Singing one of Meade's many talents

Jan 27, 2015 3:00 AM

Robin Meade, longtime host of HLN’s “Morning Express,” guested on LV Backstage Talk to promote her special guest star appearance in “Christmas, Motown and More,” an 11-day, limited-engagement with Smokey Robinson’s Human Nature at The Venetian.

Last month, Robin Meade, longtime host of HLN’s “Morning Express,” guested on LV Backstage Talk to promote her special guest star appearance in “Christmas, Motown and More,” an 11-day, limited-engagement with Smokey Robinson’s Human Nature at The Venetian.

After watching Robin as a news television personality at 3 a.m. for many years, I was one of the many viewers unaware Robin is also a well-respected singer-songwriter. She has a pair of albums charting on the Billboard Country Albums chart, “Brand New Day” in 2011 and “Count On Me,” 2013.

Her impressive resume doesn’t end there. She has also belted out the National Anthem at many packed stadiums, and has performed with Darius Rucker, Kenny Chesney, Richard Marx, David Foster and John Rich. Did I mention Robin is also a former Miss Ohio and a New York Times best-selling author who overcame crippling panic attacks and now does speaking engagements as well, sharing her story?

Her credits go on and on. I wondered if there was anything left Robin would not be fearless of trying and I soon found out there is. It’s stand-up comedy. If that isn’t the best reason for Robin to push the envelope and break out of her comfort zone I don’t know what is!

Robin’s a dynamic entertainer with plenty of charm and quick wit. Regardless of what she’s performing, if you ever have the opportunity to catch her live – treat yourself, you’ll be happy you did.

I’m also a huge fan of Smokey Robinson Presents Human Nature: The Motown Show, which is on five nights a week at The Venetian.

FRANK The Man

The long awaited FRANK The Man. The Music. starring Bob Anderson made its debut at The Palazzo Las Vegas Jan. 24.

The show honoring the life and music of Frank Sinatra features a 32-piece orchestra under the musical direction of Vincent Falcone. Anderson is transformed into Sinatra with the help of Oscar-nominated makeup artist Kazu Tsuji, who aged Brad Pitt in the movie “The Curious Case of Benjamin Button.”

The musical journey through the legend’s timeless hits highlights three distinct areas of Sinatra’s career: the recording studio, television specials, and personal appearances. With a magical $100,000 stage set-up, the 90-minute production has opened in the year that celebrates the 100th anniversary of Sinatra’s birth.

It was obvious from my two in-studio interviews with Anderson that he is the ultimate perfectionist, and being that he is one of the most realistic singing impressionists of our time, this show promises to be spectacular!

Kenny Shepherd

I finally landed an interview with award-winning rock and blues great Kenny Wayne Shepherd, one of my favorite artists of all time. He guested on LVBST to promote his return to The Orleans showroom on Feb. 7 and 8.

When I let Kenny know I never miss an opportunity to catch his show I was pleasantly surprised when he said, “I always perform two separate set lists on both nights for my loyal, die-heart fans so they can return and enjoy both shows.”

There are not too many artists I’ve seen or interviewed who go to that kind of trouble to please their audience or even have enough A-list material and chart-topping hits to successfully pull it off, even if they wanted to.

His show continues to evolve. Last year I noticed lead singer Noah Hunt was playing some instruments, not just the tambourine, as he did in past shows, and Kenny sang a lot more. This added a lot more interest on-stage, both visually, and otherwise.

There was also much more interaction between Kenny and Noah, which made for an even more dynamic stage performance.

Kenny, a self- taught guitarist who doesn’t read a lick of music, started playing at age 6, and received his first record deal at age 13. He has since been listed among the top blues guitarists of all time by “Guitar World” magazine, along with legends B.B. King and Eric Clapton.

Shepherd has also shared the stage with an impressive list of other music icons including The Rolling Stones, Lynyrd Skynyrd, Aerosmith, Bob Dylan, and The Eagles.

When I asked Kenny if he recollected any crazy backstage stories with any of those artists or others, he admitted that although there were probably plenty of stories, he thinks he will keep them to himself!

Shepherd has sold millions of albums worldwide and received five Grammy nominations and two Billboard Music Awards, as well as a pair of Orville H. Gibson awards, the Blues Foundation’s Keeping The Blues Alive award and two Blues Music awards. He’s had six No. 1 blues albums and a string of No. 1 mainstream rock singles, and his acclaimed CD/documentary project “10 Days Out: Blues from the Backroads” was the top-selling blues album of 2007. His latest CD, “Goin’ Home,” is nominated for Blues Rock Album of the year for 2015.

Also lending their talents the CD are several friends, including fellow guitar icons Joe Walsh, Warren Haynes, Keb’ Mo’ and Robert Randolph, longtime friend Ringo Starr, Fabulous Thunderbirds front man Kim Wilson, the Rebirth Brass Band and co-producer Blade’s father, Pastor Brady Blade Sr.

February picks

Ron White, Mirage, Feb. 6-14; Kenny Wayne Shepherd band, Orleans, Feb.7-8; Seether & Papa Roach, Hard Rock, Feb. 7;

Loni Love, Venetian, Feb. 14; Marilyn Manson, Mandalay Bay, Feb. 14; Engelbert Humperdinck, Smith Center, Feb. 15;

The Diamonds, South Point, Feb. 20-22; Ray Romano & David Spade, Mirage, Feb. 20-21; Billy Idol, Cosmopolitan, Feb. 21; Bob Seger & Silver Bullet Band, Mandalay Bay, Feb. 21; Jennifer Coolidge, Venetian, Feb. 21; Rascal Flatts, Hard Rock, Feb. 25-Mar. 14;

Wayne Brady, Mirage, Feb. 27; Jay Leno, Mirage, Feb. 28; Roseann Barr, Venetian, Feb. 28.

Visit Michele's webiste at LasVegasBackStageTalk.comContact Michele at Mich[email protected].