Album review: CANNONBALLZ – 8Ballz2Many

MelodicRock Records [Release date 10.05.19]

Andrew McNeice and his MelodicRock Records label have released some top quality AOR releases in recent years including Don Barnes and the excellent comeback album from Boulevard, now you can add to this Cannonballz. Who you may ask? Well after recording a few records with various well-known musicians, guitarist/songwriter Alan Friedman wanted to form a band with his favorite drummer, bassist, keyboardist and vocalist. So he enlisted drummer Jonathan Mover (GTR, Marillion, Alice Cooper, Joe Satriani), bassist Doug Wimbish (Living Colour, Jeff Beck), keyboardist Vince DiCola and vocalist Robbie LaBlanc (Find Me, Fury).

Robbie LaBlanc has a wonderfully expressive set of pipes, perfect for the songs on here be it the Mr. Big like opener ‘Sari’ or the Toto flavoured ‘Just In Time’. Cannonballz recall the Joseph Williams Toto era on this one (and ‘Never Giving Up’), especially that band’s ‘Fahrenheit’ album.

There are plenty of jazz and instrumental break outs throughout, the highlight being the rip roaring piano that rounds off ‘I’ll Take The Pain’. Mind you the Hammond solo on ‘Lost In Time’ is another listening joy. Vince DiCola certainly leaves his musical mark throughout the album.

Alan Friedman shows his musical chops on the various guitar solos, the pick for me is the Jeff Lynne/Travelling Wilburys approved solo on ‘When I Think Of You’. The whole band each get a solo on the instrumental ‘URanus MYanus!’ including a funky bit of playing by Doug Wimbish and that man again Vince DiCola trading solos with Alan Friedman.

‘T.N.K.’ closes the album, the band’s take on the Beatles song ‘Tomorrow Never Knows’. They keep the original’s psychedelic feel, adding in a bigger rhythm and plenty of keys. Interesting cover, although not sure it fits in with the overall sound of the album.

Cannonballz’s debut comes highly recommended for not only fans of Robbie LaBlanc’s vocals, but lovers of sophisticated AOR along the lines of Toto, Chicago, Steely Dan et al. The album exudes class from start to finish in the musicianship and singing through to the production and sound. ****

Review by Jason Ritchie


The latest Facebook Live session from Canadian singer-songwriter Josh Taerk Sunday 24 January, 16:00 EST, 21:00 GMT

More about Josh:

David Randall presents a weekly show on Get Ready to ROCK! Radio, Sundays at 22:00 BST (GMT+1, repeated on Mondays and Fridays), when he invites listeners to ‘Assume The Position’. This show was first broadcast on 20 December 2020 and announces the results of the Popular Poll for Best of 2020.

UK Blues Broadcaster of the Year (2020) Pete Feenstra presents his weekly Rock & Blues Show on Tuesday at 19:00 ( BST, GMT+1) as part of a five hour blues rock marathon “Tuesday is Bluesday at GRTR!”. The show is repeated on Wednesdays at 22:00, Fridays at 20:00). This show was first broadcast 20 December 2020 and includes Pete’s best of the year selections

Listen in to Get Ready to ROCK! Radio…
Click the appropriate icons at the top of the page.

Featured Albums w/c 25 January 2021 (Mon-Fri)

09:00-12:00 ART OF ILLUSION X Marks The Spot (AOR Heaven)
12:00-13:00 THE DEAD DAISIES Holy Ground (SPV)
14:00-16:00 TED & MAJELLA Divine Timing (indie)

Power Plays w/c 25 January 2021 (Mon-Fri)

THE WEDDING PRESENT We Should Be Together (Scopitones)
MIDNITE CITY Crawlin’ In The Dirt (Roulette Media)
JOSEPH WILLIAMS Never Saw You Coming (Mascot)
ALEX JAMES BRIERLEY Go With The Flow (indie)
THE UNDERCLASS The One (indie)
MASON HILL DNA (7Hz Recordings)

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