On Stage: Beyond ‘The Morning After’

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By Denny Dyroff, Entertainment Editor, The Times

Maureen McGovern

This weekend, two very talented and very different female artists are performing shows in the area – Maureen McGovern and Danielle Miraglia.

Even though they represent different genres and different ages, both are crowd-pleasers with universal appeal.

On April 21, the Rrazz Room (6426 Lower York Road, New Hope, 888-596-1027, www.TheRrazzRoom.com) will host a concert by McGovern.

McGovern is celebrating the 45th Anniversary of her theme song, “The Morning After,” which won the Oscar for Best Song of the Year in 1973 and became an international Gold Record and garnered her a Grammy Nomination for Best New Artist.

“I grew up in Youngstown, Ohio,” said McGovern, during a recent phone interview from her current home in Columbus, Ohio.

“In 1971, I set out on the road with my husband and a drummer. We had a trio and played clubs in the Midwest. My manager sent my tapes to record companies. Everyone turned me down – except 20thCentury.

“Russ Regan, who was the head of 20th Century, liked what he heard. He was looking for someone to sing ‘The Morning After’ from the movie ‘The Poseidon Adventure.

“It looked like ‘The Poseidon Adventure’ would be a huge movie. The film took off – but my song did nothing. Then, the film was nominated for an Academy Award – and it won. After that happened, the record company re-released the single.”

The rest is history.

After “The Morning After” won an Oscar for Best Original Song, it scored well on the popular music charts, reaching #1 during 1973. The song sold over one million copies, and was awarded a gold disc by the R.I.A.A. in August 1973. Following the success of “The Morning After,” McGovern received a Grammy Award nomination in 1974 for “Best New Artist.”

McGovern’s third single “Nice to Be Around’ was an Oscar-nominated tune. In 1974, lightning struck again with McGovern’s single “We May Never Love Like This Again.”

“We May Never Love Like This Again” was a song written by Al Kasha and Joel Hirschhorn for the 1974 film, “The Towering Inferno.” It won the Academy Award for Best Original Song in 1974, and was performed by Maureen McGovern both for the film score and, briefly, in the film itself with McGovern portraying a singer.

It seemed like a pattern was developing – a connection between McGovern and big-production disaster movies.

“I got to be known as the ‘Disaster Scene Queen,’” said McGovern. “I also did a song for ‘Gold,’ a movie about a South African mining disaster.”

The song was “Wherever Love Takes Me.” Staying true to the established pattern, it received an Academy Award nomination for Best Original Song.

McGovern’s career as a singer came naturally from her background.

“As a child, I sang in the grade school choir,” said McGovern. “I also played guitar. My dad sang in a barbershop quartet. By third grade, I knew that I was going to be a singer.”

The list of other hits by McGovern includes “Can You Read My Mind” from “Superman,” “Different Worlds” from the TV series “Angie,” “We Could Have It All,” and “Halfway Home.” In addition to hearing her music in films and television, McGovern played the role of “Sr. Angelina” in the iconic comedy films “Airplane!” and “Airplane II: The Sequel” and the role of “Rachel” in “Joseph: King of Dreams.”

McGovern made her Broadway debut in 1981 as “Mabel” in “The Pirates of Penzance,” and went on to star as “Luisa” in “Nine” and “Polly Peachum” in “3 Penny Opera.” In 2005, she was nominated for a Drama Desk Award for her role as “Marmee” in “Little Women, The Musical.”

McGovern’s new album “You Raise Me Up – A Spiritual Journey,” is an intimate, uplifting and powerful recording. It features a new “45th Anniversary” version of “The Morning After” and a refreshing new take on “Amazing Grace.”

For now, McGovern is focused on celebrating the landmark anniversary of her classic hit.

“My show will be a 45th anniversary Poseidon Adventure party,” said McGovern. “I’m inviting people to come in their jammies.

“This is a two-hour show that is a celebration of great movie songs – music by such greats as Rodgers and Hammerstein, Gershwin, and Rodgers and Hart. There also contemporary songs and songs from Disney movies. All the songs in the sow were in movies.”

So, if you’re heading out to the Rrazz Room tonight, make sure you bring popcorn and pajamas.

Video link for Maureen McGovern – https://youtu.be/D2FtZTz85as.

The show at the Rrazz Room will start at 8 p.m. Tickets are $40.

Danielle Miraglia

On April 21, Burlap and Bean Coffeehouse (204 South Newtown Street Road, Newtown Square, 484-427-4547, www.burlapandbean.com) will present a concert featuring Danielle Miraglia as the headline act.

Ironically, Miraglia released a song called “The Morning After” on Bandcamp on November 18, 2016. It was a song inspired by a different disaster – a real one. It deals with a woman having to deal with a man forcing himself on her.

According to Miraglia, “This is a little homegrown GarageBand recording of a new song about what it personally felt like as a woman waking up on November 9 (2016). With the latest news, I know this is just one of many concerns, but this is the perspective I can speak from. All proceeds will go to ACLU.org.”

Since then, Miraglia has put out a new album “All My Heroes Are Ghosts, which was released with her band Danielle M and The Glory Junkies. It touches on topics such as the loss of many of rock’s musical heroes, the chaos of “fake news,” the general sense that the world is on fire and the death of a complicated loved one.

The music reflects the influence of some of Miraglia’s own musical heroes — The Rolling Stones, Prince, Janis Joplin — along with her lyrical ability to explore human nature at its best and worst.

“The album came out in December,” said Miraglia, during a phone interview Thursday from her home in Somerville, Massachusetts.

“We recorded it over the course of last year with engineer Dave Westner at Wooly Mammoth Studio in Waltham, Massachusetts.

“We went in two times. Most of it was recorded live in the studio. It was my first album put out as a band with the same guys throughout the album. I also went back to the studio a few times for overdubs.

“My previous album was ‘Glory Junkies’ in 2015. This was my shortest time between records. Most of the songs were written between the albums –except ‘Rock Stars.’ That was an old one.

“Everything was written in a year. This is the same band I used on both albums. They’ve been my friends for a long time. There are a few songs on the new album that I wrote myself, but most were written with the band. When I was writing, I had the other instruments in mind. It’s cool to do that – to think differently when I’m writing.”

Miraglia has been playing her blues-influenced original rock songs in her home area Boston and around the Northeast for more than a decade-and-a-half. Along the way, she has released four albums and played a number of gigs in the Philadelphia area – including the Eagleview Summer Concerts on the Square in Exton.

“I started playing guitar when I was 13,” said Miraglia, who was nominated for a 2015 Boston Music Award for Singer-Songwriter of the Year. “No singing — just guitar. Then, I went to Emerson College and got a degree in creative writing. After that, I started writing songs and playing open mikes around Boston. I started working at a law firm after I graduated.

“Luckily, I got laid off and that allowed me to focus on my music. I was gigging anywhere I could. I started doing a lot of bar gigs. It was great at the time. I was just excited to be able to play music. And, with bar gigs, you deal with every situation possible.”

After a while, Miraglia realized it was time to take her music career to another level.

“I found a good manager and that started changing things,” said Miraglia, who grew up in Revere, a Boston suburb. “I was in the folk scene already, but he started getting me better gigs.”

Since then, the gigs have continued to get better and her fan base has steadily grown.

“I like having a band with me but I can’t always take them on the road with me,” said Miraglia. “I’ll be playing solo at Burlap and Bean and Katie Barbato will be doing some backup vocals with me.

“There are one or two songs from the new album that are served better with the band. Ideally, you want every song to sound good with or without a band. Most of the new ones are transferrable. I’m also playing some older songs that have transcended the test of time.”

Video link for Danielle Miraglia – https://youtu.be/G_ejEWP7HfI.

Video for Miraglia’s “The Morning After” — https://youtu.be/WIaju-5ZXZU.

The show at Burlap and Bean, which has Robinson Treacher as the opener, will start at 8 p.m. Tickets are $15.

On April 21, another show will sound like a disaster about to happen – a show by Buried Above Ground. A band described as “delivering savage and unrelenting new music.”

Buried Above the Ground

Buried Above the Ground — DJ Gunnarson, Guitars; Eric McMahon, Vocals; Sam “Digg” Flach, Drums; Coz, Bass — will play Saturday night at Reverb (1402 North Ninth Street, Reading, 610-743-3069, www.reverbconcerts.com) as part of the “Chaos & Carnage Tour,” which has Carnifex as the headliner.

“This is our first national tour,” said Gunnarson, during a recent phone interview from his home in Minneapolis, Minnesota.

“And, it’s our first opportunity to play the songs from the new album on stage.”

The new album is “The Crown,” a six-song EP that was just released on April 10.

“I spent the last year or so writing songs,” said Gunnarson. “I wrote 22 for the album and then kept the best ones. We’d just jam in the studio. We’ve been working on it most of last year. We recorded it at Winterland Studio in Minneapolis.

Buried Above Ground’s music is intense sonically and lyrically.

According to Gunnarson, “Our lives over the last year have been anything but easy to overcome. After some time to focus and recoup, this has turned out to be our heaviest output to date, as well as most polished material.  We are not a band just looking to get a foot in the door, or just stand in the corner. We want to break down the door and tear down the party.

“If you get an opportunity to catch us live, you will see that we leave everything we have out on that stage, and each and every single night, we leave what little pieces we have left of ourselves with whoever is in the building. Our shows are extremely heavy both physically, and emotionally, and anyone who comes out early to check us out, will feel how dark and angry we feel, and be able to let it all out and leave it all at the show. Playing live is definitely therapeutic for us and we hope that it can be for our fans and the audience as well.”

Buried Above Ground is not a band that has a fear of speaking out.

“Most of the songs are just about life really,” said Gunnarson. “Some stuff we’re still not comfortable talking about yet. When you give all you have to your music, you leave people in your life out of your loop.

“The four of us have bene really focused with our music and that means we’ve missed other things in our lives. But, if you want to be the best, it leaves little time for sleep – or your family.

“Negative things were surrounding us. We’ve been using this album as a coping mechanism. It brought a new focus to the band. At the end of the day, things came out better.

“The songs are definitely cathartic. When we put this together, it was therapeutic. When it was done, we felt like a weight had been lifted from our shoulders.”

Buried Above Ground’s fans don’t need a trip to a psychiatrist – just tickets to one of the band’s concerts.

“We want to convey that our music should be an emotional attitude that lets you connect with bad feelings,” said Gunnarson. “For us, playing the songs live – it reminds you that you’re in a better place that you were when you wrote it.

“Connecting with the audience and having that feeling of togetherness is what it’s all about.”

Video link for Buried Above the Ground – https://youtu.be/fKXyDtDdAaE.

The show at Reverb, which also features Carnifex, Oceano, Winds of Plague, Archspire, Spite, Shadow of Intent, Nights Of Malice, Black Lotus, Skeletal 69, Dark Entity, and Design the Void, will start at 2 p.m. Tickets are $25.

Another act playing the area this weekend is an act that is finally recovering from a disaster.

Matt and Kim

Matt and Kim, who play the Electric Factory (421 North Seventh Street, Philadelphia, 215-627-1332, www.electricfactory.info) on April 22, suffered a major setback last year.

The duo was performing last March at the Vaiven Festival in Mexico when drummer Kim Schifino suffered a traumatic leg injury onstage. Schifino jumped from the stage platform and saw she was about to jump on someone. When she landed, the top half of her leg went in one direction and the bottom half headed in another direction.

“Kim had a serious injury – a torn ACL and meniscus,” said Matt Johnson during a phone interview Friday afternoon from a tour stop in Columbus, Ohio. “We got onstage and it happened in the first 10 minutes of the show.

“That pretty much took us out for an entire year. Before that, we were either recording or else on the road non-stop. I think that up to that point, the longest we were ever off the road was four months.

“We are just now starting to tour again. That was such a long time off. I felt like I had retired.

“We thought we’d use the time to work on music. But, the first few months, we were focusing on recovery – surgery and learning to walk again. We thought we could use the time, but we had to split the focus.

“With my brain, I can only focus on one thing. Songwriting has to be the main focus if I want to write songs. Maybe three of four months after Kim’s surgery, we started to put our heads down and write some songs.

“We live in New York, but we were in L.A. at the time. We don’t have a car in New York. We ride the subway and New York can be a tough city to deal with if you have a disability.”

But, Matt and Kim are troopers and they kept pushing ahead.

“2017 was a tough year for all of us,” said Johnson. “We’ve been lucky as a band to have had a good life. In the past, we hadn’t written songs to get things off our chest. Last year, writing had to be therapeutic – making lemonade out of lemons.”

Matt and Kim’s trademark upbeat music didn’t suffer from the setback. Instead, the duo created a tasty and lively new album called “Almost Everyday,” which will come out May 4 on the Fader label.

“With songwriting, a lot of times, I’ll start the idea and then Kim will crack the whip and make it faster,” said Johnson. “That’s her drummer mentality. She comes from a place with no rules. We also write lyrics together. Even though I sing the songs, a lot comes from Kim’s voice.

“We made the album as we went along. We’d record at home and then bring the tracks to the studio. We cut it mostly at a studio in North Hollywood.

“Most of it was done in the second half of 2017. We had 30 songs when we started — 15 got finished and 10 went on the album. I only ever want to make 10-song albums. I want people to listen through without stopping.

“When we finished the album, we realized it had a theme – appreciating what you got before it’s gone. We saw what it would be like if we didn’t do this anymore. It’s a good theme. It felt like an album from beginning to end.”

Video link for Matt and Kim – https://youtu.be/JyVzPx4ecHA.

The show at the Electric Factory, which has Tokyo Police Club as the opener, will start at 8 p.m. Tickets are $30.

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