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Showing posts from 2013

Christmas Unwrapped: Meeting Ernie Cefalu

What do I want for Christmas after surviving my midsummer stroke? Not much, because every day is a celebration. But I love this time of year. The decorations, the music, the food, the family and gatherings. I am thrilled to be here for another one. So, as far as presents do go, I got family approval for my selection and guess what: Christmas came a week early for me. And Santa looks an awful lot like graphic design titan Ernie Cefalu . The name doesn't ring a bell? His work will. You - music fan - cannot matriculate through Rock 'N Roll High School without knowing Mr. Cefalu and his cadre of artisans who made up Pacific Eye & Ear. Their iconic work in the 1970s adorned album covers for the likes of Alice Cooper, Black Sabbath & Grand Funk Railroad. As PE&E's Creative Director, Ernie hired and collaborated with some of the most celebrated artists, illustrators and designers in the history of rock and roll, not on the music, but the beautiful sleeves that contai

Shouldn't It Really Be The Tamla Sound?

Hey friends, I've been doing a huge reorganizing project, especially with a holiday visit from my Mom approaching. That meant relocating my record collection because the carpet is being steam-cleaned today. I admit, I am one of those people who will stop and reminisce over an album, remembering where it was purchased, when I last listened to it, admiring the artwork - even when it is not on the turntable. So, going through my vinyl last night, I was surprised by how few of my favorite Motown artists actually recorded on the "Motown" label. I think we assume that if singers are associated with the Sound of Young America and Detroit in the 1960s that the artist was indeed on Motown. True to an extent, but the imprint of their 45s and LPs may not have been "Motown." I love my music trivia, so here it comes. Sure, there are the usual suspects like Diana Ross & the Supremes and the Four Tops. But only two of my favorite Motor City acts actually released the

Christmas Sale For Ya!

Merry Christmas, Music Lovers! For the next three weeks and through Boxing Day (Dec. 26th), I am offering my two complete solo albums at the cost of $5 each. That's A Talent For Loving and On The Rebound for only $5 a pop. Now is your chanc e to pick up either or both for yourself or as an excellent gift for like-minded friends and family. Let's find out how. 1) For high quality digital downloads go to CDBaby . 2) For physical CDs, message me directly. I will personally mail them to you. S&H is $1 for the first CD; and caps at $2 for domestic/USA orders for as many copies as you wish. Payment via Paypal, etc. Autographs on request. Thanks for your support! Now, let's dance! x

Norman’s Rockwell Top 10 Lists for 2013

It’s time for my annual rundown of my favorites for the calendar year of 2013. Mind you, this is not for art’s sake, but the music that moved me most - although sometimes that happens.  Top 10 Albums: 1.  David Bowie - The Next Day This album was heralded by the most amazing vacuum of hype ever. The single “Where Are We Now?” arrived in the wee hours of Bowie's 66th birthday in January with not a hint of warning. That the LP turned out to be his most completely compelling work since Scary Monsters was his greatest birthday gift to us his fans. Couple this with the absorbing David Bowie Is staged at the V&A this year and my hibernating Bowie fascination was reawakened to an extraordinary degree. If you get anywhere near this installation as it tours the globe, drop what you are doing and get tickets. On my flights to and from the UK for my tour I listened to The Next Day back-to-back-to-back. Highlights: “Valentine’s Day” (not a love song, mind you); “The Stars (Are

Rebound Turns One Year

I'm thrilled to be around to announce that On The Rebound is one year old. It was officially released on  October 2, 2012. I am very proud of the work that I did with a stellar grip and group of musicians to create such a great album LP. I'm listening to it all over again, as I write. So many great memories of the sessions to get the tracks down at Karma Frog in Reseda with my mentor and good friend Adam Marsland at the helm. Hopefully, the audience for the album will continue to grow in time. You never know when or how music will expand its reach. I am always discovering new records from 40 years ago, Deceptive Bends from 10cc being the latest. Just this past week, I learned that She's My Go-To & So Sophisticated were placed in the background of an episode of ABC's since-canceled Happy Endings back in January. Life is odd that way. I am two months past my stroke and I continue to heal. I'm trying to remember to practice guitar on a daily basis: scales, s

Update For The Down Stroke

Dear friends and angels, time to update you all with the latest from my restoration. It has been one month to the day since I entered the stroke telemetry unit in the Kari and Dick Clark Neuroscience Unit at Providence St. Joseph's in Burbank. Those folks took really good care of me. I continue to get great care from the Missus and a raft of great doctors and support staff. However, there are times when the waters get choppy. To paraphrase CS Lewis, miracles occur when things are crap. My miracle, I am ever grateful for and very aware of. "The best part of waking not dying in your sleep." - Comedian Adam Ray, spoofing the Folger's jingle I say a lot of prayers upon greeting each day. God is magnificent. When I wake up, I start the day thanking God for all of the wonders of this life. I try to name names, too; that may include you. Don't hesitate to contact me, if you want me to specifically pray for you (and you know who you are). I keep a pretty t

Diff'rent Stroke

"I was born with eyesight, Blinded by the light." "If you got the music inside A miracle is on the way." So much has happened since my last blog. It's a peaceful Saturday morning, listening to the Jackson 5, and I'm kicking back with a cuppa Harrod's Blend 49 that I picked up on my British tour. Not too posh, really. I'm off of my favorite green stuff (TWG's Polo Club) for a month or two, but more on that later.... In music news: Huckleberry Finn has been submitted in various categories for the upcoming 56th Grammy Awards. It's just the beginning of the entry process; but we can be cheerful simply for that. It was also entered into the UK Music Video Awards whose vetting process has just begun as well. These are just the entry steps, but as EPMD said, "like Lotto, you have to be in it to win it." To date the video has been viewed 2253 times on YouTube and I thank you one and all for watching it, sharing it and most of all

Breaking News: Entered - UKMVAs

What a week in music news. Here's a rundown of the surreal and sublime. Huckleberry Finn has been officially entered into the UK Music Video Awards 13 to be awarded on Oct. 28. Entered, not to be confused with nominated or shortlisted; but this is where it begins! Judging and voting will begin later this month, with the final shortlists unveiled in October. The event will celebrate the very best of British and international music videos and the talent behind them at a brand new venue for 2013: the Southbank Centre in London. Grammy submissions are ongoing this month. So I will be submitting this year's work for the upcoming round. I am thankful for the opportunities to enter contests and festivals. I'm very excited about sharing my work with more and more people. First Post  in India has once again been at the vanguard of a video release of mine. It's very cool to see that international outlets are paying attention. I'm very proud of this song (and video) a

Summertime Jam Called Huckleberry Finn Hits 1500

Thank you, everyone for your continued love and support for Huckleberry Finn. We have exceeded 1500 views on YouTube in under 4 days. Gadzooks! Thank you to everyone who is sharing the video. And a special nod to the Mark Twain Author page on Facebook who lent their kind words and shared it with their half-a-milliion followers. Please continue to share and spread the word about your new groove for Summertime. x

The Skinny (Show Recap)

Last night's performance at Skinny's was a barnburner, if one is still allowed to burn the barn. International Pop Overthrow came to North Hollywood, literally blocks from my place. I got to walk to the gig; shades of Liverpool. The communal aura of IPO is one of my favorite parts of the festival. I was thrilled by Math & Science , the first band of the night. They were a lot of fun and I hope to check them out again soon. There are a few more must sees this week at IPO. But onto my recap... There was an enthusiastic, large crowd packed into Skinny's living room setting. The vibe of the place is very cool. Feels like you're playing at home. The stage lights are bright and until I sauntered into the crowd during the vamp of our last number, I had no idea just how many people were in the audience. I could hear them singing along, especially on the ballads, however. It was a treat to see Ruth and Peter from Spygenius (who were here all the way from the UK). The In

Guess That Makes Me Huckleberry Finn

Alright friends, the moment has come. The official music video for my single Huckleberry Finn is up for viewing on YouTube! Check it out. Summertime has a new groove and it's called Huckleberry Finn. Yup, I even posted it to Mark Twain's facebook page. He was a major inspiration and his work ranks among my favorites. I might even dress in all white like Twain for tonight's show at Skinny's. You'll have to be there to know first. In the meantime, dig the video. Please share it. I love it. You will, too!

On The Doorstep

Yesterday was a musical one. First, I had a productive rehearsal with the Initmitables in Venice Beach. It was nice to get out the Valley and into the cool air of the shore. We ran through the songs for tomorrow night's show at Skinny's and had a lot of fun doing it. We are missing our maestro, Adam Marsland, who is on tour; so the tunes took on a bluesier and more guitar driven sound. Kevin Jarvis and Teresa Cowles (Happy Birthday, T) are a rock solid rhythm section that will keep you dancing. I am playing rhythm guitar in a band setting for the first time in perhaps 25 years. I would have to ask the archivists in Jacksonville. It is a gas playing along Evie Sands, anchoring the lead guitar, who is simply marvelous at all she does. It's a festival set, meaning we have about 30 minutes to play. So we will be hitting the highlights from On The Rebound, including my latest single "Huckleberry Finn." Don't miss this show, as I have nothing else scheduled fo

Huckleberry Finn: Day Two

We had a full day of taping Huckleberry Finn around the Valley. Burbank, Tujunga Village and North Hollywood. Never far from home, but apparently much closer to the surface of the sun than the day before. We started on the abandoned railroad tracks in Burbank that become the Chandler bike path, where Sunday's shoot took place. Much more of the day's work involved me singing along with the track. My video collaborator Andy Shuford gave me a specific task for the timing of the vocal. I won't spoil the surprise here. It was challenging to remember the words I wrote and sang myself with the slight alteration; but the end result is going to be fun to see. Art pushes back on artist. My cast was gracious again, with a special nod and bow to Gina Quintana. She played an expanded role in the video as my ethereal stylist. Gina performed all of her appointed actions with a dancer's elegance; it was choreography after all. We had fun with all of the wardrobe and props that wer

Huckleberry Finn: Day One

Today was the first day of a two day shoot for my new music video for Huckleberry Finn. Our location was a tranquil spot in North Hollywood. This is my first time co-directing and it was a tightrope act with plenty of thrills. Fortunately, I am collaborating with a very talented director/DP, Andrew Shuford . He and I have combined on some neat ideas. Although there is nothing new under the sun, its our new and its our sun, and mercifully, it stayed under triple digits today. The cast for today included some of my favorite local performers and personalities: Rob Z , Teresa Cowles, Camille Santochi, Parnell Marcano, Tara Varilek, Chervet McCain, Micah McCain (no relation), Gerry Katzman , and the mysterious William Draven . Behind the scenes: Kristine Castano  was invaluable, as were Patty Tokahuta-Kelsey and Kristee Laiva. We got some great footage with all of the actors who were given a specific bit of business to perform with me. I can't wait for you all to see the results.

So Sophisticated - Live Version Posted

Well, here's the first clip to surface from my CD release show on Sept 26th, 2012. Let's call it new archival footage. It's a groovy performance of the lead-off track "So Sophisticated." The Inimitables doing their thing. That's Evie Sands (lead guitar), Teresa Cowles (bass), Adam Marsland (rhythm guitar) and Kevin Jarvis (drums). The video was directed and shot by Paul Brown. Post production by Andy Shuford. Dig it, groove to it. It's going to be a long, hot summer... so this is how you cool off! Like iced tea! Once that video is done, check out my live performances from Liverpool on YouTube. In related multimedia news, I am working with Mr. Shuford on my next short video for "Huckleberry Finn." We have a concept and will scout locations this afternoon, once we are out of triple digit heat. I will be releasing a single version of "Huckleberry Finn" in mid-July, so the video will coincide. Happy Sunday! Norman x

Rebound King: Complete UK 2013 Tour Recap

I am back home in the heat of North Hollywood after a beautiful week in the UK on tour. The shows totaled six in a seven day trip. But what a trip it was. London, Manchester, Liverpool. The audiences were appreciative and even with two acoustic guitars, this disco troubadour enjoyed getting the crowd moving. The sets were a mix of songs from my latest, ON THE REBOUND; along with a couple of choice covers. One golden oldie; one hot off the top of the charts. Back to the audiences, I was thrilled to entertain all of you and meet so many of you. I love making people dance; it brings me joy. I hope that you will continue to follow my musical adventures. I will return to the UK and I anticipate making some new music this summer with an old collaborator. So more to come! While in London, I visited the David Bowie Is exhibit at the Victoria & Albert Musuem. Fascinating and inspiring. Always is, to see handwritten lyrics, original stage costumes and concepts for album art all put into

Rehearsing for the UK and the Stones

Last night's rehearsal for the upcoming tour was a gas. Adam Marsland and I ran through duo versions of songs from ON THE REBOUND, along with hits from Smokey, the O'Jays and the Robots. Stay tuned if you're curious... or better yet, come down to a show. We did this version of things for my IPO set last August at Fais Do Do, before the album dropped. Sort of a cabaret setting. But now that you fans know the songs, there will be more points-of-reference to these acoustic performances. Plus the covers are a lot of fun. Had a great time seeing the Rolling Stones at Staples Center last Friday. They pulled out a few gems including a rare version of "Factory Girl," the rollicking "Midnight Rambler" with guest Mick Taylor and a live debut of the disco-riffic "Emotional Rescue." I'm thrilled that I was part of the first audience to hear "Emotional Rescue" performed by the band. My guess is that "Start Me Up" was already charti

One Fortnight Until Britain

In just two weeks, I will be making my way (accompanied by my producer/musical director, Adam Marsland) to the UK for a series of shows. I invite you all to join the ride. It's going to be a fun musical journey. I will be playing acoustic versions of tracks from ON THE REBOUND; plus a few choice covers. The barnstorming will take me from London to Manchester to Liverpool. The specifics can be found on my website . However, here are the dates; yes, there are double-headers on two of them. All shows are free admission! Wednesday, May 15 at 9 pm London - Notting Hill Arts Club Thursday, May 16 at 5.45 pm Liverpool -  International Pop Overthrow @ The Cavern Pub Thursday, May 16 at 9.30 pm Manchester - Thirsty Scholar Friday, May 17 at 5 pm Liverpool -  International Pop Overthrow @ The Cavern Club Friday, May 17 at 8.30 pm Liverpool - Festival Express @ Vinyl Bar What else? I'm listening to a lot of new music that I'm digging, especially th

Cinema Bar Show Recap

Wow, I'm nearing nearly 4000 views of this blog. Thank you all for checking in. What a great way to start Grammy Week. Last night's show at the Cinema Bar with the Inimitables was a fantastic way to spend my birthday. The band was brilliant as usual; as was the audience. So many beautiful faces. Thank you for the rousing rendition of Happy Birthday, too. The set was heavy on tunes from ON THE REBOUND, as usual. Here the set list: So Sophisticated Saffron Dancer Your Majestic Rejection Supermodels With Gatling Guns Our Love Is Known By Name Huckleberry Finn A Talent For Loving She's My Go-To On The Rebound A Miracle Is On The Way Later in the night, I joined Adam Marsland and the Chaos Band for some covers. I did harmonies on some; lead vox on others. Those hits were: That's The Way of the World (Earth, Wind & Fire) Hot Fun In The Summertime (Sly & The Family Stone) Mama Can't Buy You Love (Elton John) Jive Talkin ' (Bee Gees) I sp

England Swings on Radio Fairfax Plays Norman Kelsey

I hope you have been having a peaceful King Holiday weekend.  I sang U2's "Pride (In The Name of Love)" at church in memory of Dr. King. That is becoming an annual occurrence.  Check out the press release today from England Swings on Radio Fairfax below. ### The Family Rain! Bring Me the Horizon! Peace! Django Django! No, it’s not stream-of-consciousness writing, it’s just the beginning of the England Swings show today at 6:00 p.m. ET, and these are some of the bands we’ll be celebrating. We’ll also have new tracks by Lianne La Havas, Suede, Katy B, and a lot more, including our special features : The Fab Four Freakout! With one of the most famous Beatles songs that was, um, never done by the Beatles. Unsigned Artists Showcase! Featuring Norman Kelsey, an up-and-coming performer from Hollywood! Request-o-matic, with, well, requests! Top 5 Countdown! Featuring two new entries today as we count down the most popular songs in the UK! I

Birthday Show Booked: Cinema Bar 2/6/13

This just in! On Wednesday, Feb. 6 Norman Kelsey & The Inimitables - Happy Birthday Show -  9:00 PM 3967 Sepulveda Blvd. Culver City CA 90230 US 310-390-1328 Price: Free! Just a few days before the Grammy Celebrations in Los Angeles, come celebrate with Norman Kelsey and the Inimitables. It's a Free Show, it's Norman's birthday! It's going to be a groovy night all the way around at the Cinema Bar. Norman's set will be followed by Adam Marsland's Chaos Band and more musical fun and madness.  Cinema Bar is 21+

Happy Newness and the Best of 2012!

Happy New Year, all. I hope it was rung in properly at yours. Mine was mellow. A few friends, a few bottles of wine and games of chance for high stakes (Left Center Right). Today is David Bowie's birthday, so I was thrilled to wake up to his new single Where Are We Now? The most amazing thing is how he kept his recording sessions and release under wraps until the very last minute. Isn't this the man who basically brought the sound of Orwell's 1984 to life? As you may recall, I covered Bowie's "Let's Dance" in Liverpool acoustically; and here in L.A. with a full horn section. If he tours his new album, I will have to see him. I am in the throes of completing this year's Grammy ballot. I due my diligence and listen to as many nominated records as possible. Every year I find a new favorite or two. I'm nearly done. Some categories (for LPs particularly) can be time consuming; but as I just said, it can be worth it to uncover some gold. I got my