Michael Cavacini

An award-winning arts and culture blog.

Nashville Music City

Behind the keyboard featured in Journey’s “Separate Ways” music video. Below it is the piano that Jonathan Cain and Steve Perry wrote “Faithfully” on.

In September, my wife and I went to Nashville to celebrate our one-year wedding anniversary. We chose Nashville because we wanted to go someplace that felt new but didn’t require a ridiculous amount of travel time or money. Also, everyone I’ve spoken with that’s been to Nashville has enjoyed their time there. In addition to eating an insane amount of fried food and meat, our trip was punctuated by several music-related excursions, which I detail below.

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Dennis DeYoung’s Grand Illusion

fullsizeoutput_35bdDennis DeYoung is one of the greatest vocalists in the history of music, and he’s currently on tour performing one of the best rock albums of all time – The Grand Illusion by STYX – in its entirety, along with a handful of classics fans know and love. I attended his recent concert in Philadelphia and it was excellent. From start to finish, it was a tour de force of musicianship and showmanship.

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Book Review: The World Of The Rock

DK Publishing is back with another new hardback WWE book: The World of the Rock. Is it worth buying? Below is my video review of this 160-page book, which is available now.

A Conversation With Night Ranger’s Eric Levy

Photo: Ash Newell

As far as I’m concerned, Night Ranger is the most underrated classic rock band on the planet. Not only do they have a rich history comprised of countless classic hits and terrific albums, but they also continue to record and release stellar new music and play live for thousands of adoring fans. The band’s keyboardist, Eric Levy, was kind enough to speak with me about what it’s like being in Night Ranger. I hope you enjoy our discussion.

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Review: Steve Perry’s Traces

Steve Perry is the greatest male vocalist I’ve ever heard. I remember buying Journey’s Greatest Hits album many years ago and listening to the songs and discovering that I already knew most of them but didn’t realize the band behind these timeless tracks was Journey. While the guitar, piano, drumming, and bass were all exceptional, what captivated me most was that voice. How it soared to heights unimaginable for most humans and how it lovingly and soulfully intoned every word that was sung. With my headphones on, a Discman in my hands, and my eyes turned skyward, I gazed at the stars as the balmy beach breeze and Steve Perry’s vocals washed over me. It was a defining musical moment for me and one I fondly look back on when I think of this special band and this epic voice.

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Review: Love Never Dies

Love Never Dies

Photo: Danny Knaub

Love Never Dies, the sequel to the legendary Phantom of the Opera, is playing at the Academy of Music in Philadelphia from October 2 through October 7 and tickets can be bought here.

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Why Did James Patterson’s BookShots Fail?

On June 7, 2016, I reported that James Patterson, the world’s best-selling author, set out to start a revolution in the publishing industry with the launch of his BookShots line. These bite-sized books were marketed as being 150 pages or less and they were priced at $4.99. Patterson said, at the time, that he had 117 ready to go and planned on releasing 50 in 2016. As of right now, only 66 have been published over the past 16 months and there hasn’t been a new thriller in the line since December 2017’s Avalanche. With all signs pointing to this revolution not succeeding you might be wondering, why didn’t BookShots take off the way James Patterson had hoped? Let’s take a look.

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Review: FullBlast for Nintendo Switch

With an art style inspired by the 80s and the 90s, FullBlast is a vertical-scrolling shooter that brings a dose of nostalgia to all gamers who spent many an hour at their local arcade engaging in Shmups. It features a modern and vibrant presentation that is the perfect way to introduce a new generation of gamers to this genre.

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Book Review: SNES Omnibus Volume 1

The Super Nintendo Entertainment System (SNES) is my all-time favorite video game console. I have fond memories of playing Ken Griffey Jr. baseball, Donkey Kong Country, Super Mario World, a variety of WWF pro wrestling games, and more. I’d play these games solo, as well as at my cousins’ house during sleepovers or down the shore in the summer. It was a fantastic system, which is why I was eager to check out The SNES Omnibus: Volume 1 by Brett Weiss. This beautifully produced hardback book is 416 pages and it’s the first in a two-part series that analyzes all of the games you love or, perhaps, hate from the SNES library. This tome alphabetically covers games A through M and its sequel will be comprised of the rest. At least a page is dedicated to each game, including box art, screenshots, a synopsis, a review excerpt, and insights. It can be read cover to cover or as a reference book where you jump from game to game however you like. I chose to jump around, looking up games I owned and reading about ones I always wanted to play or was curious about. It made for a highly enjoyable read and I plan on revisiting this book many times, as I’m sure you will too. The SNES Omnibus: Volume 1 by Brett Weiss is an excellent tribute to an iconic system and video game library, and I can’t wait to read Volume 2.

A Conversation With Ace Frehley

Ace Frehley is more than just the former lead guitarist of KISS, he’s also an immensely successful solo artist whose sound – both vocals and guitar – is immediately identifiable. For decades Ace has blazed a path all his own and inspired millions of fans and musicians along the way. His new solo album, appropriately titled Spaceman, is out October 19. I’ve listened to Spaceman numerous times and it’s fantastic – easily one of his best. Ace was kind enough to speak with me about his new record and a variety of other topics. I hope you enjoy the interview.

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