund - Singer, Songwriter

Ulrika Olund Photo OneUlrika Ölund’s current album Paper Planes and Skylines is appropriately titled as it provides a snapshot of the Swedish Country music singer, songwriter and musician’s life and career. If you are expecting to hear a Swedish accent on these songs or some Swedish concoction of what Country music sounds like from a Nordic country you are going to be disappointed, because Ulrika Ölund sounds like she would be comfortable in Nashville, Tennessee. Guess what? She is and she has spent a lot of time in Nashville and she cut her teeth in the music industry as an intern at Curb Music Publishing. Ölund describes her music as Pop with a twist of Country, but we believe that North American audiences will hear her music as Country with a twist of Pop.

If you enjoy the music of Little Big Town and Lady Antebellum you are probably going to enjoy the music of Ulrika Ölund. Her song “Those Were The Days,” is an excellent feel good song that will put a smile on your face. It is up-tempo, with great vocals and solid instrumentals. It would be difficult to imagine concertgoers staying seated during this song, because the music encourages you to stand up and to sing the chorus back to Ölund as she performs. Like most good Country songwriters Ulrika Ölund draws from personal experience and “Those Were the Days,” talks about her time growing up in Undrom, Västernorrland in northern Sweden, five and one-half hours drive north of Stockholm. The lyrics draw great word pictures and it is easy to imagine the scene unfolding. There are plenty of great songs on this album, but we would buy the album if this was the only good song, because it is that good.

“I grew up in the north in a very small village and there are about 500 people there. Read More

Sweden's Stefan Gunnarsson

Sefan Gunnarsson ThumbnailMeet Sweden’s pinball wizard Stefan Gunnarsson, who has forty-five pinball machines in his personal collection. That would be a fascinating story on its own, but this is not the story of a man who relaxes in the far nothern town of Boden, Sweden, by playing pinball, but instead it is about the musical journey of a man who some might say is a musical genius and who as a childhood protégé was playing with adult aged bands. Stefan Gunnarsson has gained a stellar reputation as a multi-instrumentalist, a composer, a television personality and as a producer.

Stefan Gunnarsson’s journey began in the same town he now lives in, Boden, on the coastline of the Baltic Sea and approximately a ten hour drive by car, north of Sweden’s largest city Stockholm.

Gunnarsson says, “Boden is a pretty small town way up north. There are about 25,000 or 30,000 people living here.  It is pretty close to the Polar circle and it is very cold in the wintertime, with lots of snow. It is also a military town, with a big military tradition. My father was a trumpet player in a military orchestra. It became like an institution and it turned into other things than just a military orchestra. They had a big band and they played a lot of different music (instead of) just military music. As a four, five and six year old I loved sitting during rehearsals with the big band and listening to the music and checking out the drummer. The drums were my first love.  I started (playing drums) when I was four or five years old.

The first memories that I have from that time period was of me sitting next to the drums during big band rehearsals and checking out everything that the drummer would do. When the rehearsal ended I would sit at the drum kit trying to emulate everything that I heard them do. Read More

Lyn Stanley - Jazz Singer

Lyn Stanley front page photo“The lesson that I was told early on by some pretty famous people was if anybody tries to change your singing, drop them like a hotcake. You have a unique style of singing and you will stand out. Don’t be like somebody else. You cannot become famous (by sounding like somebody else). It’s impossible, unless you are in the business to be an impersonator.  

I don’t think that you would ever find Karrin Allyson or (would have found) Sarah Vaughan wanting to sound like somebody else. I think if you are really good, you know what you want and you know what you should sound like. You don’t need to do that kind of singing,” says Lyn Stanley, a Jazz singer from Los Angeles.

While history will reflect whether or not Lyn Stanley is really good, as she has only been singing professionally for five years, her three albums, Interludes (2015), Lost In Romance (2013) and Potions From The 50’s (2014), are certainly well engineered, are populated by very good musicians and Stanley, while a solid singer still has some ground to cover before she is included in the same sentence as Karrin Allyson, Jane Monheit and Gretchen Parlato to name a few.   

“When I first began I had a major appreciation for Stanley Turrentine’s sax playing on the album Ballads (1993). The way that he phrased it and the feeling that he put into it was right where I went. I know the accompanists who know the words to the songs. If they know the words to the songs they will play them and they will have another feeling that you cannot get from the guy who is  Read More

Sally Stevens Interview Part I

Sally Stevens Front Page PhotoWe would be here all day if we attempted to list every one of the musical accomplishments during Sally Stevens' career, but throughout the course of our recent conversation with Sally and in the account of that interview which you will read here, we will attempt to give the reader a glimpse into the career of one of America’s and the music industry’s most successful people, during this two-part interview.  

Sally Stevens has performed and recorded as a solo singer, a session singer, she has scored feature films and she has worked as a vocal contractor, auditioning and hiring the singers and choir members who appear on major films and her film work as relates to music now encompasses more than 600 films, including Academy Award winners and nominated movies. Here are just a few of the films that Sally Stevens has worked on, Tomorrowland, Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, The Secret of NIMH, Dr. Zivahgo, The Sound of Music, Bridge of Spies and Jurassic World.

She toured and recorded with Burt Bacharach and she lent her voice to the records of, Frank Sinatra, Andy Williams, Country Joe and the Fish, Neil Diamond, Michael Bublé, Percy Faith and Sonny and Cher to name just a few of the iconic artists with whom she has worked.

Sally Stevens grew up in Los Angeles and in Tujunga located in the Greater Los Angeles Area.

“My mom (Betty Clarke) and dad (Ken Stevens) and step-father (Tom Clarke) were all singers and my mom and dad met in Chicago when they were both in radio. My dad came out here first  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 quite young. Left behind, were her two sons and a husband.

“That just hit me so hard, having Read More

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 56 years of age, David Carlson finds himself closer to a new beginning to his career than merely being someone quietly fading into the past. With a new found energy and a sense of purpose, his recording studio is humming along  Read More

Judy Wexler in Concert

Judy Wexler Front Page 1 A

Photo by Robin Laurie Stewart protected by copyright ©
Visit the Judy Wexler website

From Rock Star To Cake Diva

Brie Howard Darling front page PhotoHave you ever wondered what it would be like to hold Jimmy Page’s double neck guitar in your hands? Now you can, sort of.  Brie Darling Cakes replicated one of Page’s guitars as a cake and you can eat everything including the guitar strings. Although, you will not be holding the entire cake, because it is life size, you will be holding a piece of it in your hands, so go out and tell your friends. It is not the first instrument that Darling and her team have replicated as they also reproduced in delicious form, a harmonica.

“I did a cake for a friend of mine Ted Andreadis and it was a harmonica cake. It was a Hohner harmonica and it made me so happy, because of the detail. I carved all of the little things that are carved into the metal (of the harmonica). It had the key that the harmonica was in and then I decided to go the extra mile and I cut up a cake box and I made it look like the Hohner harmonica box.  I love it when they turn out great and it blew his mind. He loved it. I went that extra mile to make it just right. That is what I love and that’s why I don’t want to get cranky pants about the money, because for me that is purely the enjoyment of getting it to a place where it will blow the recipient’s mind and it will blow the mind of whoever sees it, while making everybody uncomfortable, because they will have to cut into it. I have no problem with that. I love it that you have to destroy it to enjoy it. I don’t know why I have no attachment to it. I also paint and you have to get it just right or it is going to sit there on paper or canvass forever.  With cakes you do it, you take a shot, you take a picture and it’s gone. There is something about it that is freeing,” says Brie Howard Darling, as she is also referred to in the music business.   

Starting something from scratch and building it into a successful venture comes naturally to Darling, as she was one of the founding members of Read More

 Mary Foster Conklin

Mary Foster Conklin front page photoPhotographs are meant to capture and to preserve for us special moments in time and there are plenty of those moments that come with Mary Foster Conklin’s new album Photographs.

Conklin talks about the title song “Photographs,” “Fran Landesman wrote the title cut of the album Photographs, with Alec Wilder and there is a poem that she wrote called Photographs and it is not like the song at all. The final lines are, ‘If ever you find my house on fire / Leave the silver, save the photographs.’

I presented the first Landesman (a tribute to the songs of Fran Landesman) evening at the end of 2012 and then I did several more performances in 2013. By the end of 2013 I had received a very nice New York Times review. It (an album) was definitely worth investing in.

At the end of 2013 John diMartino and I went back to the process of putting together a recording in earnest. It was just sorting through the portfolio of what we had been doing and doing more live gigs with a trio and getting arrangements together and stuff. Then we went into the studio at the end of 2014 and we laid down the tracks.”

The idea for recording what eventually became the Photographs album predates even 2012 and it started with an email from John diMartino to Mary Foster Conklin in which he suggested it was time to record an album together.

“We got distracted. That email came at the end of 2009 or in 2010, because I had just begun compiling songs by Fran Landesman and I was doing more of them in my regular performances. Fran Landesman died in 2010 at  Read More

Guy Gilchrist TV Pilot On The Way

Guy Gilchrist 2016 front pageGuy Gilchrist, a world renowned cartoonist has worked on comic strips such as Nancy for the past 21 years (originally created by Ernie Bushmiller in 1933) and it has appeared in newspapers in more than 80 countries. He has also contributed to the comic strips, Jim Henson’s Muppets, Your Angels Speak, Screams, Night Lights & Pillow Fights and Today’s Dogg. He was the co-creator with Jim Henson, of The Muppet Babies, authored 48 children’s books and contributed to cartoons such as Tom & Jerry, Bugs Bunny, Looney Tunes and The Pink Panther. His artwork Nancy Loves Nashville was on display at the city’s airport from February 2013 until 2014.

The Nashville resident sounds like he is just about set to retire right? Wrong! He is really just getting his creative engine revved up again. When we talked to Guy Gilchrist recently we discovered that he is in the midst of a campaign to secure funding for a television pilot with the hope that a TV network will pick it up and turn his show into a regular series. That piqued our interest and we said tell us more.  

“Over the years we have put up quite a few videos on YouTube and either they are television spots or bits and pieces of me teaching something or telling stories and drawing pictures. I was approached by some folks who have worked with my management team before and they are west coast people. They thought I would be the perfect candidate to teach cartooning on television and they just started pushing me and asking if this was something that I would like to do and if it was anything that I had ever thought about.

Of course I had thought about it many, many times, because I once had the Guy Gilchrist Cartoonist Academy for seven years and we had a brick and mortar school.  Read More

Mark Christian in Concert with Merle Jagger

mark christian front page main

Photo by Mike Kendall protected by copyright ©
Visit the
Merle Jagger website

Alice Wallace - Country's Next Star

Alice Wallace front page photo“Poor Cleopatra,” the second song on Orange County, California singer, songwriter and guitarist Alice Wallace’s third and best album yet, Memories, Music & Pride sends a strong signal that the affable young woman who grew up in Florida has definitely arrived on the Country music scene. Not since artists like the Judds, Reba and Janie Fricke arrived on the scene decades ago has a female Country artist appeared with such impeccable vocals that remain true to the classic Country sound and who also possesses tremendous gifts as a songwriter. Did we happen to mention that she is also an incredible yodeler? We will have more about that later.

Alice Wallace is signed to California Country Records a new record label founded by two superb singers and songwriters and multiple music award winners Manda Mosher and Kirsten Proffit, who comprise two-thirds of CALICO the band. Memories, Music & Pride was co-produced by Proffit and Steve Berns (who also mixed the album), with Eric Craig acting as the Executive Producer. Alice Wallace has a wealth of talented and experienced people behind her who are also very savvy about the business side of music and this should enable her to realize her full potential as one of the best Country music artists to come our way in this millennium.

As for the song “Poor Cleopatra,” Wallace says, “There are two storylines that are meant to be one and the same. The town Jerome, Arizona is a copper mining town and the mine kept catching fire. At one point it was burning for about twenty years. They couldn’t put the fire out, so everyone abandoned the town and it became a ghost town. I wanted to write a song about the town and the mine fire that couldn’t be extinguished.  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 allowed 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.