Everything started back in 2007 when I was asked to write an original Deep Purple-ish song for a Ritchie Blackmore tribute album promoted by the Norwegian Blackmore's Night fan club. I've run the Italian Blackmore's Night fan club since 2001, and that was a request coming from Ole Svela, a colleague and friend of the "Blackmore Family" from Norway. That was the spark that set the fire to all. I didn't have a real band at the time, so I took the chance to do my best by contacting my favourite professional musicians. I called the best sessionmen I found in my telephone book, each one a friend of mine, to record the tune in the studio and quickly "Redemption Blaze", the first RavenBlack Project song, was ready and the Blackmore tribute cd was out. The inspiration coming from that experience turned into a stream of consciousness in flood... soon lot of songs were composed, musician friends were called back to the studio to work on my ideas, and the material took the shape of a whole album.
Since all the musicians who joined my project were the best I ever knew, why not ask my favourite singers too? What a challenge... :P
In October 2008 Andre Matos was touring Italy and had a gig in a venue near my hometown. We met after the show, I asked him if he was available to record a song of mine... without having too much expectations about it, actually. Incredibly kind and professional man, he answered he would consider doing so if my song were his cup of tea.
Andre Matos was the first great special guest to believe in me, and I can never thank him enough for that. After him, many other outstanding guest singers joined RavenBlack Project. Month after month, my idols of the music I grew up with recorded my tunes. An operation of infinite, titanic proportions I pushed through all on my own, from the songwriting through the artwork concept. It took a lot of time and resources, but it was worth every single second I spent on it.
Now RavenBlack Project, the outcome of all those efforts, is going to break through the mist of time.
Andre doesn't really need to be introduced... He's one of the most influential metal singers of the last decades, an elegant and talented musician. I grew up listening to Angra, Shaman and Avantasia, entranced by his unbelievable vocal range and refined compositions. I still follow and support him now, with his solo albums. He's the artist that started it all, by the way, so I am honoured to announce him first.
Giacomo and I have shared the stage for the past 5 years. No surprise he's part of my album... ;) We've rocked around Italy with our band, California Jam Deep Purple and '70s tribute, bringing back to life some vintage stuff (Deep Purple, Led Zeppelin, Pink Floyd, PFM...). As a very talented guy, Giacomo took a chance in a TV talent show, The Voice of Italy 2014, ranking 2nd. He then started his own solo career, and I am the guitarist in his project band too. Giacomo sings "Wasting Memories", the first RavenBlack Project single, available on I-tunes in October 2014.
Jon Oliva, the mastermind of Savatage, Transiberian Orchestra and Jon Oliva's Pain is on board at RavenBlack Project! Jon sings "The Faithless and the Dreamer", an outstanding duet with Andre Matos about 9/11.
Amanda is my favourite female singer out there. That's it. The first time I listened to her vocal magic was in 2008: her interpretation on "What kind of love" in Avantasia - The Scarecrow blew me away. She may be better known most as a metal singer, but after becoming friends and seeing her live a lot of times with her solo projects and Trillium, I was astonished at how skillfully she masters every genre from jazz to pop. She's a radiant girl and a very talented musician, so I am very honoured to have her in my album
Everybody knows James Christian as the frontman of House of Lords, of course. But the chance to listen to him working on a song is a priceless gift not everyone can have. Beside having an exceptional voice, he's one of the most talented interpreters in the whole world. When I listened to my original vocal lines re-arranged by him for the first time, I was speechless. Pure class. Furthermore, he's a kind and helpful man. I learnt so much from him, and I am very honoured to announce him as part of RavenBlack Project.
Mark Boals: a man, a legend. Is there anyone out there who didn't headbang while listening to Yngwie Malmsteen's "Trilogy"? With a brilliant career behind him with "Ring of Fire" and "Royal Hunt", Mark is now the frontman of "Labyrinth", one of the best Italian power metal bands.
I wish him the best with this brand new adventure, and I am proud to announce him as part of RavenBlack Project. Mark sings 3 songs in the album, including the opening track "My New Revelations", the southern-ish "The Road to Hell Paso", and my own version of the Rainbow classic "Tarot Woman".
I was 17 when I put Rainbow's "Stranger in us all" in my cd player for the first time. I literally worn out that cd. Each single note of masterpieces like "Black masquerade" and "Ariel" are carved in my eardrums. The magical voice in that record was Doogie's. Yet another talented singer discovered by the genius of Ritchie.
I grew up with Deep Purple and Rainbow, Blackmore is my favourite guitar hero ever, so I am extremely proud to announce Doogie as part of my RavenBlack Project
Doogie sings 2 songs in the album, including a smashing duet with Amanda Somerville in the celtic/medieval ballad "The ancestral call".
The state of art of a rock bassist, an outstanding hard rock singer, a well-read and refined person. All in one. This is Alberto Bollati, one of the most talented musician I know. I became his fan 10 years ago, when I attended a gig of his awesome band: Wine Spirit. I remember I spent the whole show open mouthed from the beginning till the end, impressed by his skills on the bass and on vocals. No surprise he was my first choice to record the bass parts of the album. He was the first musician I contacted to sing my first song too: Redemption Blaze, so he's a very special guest for me in RavenBlack Project. Alberto is an acclaimed bass teacher and session man too, he played with Paul Gilbert, Mike Stern, Pat Torpey, Reb Beach and many more. He's currently touring as bassist and co-singer with Mike Terrana.
Conservatory graduate in flute, Dario is the talented multi-instrumentalist with the celtic/medieval music background I needed for the woodwind parts of "The ancestral call". He recorded different kind of whistles to find the right sound for the song. His experience was an essential contribution to the mystical atmosphere I was searching for this tune.
Dario is currently touring with his italian rock/celtic/folk band "Kalevala".
Federico Vannucchi is part of RavenBlack Project!
Federico is a great guitarist from Florence. He plays lot of unusual instruments like the Bouzouki and the Hurdy-Gurdy too. We met for the first time at a Blackmore's Night gig in Munich, and we became great friends. It was a big pleasure to involve him in my project. He recorded the Hurdy-Gurdy parts for "The ancestral call" givin' a timeless medieval flavour to my song. He's currently touring with his folk/medieval band: "The midnight"
I like to call him "The lord of the strings"... I think Anchise can master every stringed instrument on this planet: violin, steel guitar, dobro, banjo, mandola and many more. He's a great singer too. He specialized in country and celtic music so he was the man for the violin parts in "The ancestral call". It's a great honour to have him on board in RavenBlack Project.
Franco Campanella is absolutely one of the best hard rock singers out there. His versatility is unbelievable: he can sing a moving clean verse then switch to a growl or scream chorus in the next breath... sometimes I think he must have a stompbox overdrive in his throat he can turn on or off whenever he wants. He helped me in the pre-production of the vocals of the album so every special guest singer, from Doogie White to Jon Oliva, recorded their parts starting from the demo vocals Franco recorded first. Franco is a true, no compromise metalhead. He left his trademak on the most aggressive song of the album, "Your load of lies", recording it more or less in a single good first take, so instinctive and powerful, already perfect to be put the tracklist.
Franco is currently touring with Alto Voltaggio and Spanking Hour.
Hammer of the gods... on the drums. Sergio is one of the most acclaimed and requested Italian sessionmen... and my favourite rock drummer, with a brilliant career and an endless list of collaborations under his belt. It's a great honour for me to have the drums of RavenBlack Project recorded by him. His current musical project is called "Groovydo" and features Billy Sheehan, Derek Sherinian and Kiko Loureiro.
Take a look at Sergio Pescara with Groovydo