Rick LaBonte – Living It Up

Last year Windsor, Ontario musician Rick LaBonte released his ambitious 2CD album Living It Up. His third album since 2016, and first to feature a number of guests, which makes Living It Up a curious release to those who aren’t familiar with Rick. Well known locally, Rick plays with The Formula as well as The Blues Side. He’s also a fellow Uriah Heep fan who performed “Easy Livin“, in 2018 in London, Ontario (soundcheck), and later singing back-up during the encore) . Thus, there’s a few Heep guests on this album, which I must admit was my initial interest in hearing this.

Rick LaBonte – “I have written and recorded 24 songs between two of Windsor’s finest recording studios: SLR STUDIO and HIGHLAND STUDIO. Like the Beatles’ song “With A Little Help From My Friends”, I have called on some friends who I felt best suited the songs that I was recording. Each musician shared his talent and time with me. They respected me enough to give me quality performances on the songs the way I wrote them. I am truly lucky to have friends like these.”

Over the past year Living It Up has received lots of attention through radio, local and online press, where Rick (a featured guest on) Sea Of Tranquility Living It Up was featured in a great review as well as an interview with Rick, and made the show’s Top 50 releases for 2022. Adds Rick – “All songs are original songs that I wrote or collaborated with.  To date, 17 songs out of 24 from my latest album have gotten airplay on radio nationally and internationally.”

Not sure wheat I expected, but I am liking this the more I dig in to it. And Living It Up gets better the more I go back to it. Heck, 24 songs to check out and return to. Most impressive here in not the quantity (OK, a little) – but more so the overall performances and solid production. This sounds better than many major releases sound-wise. And songs, well that is the basis for any decent album, and there is plenty here, and plenty that I find myself returning to.

Living It Up touches on pop rock, hard rock, blues, progressive,… Things kick off rockin’ with “Fragile” and “Full Speed Ahead” – both tracks featuring Davey Rimmer of Uriah Heep on bass and Dusty D’Annunsio (Mark Farner’s American Band) on guitar, as well as drummer Todd Lalonde (Orion Sons) on the opener and Heep’s Russell Gilbrook (drums) on the 2nd, as well as guitarist Chuck Lambrick (Teaze) on the latter. So things are off to a good start. Lalonde plays on most of this album, and I imagine the other numerous players here are from the band’s Rick plays with (notably The Formula) as well as local Windsor bands. But anyway, aside from the first 2 cuts, there’s a number of early favorites here – “I Believe” (feat Rick Carr on lead guitar), “Coda” (a bit of a lighter upbeat track that features Russell Gilbrook, as well as Rick on acoustic guitar and various keyboards), the ballad “It’s A Matter Of Time” (with a nice vocal arrangement, featuring co-writer Jim Kickham on lead guitar). Gotta say, although this set rocks in places – like “Cabin Fever”, it is many of the lighter tunes that stand out, like “Tell Me Now” and “Colour Blind”, as well as the bluesy “Moved On” – which features Joe Konas (The Gods) on lead guitar.

Living It Up is highly recommended, not just for it’s guests , but for it’s songwriting, performances, and production. Kudos to Luc Michaud who played various instruments (all throughout this), as well as co-wrote a few songs here, plus Kevin K. Gagnon & David Pastorius (Pat Travers) – who play bass on a number of tracks each. Excellent album cover-art also (Dan Boshart,  Marlene Nead,  and Rick LaBonté). Will be interesting to see how Rick can follow Living It Up…up.


Full Speed Ahead
Let It Show
Living It Up
All To Yourself
Since I Met You
Moved On
Now And Then
Time Well Spent
Tell Me Now
The Gallery Of Love

Cabin Fever
My Opinion
I Believe
Night Shift
It’s A Matter Of TIme
Jane Doe
No Way
Memory Lane
Colour Blind
Big Brother


Jeff Burrows (Drums) – The Tea Party, The Saints
Russell Gilbrook (Drums) – Uriah Heep
Davey Rimmer (Bass) – Uriah Heep
David Pastorius (Bass) – Pat Travers Band, Carl Palmer’s ELP Legacy
Dusty D’Annunzio (Lead Guitar and Backing Vocals) – Mark Farner’s American Band
Chuck Lambrick (Lead Guitar, Ebow, Slide Guitar) – Teaze, Greatest Hits Live
Joe Konas (Lead Guitar) – The Gods
Michael Hereford (Piano) – British Beat 66
Dale D’Amore (Rhythm and Lead Guitar) – Guitar Army
Mike Fortier (Bass) – Guitar Army
John Kersey (Bass) – The Blues Side, The Ride
Nino Maniaci (Bass) – The Source
Kevin K. Gagnon (Bass and Backing Vocals) – The Formula
Wayne Bracewell (Drums and Backing Vocals) – The Formula
Jim Kickham (Lead Guitar and Backing Vocals) – formerly The Formula
Ron McMinn (Lead Guitar) – formerly The Buzzard Band and The Blues Side
Kevin Peterson (Bass) – The Soulminors
Rick Carr (Lead Guitar) – Crack The Whip
Allan Kenney (Lead Guitar) – Vital Sines, The Formula
Mark Steven (Drums) – Smoking Purple Monkey Gang
Kristopher Marentette (Piano, Keyboards) – J# Major
Jim O’ Neil (Lead Guitar) – J# Major
Todd Lalonde (Drums) – Orion Sons
Luc Michaud (Bass, Drums, Keyboards, Rhythm and Lead Guitar, Lap Steel Guitar, Percussions, Backing Vocals) – Bigg Wiggle
Vic Do Rego (Bass) – Playing Ground, Audiowaves
Paul Rigelhof (12 String Acoustic Guitar) – Centerpeace, Icy Redd
Dillon James (Drums) – The Blues Side

Living It Up album is available on Spotify, i-tunes and YouTube and at Rick’s website : www.ricklabonte.com





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