The Man With The Red Shoes, new album from Mike Della Bella Project

Words from Rock & Prog:

We have received the new album from Mike Della Bella Project, which is released under the name “The Man with the Red Shoes.” This is the second album by this Italian musician born in Rome, since in 2019 he released his debut under the name “One.”

For those who have not heard the debut as well as this new release, Mike Della Bella’s path goes through Westcoast/Soft rock/AOR lands, of course with clear influences from bands like Toto, Chicago, Pages, Jay Graydon, among others.

For this occasion, Mike took a chance and invited a series of top-level musicians to give greater oomph to his songs, such is the case of the opening “Far From Over” which has Robbie LaBlanc (Blanc Faces, Find Me) a An experienced singer who has never been heard doing this type of songs, here he delights us with that trademark powerful voice, but which adapts perfectly to the style as in “Gift of Life”, where he sounds very close to Joseph Williams ( Toto).

“Shelter Me” full of soul with the voice of Valentina Nanà Petrossi (who participated in “One”) that fits perfectly, to highlight the final guitar solo that could easily have been created by Steve Lukather or Mike Landau. We continue with another female voice, in this case with MaShanda Favors who perfectly adorns “Nothing I Wouldn’t Do” and the horns of 504 Horns, to reaffirm that this is pure Westcoast old school, clearly our dear Mike has it in him. altar artists like Marc Jordan or Bill LaBounty.

In “If The Darkest Night” we once again have the privileged voice of Robbie LaBlanc, perhaps the song closest to the traditional Hard/AOR where we usually hear it, but everything quickly returns “to normal” with “Affinity”, again LaBlanc on vocals and now with the guitar of Peter Friested (CWF, The LA Project), another musician who has been giving us excellent material for years, especially in the CWF project with Bill Champlin and Joseph Williams.

It is impossible not to fall in love with the melody that surrounds “Once In a Lifetime”, to which we must add the beautiful voice of Valentina Nanà Petrossi. a song that builds slowly and explodes with a powerful chorus. Then a bit of fusion comes from the hand of “Surrender”, the precision and fairness necessary in each instrument, possibly my favorite on the album on an instrumental level.

We lower a few (many) decibels with the necessary ballad “To You” and we can immediately recognize the unmistakable voice of Jesús Espín (91 Suite, Secret), who shares the song with Valentina Nanà Petrossi, in a beautiful duet. We reach the final track with “I’d Rather be a Fool” and as it should be, an ending that holds nothing back, pure Westcoast with Valentina Petrossi on vocals and a small participation of the voice of St. Paul Peterson (Prince, Peter Frampton, among many more) and not everything is left here, as icing on the cake, we have a key solo by maestro Bill Champlin (Chicago, The Son of Champlin).

On the album we not only have the collaboration of these star vocalists and the luxury guests that I just mentioned, but it must also be said that on the bass we have Will Lee (The Brecker Brothers, George Benson, Steely Dan, etc.) and Nathan East (Toto, Eric Clapton, Phil Collins, Joe Satriani), on drums Shannon Forrest (Toto, Boz Scaggs, etc.) and J-Rod Sullivan (Jeffrey Osborne, The Temptations, etc.), and I don’t want to forget to mention Fran Alonso (Hackers, Krull) on guitars, Jason Parfait on saxophones and finally Ian Smith on trumpets and trombones.

For a few years I have been arguing that the best for melodic rock comes from the more refined side, from the Westcoast/AOR of bands like State Cows, Young Gun Silver Fox, Page 99, Beyond Imagination, Ole Borud, Fan fiction, etc. Of course, Mike Della Bella Project with its debut had already earned a place on this privileged list and now with “The Man with the Red Shoes” it not only reaffirms its place but surpasses itself and makes it become one in 2024. one of the discs to take into account when choosing the best ones.



Track listing

1. Far From Over
2. Gifts Of Life
3. Shelter Me
4. Nothing I Wouldn’t Do
5. If The Darkest Night
6. Affinity
7. Once In A Lifetime
8. Surrender
9. To You
10. I’d Rather Be A Fool.


Mike Della Bella, Daniele Trissati, Mauro Scardini, Robbie LaBlanc, Nanà Petrossi, Mashanda Favors, Jesús Espín, St. Paul Peterson, Fran Alonso, Peter Friestedt, Nathan East, Will Lee, J-Rod Sullivan, Shannon Forrest & Bill Champlin.

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By Published On: marts 28, 2024Categories: Artist News, In Focus, New Releases

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About the Author: Kbremer

Good music enriches your life. At BLUE DESERT we are passionate about this particular yet wide-ranging style of music we call West Coast Music. This site is a modest tribute to the music and the performing artists, who through the (many) years have given us - and continue to give us - endless hours of musical enjoyment. As long-time fans we want to share our enthusiasm, experiences and views with fellow connoisseurs as well as curious newcomers. If we can do our bit to help promote this great music and all the gifted artist – well, then we have succeeded.