Bill Champlin Will Have No Place Left to Fall This Summer
This cult figure has been hiding in plain sight: playing in the band Chicago and singing some of its biggest hits, and all the while penning a remarkable collection of songs that showcase a decidedly different artistic sensibility. With No Place Left to Fall, Champlin has made the album he was born to make, a career-defining record with an honesty and immediacy that reflect his old-school approach to music. "It's not completely auto-tuned and processed like a lot of CDs are lately," observes Champlin. "It may not be dead-on perfect, but I think the dead-on perfect records are just that - dead."
No Place Left To Fall was recorded at The Barber Shop Studios in Hopatcong, NJ with a group of close friends - guitarist Bruce Gaitsch (Madonna), bassist George Hawkins, Jr. (John Fogerty) and drummer Billy Ward (B.B. King) - and produced by Champlin and Mark Eddinger, who also contributed on keyboards. The album kicks off in high gear with the first notes of Champlin's Hammond B3 organ on the fiery, funky "Total Control" followed by the bluesy, jammin' "Tuggin' on Your Sleeve," which features his wife Tamara Champlin (vocals) and their son, Will Champlin (vocals, Wurlitzer electric piano).
The heartbreaking title track, co-written with Tamara and Michael Caruso and the exquisite "Never Been Afraid" (co-written with Andreas Carlsson and featuring Champlin and Michael English on lead vocals, Peter Cetera on backing vocals and Steve Lukather on guitar) and lead single "Lookin' For You" demonstrate Champlin's gift for evoking the emotional subtleties of relationships while swampy numbers like "I Want You to Stay" and "Angelina" simply kick ass. "We were just jivin' around in my kitchen," says Champlin of the tongue-in-cheek "Angelina." "George started playing this little bass line that was so infectious we went, 'ok, let's go with that' and I just started singing, 'Take me Angelina...'" To those who might jump to the conclusion that the song was penned with a certain movie star in mind, he says: "Sorry to disappoint, but no, I'm not looking to be adopted."
The collection also includes a version of "Look Away," the Diane Warren-penned song that Bill and Chicago took to No. 1 on Billboard's Hot 100. Here the power ballad is stripped way down, similar to the way it was performed live. Keith Howland, lead guitarist for Chicago, guests on the track. Champlin is currently on the road with Chicago, but is already laying plans for a tour with his No Place Left to Fall band.
"A lot of times somebody from a band puts out a solo album and you realize it's just an extension of that band," says Champlin. "That ain't what this is." "I felt Bill deserved to make a record without having a set of rules," says Eddinger.
"Age has done nothing to diminish his powers, and in fact, brings nuances to the material that a young cat just can't muster," noted Dennis Cook in Jambase and Relix Magazine. Released earlier in Europe, No Place Left to Fall has received stellar reviews there. "Le grand retour de Mister Groove...Magique," raved crossrock.com, a French melodic rock website - a sentiment that was echoed from the Netherlands to Italy to Belgium.
Fans who purchase the physical CD in the States will receive a 70-minute bonus DVD with a documentary on the making of the album directed by news anchor and longtime fan Rod Simons and lots of other cool extras, including live footage of Champlin performing recently with the Sons. No Place Left to Fall comes on the heels of DreamMakers' digital release of four heretofore out-of-print Champlin solo albums - Burn Down The Night, Through It All, He Started To Sing and Mayday - and the two latest releases from Sons Of Champlin, Hip Li'l Dreams and SOC Secret Live.
The track listing for No Place Left to Fall is as follows:
1. Total Control
2. Tuggin' On Your Sleeve
3. The Truth
4. No Place Left to Fall
5. Lover Like That
6. Lookin' For You
7. Never Been Afraid
9. Look Away
10. I Want You to Stay
11. Never Let Go
12. Stone Cold Hollywood
13. All Along
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