CHAMPLIN WILLIAMS FRIESTEDT – CWF [retail AOR Heaven AORH-00121]
Near to the end of the year it’s time to recap about some of the best 2015 releases. Though appeared only three months ago, we are presenting again here “CFW” from CHAMPLIN WILLIAMS FRIESTEDT (retail + full artwork) because it’s one of our picks of the year.
The West Coast AOR true supergroup teaming up Toto’s Joseph Williams, former Chicago vocalist Bill Champlin and guitarist/producer Peter Friestedt was released through AOR HEAVEN Records, and it’s a pure delight to the ears.
There are some very Toto sounding songs on here like ‘Runaway’ and ‘Aria’, not just because of Joseph Williams vocals, but the music is like classic Toto, plenty of layered music and attention to detail on every note used.
Having Bill Champlin on the album is a real bonus, as they complement each other nicely. The acapella of ‘Rivers Of Fear’ is stunning, the two voices work so well together.
Apart of the great ‘orchestration’ courtesy of Peter Friestedt we have as well many shining star musicians involved all over the album, like Toto’s Steve Porcaro providing keyboards or Randy Goodrum, a legend from the genre.
Among other highlights there is also a faithful cover of the Earth, Wind & Fire classic ‘After The Love Has Gone’ (Champlin was one of the co-writers on the song), with him on lead vocals as you’d expect and Williams adding his classy backing vocals.
Peter Friestedt gets to let rip on a couple of songs, well as heavy as you can get in the confines of the West Coast AOR genre. ‘All That I Want’ and the aforementioned ‘Runaway’ feature great guitar riffs.
To sum up, I think “CWF” is one of the most ‘true’ West Coast AOR’ albums recorded in the last 20 years. You have here a real charm from the glorious days of the genre, spiced with a melodic rock feel which provides a more updated sound.
The vocals are excellent, the instrumentation impeccable and production crystal clear… do you need more?
Yes, you need to buy Champlin Williams Friestedt ‘CWF’, a must have in your AOR collection.
01 – Runaway
02 – Aria
03 – Still Around
04 – All that I want
05 – Carry On
06 – Nightfly
07 – Hearts At War
08 – After the Love Has Gone
09 – Rivers Of Fear
10 – Evermore
Joseph Williams: lead & backing vocals
Bill Champlin: lead & backing vocals, keyboards
Peter Friestedt: guitars, bass, keyboards
Steve Porcaro: keyboards, synth bass
Randy Goodrum: keyboards, backing vocals
Will Champlin: harmony vocals
Tamara Champlin: backing vocals
Per Mathisen: bass
Herman Matthews: drums
BUY IT !