Two among the best European players in their own style on a journey through the roots of American music: bluegrass to blues, folk music to songwriting and a bunch of original songs, putting together all the musical influences in a extremely various and fascinating mix.
It was around 1985 when Paolo BONFANTI was asked for the first time by Red Wine, one of the leading Bluegrass bands in Europe, to temporarily replace acoustic guitar flatpicking virtuoso Beppe Gambetta, who had meanwhile started his solo career. Since then, Paolo BONFANTI and Martino COPPO began to cross their paths frequently, playing together in many different occasions and ensembles, until they decided to form a duo where to give space to their versatility and variety of common taste and passion for music. After so many years together this CD is a testimony as obvious as needed to witness their partnership. Original songs and revisited interpretations equally share the available space on the CD: from covers of American singer-songwriters’ pieces (Neil Young, John Prine and David Wilcox) to bluegrass classics (Tennessee Blues), from Blues (Muddy Waters) to Folk and Gospel, from the evocative Irish music atmosphere of Matilda's Dance to a tribute to Bill The-Father-of-Bluegrass Bill Monroe with the instrumental WSM, here in a more intimate version (which resembles in some way Jorma Kaukonen's Hot Tuna acoustic side), from original ballads like Friend of a Friend (the title track) or Trains to unusual mixes of Cajun music and Genoa's dialect as in Via da Zena . Paolo’s and Martino’s musical influences are all well mixed and balanced, and converge to give birth to an extremely various and fascinating project.
Born in Genova, Italy in 1960 Paolo BONFANTI began to play guitar in 1975 after studying music theory, harmony and piano. Graduated in music semiotics at University of Bologna in 1996. From 1985 to 1990 he has been leading Big Fat Mama with whom recorded 3 LPs. He is co-founding member of Downtown, together with legends of the British blues such as sax player Dick Heckstall-Smith (Colosseum, Alexis Corner, John Mayall), drummer Mickey Waller (Jeff Beck, Ron Wood, Rod Stewart) and bass player Bob Brunning (Savoy Brown). He is currently playing with his own band, as a soloist, with Red Wine; since 1992 he has published 10 CDs. Bluegrass mandolin player for a living (attorney to survive) Martino Coppo started playing at age 13, inspired by the acoustic sound of Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young, The Byrds, Bob Dylan and Joni Mitchell. Towards the end of the '70s Martino listened a couple of albums: “Will The Circle Be Unbroken” by the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band and “When The Storm Is Over” by the New Grass Revival, immediately he knew that that was the music he wanted to play! So he picked up the mandolin awestruck by the sound of Sam Bush, David Grisman, John Hartford, Norman Blake and Tony Rice In 1981 he joined Red Wine where he plays and sings. With them Martino started touring intensively all over Italy, Europe, and, from the mid-'90s, the USA.