Rob Bonfiglio expands his sonic palette with themes of love, life, loss, regret and hopefulness all wrapped in pop, rock and soul-drenched melodies on this, his 4th solo release entitled 'Freeway", recorded entirely at home and entirely solo.
"…what is love, what is wealth, when you're all by yourself?"
Opening with the power-pop drive of LONELY WORLD, Bonfiglio professes the hazards of disassociation and lack of fulfillment, replete with a dual guitar break reminiscent of Orleans' 70's smash "Still The One".
ALMOST BLUE sets an Americana mood within a backdrop of weepy pedal steel guitar and sweet two-part harmony vocals. A time worn sentiment of love replaced by routine; resplendently Nashvillian.
"…I don't come with guarantees, so you better start believing in today"
With chunky, slicing guitars and a propulsive groove, I AM TOMORROW delivers a modern day message of 'carpe diem' wrapped in a lush give and take chorus vocal. A sizzling lead guitar break draws the song to a tight end. Easily the most "power-pop" song of the album.
CONNECTIONS, with it's lyrical pastiches of daily life and struggle, encapsulates the generally optimistic vibe of FREEWAY. Bonfiglio's chorus vocals harken back to P.E.R.R.O and "After The Gold Rush" -era Neil Young. Lush strings and acoustic guitar fingerpicking compliment throughout. "...it won't be long 'til daylight comes"…indeed.
With a yearning lyric and a circular guitar figure, BEAUTIFUL unfolds as a love letter to a lost friend. The romantic lyrics fit hand-in-glove with the sailing chorus melodies and all lead to a climactic bridge and gentle tag ending release. An aching sentiment.
The gears shift in a decidedly playful direction for UNDER THE GUN. Propelled by a bouncy piano figure and cascading chorus, the song is a delightful romp in the tradition of Andrew Gold or "Glass Houses" -era Billy Joel. After an air tight 2-part guitar solo, the song trails out as it began.
"…if you throw me a line, I might just get it in time"
A little plea for help from the perspective of the artist in his own head. THROW ME A LINE is soulful and searching. The lyrical guitar outro shines.
BEST PLANS NEVER MADE is pure rock and roll throughout, complete with loose lyrical wordplay and reckless abandon. (Note: "…flowers to Ringo, courtesy Paul" references the famous departure and subsequent about-face of the Beatle drummer during the "White Album" sessions).
GOLDEN STATE (from whose lyric the album title FREEWAY was taken) provides a different lyrical take on the usual West Coast paean fare, suggesting that the stereotypical "California Dreamin' " attitude is merely "a state of mind". With an unexpected harmonic lift in the chorus to a dense and lush vocal arrangement, Bonfiglio owes as much of this track's inspiration to his father-in-law, Beach Boy founder Brian Wilson as to one of his main musical heroes, Todd Rundgren.
After a brief wash of wordless vocal bliss, MAGNETIC rounds out the program with a piano and guitar driven slice of power-pop deliciousness, followed by the Christmas cheer of WARM, LOVIN' CHRISTMASTIME (a bonus track for good measure).
Balancing his career as a solo artist, Bonfiglio keeps busy as the musical director and guitarist of multi-platinum pop trio Wilson Phillips (producing their 2012 Sony/Masterworks release "Dedicated"), as a member of California Saga (a new musical outfit comprising the offspring of each of the Beach Boys original members) and as guitarist/co-vocalist with acclaimed power-pop practitioners Wanderlust, whose 1995 RCA Records debut reaped raves in Billboard magazine.
As a songwriter, Bonfiglio has enjoyed multiple successes with his songs featured in numerous TV shows and films.