Champlin Williams Friestedt – CWF II

Rating: 3.5/5
Distribution / Label: Black Lodge Records
Released: May 2020
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Band Line Up:

Joseph Williams – Lead and backing vocals
Bill Champlin – Lead & backing vocals, keyboards, organ and acoustic guitar
Peter Friestedt – All lead guitars, rhythm and acoustic guitars


1 – Runaway Dancer
2 – 10 Miles
3 – Love In The World
4 – Amanda’s Disguise
5 – Between The Lines
6 – Look Away
7 – All That I Want
8 – Restless Love
9 – Price Of Love
10 – Sometimes You Win


Champlin Williams Friestedt are about to release their second collaborative album “II”. Bill Champlin of Chicago, Toto’s Joseph Williams have teamed once again with producer and guitarist Peter Friestedt and a whole host of artists that could only be described as powerhouses in their fields. 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. Guitarist, producer & recording artist Peter Friestedt has released two critically acclaimed albums “LA Project” (2002) and “LA Project II” (2008) that received great reviews. Peter has been a busy session musician plays on records with David Foster and Fergie Frederiksen and touring Europe and Japan with Joseph Williams with whom he also released the “Williams/Friestedt” album that was a top 40 hit in Scandinavia.

Grammy award-winning songwriters Randy Goodrum and Jay Graydon, John “JR” Robinson who worked with Michael Jackson and Quincy Jones, Michael McDonald, whose who list of accomplishments were to be listed, it would take up the rest of the room for this review and much more. “II” is definitely filled with the “who’s who” of traditional AOR rock and it shows. Bill Champlin says “Joe’s been on the road with TOTO doing their 40th anniversary the last few years so it’s been a little harder to get this one done but as long as Peter keeps kickin’ our butts the music eventually gets done.”

Each track seems to seamlessly weave the best parts of each participant’s main group equally without ever edging too much in favour of another. Opener “Runaway Dancer” starts you off with the familiar feeling you get when listening to classics like “Since You’ve Been Gone” and “Don’t Stop Believing” in all their soaring glory. “Love In the World” breaks things down for the crooning that McDonald and Champlin are quite adept in bringing to their listeners.

The album does seem to dip a bit in the middle and the pace does become a little too slow, but on the whole, this album easily makes you feel like you’ve heard it before, while keeping you engaged enough to listen to the whole track and album.

If you have ever been a fan of Chicago, Toto or any 70’s and 80’s AOR bands, this is definitely an album that would make feel like you’d want to drive along the coast, top-down, having this on your stereo to help the world pass by and get the respite we could all do with once and a while.

Review by

Andrew Shirley