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Bill Champlin

No Place Left to Fall

(Dreammakers; US: 4 Aug 2009; UK: 30 Mar 2009)

In the current climate of the music industry, where is there a place for a musician who has not only been performing for more than 40 years in two bands but as an in-demand session vocalist and solo artist in own right? Add to that a pair of Grammy Awards for songs that casual listeners would not necessarily know he had a hand in composing (“After the Love Has Gone” by Earth, Wind & Fire and “Turn Your Love Around” by George Benson).


Bill Champlin is the artist in question. Known primarily for his work with Chicago and his own Sons of Champlin, the artist has not ventured solo in well over a decade. No Place Left to Fall successfully integrates all of Champlin’s considerable talents—songwriting, singing, arranging, and playing. It’s a confident statement by Champlin, whose own work has often been eclipsed by group efforts and collaborations. Though there are plenty of first-rate musicians joining Champlin, the album’s success is predicated both on Champlin’s musical vision and his simpatico with co-producer Mark Eddinger. Most everything here hits home with Champlin’s blend of blues, rock, and pop, especially on “Lover Like That” and “The Truth”, though the album could pack a tighter punch with a slightly trimmed track list. Those who’ve waited for No Place Left to Fall will appreciate the album most, but those who come upon it unexpectedly and those who might not even know Bill Champlin’s name will be introduced to a man who has retained his artistic integrity and is in no danger of falling.

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Christian John Wikane is a NYC-based journalist and music essayist. He's a Contributing Editor for PopMatters, where he's interviewed artists ranging from Paul McCartney to Janelle Monae. For the past three years, he's penned liner notes for more than 100 CD re-issues by legends of R&B, rock, pop, dance, and jazz. Since 2008, he's produced and hosted Three of Hearts: A Benefit for The Family Center at Joe's Pub. He is the author of the five-part oral history Casablanca Records: Play It Again (PopMatters, 2009). Follow him on Twitter @CJWikaneNYC. 


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