The pure AOR of the international recording project CHARMING GRACE is based on the idea of writing songs in the classic style of the 80s and recording them as duets. To give the record its own identity all songs are sung by one main lead vocalist while the featured duet partners are picked individually for each tune because of their special musical talents. The concept was developed by Pierpaolo “Zorro 11” Monti (drums – Shining Line, Lionville) together with Davide “Dave Rox” Barbieri (lead vocals & keyboards – Wheels Of Fire) and Amos Monti (bass – Shining Line, Lionville).
After having met in 2010 through their mutual friend Gregor Klee, owner of the Avenue Of Allies label, the trio soon discovered that they have a love for AOR and Melodic Rock in common. Already during 2011 the trio made plans how to combine their talents and the brain storming began which guests should be invited for the recordings of each song. As far as it comes to handling an all-star project, Zorro and Amos had already the experience of their successful self-titled SHINING LINE album (2010, Avenue 10040012) under their belts. Dave has also worked with various internationally renowned musicians, like James Christian (House Of Lords), Robin Beck, Rob Marcello (Danger Danger) and Michele Luppi (Los Angeles, Secret Sphere) for the recordings of the two albums of his own band WHEELS OF FIRE, “Hollywood Rocks” (2010, Avenue 10070015) and “Up For Anything” (2012, Avenue 12080046).
Most of the songs for the album are written by Zorro together with Dave and they also picked two songs to record them in the CHARMING GRACE style, Bon Jovi’s “Everybody’s Broken” and Belinda Carlisle’s Top 10 hit from 1989 “Leave A Light On”. Over the course of the months the CHARMING GRACE guest list became a very special round up of musicians as it includes artists which haven’t been in a recording studio for years or even decades. Prime example is David Forbes, whose unique vocal talent was one of the major keys to turn Boulevard, the Canadian band he fronted during the late 80s and early 90s, into the cult act they are among AOR connoisseurs.
Other very welcome guests on lead vocals celebrating a glorious return to the AOR and Melodic Rock world are the Scandinavians Bente Smaavik (Perfect Crime, Blonde On Blonde), Thomas Lassar (Crystal Blue), Henrik Launbjerg (Toys Of Joy) and Kimmo Bloom (Urban Tale) and from the States Moon Calhoun (Michael Thompson Band), who is accompanied by his mate Jeff Paris on backing vocals. The new generation of vocalists is represented by Nick Workman (Vega), Stefano Lionetti (Lionville), Michele Luppi (Los Angeles), Josh Zighetti (Hungryheart) and Gui Oliver (Auras). In addition to Bente the female part of CHARMING GRACE is taken over by the husky voiced Jesse Galante, an American born singer with Italian roots and the wonderful newcomer Aurë.
Among the ranks of the “CHARMING GRACE Guitar Army” are the Swedes Sven Larsson (Street Talk, Lionville) and Peter Friestedt (Williams/Friestedt), local Italian string masters Roberto Priori (Danger Zone), Mario Percudani (Hungryheart, Shining Line, Mitch Malloy), Stefano Lionetti (Lionville), Mario Manzani (Florence 99), Steve De Biasi (Gunshy), Stefano Zeni (Wheels Of Fire), Andrea Lanza (Skill In Veins), Carmine Martone and Matteo Serra, while Tom Martin (Vega) is representing the UK. Additional guests are Boris Matakovic (Human Zoo) on saxophone as well as James Martin (Vega) and Alessandro Del Vecchio (Edge Of Forever, Shining Line, Lionville, Hardline) on keyboards and backing vocalists Michael Carrata (Soul Seller), Franco Campanella (Myland) and Tomas Borgogna (Borgogna).
The production of the CHARMING GRACE debut was overseen by Dave, with Zorro in the co-producers seat. When the two had finished the production of the songs they handed over the tracks to another Avenue Of Allies regular, their multi-talented friend Alessandro Del Vecchio, to put the finishing touches to their tunes. Alessandro had previously worked with the guys on various albums and the undisputed quality of his work in the studio made him an in-demand producer in recent years.
The mix and the mastering of the CHARMING GRACE songs were handled in Alessandro’s newly built Ivorytears Music Works Studio, near Milano, Italy. The highly regarded sound wizard gave the songs a big and powerful sound, just like you expect it from an album in the tradition of the big budget productions of the glorious Eighties and with the stunning line-up Zorro, Dave and Amos have gathered for the recording debut of CHARMING GRACE.
1) Everytime You Touch My Heart
2) The Way You Feel Inside
3) Shining Light
4) Just Take My Hand
5) Close Your Eyes
6) Still Dreamin’
7) The Sound Of Your Heart
8) Everybody’s Broken (Cover: Bon Jovi)
9) The Answer Was You
10) Run Away
11) Through The Stars
12) Endless Flame
13) Bring My Life Back
14) Leave A Light On (Cover: Belinda Carlisle – European Bonus Track)