Michael Cavacini

An award-winning arts and culture blog.

Archive for the tag “music”

Review: Night Songs II by Barry Manilow

On Valentine’s Day Barry Manilow released one of the most romantic albums you’ll ever hear: Night Songs II. It’s the cup of hot chocolate on a cold winter’s day that we all needed. Back in 2014 Barry Manilow released one of his greatest albums: Night Songs. Met with universal praise, Night Songs was nominated for a Grammy award and fans wanted more. Fast forward six years, and Barry Manilow is back with Night Songs II. This time around you can expect 13 songs, one of which is a bonus track that’s exclusive to the CD-version of the album, all lovingly arranged and masterfully sung by the incomparable Barry Manilow. I love that Barry is comfortable enough in his own skin that he continues to record, produce, and release whatever makes him happy. Most artists aren’t that brave. They simply keep repeating the same old music over and over again, or they merely try to imitate their past. Not Barry. He continues to evolve, explore, and create some of the most compelling music of his substantial and diverse career. Having so much music to enjoy makes being a fan of his immensely satisfying. There’s always something new to anticipate and experience. Speaking of which, let’s take a look at each of the tracks on Night Songs II.

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Allentown’s Farewell KISS

On February 4 I attended my fourth KISS concert during the band’s End of the Road tour. It was the second date of this leg of the tour, and one of only two times that KISS is coming anywhere near Philadelphia this year. I already got a ticket for the other show, which takes place in Atlantic City in August. While seeing them in Philadelphia last March was spectacular, this concert may have surpassed it. The band was on fire in Allentown, and David Lee Roth’s killer opening set made the night even more fun.

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Martha Graham Cracker’s Album Release Show Is A Smashing Success

Last night Philly’s favorite drag queen, Martha Graham Cracker, gave her finest performance. This album release show coincided with the debut of Lashed But Not Leashed—Martha’s first studio album. A concept album that captures the music from the live show created in residency at the Kimmel Center’s 2015 Theatre Residency Program, Lashed But Not Leashed is an 11-song odyssey of myriad musical styles and emotions that goes for the jugular and doesn’t let go until the final note dissipates.

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Music Review: Lashed But Not Leashed

Tomorrow Martha Graham Cracker, Philly’s favorite drag queen, releases her very first studio album. I’ve listened to it several times, and it is fantastic! Filled with numerous musical styles, Lashed But Not Leashed is the perfect representation of everything Martha Graham Cracker is, while paying tribute to her influences. From the high-energy album-opener to the funky and hilarious “Let Me Sit On It,” there’s something for everyone to love. The standout track to me is “I’m Not Trying To Stop The Rain.” It’s an epic, sweeping ballad that is nothing short of a masterpiece. It’s like Barry Manilow and Aretha Franklin tossed into a blender, with the result being sheer perfection and 100% soul. To put it simply, this album is all killer and no filler. But don’t take my word for it, check out Martha’s track-by-track insights below. And make sure to buy your ticket to see her one-night-only performance at the Kimmel Center tomorrow night before it sells out.

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Martha Graham Cracker: Philly’s Favorite Drag Queen Tells All

The Martha Graham Cracker Cabaret is an in-your-face rock and roll drag cabaret starring Pig Iron Theatre Company co-founder Dito van Reigersberg as Miss Martha Graham Cracker, the world’s tallest and hairiest drag queen. For more than 14 years, Martha has entertained audiences in Philly, New York, Vegas, and elsewhere with her high-energy and hilarious shows that are unlike anything you’ve ever seen. Tomorrow, Martha celebrates a gigantic milestone—her first studio album: Lashed But Not Leashed. To mark the occasion, a special one-night-only performance is taking place at the Kimmel Center for the Performing Arts. My wife and I will be in attendance for this show, and we can’t wait. After buying a ticket to what promises to be an epic evening, read my interview below with the greatest drag queen you will ever see: Martha Graham Cracker.

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KISSFAQ Podcast: Episode 282

Tonight I took part in another episode of the KISSFAQ podcast. This time we discussed Take It Off: KISS Truly Unmasked—a great new book by Greg Prato that drops on November 19. Check out our detailed discussion below, where we go chapter by chapter and also provide our overall thoughts on the book. Additionally, this episode includes a 30-minute interview with the author conducted by Julian Gill. Enjoy!

Jonathan Cain Releases “Wonder of Wonders” and “Something Greater”

Journey’s Jonathan Cain recently released two new singles, one of which is a brand-new, original Christmas song entitled “Wonder of Wonders.” The second song, “Something Greater,” coincides with the release of Cain’s wife’s book of the same name.

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KISS Announces Tour Dates & Final Performance

The end is near. On KISS Kruise IX, while amongst the KISS Navy, KISS revealed the band’s final performance on its “End Of The Road” tour. It’s taking place on July 17, 2021 in New York City, where the band was formed, at a yet-to-be-announced location. The band already performed at Madison Square Garden, so that’s out of the question. Will it be at Citi Field in Queens? How about Central Park? No one knows, but I’m sure we’ll find out in the months to come.

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Dionne Warwick Releases New Christmas Album

Dionne Warwick, my favorite female vocalist, is back with her second Christmas album, which is appropriately titled Dionne Warwick & The Voices of Christmas. This collection of 12 songs is comprised of 10 duets and two solo tracks by Dionne that begin and conclude the album. I positively adored Dionne’s first Christmas album, My Favorite Time of The Year, when it was released in 2004 and it was a day-one purchase for me. Dionne Warwick & The Voices of Christmas is an excellent follow-up holiday album that features Dionne tackling songs she’s never recorded before, as well as approaching ones she has from a new angle. As for those she sings with, you can expect to hear Johnny Mathis, Aloe Blacc, Michael McDonald, and others. All of the arrangements are slickly produced with the vocalists front-and-center in the mix, as they should be, making for a highly enjoyable early Christmas present.

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A Conversation with Stephen Bishop

Stephen Bishop is a wonderful singer-songwriter who is still going strong. He has decades of albums and hits under his belt, and a ton of exciting projects on the horizon. Stephen’s newest album, We’ll Talk About It Later In The Car, is available now and it’s excellent. It features that signature songwriting and voice fans have come to know and love, and I highly recommend that everyone picks up a copy. Stephen was kind enough to speak with me about his new music and his impressive career. I hope you enjoy our discussion.

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