Category Archives: Reviews

Sade – Concert Review by Author G. D. Grace

When the “Soldier of Love” project was released in 2010, anticipation’s thirst was quenched, for it had been “ten” years since the release of “Lover’s Rock”, by the creative and artistic concept known as, Sade.  It’s release spawned another set of songs to add to the soundtrack of my life, and I shared this excitement without restraint to others who have enjoyed the Sade sound as much as I over the years.

Well, the feedback I received about the latest offering from Sade did not match the excitement I had about it’s release.  The lackluster comments about the CD not being any good fell on deaf ears to me because the intriguing bite I received years ago still had an everlasting effect on me.  Once an artists’ musicality captures my attention, I am a fan for life.

Now, because the CD had dropped I was geared up to purchase a ticket to the concert because, surly, there had to be one to support the release of the CD.  Well, there was indeed hype that correlated with the release — television appearances galore but, guess what, no concert was announced.  Needless to say, I was disappointed until I heard the announcement that Sade tickets were going on sale.

That’s when I emailed my friend, Kelly, and before I had a chance to ask if she wanted to go; BAM!  She sent me a response email stating that we would be attending the show because she had just purchased the tickets.  I was floored.  But I was even more taken aback when I learned that the show wouldn’t occur until one year later.

Well, Kelly and I have been to Las Vegas and back.  We haven even been to Bimbo’s in San Francisco a couple of times to see another of our favorites, Basia, but we wouldn’t be seeing Sade until Thursday, August 25th, 2011 at 8:00PM.

Yeah, I know, but good things truly come to those who wait, and wait we did.  We kept each other hyped as the months passed, anticipating the moment that we would be taking our seats to witness something rare.  You see, a concept like Sade doesn’t follow the predictable and boring guidelines of an industry driven by that mean green — no, there’s is true artistry inspired by the heart.

Now, I have to be honest and tell you that my enthusiasm had wavered a bit because I was over tired from the physical job I have, but there was no way I would even consider not showing up to an event that my friend and I had been waiting for so long to see.

The day of the concert I piddled around my room procrastinating until the last minute, wondering what I was going to wear and if I needed to take a coat, but just like clock work I pulled it together, showered, shaved, got dressed, and sprayed on some “smell-good”.  By the time I finished getting myself together I found something that I didn’t know I could find at that moment — my excitement!

Around 6:00PM, my friend showed up looking beautiful as ever, jazzed about the event that we had waited so long to see.  On the way to the concert we chatted about the concerts we had seen and in her car’s CD player was our theme for the evening — Sade.

By the time we arrived to the San Jose Arena there was a huge crowd of people standing in line, waiting their turn to get in and that excitement I found earlier increased.  The crowd was an assorted array of cultural diversity that warmed my heart.  That’s what I love so much about music — it brings people together.  For a brief moment in life we can forget all of our worries and stresses.  That for me is a priceless experience.

Parking wasn’t too bad, however, the $25 fee to park hit a raw nerve with my friend — and in all honesty, I couldn’t blame her, but we recovered and found a $15 lot a few blocks away.  It seemed that everything was working in our favor.  We even met a couple celebrating the anniversary of their marriage, and we engaged in a friendly conversation with them, congratulating them on their marital “mainstay”.  They had been together for six years.

As we stood at the red light, waiting to cross the street I noticed some people carrying picket signs and wondered who could be picketing a Sade concert.  I didn’t have to wonder as I got closer — it was a group of individuals spouting of religious banters from a bullhorn.  I was puzzled about their activity because Sade’s music has nothing to do with religion, but I deposited those thoughts in a place far away.  I am a spiritual person, but left the collective organization long ago for personal reasons.

But anyway, moving on.

At the door a dapper older gentleman, who looked like the legendary blues man,  B. B. King, took our tickets and scanned them.  When I told him who I thought he looked like, he said he looked like another performer I didn’t know.  I wasn’t familiar with the name, but we all got a chuckle out of it.

Once inside, the entire aura was relaxing and calm.  People were purchasing Sade memorabilia, booze & food — you know, activity befitting concert goers.  Me?  Well, my pockets were a little thin so I had to observe rather than participate.  Even though our pockets were tight, we did get a soft drink and a hot dog — hey, we had to eat didn’t we?  – LOL

Okay, so, now the most exciting part.  Like clock work the lights dimmed at 8:00PM and John Legend took the stage, dressed impeccably well in what looked to be a white, 3-piece, linen suit.  I have to be honest, I wasn’t really a follower of his music, however, I can honestly say, the “brotha” is an amazing entertainer. As an opening act, he was one class act.  The reaction of the crowd assured me that he is a superstar for a reason.

After John’s electric performance, there was a slight intermission as the stage was reassembled for the main event.  Sade.  My eyes scanned the crowded arena and when I saw the wave of nationalities assembled, a peace engulfed me and I felt so lucky and blessed to be able to partake in such a wonderful event.

The rearrangement of the stage didn’t take long at all and then without warning, the lights dimmed.   It got everyone’s attention and soon the crowd began to chant in unison, calling for the main event by name.

Sade!

Sade!

Sade!

The cries of the crowd were answered immediately with the powerful intro to “Soldier of Love”.  In the thralls of the thumping beat she emerged into our line of sight, moving subtly to the rhythms as if she were part of the instrumentation.

A lady knows how to make an entrance.

From that moment on, we were all whisked away into the musical legacy that only comes from true artistry.  Song after song, we were pulled deeper into a moment in time that would forever be cemented in time and, you know what, nobody seemed to care.

From “Jezebel”, to “Paradise”, to “Love Is Stronger Than Pride, we were immersed in the music without guilt or shame.

From “The Sweetest Taboo” to “Is it a Crime”, “Your Love Is King” to “Nothing Can Come Between Us”, “By Your Side” to “The Sky & The Moon”, “Pearls” (Yeah, Kelly cried) to “Smooth Operator”  — we were all treated to a performance ten years in the making.

She explored every emotion with sincerity and honesty as if the songs were written during them.   Then, in perfect alignment, “Love is Found”, entered the consciousness like a bullet.  Those of us truly in tune with what was happening were silent and enthralled as we witnessed creativity at it’s finest.

At some point I realized that ending was immanent, but I didn’t want to let go.  After experiencing something as wonderful as I had, how could I proceed?  Well, now, you know GD is a tad bit dramatic, but that’s how much I loved this concert.  Her classy entrance was followed by an even classier departure, as she introduced us to every member of the Sade Concept.  If you have witnessed any of her concerts you know that most, if not all, of the names being called out have been there since the beginning — including that fine “brotha” who resembles a young Sidney Poiter.

After the beautiful flowers floated downward to the stage, we chanted for just one more song and after a few moments the band re-emerged for one last song:

“Cherish The Day”

And yes, I will always, cherish the day…

(Love you, Kelly — one of the brightest spirits that has graced my life)

GD

Author, G. D. Grace Literary Links:

http://stores.lulu.com/enlightenment4theheart

http://author2be.wordpress.com/

http://authorgdgrace.blogspot.com/

EMAIL: Detria0918@sbcglobal.net

“A Touch of Grace” Blog Talk Radio Show:

http://www.blogtalkradio.com/author2beepa

CALL IN NUMBER TO SHOW: (347) 215-6245

(Psalms 30:5)

Author G. D. Grace reserves all rights and reproduction without written permission is not permitted.  If found, legal action will be taken against the person(s) or company(s) that have cut or pasted (Plagiarized) any portion of this written document.  Author, G. D. Grace; Published © 2011 August

Darien – CD “If These Walls Could Talk” a G. D. Grace Review

I Heard about this talented, soulful crooner on the music website, SoulTracks, and after hearing one song, “Composure”  I went online and purchased the entire CD, “If These Walls Could Talk”.

I suppose what captured my ears were the touching and heartwarming lyrics to all of the songs on this classic project.

I have been a lover of music for as long as I can remember, and as a writer myself I am drawn to the honest, clean,  & rich-in-content forms of musical expression.

Darien’s passionate approach in his vocal delivery is artistic expression at its best, and his live performances elevate the entire feel to the next level.  The summer when this CD was in heavy rotation on my CD player had been a challenging one — I had stepped out on faith and left a 26 year career at a fortune 500 company.  There were several CD’s that captured that space in time and will forever be part of the soundtrack that was my life at that moment — “If These Walls Could Talk” is one of them.

I had the honor of exchanging correspondence with Darien on MySpace, as well as, on his blog, and found him to be a very kind and warm individual. The networking interaction with him further confirmed that what he sings about is real and from his heart.  His musical contributions are in alignment with many of the artist that I have listened to over the years; from Teena Marie to Earth Wind & Fire, Stevie Wonder to George Michael, The Gap Band to Cameo, Anita Baker to Phyllis Hyman, Sade to Maxwell, Aretha Franklin to Peobo Bryson, and Basia to Swing Out Sister.

The list of artists mentioned above are part of  a wide range of other artists too numerous to count but, one thing for sure, I am attracted to real singers who utilize studio technology to get the product out, and not those who use it to enhance the message of a song.  Instruments and vocals and a clever, moving arrangement are the ingredients that capture my heart.

One of the more touching songs on “If These Walls Could Talk” is the cut, “Seasons”.  The words are timeless, deep, and spiritual for me.  It took me a minute to get to it because it is a track closer to the end of the CD.  I was so immersed in all the ones at the beginning that  it took me a minute to reach the end of the CD.  -LOL

That’s how I roll though.  If a CD is good, I will wear out each and every song.  Depending on my mood, anyone of them will become my favorite. And I will also replay the entire CD for years and years.

Darien’s star has been rising quickly.  He’s been performing all over the world, and his audience is expanding with every performance.  I’m thankful to be able to locate artist that, unfortunately, aren’t recognized by mainstream media.  Eventually though, mainstream media does catch on but, thankfully, for music lovers like me, independent artists are allowed to shine prior to gaining mainstream attention with the availability of social networking sites like: Youtube, Facebook, Twitter, and MySpace.

If you’d like to keep up with Darien’s whereabouts and learn more about this fantastic musical performer, drop by his blog link (below).  And if you haven’t copped the CD “If These Walls Could Talk”, then drop by SoulTracks or Amazon and drop some “duckets”.

This is GD, bringing it to you from his own words.

Darien’s Blog:

http://darienonline.wordpress.com/2011/02/03/please-listen-to-my-demo-graphic/#comments

Amazon Link:

http://www.amazon.com/If-These-Walls-Could-Talk/dp/B0023P7ZD0/ref=sr_1_3?s=music&ie=UTF8&qid=1307240261&sr=1-3

SoulTracks Link:

http://www.soultracks.com/

Author, G. D. Grace Literary Links:

http://stores.lulu.com/enlightenment4theheart

http://author2be.wordpress.com/

http://authorgdgrace.blogspot.com/

“A Touch of Grace” Blog Talk Radio Show:

http://www.blogtalkradio.com/author2beepa

CALL IN NUMBER TO SHOW: (347) 215-6245

 

Author G. D. Grace reserves all rights and reproduction without written permission is not permitted.  If found, legal action will be taken against the person(s) or company(s) that have cut or pasted (Plagiarized) any portion of this written document.  Author, G. D. Grace; Published © 2011 June

review of the stage play “In Laws from Hell” by G. D. Grace

On one magical evening in Las Vegas, Nevada on February 26th, 2011 at 7:00PM, an author’s novel made the transition from the pages of a book onto center stage at The Orleans Hotel & Casino.   What made this event even more special is that it was the first stage play ever performed in the showroom of this electric haven for seekers of instant wealth, and it was also within the month of February – a month dedicated to Black History.

Andrionna L. Williams spearheaded this groundbreaking event that brought people from all over the United States together, seating them under one roof to experience theater at its very best.  Having networked with this energetic young lady for the past several months, I can attest to the fact that she is an ambitious woman who not only sets out to do something, she actually does it.

I had the opportunity to meet her face to face prior to show time, and it was everything I expected it to be and more.  Her gentle, warm, and inviting personality captivated me at hello, and she thanked me for traveling from Northern California to support her first stage play ever.

In that I had given her numerous cyber-hugs throughout the year  via Facebook, I made it a point to make good on my promise by giving her a real one, and told her how very proud I was of her and what she had accomplished.  I also thanked her for giving me the honor of interviewing her and the entire cast of “In Laws from Hell” on my blog talk radio show “A Touch of Grace”, January 1st 2011.

With formal introduction out of the way, I found my way back to my seat beside a very good friend named “Kelly” who made the entire trip to Vegas possible for me (Thank you, Kelly-Belly).  As we sat there in anticipation, waiting for the main event to begin, I scanned the room and observed an array of smiling faces indulging in pre-show conversations – many were friends and family who came in numbers to show their love and support.  It was thoroughly one heartwarming moment in time.

The theater seated 800 people, and there were few empty seats which meant that the house was impressively packed and with a thunderous applause from the crowd, the lights dimmed, and the journey into the heart of Andrionna’s stage play production began.  Over the course of more than two-hours, we were treated to the hilarious antics of a meddlesome mother’s quest to divide the union between her son and a daughter in law that she deemed as being too “boojie” for him.

As with any live production, there were minute periods when technical difficulties reminded you that you were, indeed, watching a live production, but they paled in comparison to the cohesive interaction between the talented actors and actresses on stage.  There were tender musical duets between the beautiful leading lady and her handsome leading man that pulled us into their love and torment, as they fought to foil the efforts of family member’s intent on destroying what they had found in one another.

All of the songs sung by various cast members were original compositions created just for “In Laws From Hell”, and all vocal performances were strong and each singer held their own when they delivered.  The audience’s applause and verbal accolades were clear indicators to me that they were being given what they had paid to see.  The spiritual undertone of the storyline was undeniable, and it is what reached the core of all in attendance.

The comedic timing in certain scenes matched that of some of the most memorable moments in entertainment history.  There was farting, pot smoking (The Mother and her cronies), raunchy dancing, humorous “capping” dialogs between certain cast members, but there were also intense dramatic moments when your heart just really went out to the two lovers.  Every time that phone rang you just knew that old mama was up to yet another antic.

After the final scene the cast came out on stage and was formally introduced to the audience, and the last person who came out was none other than the radiant, phenomenal playwright herself, Andrionna L. Williams.  She humbly thanked everyone for taking time out of their busy schedules to come see “In Laws from Hell” – she thanked her mother, aunt, and children as well, for their undying support of all of her endeavors.

Her final question to the audience was “…how did I do my first time out?”

The thunderous applause answered that question perfectly.

OUTSTANDING

Playwright, Andrionna L. Williams

“In Laws from Hell” Clip 1 on Youtube:

“In Laws from Hell” Clip 2 on Youtube:

The cast members of this play reads as a whose who of the entertainment community:

Mr. Debonair, Tony Grant of Tyler Perry’s “The Marriage Counselor”

Songbird, Trisha Mann of J. D. Lawrence’s “Clean Up Woman”

Jovial, Joy Lawshawn of Power 88

Straight Forward, April Tellis

Sweet & Serene, Gayla Allison-Murray

Comical, Otis Haley

Artistic, Treasure Tobin from the movie “Love & Basketball”

Down-to-earth, Tiffani Hendrix

Sassy, Karen Conrad

Beautiful, Brandi Brown

Optimistic, Makisa Davis

Handsome & Loyal, Robert Cox

and…

Ms. Entertainment, Alicia South

Apparently the play’s success has spawned a tour, and so far Flint, Michigan and Reno Nevada have been confirmed as stops for the stage play “In Laws From Hell”.

Cities and Dates thus far:

Flint, Michigan                                   To be announced                             May 7th, 2011

Reno, Nevada                                   The Pioneer Theater                      End of May 2011

Los Angeles, California                   To be announced                             TBD

Author, G. D. Grace Literary Links:

http://stores.lulu.com/enlightenment4theheart

http://author2be.wordpress.com/

“A Touch of Grace” Blog Talk Radio Show:

http://www.blogtalkradio.com/author2beepa

Author G. D. Grace reserves all rights and reproduction without written permission is not permitted.  If found, legal action will be taken against the person(s) or company(s) that have cut or pasted (Plagiarized) any portion of this written document.  Author, G. D. Grace; Published © 2011 March

Anthony Anderson’s explosive web series, “Anacostia”

I just got through viewing the last three episodes from season 2 of Anthony Anderson’s riveting web series, “Anacostia“, and I have to tell you that I am amazed by his creative gift of bringing dramatic cinema to life.  The cast is an array of talented women and men who literary become the characters they portray, and it makes their performances believable.

In this series you have couples dealing with some very intense issues from alcoholism, betrayal, prostitution, black mail, infidelity, domestic violence, mental instabilities, rape, and deceit.  As you can imagine, all of these issues yield a bevy of dangerous and emotionally disturbing circumstances that are intertwined into plots that leave you wanting more.

Another appealing aspect of “Anacostia” is the beautiful location where it is filmed, so addition to a great story line you really get a birds eye view of this lovely city located in Washington, D. C.  When I first started watching this series I had no idea that “Anacostia” was an actual city, and now I have a burning desire to visit the east coast as a tourist and see it for myself.

The other thing I loved about this series is that it wasn’t afraid to explore the lives of an African American, same gender loving couple which  is really a breath of fresh air.  Because “Anacostia” is filled with drama and intrigue, this couple’s life has it’s own share of upheaval as well but, as I mentioned, I love the fact that Anthony chose to include them into the series.

Anacostia” just concluded season 2, and Anthony Anderson confirmed on the Vimeo website that there will be a season 3, and that is music to my ears.

If you are looking to fill that dramatic void within you, I highly recommend you drop by Vimeo and check out this exciting web series.  Make sure you register and leave comments because we writers are inspired by them.

I know Anthony Anderson will soon be a heavy weight in cinematic expression.

Author/Blog Talk Radio Producer, G. D. Grace

VIMEO Website for “Anacostia” the web series:

http://www.vimeo.com/

(Type in Anacostia and it will take you to the link for the web series)


Author, G. D. Grace Literary Links:

http://stores.lulu.com/enlightenment4theheart

http://author2be.wordpress.com/

“A Touch of Grace” Blog Talk Radio Show:

http://www.blogtalkradio.com/author2beepa

Author G. D. Grace reserves all rights and reproduction without written permission is not permitted.  If found, legal action will be taken against the person(s) or company(s) that have cut or pasted (Plagiarized) any portion of this written document.  Author, G. D. Grace; Published © 2011 February

Interview with Author, Michael Mcgrew

Los Angeles, California; tinsel town; a magical place sought by starry-eyed dreamers, where more fail than succeed – this is where self-published Author, Michael Mcgrew was born and now resides, but during his impressionable twenties he called Virginia home. “My Kinda Girl” is the current novel in circulation, which he self published. Future projects, he says, will be self-published under his very own publishing company, Legacy Publications, and confidently added that his publishing endeavors will revolutionize African American Literature.

His aspirations are inspiring, and a brawny spiritual sense of self is behind that vivacious ambition.  He wants his readers to know that he is a prime example of “if you think it then you can achieve it” – an optimistic attitude that he has carried from the inception to completion of “My Kinda Girl”.  He elaborated even further by saying that he had never completed anything, and the overwhelming sense of accomplishment that filled him with the success of this project fueled his imaginative flame.  The dazzling hue, he knows, might seem like a flicker to others, but his belief is that success is really in the state of a person’s mind – and as long as he feels accomplished, then it is enough for him to proceed onward on the path of his incredible literary journey.

Things began to fall into place once he visualized signing books and being interviewed; that’s when the frequency inside of his brain put everything into motion, because he could no longer confine his thoughts and dreams to the parameters of his own mind, so he did what came natural to him, he brought them into reality. His approach to writing usually begins during his interactions with the obvious of muses, people.  From these conversations he generally builds his story, because he finds himself being more creative and innovative when he explains his ideas to individuals, but only to those that he feels are trustworthy. The plot development is usually strengthened as a result of these encounters, and once he adds that special brew of “Mcgrew” magic, three-dimensional characters and a solid storyline materializes.  It’s an overall process that can take about a month or two to naturally come together, and sometimes four months to complete, depending on the other projects he might have stewing.

My Kinda Girl”, the whimsical title of the book, he feels, has that universal crossover appeal, which is something he considered long before he began writing it.  With a targeted audience being women from all cultures and backgrounds, ranging between the ages of twenty-three to forty, his reasoning is understandable; however, his favorite author, the infamously streetwise, Iceberg Slim, is almost a contradiction to the audience he wants to attract.  As shocking and gritty as Iceberg’s novels were, one can never assume that what one writer agrees, wholeheartedly, with the topic of another.  Often times, it’s in the realism and style or, perhaps, something that the reader identifies with from past experiences.

Case in point, literary expression allows readers escapism, so they can enter worlds that they find intriguing without encountering the harsh realities associated with actually being a part of them.  To further expand on this thought, the message that Michael wants to convey depends solely on the topic he chooses to write about.  Most of his work is derived from his personal desire to make certain points – especially those that relate to the African American community.  Even though he considers his novel to be “Urban” in nature, he made a conscientious decision not to exploit the disturbing occurrences affecting the pulse of the people adversely affected by them.

Writing is an influential art and gift that, in the right hands, has the potential to positively influence a reader.  It is a form of expression that allows a person to explore and work through things.  The origin of “My Kinda Girl” was derived out of a situation that involved a young lady he was smitten with, who was involved with a close friend and business partner. Eventually the feelings that he had for her became suppressed, as he allowed the “what if” factor to enter his frame of mind, but his moral principles began to take authority.  That is when he allowed his creativity to intervene, and that is where he could, safely, explore his desires for her.

The art of storytelling had always been a passion for this gifted writer, and if he had to choose one event that really sent his inspiration into orbit, it would be the experience he had when he read bedtime stories to son.  He thought of how awesome it would be if someone were reading something that he had written.

Readers, there are many instances that will inspire a writer, as you can see.  As far as that special niche; something that separates him from the rest, Michael says that his appeal to his target audience is what makes him the most viable.  He feels he thoroughly understands his descriptive product and how to market it.  He stated that he has been told that his writing is like a “movie on paper”.

Using the digital market as a promotional tool, he plans on utilizing social networking as a way of getting the word out about his literary work, and also plans on touring in the spring of 2011.  He knows that as a self-published author one must wear many hats so, for the remainder of this year, he will focus on learning the business-side of the literary game – building relationships with investors and other mainstream associates.  Branding his name is of the utmost importance to him, but he will eventually take a well needed rest at some point.

Again, book signing events won’t occur until after the first of the year and he is working on a six month marketing campaign and a re-release of “My Kinda Girl” and will also release a new novel entitled “Taking Losses”.  He plans on, with the help of his marketing team, selling 100,000 copies of his work.  He knows that it will be a “piece of cake” with the right marketing team in place.

For now, his current book can be purchased on Amazon at www.amazon.com and also on his website at www.goodgameent.com .  For additional information on how to make a fist-full of cash he wants self-published authors to visit www.bookbizcoach.com .

 

My Kinda Girl” Book Trailer:

http://www.goodyear2020.com/B2B-VBlog/MyKindaGirl_Trailer.html

 

Wow, phenomenal man.  Keep pushing on.

Author G. D. Grace reserves all rights and reproduction without written permission is not permitted.  If found, legal action will be taken against the person(s) or company(s) that have cut or pasted (Plagiarized) any portion of this written document.  Author, G. D. Grace; Published © 2010 August

http://stores.lulu.com/enlightenment4theheart

http://author2be.wordpress.com/