This week, Ira spoke with Casey Abrams, performing at Vic’s Las Vegas March 1-2. In this episode of “Talk About Las Vegas With Ira,” Casey talks about his early years in Idyllwild, California; learning from Marshall Hawkins, the jazz bass maestro, at the Idyllwild Arts Academy; why he loves jazz and how it gives just a plot, not the whole story; why he was attracted to the bass; the benefits of the travel bass; his performance in “American Idol”; why he ended up singing and playing bass at the same time; dealing with his ulcerative colitis; deciding to give up sugar and bread; and his sense of joy on stage.
This week, Ira spoke with four-time Grammy-nominated singer-songwriter Ruthie Foster, performing in Myron’s at The Smith Center February 22-23. In this episode of “Talk About Las Vegas With Ira,” Ruthie talks about her classically trained background; why she loves singing for big bands; her favorite genres of blues and folk music;; why gospel music is the equalizer for her and brings everybody into the room spiritually; her defini-tion of phrasing; singing “above a cold”; feeling grounded when she is on stage; how she is close to her family; the women in her family who were the driving force; the influence of her grandmother; the importance of community; the teacher who had a great impact on her; writing since she was a little girl; the difference between writing (personal) and performing; and separating the personal “Ruthie Foster” from the stage “Ruthie Foster.”
This week, Ira spoke with Bob Anderson, the world’s greatest singing impressionist, performing at the Italian American Club February 16. In this episode of “Talk About Las Vegas With Ira,” Bob talks about his career in Las Vegas; his Frank Sinatra performance at Carnegie Hall; his first impression (Sammy Davis Jr.) and the man responsible for starting him on his career in singing impressions (Merv Griffin); the two new albums coming up as Bob sings as himself; why his act today includes impressions, but is not limited to it; what advice Tony Bennett gave him; why he works out and vocalizes every day; how he is the last guy from an era, a different world of music; and why he wants to keep the greats from that era alive.
This week, Ira spoke with comedian Michael Somerville, performing in Brad Garrett’s Comedy Club at the MGM February 5-8 (and 10). In this episode of “Talk About Las Vegas With Ira,” Michael talks about his start in stand-up comedy on a dare in college; moving to New York and earning $18,000 gross in an advertising agency; his decision to pursue comedy full time; how he became the original couch surfer; when he knew he had made it as a comedian; why he uses a lot of relationship humor in his act; why he credits Las Vegas for helping him hone his craft over 20 years of appearing here; how he tries to write material every day; the challenges of being on the road and being a father; and why he doesn’t do a “character” on stage.