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)

Davide "Dave Rox" Barbieri - Lead Vocals & Keyboards
Pierpaolo "Zorro11" Monti - Drums & Percussion
Amos Monti - Bass


Guests on vocals:
Jeff Paris
Michael Carrata
Franco Campanella
Tomas Borgogna
Guests on Guitar:
Sven Larsson
Peter Friestedt
Roberto Priori
Mario Percudani
Stefano Lionetti
Mario Manzani
Steve De Biasi
Stefano Zeni
Tom Martin
Andrea Lanza
Carmine Martone
Matteo Serra
Guests on Keyboards:
James Martin
Alessandro Del Vecchio
Guest on Saxophone:
Boris Matakovic

Produced by Davide "Dave Rox" Barbieri
Co-produced by Pierpaolo "Zorro11" Monti
Mixed and mastered by Alessandro Del Vecchio
Executive producer : Gregor Klee

Released 2013-04-12
Reviewed 2013-04-06

avenue of allies

“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.” This is the concept of this band, Charming Grace that was conceived by Pierpaolo "Zorro 11" Monti, Davide "Dave Rox" Barbieri and Amos Monti who are the trio that makes up the band Charming Grace. As is commonplace in the genre they have some well-known guests from the genre and of course they have Alessandro Del Veccio both as a keyboard playing guest and producer. And they do have a good looking cover artwork, sort of dreamy and AORy. You could say that on paper, this looks like a rather tasty album.

I think these guys have taken a bit of a read in the AOR for Dummies-book that we often refer to in this publication, it is rather typical AOR-album with the catchy choruses, the melodic rock style, the keys, the duet-kind of vocals and all of that which we usually hears in the AOR-genre. Charming Grace offers no surprises, a very safe album that plays on the strengths of the genre and doesn’t really try anything new. The production is as is commonplace of the genre is strong with a powerful and clean sound, so as I stated before there are no surprises in this album but it is a very strong production. Fourteen tracks it has in the European version of which one is a bonus track that is a cover and ends the album, so the band has offered thirteen of their own tracks and these will offer musical entertainment for over an hour.

I think that we all can conclude that it is a good album, the tracks are all rather good and quite strong throughout the hour and I am quite entertained from the get go as the album is easily accessible and likeable. No track stands out as really superior and none stands out as poor either, not the most varied album either which makes it feel a tad long with its near seventy minutes of playing time. I think they should have cut away some of the songs to make the album more focused and more interesting. I think that when listening to the album I start to wait for it to end fairly shortly after the halfway point of the album, this is a bit of a problem as the album as a whole suffers. So, I would say that it is a good album but it is a tad too long to really keep my interest all the way through. The ending cover is the best track on the album though so the long desert walk ends on a high note.

Impressive production, but too much of it. Imagine a box of Ben & Jerry’s ice cream, it is great to eat in a night just as a 40-45 minute AOR album of this style is a great listen. But two Ben & Jerry’s ice cream, it is not good anymore and you feel sick and you also become an american if you keep that up (meaning that you’ll become fat as hell), and the same is true with such a long album. Too much of the good is not really that good is the morale of that silly story.

AOR-fans will probably not dislike this, so much we can conclude at least but this written rubbish all boils down to point out that there are two good phrases just by many clever writers and musicians and those are “less is more” and “murder your darlings”. That may be something for Charming Grace to think about in the future, possibly for myself as well.



Label: Avenue of Allies/Germusica
Three similar bands: Lionville/Hardline/Work of Art
Rating: HHHHHHH (4/7)
Reviewer: Daniel Källmalm

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