CWF - 2

CWF (Champlin, Williams, Friestedt) – II


CWF is Toto singer Joseph Williams, former Chicago singer Bill Champlin and Swedish guitarist/producer Peter Friestedt.

Written by: DEMONAOR

ARTIST: CWF (Champlin, Williams, Friestedt)
LABEL: Black Lodge
YEAR: 2020
CD REISSUE: CD Reissue List

LINEUP: Joseph Williams – lead and background vocals * Bill Champlin – lead and background vocals, keyboards, organ, acoustic guitar * Peter Friestedt – lead guitar, rhythm guitar, acoustic guitar

TRACK LISTING: 01 Runaway Dancer On * 02 10 Miles * 03 Love In The World * 04 Amanda’s Disguise * 05 Between The Lines * 06 Look Away * 07 All That I Want * 08 Restless Love * 09 Price Of Love * 10 Sometimes You Win

RATING: 80/100


Toto singer Joseph Williams teams up with former Chicago singer Bill Champlin and Swedish guitarist/producer Peter Friestedt for a new AOR release following the success with the album ‘CWF’.

Joseph Williams is the lead vocalist with Grammy-winning US band Toto. He has been busy as a composer of film and drama scores, as a session vocalist, backing singer and can be heard in Disney’s animated feature film ‘The Lion King’ as the singing voice of the adult Simba (‘Hakuna Matata’ and ‘Can You Feel The Love Tonight’).

Guitarist, producer and recording artist Peter Friestedt has released two critically acclaimed albums ‘LA Project’ (2002) and ‘LA Project II’ (2008) that got top reviews. Peter has been a busy session player playing on records with David Foster and the late Fergie Frederiksen and touring Europe and Japan with Joseph Williams with who he also released the ‘Williams/Friestedt’ album that was a top 40 hit in Scandinavia.

Bill Champlin was the lead singer of the legendary band Chicago for more than 25 years and is a founding member of the band Sons Of Champlin. Champlin has written Grammy award winning songs for Earth Wind & Fire and George Benson, and worked with countless artists including Elton John, The Doobie Brothers and Steve Lukather of Toto.

The Songs

The new CWF album contains of 10 tracks where 2 tracks are from the 10 miles EP (2018). Some great guest artists on this album include: Lars Safsund, Robert Sall, Frank Adahl, Jay Graydon, Randy Goodrum and Michael McDonald.

You can hear Lars Safsund and Robert Sall’s involvement on the opening track ‘Runaway Dancer’. It is a very strong opening song and the best track of the album, in my opinion. An AOR song of a very high class and is sometimes strongly related to several songs by Work Of Art.

’10 Miles’ that follows is a beautifully constructed song with lilting guitar soothing keys and a real feel of the classic Toto AOR sound. And on cue Michael McDonald adds his soulful vocal to ‘Love in the World’, a golden low key duet full of soul and jazzy guitar and a chilled lounge groove.

After plenty of variety ‘Amanda’s Disguise’ is yet another change of perspective: it has a bit of fire, a little left-field jazz in the verses but the intertwined melodies of the chorus and the keys really make it. There’s a touch of Chicago about ‘Between the Lines’.

‘Look Away’ from the classic ‘Chicago 19’ album was a big favourite for me when it was released at the end of the Golden 80’s. Unfortunately, I do not think this version reaches the same status with me. It feels a little tired if I have to be honest. Then follows ‘All That I Want’, which has a lovely Toto feel in the chorus. Maybe mostly because it’s Joseph who sings it.

‘Restless Love’ is probably CWF’s most neutral song. Calm and nice, but it doesn’t really catch on. Tamara Champlin (Bill’s wife) rips off with her harsh voice in ‘Price Of Love’. The album’s perhaps rockiest song with a chorus that sits directly. Finally, ‘Sometimes You Win’, a quiet ballad, a fairly typical Bill Champlin song.

In Summary

CWF – II’ is released on May 15 2020. This is not a record that surprises, but you probably do not listen to CWF to be surprised either. On the contrary, it is safe and well-polished. If you want a classic mix of Westcoast and AOR with very deep roots in the 80’s and to some extent the 70’s, then you should listen to this.

The musicians, songwriters, singers and production are of the highest world-class. Peter does a fantastic job with technology, his guitar and the people he has gathered. The downside is that there are two songs that were relatively recently released on the EP and a rather unsuccessful version of ‘Look Away’, to my ears that should be worth so much more. The positive is that everything is so super professional and for me, the opening track is the album’s big exclamation mark.


Between The Lines HD – Official Video

Joseph Williams Bill Champlin Peter Friestedt - Between The Lines HD - Official Video

Look Away
Bill Champlin Joseph Williams Peter Friestedt - LOOK AWAY(Official Video)

Runaway Dancer
Bill Champlin Joseph Williams Peter Friestedt - Runaway Dancer feat Lars Säfsund (Official Video)

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