Broadway’s Donnie Kehr Releases Solo Album “Beautiful Strange” On ROB RECORDS/JAZZHEADS -January 24
New York – Broadway-journeyman Donnie Kehr has announced the release of his solo album Beautiful Strange on January 24, 2023 on ROB RECORDS/JAZZHEADS.
Says Kehr: “These songs are a reflection; a scrapbook of memories in tune. This album is inspired by people and relationships that profoundly influenced my life. A soul-searching journey to better understand my own heart, the mistakes I’ve made, and the beauty of this strange world we live in.”
Kehr produced the 10-track album himself at Good To Go Studios, NYC. Joining Kehr on backing vocals are Broadway friends including Kris Coleman (Beautiful: The Carole King Musical), Eric Krop (Motown: The Musical) and Tituss Burgess (The Little Mermaid; Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt) on the track “Shift”; and Sam Behr guesting on “Stand Up” and “New York City Strong.” Guest musicians include Kevin Kuhn (The Who’s Tommy and Lion King) and Ted Baker (Steely Dan and Philip Glass).
Kehr who is best known for his Broadway work (The Who’s Tommy; Billy Elliot; AIDA; The Mystery of Edwin Drood; The Human Comedy; and Jersey Boys) was a co-founder and member of the band Urgent; whose debut album Cast The First Stone (EMI/Manhattan Records) charted on the Billboard charts and featured the singles “Running Back” and “Love Can Make You Cry.”
His film credits include Jersey Boys (directed by Clint Eastwood); Wall Street; Chaplin (with Robert Downey, Jr. and has appeared on TV ln House of Cards; Gotham; Quanitco; and most recently, Inventing Anna on Netflix.
Continues Kehr: “Urgent was a rock band in the 80’s and was a specific genre. However, Beautiful Strange has multiple colors of style and crosses over to many genres. It took 10 years to create this album, I recorded it myself at my home studio in NYC. I grew up listening and learning from my musical heroes. You will hear influences of Sting, Nine Inch Nails, Billy Joel, Elvis Costello, Peter Gabriel, Elton John & The Beatles.”
Kehr is also the driving force behind the PATH Fund who each year present the Rockers On Broadway event; conceived by Kehr and Pete Townshend.
ROB Records is partnered with Jazzheads; and Kehr’s album will be the follow-up release on the label after the successful Rockers On Broadway Live-Volume 1.
Beautiful Strange will be available on all streaming and downloadable platforms worldwide on January 24.
Kehr On Beautiful Strange Songs:
“Beautiful Strange”: A reflection of childhood memories and the human condition.
“Over You”: A Rock song about when you’ve reached your limit.
“Marseille Café”: A love story
“Stand Up”: When life Sucks, Stand up anyway.
“Shift”: When you’re stuck, Shift your life gears and keep on moving forward
“Better Late Than Never”: for my dad, who I met later in life, but honored and grateful for the time we shared until his passing last year.
Events In April Bring Easter, Spring and Flowers Galore.
Photograph: Eugene Gologursky/Getty Images for Macy’s, Inc.
Join the Judy Garland and Fred Astaire tradition with the Easter Bonnet Parade on Fifth Avenue. There is also the Orchid Show at the New York Botanical Garden or right at home the flower show at Macy’s. On select Fridays every month, you can enjoy Free Admission to the Intrepid Sea, Air & Space Museum between 5 pm and 9 pm.
Until 4/9: Macy’s Flower Show. The show includes beautiful, bright floral arrangements, special events including live music, and kids’ activities.
until 4/23: This is The Orchid Show‘s 20th year. Reconnect with nature while experiencing the picture-perfect beauty of the orchids. On select nights, adults can experience the exhibition through Orchid Nights, with music, cash bars, and food available for purchase.
4/1-30: Sakura Matsuri Cherry Blossom Festival. The festival, hosted by the Brooklyn Botanic Garden, celebrates Japanese culture and the arrival of spring. It features a variety of cultural performances and activities, as well as a small flea market, tea ceremonies, and crafts. The highlight is the magnificent display of cherry blossom trees, with over 200 trees in full bloom. Visitors can admire the pink and white blooms and enjoy a traditional Japanese atmosphere. Tickets are usually around $40 for adults, though seniors and students get a reduced rate of $35.
4/7-16th: The New York International Auto Show. The first new york Auto Show took place in 1900, for over 120 years now they have been sharing what’s new and interesting in the auto industry.
4/9: The Easter Parade starts near St. Patrick’s Cathedral at 10am. The tradition dates back to the 1870s, where elaborate bonnets and fashion galore is full frontal.
4/9: “Georgia O’Keeffe: To See Takes Time,” comes to MoMA.
4/15: The Tartan Day Parade is an NYC tradition that offers attendees a unique way to celebrate and honor Scottish culture. For the 25th year, there will be bagpipes, dancers, and even Scottish dogs marching in the parade. Attendance is free and open to the public. In addition to the parade, expect a whole week of Scottish-themed events and festivities.
4/15: Pillow Fight in the Park at Washington Square Park.
4/15: The New York Restoration Project is giving out 3,500 free trees to New Yorkers across all five boroughs. To get one of the 3,500 free trees that will be given away, register in advance on this website, where you’ll also get to browse through the current list of distribution dates, times and locations.
4/15 and 29: f the likes of udon, yakitori, ramen, and taiyaki make your mouth water, then mark your calendar for Japan Fes in Chelsea. The event will be held from 10:00 AM to 6:00 PM and is considered a paradise for Japanese foodies and cultural enthusiasts.
4/16: Holi in The City demands food, music, dance, and fun while embracing people and organizations from all ethnic and religious backgrounds.
4/22: Earth Day celebrated in NYC with a festive, family-friendly outdoor fair in Union Square. There will be dozens of exhibitors, interactive displays, a green-vehicle show, family activities, music, and entertainment. 12-6pm.
4/27: Attend The Queen’s Ball: A Bridgerton Experience
4/27- 30: Antiquarian Book Fair now in its 63rd year, this festival for book collectors at Park Avenue Armory for a full weekend of first editions, maps, manuscripts and other treasures from literary epochs past from nearly 200 exhibitors.
Inside The PR Brain
For PR-guru David Salidor, late-February proved to be as hectic a week in his 40+-year career as ever. With client Micky Dolenz in tow; Monday night was The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon; Tuesday held four different interviews at SiriusXM; later that night was the premiere for actor Willem Dafoe’s new movie Inside; and, Wednesday held an early spot back at NBC for NY LIVE with host Sara Gore.
For the music industry veteran, it was the latest chapter in a career that was sealed back in 1967 at Long Island’s Lido Beach Club when he saw a new group, The Who: Says Salidor, “My father who worked for Decca Records asked if I wanted to accompany him and go see a new group the company had just signed. Believe it or not, it was The Who, playing around the club’s swimming pool. It was unlike anything I had ever seen; Keith Moon with day-glow drumsticks and Townshend literally destroying his guitar at the end of the set. For me, that was it, this business was for me.”
Salidor also worked for the legendary My Father’s Place club in Roslyn, New York, that launched everyone from Bruce Spingsteen, to Todd Rundgren and Hall & Oates. “If The Who whet my appetite, My Father’s Place solidified my journey,” Salidor adds.
His first job out of college (where he was music director the college-station) was for the much-missed London Records. “All of a sudden, I was working with the Rolling Stones and Moody Blues, Al Green and Gilbert O’Sullivan. I was the new kid in town, but learned about everything all at once. I was doing ad layouts, writing press releases and taking the artists to radio stations. It was a trial by fire for sure, but I loved it,” adds Salidor.
He went onto to work for other labels like Atlantic and the PR-firm the Howard Bloom Organization, which at the time was the hottest pr-firm in the country, with clients including Billy Joel; Prince; Genesis. Genesis stands out for him. “It was right when Peter Gabriel left the band and there was a tour which I went on. Imagine every night not only seeing a terrific show, but also a dazzling visual show. No question, they were the tops at that point,” he says.
He also formed a relationship with Tom Silverman – then running a very influential tip-sheet called Dance Music Report. He and Silverman, who was also his first and only partner for a spell, went onto create the New Music Seminar, which became a focal point for all the new labels and artists to network. Adds Salidor, “That first event was held at SIR Studios in NY and everyone who was anyone attended. It’s funny now to recall that we started it because we couldn’t get properly accredited for the Billboard Music Forum, which was then the featured industry event in the business; but really neglected the up-and-coming acts and labels.”
A two-year stint with indie ZE Records was also a fascinating run. “This was during the burgeoning new-wave/no-wave movement and I just loved it. Kid Creole & The Coconuts; Cristina; Material; Suicide ; james White and the Blacks and it introduced me to the The Mudd Club, which became an instant favorite.”
A life-long association with August Darnell and his Kid Creole & The Coconuts began as well. “August is without a doubt one of the most creative artists I’ve ever worked with, Totally unique.”
He decided to start his own firm in 1984. He adds, “I learned very quickly that working for someone else is a double-edge sword. If a good campaign happens, the head of the firm gets the credit; if the campaign doesn’t work, you get called on the carpet.”
His first success via his dis Company was with Profile Record’s Run-DMC. “Profile was an amazing label back then. Cory Robins was one of the premiere music guys and had a prescient nuance. Together we got Run-DMC on the cover of Rolling Stone and made them a major marquee attraction. They started the whole urban, hip-hop era. I know it was a long time ago, but they were the first along with Kurtis Blow. No question.”
The next big project to come his way was with a 15-year-old from Merrick, Long Island, named Debbie Gibson. “This was something I had never encountered before; a performer who wrote her own music; produced it and had just an engaging personality. Needless to say, she was a smash. Tours, videos, hit singles followed. Totally engaging and creative. I remember being in Bremen, Germany, when I sat with her at a piano and she played me her entire second album … that hadn’t even been recorded or released yet. Totally amazing talent,” adds Salidor.
Also, a life-long association with celebrity-scribe Mark Bego began. Called the “prince of pop bios” by Publisher’s Weekly. 62-books later, their relationship continues to this day. Bego will be releasing a bio on Joe Cocker later this year via Yorkshire Publishing – also a client.
Bego would go on to pen several books on Salidor’s clients; including Debbie Gibson and Madonna. Also, Bego wrote the authorized bio on Micky Dolenz (I’m A Believer) in 1993 and Salidor set up a launch party at NYC Hard Rock Cafe. That was the first time Salidor met Dolenz,which foreshadowed a Dolenz/Salidor PR-connection down the road.
He was also involved with Madonna in her early stages. “Madonna was always a star. You could just feel it. Repping her then boyfriend and producer John Benitez was key. She and I would constantly discuss pr and together we accomplished a lot. Signing her to Seymour Stein’s Sire was a major move for her.”
Salidor also recalls repping a number of prominent DJs turned producers as well, including Jim Burgess; Arthur Baker; Shep Pettibone and Mark Berry. Remembering, “It was an interesting time; people today forget the amazing contributions they made to music. Pettibone’s production and writing of ‘Vogue’ is still a gem to this day.”
Amid so much success, Salidor also recalls the low-points of a career. “When a client leaves after so much success, there’s certainly a mourning period, but it’s also part of the business. Loyalty is a word that gets thrown around a lot, but is not as evident as one would assume in this business. I just read where a major music personality personally delivered tour bonuses to his road crew. In all my years, I’ve never heard of something like that happening … never. Loyalty and professionalism are rare, rare traits.”
Gibson and Profile would eventually leave his purview; although he worked for Gibson on many of her other endeavors.
In 2004 Salidor met Micky Dolenz and they began working together. “No shade to former clients, but Micky is the most professional client we’ve ever had. Certainly, growing up in the family business, as I had, had everything to do with it. Last year Dolenz did a sit-down with CBS Morning’s Anthony Mason which was sensational. Mason, a fan, did a no-holds barred interviews that was universally embraced by not only Dolenz’s huge fanbase, but by other PR-persons as well, which is always an interesting development – having other experts compliment you!” Salidor recalls.
“When you set a campaign up, three things can happen. #1, everything goes well and it’s a smash. #2: It doesn’t go well, and, #3. It happens, but there’s no feedback. The reality is that sometimes, even bad feedback is good. It’s a funny business, but your reputation, contacts and experience is key.”
Regrets … he’s had a few: “There was a jazz/rock/fusion band that made some terrific records, on SONY of all places and though they had a #1 jazz album, they just did not get the respect that they should have had. I love jazz and watching them perform live was just great. The powers-that-be there had their own ideas, which weren’t at all realistic.”
And, “When Debbie Gibson was a hit, every parent that had a child who they thought could sing called us. 99% of them didn’t have it. Talent, success, know-how … it’s something that I’ve always been able to recognize. We’ve worked with several young female-singers, but they just didn’t have the right people in place. One from New Jersey had her father paying for everything, but doing exactly what he wanted and he just didn’t have any idea about the business. He installed solar heating panels!”
Continues Salidor, “Management is key and finding the right one is often not easy; there are a lot of people who profess to be a manger and they’re clearly not. Organizing a campaign is a lot of meticulous work; knowing what the client is capable of is key too. Being a PR-person is akin in some ways to being a closet-psychiatrist – you’ve got to know your limitations. That NYC-week with Micky Dolenz was prodigious because I knew exactly what would work and I knew how well he’d perform.”
Salidor is also currently repping involved writer Terry Jastrow (Anne Archer’s husband); Donnie Kehr’s Rockers on Broadway and writer C.W. Hanes.
What does Salidor see in his future. “Certainly, more of the same. Identifying the talent and trying to develop it to the point of releasing it in the most effective way. Many of my peers say the music business has changed and not for the better. I disagree as there are more opportunities for music and musical artists than ever before. bring it on!
Celebrity Chef Sal Scognamillo, George Pettignano Bring Patsy’s Italian Restaurant To Life
Patsy’s Italian Restaurant has been known for years as the restaurant made famous by Frank Sinatra, and his family still enjoys dining here whenever they are in town. George Clooney’s aunt, cabaret singer and actress Rosemary Clooney, was once quoted, “Patsy’s is still the best Italian restaurant in town. I make a pasta pilgrimage there every time I return.”
Other long-time high profile patrons who consider Patsy’s Italian Restaurant their Manhattan dining room include, Tony Bennett, Michael Bublé, George Clooney, Sean “Puff Daddy” Combs, Tony Danza, Jennifer Lopez, Liza Minnelli, Al Pacino, Rihanna, Martha Stewart, Ben Stiller, Oprah Winfrey, and many others.
We all had the pleasure to join Celebrity Chef Sal Scognamillo for a very special Private Lunch on March 18th hosted City Guide and Eli Marcus.
Chef Sal shared some of his riveting stories about celebrities, sports stars and others famous guests. Ha also told us a few one-of-a-kind frank Sinatra stories about Frank’s exclusive table near we were seated.
Popular entertainer George Pettignano, a cousin of Bobby Rydell, sang classic tunes from the 40’s to 70’s ranging from Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin, The Beatles, Elvis & more! George, as a former Hollywood stunt man, shared some of his classic stories
Everyone enjoyed a great meal and then danced the afternoon away!
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