All posts tagged elvis

Rave on!

Published August 17, 2015 by Maryanne

SAM_8250Rave On!

(Photo by Maryanne Mistretta)

Last night was another one filled with great entertainment. This time we stayed local and saw Rave On! (a Buddy Holly and Roy Orbison tribute act).

Rave On is made up of Chris Roselle: Guitar and lead vocals; Pete Farley: Bass and background vocals; and Don Guinta: Drums and background vocals.

This band was fantastic! And as a treat for music lovers, they did the more obscure songs like “Heartbeat” by Buddy Holly, which I knew as a song by The Knack in the 1980s. My favorite picks of the night were both by Roy Orbison: “In Dreams,” and “Crying.” They also did some Elvis songs, “Can’t Help Falling in Love with You” and “Suspicious Minds.”

When I found the website, I didn’t know Chris’s last name … and turned out he was a friend of my husbands! A cool side note here … Chris changed my life! One night, back in 2008, we were at a car show with Chris and our other friend Danny (singer for The Characters: http://www.thecharacters.net/) Chris shared that he was self-employed as a musician since 1986. He inspired me to quit my job as a journalist at a Montclair newspaper and work for myself. Ever since I’ve written and published two books and helped at least 10 people write their own books. You never know when someone can inspire you to change your life!

But back to the music … Rave On also warmed up for Lou Christie the other night — the show we were at! However, we got there too late and missed it.

For more information, visit Rave On’s website: http://raveonband.com/main.html

Maryanne Christiano-Mistretta is the author of “On the Guest List: Adventures of a Music Journalist: http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/162903908X

“The Life and Music of Elvis Presley” at Arista Care, South Plainfield, N.J.

Published June 6, 2015 by Maryanne

SAM_7588Ruben Castillo as “Elvis Presley”

This afternoon Pear Tree Enterprises (https://peartreeenterprises.wordpress.com/) was proud to present the Learn and Listen series, “The Life and Music of Elvis Presley” featuring Ruben Castillo as Elvis Presley (http://www.soundsofelvis.webs.com/).

This my fourth time at this particular Arista Care facility, as the residents are awesome and keep requesting me. One in particular got excited when she saw me and said she remembered me from my “Newsies: History of the Newspaper Industry” presentation.

But today was extra special to present a half hour bio of Elvis and then have Ruben perform. One resident was so excited, she got up out of her seat and started dancing — without her walker!!

Elvis hits included: “Hurt” (my favorite because it was my grandmother’s favorite), “How Great Thou Art,” “I Can’t Help Falling in Love with You,” “It’s Now or Never,” and “The Impossible Dream.”

Special thanks to Patricia Castillo for doing the sound.

SAM_7589Even a King needs a break!

SAM_7590Happy resident dances without walker!

(Photo used with permission)

If you’d like to have the “Learn and Listen Series, featuring the Music of Elvis Presley” at your library or other organization, please contact Maryanne Christiano-Mistretta for pricing and availability at: maryannechristiano@gmail.com

Pear Tree Presents Elvis Show at Boonton Library

Published June 6, 2015 by Maryanne

SAM_7582Ruben Castillo performs as “Elvis”

Thanks, so much, to Stephanie Gablemann of the Boonton Holmes Public Library (http://www.boontonholmeslibrary.org/) for hosting Pear Tree’s (https://peartreeenterprises.wordpress.com/) “Learn and Listen” series featuring The Music of Elvis Presley on Friday, June 5, 2015.

Ruben Castillo (http://www.soundsofelvis.webs.com/) was a hit, especially with the young ladies, who were too shy to dance, but sang along to many of the Elvis hits on this gorgeous spring evening!

Some of the Elvis hits Ruben performed included: “It’s Now or Never,” “Hound Dog,” “Don’t Be Cruel,” and “Trouble.”

Prior to the performance, Maryanne Christiano-Mistretta gave a brief Elvis bio, focusing on Elvis’s first performance of “Old Shep” when he was a youngster, honoring the Dog Days of Summer program, a small grassroots organization dedicated to exposing the public to the importance of art. (www.boontonarts.com)

Also in celebration of Dog Days of Summer, it was Dog’s Night Out. Dog owners paraded their pride and joy down main street, as Ruben, a fellow dog lover, sang Elvis tunes to them.

Here is some video footage: http://www.dailyrecord.com/videos/news/2015/06/06/28594927/?fb_ref=Default

From Boonton Holmes Library Face Book Page: https://www.facebook.com/boontonlibrary/videos/vb.243211676921/10152832693366922/?type=2&theater

It was a fun night for all!

Special thanks to Dylan of the Boonton Holmes Public Library for helping out with the sound system!

SAM_7565Just one of hundreds of dogs featured in Boonton’s Dog Days of Summer

If you’d like to have the “Learn and Listen Series, featuring the Music of Elvis Presley” at your library or other organization, please contact Maryanne Christiano-Mistretta for pricing and availability at: maryannechristiano@gmail.com

“Learn and Listen Series: Life & Music of Elvis” at Spring Hills

Published May 10, 2015 by Maryanne

SAM_7213Ruben Castillo as Elvis and Spring Hills residents

I had the honor of presenting Pear Tree’s “Learn and Listen Series: The Life and Music of Elvis Presley (featuring Ruben Castillo)” at Spring Hills in Morristown, New Jersey today.

It was a full house of about 30 seniors. I gave a half hour presentation biography of Elvis, then Ruben had the crowd going wild as Elvis.

He opened up with “That’s Alright Mama” for Mother’s Day. Other great hits he did included “You Don’t Have to Say You Love Me,” “Suspicious Minds,” “Can’t Help Falling in Love with You” and “The Impossible Dream” … to name a few.

In Elvis fashion, he gave out scarves and leis to the ladies.

A wonderful time was had by all!

Maryanne and Ruben give special thanks to our spouses, Patti Castillo and Dennis Mistretta for their support in this program.

Here is a little taste of today:

SAM_7199Maryanne giving the history of Elvis and emceeing the show

SAM_7198Ruben and Maryanne

This program is available to libraries, assisted living facilities, Jewish Community Centers, rotary clubs, senior clubs and more! For pricing and availability, email Maryanne at: maryannechristiano@gmail.com

Mike Moat & Golden Reflections “Eternally Elvis Show” Paramus, NJ

Published January 18, 2015 by Maryanne

SAM_6801Mike Moat

Photo by Maryanne Christiano-Mistretta

I had one hell of a week. My bank account was hacked, I slipped on ice and chipped an old filling. Then my aunt died. So, after the funeral, I was elated when my sister told me one of her friends had an extra ticket to see an Elvis impersonator. I jumped on the chance to say, “YES!” The only thing that would have made the night even better was if she had two extra tickets so my husband could have attended too, since he’s a musician and fellow Elvis fan.

Back in 1989, I originally saw Mike Moat with my sister, mother and grandmother and he was fantastic. Shame I waited 25 years to see him perform again, as it was a class act! I immediately recognized that he had some of the same musicians with him — Rich Fontana on keyboards and his wife Debbie Moat (who is still cute as a button) on vocals. Two other family members are in the group: his brother, Bob Moat on lead guitar and his daughter, Michelle Moat on vocals. Other members include: Ron Graniero (drums), Andy Paleologos (bass), Phil Rinaldi (trumpet), John Urspruch (trumpet), Mike Mullan (saxophone) and Phil Jones (trombone) — who actually played with Elvis Presley, Johnny Cash, Dolly Parton and Barbara Mandrell.

The first set was the entire “Aloha From Hawaii” album. My favorites from this were “Welcome to My World” (I went to the bathroom, called my husband and played a portion of this for him!), “Suspicious Minds,” “Can’t Help Falling in Love With You” and my all time favorite, “I’ll Remember You,” which always makes me cry, big time, since it’s the song that reminds me of my beloved Grandmother (and I’ll be using the lyrics for a fictitious scene in my third book, which I’m aiming to publish in 2016).

Mike Moat wore a replica of the “Aloha From Hawaii” jumpsuit (see picture above).

During intermission, my sister and I were determined to speak with Phil Jones. He was so awesome, taking to us for a very long time and letting us take pictures and signed the playbill. We also talked with Mike Moat, Debbie Moat, Michelle Moat and Rich Fontana.

Michelle Moat, excitedly shared with us, that she wanted to sing with her father since she was a little girl.


Phil Jones, trombone, played with Elvis Presley, Johnny Cash and Dolly Parton

Photo by Maryanne Christiano-Mistretta

For the second set, Mike Moat returned to the stage wearing a replica of the famous Elvis “Peacock” suit. My favorite song of the second set was “How Great Thou Art,” which was powerful!

After the show ended, Mike returned to do four encore songs. The entire program was three and a half-hours!

I’ve seen so many incredible Elvis impersonators over the years, but what makes Mike Moat extra special is that he, and his wife, Debbie, truly care about their fans. Throughout the show, the two of them, acknowledged fans in the audience, pointing them out, mentioning their names, where they were from and speaking kind words about them. Mike Moat also jumped into the audience and went around from table to table to shake hands with fans. He also gave out more scarves (and Hawaiian leis) than any other Elvis impersonator I saw.

After the show ended, I jokingly told Mike Moat I’d see him again when we’re 75. But honestly, I prefer not to wait yet another 25 years to see this fine act again!

For more on Mike Moat & Golden Reflections, visit: http://www.mikemoat.com/

Elvis Birthday Bash 2014! Count Basie Theatre, Red Bank, New Jersey

Published January 18, 2014 by Maryanne

SAM_3420Scot Bruce as Elvis

Last night I treated my husband Dennis to The Elvis Birthday Bash at Count Basie Theatre in Red Bank.

We saw this show twice before in the past, with the double bill of Scot Bruce and Mike Albert — and I must stay, this one was the best of all!

Scot Bruce, who does the “Sun Years” or “early” Elvis was phenomenal. I loved that this time around he did some of the Elvis songs you don’t hear as much and he did a Bruce Springsteen song, as Elvis which was really cool. My favorite part of his act was hearing “Don’t Be Cruel.” The audience went nuts for him, as if he was really Elvis.

Mike Albert, the “Las Vegas Elvis” was on fire! Lots of love and audience participation — he totally wowed them. He also brought his mother on stage to sing “The Wonder of You” to her. Then a song you rarely hear an Elvis impersonator do — “Let’s Pretend” sent chills up my spine! He wore an extraordinary costume that had a peacock stitched on it.

SAM_3452Mike Albert, the Las Vegas Elvis

SAM_3453“An American Trilogy” was the grand finale.

After Mike Albert performed “An American Trilogy” Scot Bruce came onstage to perform “Hound Dog” with him.

As always, there was a meet and greet in the lobby and the two Elvises took pictures with fans. It was fun meeting them again!

SAM_3454From left: Scot Bruce, Dennis, Maryanne, Mike Albert

A Hank Snow Story

Published August 3, 2013 by Maryanne


Last night my husband and I were in Vintage Vinyl and I found a case with a TON of Hank Snow CDs — dirt cheap. I was wondering, “What is up with all these Hank Snow CDs?” figuring someone donating or a Vintage Vinyl worker went to a garage sale and found them.

In my vast music collection I had no Hank Snow, so I figured I’d pick up one. They were only $1.99 each. I got one with three songs I love: “Movin’ On,” “Now and Then, There’s a Fool Such As I” and “I’ve been Everywhere.”

I got to the register and the cashier said, “We have a lot of Hank Snow!”

I said, “Yeah, what’s up with that?”

She said that a Hank Snow fan passed away and his family donated the CDs.

She also added that the man was such a fan that he was buried wearing a suit, previously owned by Hank Snow!

I thought that was the coolest, wildest thing! (As my late grandmother was buried wearing her Elvis Presley watch!)

Snuggly Rainy Day!

Published June 7, 2013 by Maryanne

Bambi Rain

I love rainy days when I could be inside all day!

I have the whole day free to work on my book – yay!

Here’s some comforting rainy day songs to enjoy on this gorgeous day:

Partridge Family – “Walking in the Rain”

Cowsills “The Rain The Park & Other Things”

All About Eve “Shelter From the Rain”

The Beatles – “Rain”

Elvis “Kentucky Rain”




Published April 1, 2013 by Maryanne

The Fool

I LOVE LOVE LOVE April Fool’s Day!

I just love jokes, and fun and making people laugh, so today will be super fun for me!

Every year I trick people and pull fun jokes. It’s hard when you work at home, alone, but I will definitely get my husband.

The best trick someone pulled on me was when I was working in Hoboken. A young stranger asked me where “Sesame” was.

Hoboken is a fairly big city and I was confused … where is “Sesame”? I didn’t know. I was stunned, trying to think of where it could be.

He looked at me and started laughing. He said “What day is this?”

Okay … April Fool’s Day! He was going with the old, “Can you tell me how to get … how to get to Sesame Street.” (Of course there was no Sesame Street!)

Here are some foolish songs to enjoy today:

Elvis – FOOL’s Rush In

Elvis – FOOLS Fall In Love

Elvis – FOOL Such as I

Daniel Ash – FOOLISH Thing Desire

Frankie Lymon & The Teenagers – Why Do FOOLS Fall in Love

Elvis – FOOL

Elvin Bishop – Fooled Around and Fell in Love

Foreigner – FOOL For You Anyway

Angel – You’re Not Fooling Me

Styx – Fooling Yourself

Led Zeppelin – Fool in the Rain

Stone Roses – Fool’s Gold

Cinderella – Nobody’s FOOL

Are You Elvis Tonight?

Published February 8, 2013 by Maryanne

Elvis Hawaii

We’re having a snowstorm here in New Jersey, a cold and snuggly day and still a long way from the outdoor summer concerts my husband and I love to go to so much. Each year we always seem to catch an Elvis impersonator at these outdoor shows and they are always great. Other times we’ll actually splurge and see an Elvis impersonator at a dinner show, a concert hall, or even an local dive bar. When it comes to Elvis impersonators, the King will live on forever!

One of my favorite Word Press blogs is Pompadour (http://elvistributeartist.wordpress.com/) a tribute to Elvis impersonators.

In honor of Elvis impersonators, I’d like to bring attention to three who are real characters, but characters with a lot of substance.


andy kaufman as elvis

Andy Kaufman, as Elvis

The late Andy Kaufman adored Elvis and was impersonating Elvis when he was still alive. The real Elvis Presley saw Kaufman’s act and said he was the best Elvis impersonator at the time.

Here’s a video of Andy as Elvis. If you watch this one, please watch to the very end to really get the gist of Kaufman’s humor. It’s legendary and Kaufman never fails to make me laugh and smile.

Orion Elvis ImpersonatorJimmy “Orion” Ellis

Jimmy Ellis, best known as Orion sounded just like Elvis, but as for looks, not so much, so he created a mystery by performing masked. Because he sounded so much like Elvis, some who believed that Elvis was still alive thought Orion just might be Elvis!

What I loved most about Orion was that he did some songs that Elvis never did, but he made them Elvis songs, such as “Honey” by Bobby Goldsboro. If Bobby Goldsboro’s version of “Honey” didn’t make you cry, Orion’s definitely will!

Sadly Orion died tragically. He was gunned down in his pawn shop in December 1998. Both Orion and his ex-wife who were working together both ended up dead.

In honor of Orion, please enjoy his gorgeous version of “Honey,” from his CD “Reborn.”

El VezEl Vez

El Vez is a kitschy Mexican American artist. He’s still alive and has about 12 albums worth of satire Elvis songs. He performs with the El Vetts ladies who are his back up singers.

Check out El Vez doing “Suspicious Minds” as “Immigration Time”‘: “Ready Steady Go”; and “Kids of America.” Sounds nothing like Elvis, looks nothing like Elvis, but a helluva lot of fun!