Lionville is back! The band's winning combination of tight song writing, stellar musical performances recorded by a gifted cast of experienced studio cats and upcoming talents, crowned by impressive lead vocals and an album mix paying attention to all the significant little details, made "Lionville" one of 2011's most favorite AOR records. Fans and reviewers alike enjoyed the catchy pure AOR sound and among others the album reached # 3 on melodicrock.com's "Best Debut Album Of 2011" rundown, it also landed at # 20 on the site's "Best Album Of The Year" charts and the ballad "The World Without Your Love", written by Richard Marx, Bruce Gaitsch and Amy Sky, reached # 11 on the "Best Ballad" listing.
Soon after the release of last year's self-titled debut album main songwriter, guitarist and vocalist Stefano Lionetti, started working on new material for the follow-up to the band's very well received first effort. Together with label owner and executive producer Gregor Klee, Stefano discussed the key ingredients for their next co-operation and both agreed that the record should be a musical continuation of the debut with an occasional interesting twist here and there. Lionville's sophomore album "II" is another slice of high class AOR with a touch of Westcoast and Melodic Rock, with most of the top flight musicians performing on the debut returning to the recording studio to lay down their tracks. During the spring and summer of 2012 the recordings took place in various studios in Italy, Sweden and the USA, before the mixing and the mastering were completed by Alessandro Del Vecchio in his newly built Ivory Tears Studios close to Milan, Italy.
Lars Säfsund (Work Of Art) shows again that he is one of the most versatile and talented lead and backing vocalists of our time, also Stefano delivers a very solid performance on lead vocals in addition to his melodic guitar playing and an occasional contribution on the keyboards. The song "Higher", one of the album's many highlights presents one of the year's best vocal arrangements and performances on a Rock song sees the two young European singers unite with one of the AOR and Westcoast genre's American legends, the two-time Grammy award winning Bill Champlin (formerly of Chicago) with his signature vocals. The trio trades off the lead vocals and Bill's wife Tamara Champlin joins them on backing vocals.
The excellent band playing on all tracks was also the Lionville live band for the celebrated Firefest performance in October 2012, the line-up includes the Italian musicians Mario Percudani (Hungryheart, Issa, Shining Line, Mitch Malloy), Anna Portalupi (Hardline, Mitch Malloy, Issa, Steve Lukather), Alessandro Mori (Mitch Malloy, Moonstone Project) as well as producer and keyboarder Alessandro Del Vecchio (Edge Of Forever, Hardline, Issa, Mitch Malloy). On the album they are joined by guitarist Bruce Gaitsch (Richard Marx, Chicago) on seven songs, as well as guest guitar players Robert Säll (Work Of Art, W.E.T.), Sven Larsson (Street Talk) and Peter Friestedt (Williams Friestedt, L.A. Project). The invitees are completed by drummer Herman Furin (Work Of Art) on percussions and Italian saxophone luminary Joe La Viola. Stefano's song writing partners are again Pierpaolo "Zorro" Monti (Shining Line, Charming Grace), Robert Säll, Lars Säfsund and Alessandro Del Vecchio and a new co-operation was started with Miqael Persson (Eclipse, Toby Hitchcock, Giant). The only song originating from outside writers is a cover version of Boy Meets Girl's catchy 80s Pop Rock gem "Waiting For A Star To Fall", written by George Merrill and Shannon Rubicam.
Lionville "II" turns out to be a more mature and homogenous sounding affair than the bands debut, paying even more attention to the musical arrangements and production details resulting in a very well balanced mix that pays attention to all the precious little details. In the case of Lionville "II" the much-cited term "Labour Of Love" is certainly appropriate as everyone involved gave their best from start to finish to deliver one of the AOR highlights of 2012.