Engelbert Humperdinck talks about his new duets album “Engelbert Calling”

Engelbert Humperdinck is an international bestselling artist. He has numerous hits including “Release Me”. His latest venture is a duet album, called “Engelbert Calling”, singing classics along with Elton John, Olivia Newton-John, Il Divo, Willie Nelson, Gene Simmons, Wyonna Judd, Kenny Rogers, Johnny Mathis, and Neil Sedaka to name a few. Media Mikes had a chance to chat again with the legendary singer to discuss the new album and how it all came about.

Mike Gencarelli: We first spoke back in July of 2011 and you mentioned you were working on the album; how does it feel to final have this album available to fans?
Engelbert Humperdinck: Good to speak with you again Mike. Yeah, can you believe it has taken that long? It has taken just over three years to complete this particular album. Thank God for internet for being able to send these tracks across the world to each of the artists involved with this album. It was a lot of work and I am glad that it is finally available to my fans to enjoy!

MG: Pretty ambitious having a 2 CD, 23 track debuts CD; how did they idea come about to do a debut album?
EH: You know, Elton John was responsible for starting this off. I was listening to one of his live albums and on one song he says something like “This song I wrote many years ago as a struggling artist, living in a flat in London and was waiting for an Engelbert Humperdinck to call and take it off my hands and make it a hit”. So I finally called and told him I was listening to this album and it gave me a great idea. I asked him to sing a debut on my next album and he said “Yes”. So, once you get someone like Elton John, he is the honeycomb, everyone else is just drawn to it.

MG: With “Spinning Wheel”, it seems like you and Gene Simmons had a lot of fun with this song; how was it in the studio with him?
EH: Gene was great in the studio. He really brought a lot of pizazz into the studio. He was very loose and very charismatic. They took a photo of half of each of our faces and we really do look alike [laughs]. Overall, it was great fun working with him.

MG: So besides Gene, who else did you record with in the studio?
EH: Elton John was the other. Those were the only two and the rest were done via the airways. Technology has made it possible to do things that are impossible in real life. This album was done in England, London, Los Angeles, New York, Nashville, South America and Europe. At least, I was in the studio with a couple of them. Sinatra wasn’t in the studio with any of his artists for his “Duets” album [laughs].

MG: Tell us about the title “Engelbert Calling”? I picture you going through your contact list and calling out all your friends.
EH: Yeah, the biggest challenge was putting it all together and making my wish list of people I wanted to work with. Johnny Mattis is one of my favorite singers of all time. I love his work. Kenny Rogers was great getting to work with. I mentioned Gene Simmons already, which was a highlight. When I called Willie Nelson, he recorded his part in Nashville, I told him that I was so thrilled to have him on the album, especially singing a Bob Dylan song. Along with signing, I also asked him to play guitar since he has such a great unique style. He was so accommodating and after he recorded it called and made sure it was ok. So that was really great.

MG: Your debut with Elton John for “Something About the Way You Look Tonight” is an amazing way to kick off the album?
EH: With total respect for Elton and since he was the first, I had to put him right at the top of the list. He is the person that started the whole ball rolling.

MG: How was it singing with your kids, Louise and Bradley on this album?
EH: Yep, that is my son and daughter at the end of each disc as a bonus track. I was thrilled to have them there. I wanted to show the world, since this is a world release record, that my children can sing and also pay tribute on my album.

MG: “I Need You Know” with Lulu is one of the newest songs that you covered; what made you choose this song?
EH: I had to have Lulu on this album. Many years ago, when my single for “Release Me” came out, she was on a show in England called “Jukebox Jury”. There were four people on the panel and Lulu was the only one who voted my song a hit. She did a super job on this song. It is a great duet song, so it was easy picking. Plus it suited her voice very well.

MG: After such an amazing album like this; how do you plan to top this?
EH: For the people that didn’t make it onto this album, we will make sure that they make it onto the next one called “Engelbert Redialed”. But that is down the road and preparation is the hardest work.

MG: In your current touring, do you plan on covering any of these duets?
EH: Oh, it is already in the show. I do a virtual debut with Elton John. It is going over absolutely fantastic and people are loving the idea of it.

DVD Review “The Calling”

Starring: Susan Sarandon, Ellen Burstyn, Topher Grace, Donald Sutherland
Director: Scott Abramovitch
Rated: R (Restricted)
Studio: Sony Pictures Home Entertainment
DVD Release Date: September 23, 2014
Running Time: 108 minutes

Film: 3.5 out of 5 stars
Extras: 1.5 out of 5 star

“The Calling” is another recent film to get very limited release and yet back a stunning cast including  Academy Award winners Susan Sarandon and Ellen Burstyn, along with Topher Grace and Donald Sutherland. The film is based on the popular novel by Inger Ash Wolfe. The acting is great and there are a few decent jumps weaved within this spine-tingling tale of a small town detective on the hunt for a terrifying serial killer with a higher calling. Worth a rent for sure.

Official Premise: Detective Inspector Hazel Micallef (Susan Sarandon) leads a quiet life with her mother (Ellen Burstyn), her painkillers, and an occasional drink. But when she checks on an ill neighbor, she stumbles upon a gruesome murder that shatters her peaceful existence. With the help of a fellow detective (Gil Bellows) and a transfer cop (Topher Grace), she unearths a series of similar killings across the country. When a local priest (Donald Sutherland) suggests a link to an ancient ritual, Hazel focuses her search on a religious madman with a deadly higher calling. Based on the novel by Inger Ash Wolfe, it’s a journey to the shadowy landscape between faith and fear.

It is kind of a bummer that Sony didn’t give this a Blu-ray release. All we get is DVD here and no digital copy either. There is only one special feature included on this DVD, which till allow thriller fans can go deeper inside the dark mystery of the film with ““Divine Intention: Making The Calling”. It gives a unique look into the making of this highly original new serial killer murder mystery.

Film Review “The Calling”

Starring: Susan Sarandon, Ellen Burstyn and Gil Bellows
Directed by: Jason Stone
Rated: PG 13
Running time: 1 hour 48 mins
Sony Pictures

Our Score: 4 out of 5 stars

Every morning, Chief Inspector Hazel Micallef rises from the floor (her preferred place to sleep), takes a pain pill and a shot and heads to work, only stopping on the way at the local diner, where the owner waits for her with a cup of coffee and a bacon sandwich. Things are pretty slow in Fort Dundas, a city in the Canadian province of Ontario. Though not officially the top cop, her seniority makes her the one giving orders to her fellow detective, Ray Green (Bellows) and they local cops. On one of the typically slow days that seem to run back to back to back in town, the station gets a phone call from one of the townspeople, currently out of town, who has had trouble reaching his mother on the phone. Can someone please stop by and look in on her? Hazel takes it up herself to run the errand. When she knocks and gets no answer she walks in. And what she finds will ensure that the slow days at the Fort Dundas police department are coming to an end.

A well-paced thriller that will have you guessing until the end, “The Calling” comes to us courtesy of first time feature director Jason Stone. With a few short films under his belt, Stone has managed to attract a cast featuring two previous Oscar winners as well as such well-known talent like Topher Grace, Gil Bellows and Donald Sutherland. Stone, whose short film “Jay and Seth Versus the Apocalypse” was the basis for last year’s all-star comedy, “This Is the End,” shows a veteran’s touch in handling his actors. He allows them some room to explore their scenes but still keeps them tight. As the film progresses, there really isn’t a false step in the pacing. I’m looking forward to his sophomore feature.

Sarandon, still not looking anywhere near her 68 years, gives a nuanced performance, never giving anything away. As the film progresses we learn why Hazel isn’t officially the boss as well as why her superiors are slow to put any faith in her claim that a serial killer may now be operating in the Great White North. Supporting work by Bellows (who you may recognize as Tommy, the young boy who Andy befriends in “The Shawshank Redemption”), Sutherland and Burstyn, as a former judge and Hazel’s mother is outstanding. Burstyn is only 14 years older than Sarandon and she, too, still maintains the beauty that first burst upon Hollywood in the 1970s. And special recognition to Grace, who plays a cop recently transferred to Fort Dundas from Toronto. Why? You’ll have to watch the film to find out.

“The Calling” is currently available on Video on Demand and opens in theatres on Friday, August 29th.


Related Content

Concert Review “Orlando Calling 2011”

Festival Republic Presents:
Orlando Calling 2011
Citrus Bowl Park, Orlando FL
November 12-13, 2011

Our Score: 2 out of 5 stars

This music festival feels like they were trying to capture the look and feel of Woodstock but unfortunately failed.  This was the first year for this two-day music festival at the Citrus Bowl, it may also be the last.  When arriving the event, I saw that the attendance was very poor but I figured that they were possibly waiting for the night’s main attractions but no such luck.  The venue itself did not seem prepared for sure an event.  The cumulative feelings from the events attendees was that the event was very unorganized.  Besides the main stage, the additional stages were almost hard to find and too far to trek in between each act.

Day one was seemed to aim at a younger audience with bands like The Killers and Kid Cudi.  Our coverage focuses on Sunday’s bands which definitely trumped the acts from Saturday. Kid Rock and Blake Shelton are a big enough draw even without, the recently MIA, Bob Seger & The Silver Bullet Band.  “The Doobie Brothers proved they definitely can still rock the house and sounded fantastic. Blake Shelton was honestly not a good as I hoped he would be.  I do not think that it was the fact that he was one of the only country acts at the festival but he just didn’t really bring it all to the stage, presence-wise.  Kid Rock easily stole the show with his amazing performance.  His full set was packed with all of his great hits and was super high energy. His songs “Fucking 40” and mash-up of “Picture/Bawitaba” with a little help from “Beavis and Butt-head” where a major highlight.  Unfortunately then he was followed by Bob Seger & The Silver Bullet Band.  Normally I think that Bob Seger would have been fantastic but his act cannot follow Kid Rock and brought more “Night Snooze” than “Night Moves”.

I think that this event had major potential but was definitely disappointing.  Maybe with a different venue this could have honed-in on its potential.  Maybe it was just the lack of a audience because my section 226 had less than 20 people total, though even the GA area was less than 1/3 full.  I would have loved to post some video for you from these great acts but both Kid Rock and Bob Seger did not allow any video at the event. In fact Seger didn’t even allow photos, which was quite disappointing. Not sure if there will be a next time but if there is I hope they try and improve it.

Kid Rock set list:
1. Devil Without a Cause
2. It Feels Good To Me
3. Tom Sawyer/Forever
4. Cocky
5. So Hott
6. I Got One for Ya’
7. Wasting Time
8. Purple Sky
9. Cowboy
10. Lay it on Me/Cowboy (Reprise)
11. Care
12. Fucking 40
13. What’s My Name?
14. Cat Scratch Fever/God Bless Saturday
15. Picture/Bawitaba
16. All Summer Long
17. Rock N Roll Jesus
18. Only God Knows Why
19. Born Free

Bob Seger & The Silver Bullet Band set list:
1.Roll Me Away
2. Tryin’ to Live My Life Without You
3. The Fire Down Below
4. Mainstreet
5. Old Time Rock & Roll
6. Going Back To Birmingham
7. Travelin’ Man
8. Beautiful Loser
9. We’ve Got Tonight
10. Nutbush City Limits
11. Come to Poppa
12. Her Strut
13. Turn the Page
14. Sunspot Baby
15. Real Mean Bottle (w/ Kid Rock) (Vince Gill cover)
16. Against the Wind
17. Hollywood Nights
18. Night Moves
19. Rock and Roll Never Forgets

Orlando Calling Festival Comes to Town November 12-13th

The Orlando Calling event is shaping up to be on the biggest tours that the Orlando area has seen in quite a while.  It is a two day festival, spanning from Nov 12-13th will include 60 bands planned to perform.  We are hoping to cover this event and be sure to get some excellent coverage and interviews from the bands.  If you would like to get tickets for this event you can do so by clicking here.

The full Orlando Calling lineup includes:

Saturday, Nov. 12: The Killers, The Pixies, Avett Brothers, The Roots, The Raconteurs, O.A.R., Gavin DeGraw, Iron and Wine, Pete Yorn, Jenny & Johnny, Civil Twilight, Lucero, Dr. Dog, Justin Townes Earle, Felice Brothers, Ben Solee, Renee & the Translators

Sunday, Nov. 13: Bob Seger & The Silver Bullet Band, Kid Rock & Twisted Brown Trucker, Blake Shelton, Doobie Brothers, Buddy Guy, the Warren Haynes Band, Chris Isaak, Dwight Yoakam, Robert Randolph & the Family Band, Flatlanders, Los Lonely Boys, Blues Traveler, Brandi Carlile, the David Mayfield Parade, Michelle Branch, the Supervillains


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Day Ticket prices for Saturday / Sunday:
Stage 1 Field Access – $87.50 + $5.75 tax + Fees
General Admission Field Access for Stage 1
General Admission Field Access for Stages 2, 3 and 4

Stage 1 Reserved – $87.50 + $5.75 tax + Fees
Reserved Seating for Stage 1
General Admission Field Access for Stages 2, 3 and 4

Weekend Ticket prices for Saturday / Sunday:
Stage 1 Field Access – $160 + $10.50 Tax + Fees
General Admission Field Access for Stage 1
General Admission Field Access for Stages 2, 3 and 4

Stage 1 Reserved – $160 + $10.50 Tax + Fees
Reserved Seating for Stage 1
General Admission Field Access for Stages 2, 3 and 4

Also available are VIP tickets for each day, weekend packages and ultimate VIP packages.  Click here to find out more info on how to purchase tickets.

Be sure to follow Orlando Calling on Facebook and Twitter.  Here is a link to their official website: http://orlandocalling.com