The LA Project

Peter Friestedt

Border Music, 2002

REVIEW BY: Tommy Johnson


Imagine this: me, great ingredients and a nice kitchen. These three things wouldn't necessarily mean that I would cook a tasty soup, would they? Sure, I would have a shot at it, but there are still tons of things that could go wrong. I could, and most likely would turn the long-awaited meal into something that looks like coal. So I guess you could say that to make a great soup out of great ingredients, you need to be a great cook, too.

Peter Friestedt, from Stömstad -- he is a great cook.

Let me explain. Peter was born in Strömstad, Sweden in 1973. At the age of 11 he began to play the guitar and luckily, he never stopped. After studying at various Swedish music institutions, Peter moved to L.A., where he studied at Los Angeles Music Academy. It was during this time he began to work on the project that would see the light of day in December of 2002, The L.A Project.

Peter is, as many other Swedish musicians, greatly inspired by the slick "westcoast" (a.k.a. West Coast) sound circa 1977-1983. Names such as Bill Champlin, Joseph Williams and Abe Laboriel may not ring a bell for the average music listener, but those of us who are fans of the "westcoast" genre, consider them to be among the greats of music. With the intention of creating an album that captured that great westcoast sound, Peter gathered not only Champlin, Williams and Laboriel, but also many other great L.A musicians.my_heart_sings_the_harmony_web_ad_alt_250

The result is breathtaking. It's slick, but still not too polished. The music sounds new and fresh, yet it has that old-fashioned westcoast sound to it... a perfect combination.

Peter wrote or co-wrote eight of the nine songs on this release. Bill Champlin of Chicago and the Sons of Champlin does the lead vocals on three of these songs. The fact that Champlin is a veteran and has spent many hours of his life in a studio is obvious when you listen to his vocals and vocal arrangements. The three Champlin-sung songs are already classics in my book, especially the blues-inspired "Time To Play."

Another highlight is track number three, "Only Prayer," a beautiful ballad sung by Michael Ruff. The song features some great guitars by Peter, a nice saxophone played by ex-Tower of Power member Brandon Fields and Ruff's just-right Hammond organ.

I would say that "Got To Find It" has a great chance of getting some airplay; it's probably the most commercial-sounding song of them all. Joseph Williams (composer and ex-singer of Toto) proves that he still has that excellent voice that was heard on smash hits such as "Pamela" and "Stop Loving You."

I could go on and on about each of these great songs, but I'll leave it at this. As for that cooking thing... what I was trying to say is that, even if you get all these great musicians' names on your record, it doesn't guarantee that the record will turn out great. You also have to be a talented musician, songwriter and producer to pull it off, and Peter Friestedt is all of those things. His guitar playing, songwriting and (basically) taste for good music has turned The L.A. Project into one of the best CDs so far in the 21st century. We're looking forward to a follow-up album!

[ Ed.'s Note: For information on purchasing The LA Project, see Peter Friestedt's Web site at Also, don't miss our interview with Peter.]

Rating: A

User Rating: Not Yet Rated


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