Michael Cavacini

An award-winning arts and culture blog.

Archive for the tag “music”

A Very Barry Christmas

Photo by Dana Holland.

For the first time ever, Barry Manilow took his Christmas show on the road. This special concert typically only takes place in Palm Springs, where Manilow resides. But this year he decided to bring it to a handful of locations, including New York. I made it a point to attend Manilow’s New York performance, and it exceeded my expectations.

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John Oates Announces New Album: Arkansas

John Oates, whom I’ve had the pleasure of interviewing and meeting multiple times, announced that he’s releasing a new solo album on February 2: Arkansas. I’ve already listened to it, and I can confirm that the album features the soulful voice and masterful musicianship that have been hallmarks of this legendary artist’s career. Below are all of the details regarding Arkansas.

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Neal Schon Releases Holiday EP

Neal Schon, lead guitarist and founder of Journey, just released his holiday EP, Ave Maria, featuring guitar by the man himself and orchestration by Gary Cirimelli. It’s available to buy and stream, and I highly recommend you do so, as the music contained within is beautifully done. In addition to the title track, which is a masterpiece, Schon included instrumental versions of two Journey classics – “Open Arms” and “Faithfully.” And he rounded out this holiday offering with a gorgeous version of “Can’t Help Falling In Love,” which was originally made famous by Elvis. I played this last track for my wife, as it was the song she walked down the aisle to at our wedding in September. Stephanie liked Neal’s version so much that she asked me to play it again, which is a testament to the quality of the music on Ave Maria.

Catching Up With Drummer Deen Castronovo

Just a few days after I interviewed him, it was announced that my friend Deen Castronovo is the new drummer for the fantastic rock band The Dead Daises. Deen and the guys are currently in Nashville working on a new studio album, and I couldn’t be happier for Deen or The Dead Daises. I’m sure what they produce will be phenomenal and I can’t wait to hear it.

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Dionne Warwick Receives Marian Anderson Award

Jerry Blavat and Dionne Warwick.

On November 14 Dionne Warwick received the Marian Anderson Award, which celebrates critically-acclaimed artists who have used their talents for personal artistic expression and whose body of work has contributed to our society in a singular manner. As you can see from the photo I took above, Dionne and the attendees were all smiles – even before the gala began. It was a memorable night honoring an iconic woman whose music and philanthropic work have made a lasting impact on society and popular culture that will be felt for generations to come.

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Five Cover Stories In One Year

It took me three years to get an interview with Barry Manilow but this year it happened. Better yet, it wound up being a cover story – my first – for The Aquarian Weekly. As 2017 rolled on, four more of my interviews ran in The Aquarian Weekly as cover stories. Having five cover stories in one year is fantastic and I consider myself immensely fortunate for being given these opportunities. With the year winding down, let’s revisit all five of them.

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A Conversation With Producer Jason Michael Paul

Jason Michael Paul, the producer of The Legend of Zelda: Symphony of the Goddesses, is bringing this massively successful show to Philadelphia’s Kimmel Center for the Performing Arts on December 27. I’ve seen this show two times, and I look forward to seeing it again – it’s that good! Each time the music is updated to reflect new video games in the Zelda series or simply shaken up to offer something new for repeat attendees, such as myself. If you’ve never seen the show before, witnessing this performance in Verizon Hall at the Kimmel Center is the perfect way to do so. It’s a beautiful venue with wonderful acoustics, and the intimate environment will further immerse you in the spellbinding show that is The Legend of Zelda: Symphony of the Goddesses. In addition to picking up tickets to see The Legend of Zelda: Symphony of the Goddesses in Philadelphia on December 27, check out my interview below with Jason Michael Paul. We covered a lot of ground in this interview, including how this show came to be, Jason’s favorite Zelda video games, how he started off his musical career with Luciano Pavarotti at the Kimmel Center, and more. Enjoy!

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The God Of Thunder Speaks: Catching Up With Gene Simmons

Photo by Mark Weiss.

Within the past year, I’ve had the amazing opportunity to interview Gene Simmons twice! Since we last spoke, he announced The Vault, which is a 150-song box set, chronicling 50 years of unreleased demos and outtakes, housed in a 38-pound safe. Starting in January, Gene is hand-delivering these vaults for $2,000 each to fans across the world. If you spend $25,000 you can be an executive producer of The Vault and spend an hour with Gene in a recording studio. Or, for $50,000 Gene will come to your house for a two-hour party and you can invite up to 25 friends to take part in the festivities. I’m not buying The Vault because it’s way out of my price range and wheeling home one of these behemoths is a surefire way to upset my wife. However, if you’re interested in learning more about The Vault, you can do so at GeneSimmonsVault.com.

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Catching Up With Dionne Warwick

Photo by David Vance.

I recently had the opportunity to catch up with the five-time Grammy award-winning pop icon Dionne Warwick. In addition to having a career that has spanned more than 50 years filled with hit singles and timeless albums, Dionne is the 2017 recipient of the Marian Anderson Award. This prestigious honor is bestowed upon critically acclaimed artists who have impacted society in a positive way, either through their work or their support for an important cause. Dionne has achieved both in myriad ways. I’m thrilled she’s receiving this well-deserved honor, and I look forward to being at the Kimmel Center in Philadelphia on November 14 when she receives the Marian Anderson Award.

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Melissa Manchester: The Fellas

Melissa Manchester is one of the greatest female vocalists of all time. Her velvety, soulful voice is unmistakable, and I always look forward to new music from this immensely talented songstress. More than 25 years after Melissa Manchester released Tribute, her 1989 album that honored the great female singers who influenced her, she turns the tables with The Fellas, a radiant encomium to the men, including Frank Sinatra, Mel Tormé, Tony Bennett, and Dean Martin, and the iconic songs they made famous. The Fellas is available everywhere on September 8.

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