Emerging Artist: Rowdy McCarran

The Band

The Band

A few years ago, I met this electric singer, so seasoned and with a voice rich with country-warmth.  He is Rowdy McCarran, and I asked him why he was in Las Vegas?

He performed at rodeos and was voted the best band in the National Finals Rodeo (NFR) in 2012 and 2013. He played post-party shows for Randy Travis and Kenny Rogers. 

Ronee and Rowdy

Ronee and Rowdy

Rowdy also sang at lounges, and clubs. I asked him ‘What are you waiting for?  You need to get to Nashville, yesterday!”

Before I knew it, he bought an RV and packed up to travel across country. It was his time. I had hoped to hook him up with my friend there, Eric Bikales, who knows all the heavies and is an arranger-pianist for Neil Sedaka, among others.

Eric was just on the road so much; lucky  for Rowdy, he met great people who got him very good songwriters and musicians.  When his album was finished,  the songs I heard were great and strong.  I knew it was just a matter of time before the world would hear him.

In concert at the Double Barrel Roadhouse!

In concert at the Double Barrel Roadhouse!

His album  ‘R M ‘ was recorded at the famous Treasure Isle Studio  in Nashville. Home to Jason Aldean.

Chuck Dauphin of Billboard Magazine loves the album, and gave it high praise. Bill Hennes of AllAboutCountry.com calls it a ‘Real Winner’… Someone give him a record deal’

This October, Rowdy’s incredible band performed at the Double Barrel Roadhouse in front of the Monte Carlo Hotel in Las Vegas. I got there early, very early, and made sure I would be close.  I got so much more than I came for.  I got a party, concert, standing room only, dance-a-thon.

I’m telling you, I could not stop dancing. It was like I was make in Los Angeles, at the Forum

Rowdy Mccarran

Rowdy MCcarran

The opening song, ‘Hell of a Night‘ by Dustin Lynch set the tone for an exciting up beat hard driven set.  then followed by ‘Shes Country‘ by Jason Aldean was a perfect second choice.  Now, the originals from the album,,,’Picks In A Pocket‘, Trailer Made‘, ‘Fast Enough‘, ‘Say You Will‘ a ballad I am very fond of, with a great hook, ‘Ride It Out‘, ‘Should have Danced‘, another favorite  ‘Chicka Boom‘, and Finally another fav ‘Crazy Enough‘.

The amazing band making everyone stay up on their feet are: Drummer Scott Westbrook, is so strong, so on the money, in the pocket, you name it! He has toured with Suspect, Roulette, Dirty Pairadice, Hair nation and more. Scotts addition to the group solidifies the intense concert level of the band.

Bassist: Gerhard Krause  is as solid as they come. He has been with Rowdy the longest. He has performed with John Rich, of Big and Rich, Andrew Tierney of Human Nature , and more.  he locks in with the drummer like you rarely hear!

Guitarist: Ronee Pena is a solid pro. Coming from the Los Angeles and Orange County area, he has worked with Los Lobos, The Tubes, and the B52’s, as well as his funk and latin roots, with Eric Clapton, Jeff Beck, Styx (I know, right, all my favorites too!!) !It is quite obvious Ronee is a real Pro and knows how to get the audience going. 

Guitar 2 : Andrew Chute a great asset to this band, is a graduate of the The Musicians Institue 2008, and Co Founder of The Toy cars, and has arranged for Cirque Shows as well as Celine Dion. 

Scott Westbrook and Ronee Pena are both quite the showmen as well. Scott is one of the finest and strongest drummers I have seen. Ronee has the chops and moves and long blowing in the wind Hair, that Rowdy can play off of.  With Gerhard, and Andrew this is the ideal combination of showmen and musicians.

I can honestly say, Rowdy is so ready for the world. get the CD, R M, Listen to him on ReverbNation and SoundCloud and if you get the chance, go see this Band of Fire ! You wont be sorry!

Jessica Marciel
Las Vegas Vocal Training

Bob Anderson Shines in Frank, The Man, The Music

bob-anderson

Bob Anderson

Bob Anderson had an idea. His Musical Director, Vincent Falcone, had been Frank Sinatra’s musical director for years. It seems Frank gave Vinnie,  his arrangements. Frank told him, Keep the music going!

Bob and Vinnie are keeping the promise. They hired an incredibly talented make up artist, Kazu Tsuji. He works on him, for two hours each night, turning him into Frank!.. Kazu is the Oscar-nominated makeup artist who transformed Brad Pitt in the 2008 Film, ‘The Curious Case Of Benjamin Button’. (reference KazuStudios.com)

straight-outta-hoboken-sinatra-450

Bob Anderson as Frank!

He does the transformation of Bob to Frank,  in 2 hours, because the 3 hours he needed were too just too much for Bob on a nightly basis!. The face, the hair, amazingly accurate.

Then Bob does the rest, the posture, the walk, the mannerisms, the voice, OH, the Voice!

The show is produced and directed by Stephen Eich of the Steppenwolf theater in Chicago. The lighting and set design by Kevin Rigdon also of the Steppenwolf theater.

The bigger surprise in the show is the 32-piece orchestra. Not just any musicians; many who played with Frank. Along with bassist Bob Sachs, and guitarist Joe Lano, Drummer Tommy Check, the sax section, and many throughout the orchestra have played these charts with the man himself, Frank. .

vincent-falcone-color

Musical Director, Vincent Falcone

What great charts they are!  Chills will appear on your body many times during the 90-minute show.  The string section is big and lush.

I have been watching Bob Anderson my entire adult life. I was in the Casino De Paris show at the Dunes Hotel, when Bob performed at the Top Of The Dunes. This was a popular show where you would run into Tony Bennett, Steve Lawrence, and Don Rickles in the elevator.

Following his career, I saw him at the Desert Inn, where one night I got pulled onstage and sang with him. He was always my favorite singer and entertainer. Bob moved to town from Detroit as a 22-year old, and worked with Nancy Sinatra, at the Sahara Hotel.  He is very gracious to his fans, always takes pictures with them, and gives them his time. Take note future entertainers, always greet your fans, they are why you are working!

Pre-Show at the Palazzo Theater.

Pre-Show at the Palazzo Theater.

The show is staged at the Palazzo Hotel, in the Palazzo Theatre; originally named The Jersey Boys Theatre. When the Palazzo was built, the showroom was designed to stand in the exact place as its predecessor, the Copa Room at The Sands Hotel.

Frank, The Man, The Music begins with the orchestra playing a medley of Sinatra favorites.

Simultaneously, screen projections on both sides of the theatre stage. You watch Bob finish his character transformation, walk through the hall, talk with a few people, and then enter stage right as if the film-transition is live every night.

The Sands HotelWhen he opens his mouth to sing, it doesn’t take long to forget you are no longer watching and listening to Bob, but Frank Sinatra.

The patter, the stories are fascinating, all done in character; and the party begins. Time stops and you ARE taken back in time.

Old Vegas is back, and you can hear him sing the Bossa Nova, a la Antonio Carlos Jobim. That musical period played flawlessly by guitar legend, Joe Lano!.  Then, you are whisked inside Capitol records for a reenactment of a studio recording session. 

Bob Anderson is a consumnate performer. This is evident, with the easy listening style and goose bump singing. He sings with ease, because he is a natural. I asked him if he warms up? He said, “Very little.” He sings along backstage in the wings and does a few scales. I understand this as a natural singer myself, I hardly ever warm up, and my voice is always  there for me.

frank-the-man-the-musicThis show is here only until the end of 2015, then it moves to New York. Tickets for  Frank: The Man,The Music can be purchased via Ticketmaster online or 702-414-9000. Thank you , Patricia Dockswell, Bobs Production Coordinator.

Jessica Marciel
Las Vegas Vocal Training

Grammy Time 56th year!

Bruno Mars

Bruno Mars

Jay Z and Beyonce, minus her extensions, chair dancing . At first I thought it was a rerun of Flashdance. Drunken Love,  a duet with hubby Jay Z,

L L Cool J is someone I like, as an actor, so I was glad to see him as the emcee.   The best award was for best new artist.  The winner:  Macklemore and Ryan Lewis.  A lot of firsts tonight.   This was a band, without a record label.  So Bravo!  Record labels take note,, you are losing money.

The next award was song Daft Punk with Pharrell Williams  ‘Get Lucky’, winning over Blurred lines!!!!! REALLY???  Well, ok, next, Katy Perry performed. This was a big production! For her, it was dark, in color and mood. Like a black and white film with a splash of red.  This was really different from anything we have seen or heard from her.

Now I am excited… Chicago and Robin Thicke!  They started with a medley from Chicago, then went into Robins Blurred lines. Odd couple I might say. Robin just sings with too many riffs.  To sing Chicago, he needs to tone it down, Please.

Then his song worked because Chicago could do it well.

John Legend always makes me smile, and his performance was lovely. To me, this is music. I loved it to say the least.

The next award for best Rock song; Cut Me Some Slack,, Paul McCartney, Dave Grohl.

  It also seems Taylor swift has been studying voice. She hit her mark and had control, glad to say. She tossed her hair as if it were salad dressing,, and I bet she has a neck brace on tomorrow.

Pink was up there on the wires, and I do believe she sings live while doing it,, I just think she would  fake it.  The dancing after she came down was amazing!   She was great!  song; Give me a Reason, love the song. She got the first Standing O.

Best pop solo performance:  Lorde???    well,   kind of funny, since she isnt a performer yet! She won Over Katy Perry, Bruno Mars, Sara Barielles and Justin timberlake, ????????? Time for an aspirin.

Ringo then performed . The Beatles had received a Lifetime Achievement award the previous day. Olivia Harrison, Yoko Ono and Ringo attended, because Paul had to rehearse.  To accept this honor was… cough   Yoko Ono, with very long speech.

Now, she was with John right before the Beatles split up.  She was a John Lennon wife not a Beatles wife, so why they let her ramble, I do not know! It is said, Ringo, was on his cell phone when she spoke…..

The best thing about the Grammys is Music Cares,  This Grammy Org, changes peoples lives. If you make or made your living in Music, even in little towns,  you don’t have to be famous, you just have to need help.  They have helped 3 of my friends when they were ill, and one dying.   That is the best Grammy, The MusiCares org, and if you are in trouble, they can and will help you. If you give to PBS or other political orgs, spare a dollar or twenty for MusiCares, after all, one day, the one in trouble may be YOU.

Julia Roberts  told us about the 50 year anniversary tribute about the Beatles, 2-hour special, to be aired at the same time as the original Ed Sullivan show airing. This is February 9th.  Than Paul and Ringo played together.

Pop Vocal Album:  Bruno Mars  Unorthadox Jukebox      Yeah 

Stevie  Wonder and Daft Punk,,,WHY??  I am a little sad,,, now, This is painful.  I think I must sign off, and good Grammy watching for the rest of the ,,,,,,,,show..

Jessica Marciel
Las Vegas Vocal Training

Bob Anderson Sizzles at the Suncoast

Bob Anderson and the band

Bob Anderson and the band

I have been watching Bob Anderson for decades. Way-back-when, Bob was at the Top of the Dunes, and Lee Greenwood was in a little piano bar, when I was the singing lead in The ‘Casino De Paris Show’ at the Dunes Hotel. Yes, the good ol days!

I had known him earlier when he and my sister were in a relationship, so we have a lot of history. Bob had his start very fast, with appearances on Johnny Carson, and performances with George Burns…  too many to mention, here.

He is not only an impeccable singer, but a superb impressionist.  The art and style of the cabaret singer is a gift, and completely natural. This rings true when you see Bob’s show. He is at ease, and has a beautiful audience rapport.

I could listen to him sing standards all night, however, his loyal fans expect the impressions Tom Jones, Dean Martin, Sammy Davis Jr;, and Tony Bennett among others.

When you witness a true talent such as Bob, it takes you back to the time in Las Vegas, when headliners dominated.  When the lounges were percolating 24 hours a day, with great bands. I feel badly for the younger people who come here, and find a new Disneyland of mostly mediocre lounge bands, and too few of them.

Bob Anderson Suncoast

Bob Anderson & Jessica Marciel

In the days of true Vegas Glam, you could find, Keely Smith, Kenny Rogers, Lou Rawls and Sam Butera in the lounges, Yes, the lounges. They had cover charges, dress codes, and little round tables with , yes, you guessed it, SERVICEWhat? Service, in glass , not plastic cups. Now how much money do you think is saved by using plastic cups, instead of glass?

In the audience at the ‘Suncoast‘ Friday night, was Pia Zadora, Monti Rock III, Steve Rossi, and even Joe Williams widow, Jill.  I was there with two great singers, we could have been 10 if we had gotten the word out faster. next time we will.   If you haven’t heard Bob sing ‘Guess Who I Saw Today? ‘ , ‘Midnight Sun’ or ‘Angel Eyes’, you haven’t lived.

Besides Bob’s talent and superb backing musicians, the more subtle elements that lift his show include:

  • Designing a show set that includes standards and less familiar songs, that all hit the mark.
  • His recognition of important performers attending the show, never leaving the feeling that he is ‘name-dropping’.
  • Band interaction, particularly with Musical Director, Vincent Falcone, is familiar and comfortable, allowing Bob to change-up a song choice, on the fly, without missing a beat.
  • Embracing his fans, through relaxed banter from the stage, plus lingering after the show to pose for photographs.

So, next time you read about Bob Anderson, appearing anywhere, do yourself a favor, and go see a real pro, a consummate entertainer, with a band, that included legends, like guitarist, Joe Lano, bass, Bob Sachs, Musical Director Piano, Vince Falcone, and drummer, Mike Meechem. 

You can thank me later:) See you there.

Jessica Marciel
Las Vegas Vocal Training

 

Michael Bublé with Ease!

Michael Bublé is consistent.  This man could sing while juggling and playing hop scotch. In this video of  him singing Home’, you can feel his ease and his natural ability to connect with his audience. He draws you in, with home-style comfort, as if in his living room.

His television specials are solid. He always has an interesting guest artist; someone interesting and different from himself.  He makes eye-contact with an audience member, smiles, yet never loses his way in the lyric or emotion of the song.

There are just a handful of singers as pure as this, when you are in their presence. It makes you feel a part of the show, and you can’t wait to see them again… like visiting a friend.

When I worked with Bobby Vinton he had loyal fans  who followed him everywhere!  I never knew how anyone could afford to do that!  They attended shows in Atlantic City, Las Vegas, New York, and had expensive front row seats, to boot!  I would bet anything that Bublé has these kind of loyal fans too.  Only a warm and sincere performer has that kind of attraction. People know when you are not comfortable up there, and it is contagious.

If you get a chance  to see him, get there! It’s a feel-good show, and he is never out of sorts. I have seen just a few of performers with this type of mindset, disposition, and entertainment value. Natalie Cole is one, Sammy Davis Jr. was another.

“Going out to hear live music has its health benefits. It keeps you happy, smiling and younger!”

Jessica Marciel

Jessica Marciel
Las Vegas Vocal Training

Miley Cyrus: Finding Her Identity

Miley Cyrus performance with Robin Thicke at the VMA’s created such an uproar, that she bumped Navy Yard shootings off the news!  Her Twerking phase has become part of Pop Culture vocabulary. Even David Letterman was talking about it’; he said ‘In my day, we called it humping.’

She has lost her fiancé, the beautiful Aussie, Liam Hemsworth, and we don’t know if that was because she is young and crazy, or she was just too young to be engaged.  However, it seems her career, and holding onto it, has become her leading priority.

Do you remember  when Britney Spears kissed Madonna in a performance, everyone went crazy!  They showed her ex-boyfriend Justin Timberlake in the audience, in a close up reaction, daily, on entertainment news for a year.

When a child is a Disney Superstar  you must remember, they are living as an adult, without the freedom. They get up 4am to report to the set. A car picks them up, a tutor is on set to school them, and their meals and hair and clothes are laid out for them, everyday. This isn’t normal.

Cher Do You Believe Tour - SeattleYou can’t go out in public without bodyguards. You can’t go to the prom, or even date without it being in the news. You cannot even talk to another person of the other gender, without the press making you an item of the week.

I don’t like the  way she acts all the time, but I am not the one buying her records.  We have to let her find out who she is, and what kind of artist she will become. She is trying so hard not to disappear, that she is driven to the extreme.  They all did it, Cher straddled that big missile, wearing dental floss as a costume., if you are old enough to remember.

I think the media needs to calm down, there are more important issues in our world than a young woman chopping off her hair, wearing an outfit that doesn’t flatter her boyish figure. I wouldn’t be surprised if she started dating women next. Anything to stay in the press, and to find herself. Miley is NOT daddy’s little girl anymore, and oh, by the way, Liam, if you are lonely, my contact info is on the web! 🙂

Jessica Marciel
Las Vegas Vocal Training

Some of my favorite singers

Dusty Springfield

Dusty Springfield

My taste is all over the board when it comes to favorite singers. I just love good talent, and I also like style. I love Natalie Cole, and Dusty Springfield. Two completely different styles. I love Natalie for her instrument, and Dusty for her sultry, smokey sound.

I have always liked Carmen McRae and Jack Jones. I love local singer Jerry Lopez, and his brother Lenny.

Other great Las Vegas singers are Ronnie Rose, Tony Davich, and Jamie Hosmer. Jeannine Marie knocks me out with her powerful voice. Ronnie Fabre, Joni James, and Michelle Rohl are great rockers. . I heard ‘I know You By Heart’ by Michelle Johnson at a memorial service, and it was  Fantastic.!

Singers, such as Beyoncé do nothing for me. Jennifer Hudson tugs at your heartstrings in Dreamgirls.

Carrie Underwood is great, always get her albums. Martina McBride is one of the greats.  Curtis StigersFred Ross, Brad Cordle, Tata Vega, Ted Neeley, get me every time.

I love Hayley Williams, from Paramore, total rocker, and Ann Wilson from Heart. I love the style of Sophie Milman; very Julie London. I do not care for the singer who does not move you with the voice. You may hear a great singer, but the hair does not stick up on your arms. I love when a singer sings the lyric.

One of my students, Lou Lou White  , who is French, sang an Edith Piaf song for me, I had no idea what it meant, but I was in tears. Now she is singing with ‘True Blue’  and you can hear her around town.

That is what I mean, I love singers who love to sing and mean what they sing.


Jessica Marciel
Las Vegas Vocal Training

Singing Backup Documentary, “Twenty Feet From Stardom” is Heaven

singing backup documentaryAs a back-up singer, lounge singer, showroom singer, studio singer, and singer in a Broadway show, I knew I would love this documentary. And like the women showcased in this film, you probably wouldn’t remember my face or name from singing backup.

This documentary, Twenty Feet From Stardom, showcases a few, very few, woman in song… back-up singers behind many Stars. The vocalists who ‘Sing the Hook’ … the phrase you hum, incessantly, after you leave the concert.

“Back-up vocalists sing the repeat lines. Without those, half the song is missing!”

Stevie Wonder – Twenty Feet From Stardom

Jessica with Tata Vega at a HAIR cast reunion

Jessica with Tata Vega at a HAIR cast reunion

We meet some great singers. I’ve had the good fortune to work with a few of them. Tata Vega was a fellow cast member in ‘HAIR’ in the late 60’s and early 70’s. She is a tiny thing with a huge voice.

Tata and I reconnected at a HAIR reunion, just a few years ago. She was just as sweet and just as humble as ever. I have been to many of the HAIR reunions, and this is just the second time I’ve seen her.

Why? Because she is constantly working. Tata is one of the most sought after back up singers, currently touring with Elton John.

Her career has a rich history. She sang with her own bands, working with three different record labels.  Her story is both moving and heartbreaking.

Tata Vega

Tata Vega

What we don’t learn about Tata in the film is that she is a mom to a beautiful daughter… whose father  was the love of Tata’s life. Sadly, he died of cancer years ago, and she has had to carry on without him.

Signed to Motown Records at very young age, Tata’s budding career was shelved, largely passed over for other artists, much as I was, at age 14, with Capitol’s World Pacific Jazz label.

We get to meet and hear three women who sang lead with The Rolling Stones, not all at once, but consecutively.

Merry Clayton was the first. She is very famous in musical circles and recorded a string of three solo albums. She comes across pretty confident and cocky, and has the chops to back it up, so her attitude is understandable and easy to forgive.

Following Merry with Mick Jagger was the very sensual, and beautiful, Claudia Lennear, Now in her early sixties, looks like a housewife, or just anyone with a day job,

Claudia Lennear

Claudia Lennear

But back-in-the-day, Claudia was featured in a Playboy Magazine spread. Other than that, she is quite coy about being the sexy one. She didn’t set out to be THAT One. (Oh… she was one of the Ikettes with Ike & Tina Turner)

You may find that hard to believe when you see pics of her, and her album cover pose. It seems that Claudia just didn’t have the ego to become famous. It takes a certain toughness, that Tata and Claudia do not have.

Lisa Fisher

Lisa Fischer

Lisa Fischer is the third singer with Mick, and she simply blew me away.  When I got home from the movie, I ordered a CD of hers from Amazon.com.

She was just stunning and sexy as anything. OMG, the tight skin-tight spandex, and make up and hair. An excellent choice to take over for Claudia.  She is only in her early fifties, and is still a killer singer, but looks so different. Lisa has been with the Stones over 20 years and  you are glad that the band has loyalty and has not replaced her!  The business can be so cruel… but not this time.

Lisa sings with David Foster and Chris Botti, and is probably the only one  that didn’t have a family.  She thinks about it, and is not sorry about it.  She chuckles about the fun she has, and no regrets about a family and no kids!

A lot of the film covers Darlene Love, who is probably the most familiar name. But you will be surprised how fleeting fame can be, and how she struggled. She is 70, now, and inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame only recently, in 2011.

At times, Twenty Feet From Stardom was painful for me to watch. I have been in their shows, so at times it is highly personal.  I have had highs and lows, and survived to still be a working for singers. This film gives us an inside look at the business side of Show, and the unsung heroes of the stage.

You will hear great music, you will hear from thoughtful musical wisdom from mouths of Sting, Bruce Springsteen, Mick, and a contractor for singers Bill Maxwell

They all agree with me, these woman are worth a lot more than the attention they get.    

‘Twenty Feet from Stardom’ is a 90-minute musical history lesson disguised as a movie. Entertaining, touching, thoughtful. It will give you fresh appreciation for the singers you see and hear, and a clearer understanding of their craft and careers.

This movie is so good… you might even thank me!

Jessica Marciel
Las Vegas Vocal Training

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