Why must so many artists take the name Avalon? There's the German progressive-metal band Avalon, the contemporary Christian vocal group Avalon, the one-man electronica outfit Avalon and now there's a new melodic-rock project helmed by multi-instrumentalist, songwriter and producer Richie Zito called Avalon. Zito's résumé, you may recall, includes Cheap Trick, White Lion, Mr. Big, Tyketto, The Cult, Heart and Bad English. Avalon is his attempt to reconnect with some of the singers with whom he's worked over the years and make what he considers the ultimate melodic-rock/AOR album.
Many of the dozen songs on The Richie Zito Project may be a bit too light for listeners who prefer the heavier side of those genres, and major stars like Heart's Ann Wilson, Cheap Trick's Robin Zander, White Lion's Mike Tramp, The Cult's Ian Astbury and Bad English's John Waite are missing. Nevertheless, there are some memorable highlights, including the sweeping mid-tempo rocker "Avalon," sung by Tyketto's Danny Vaughn, and the ballad "Oh Samantha," with former Toto singer Joseph Williams at the microphone. Eddie Money, meanwhile, on "Nightmare" now sounds a little too close for comfort to Motörhead's Lemmy.
Zito's strength lies in crafting tight songs that evoke a distinct era — the late Eighties and early Nineties — not in flashy solos or muscular delivery. If that's OK with you, Avalon should be, too. Just don't expect too much.
1) Blue Collar (w/Hugo Valenti)
2) Is He Better Than Me (w/Joe Lynn Turner)
3) Nightmare (w/Eddie Money)
4) Oh Samantha (w/Joseph Williams)
5) Avalon (w/Danny Vaughn)
6) Life Got in the Way (w/Eric Martin)
7) Blue Monday (w/Giorgio Moroder & Hugo Valenti)
8) Forever I Will (w/Richie Kotzen)
9) I Can't Forget You (w/Philip Bardowell)
10) I Put My Life In Your Hands (w/Eddie Money)
11) Good Things Take Time (w/Philip Bardowell)
12) I Don't Want to Want You (w/Eric Martin)