Bernie Chiaravalle is the guitarist for singer Michael McDonald and has also been a songwriting partner with McDonald since the late 1980s. Bernie's career with Michael started out by meeting singer/songwriter David Pack from the group Ambrosia who later introduced him to Michael. He and McDonald collaborated on several songs which are on Michael's 2000 CD, "Blue Obsession". When the Doobie Brothers reunited with McDonald for a co-headlining tour with the Steve Miller Band in 1995, Bernie filled in on guitar for the absent John McFee.
Bernie Chiaravalle has had success as a solo artist as well with a 1999 hit, "Speak", and another hit "Till I Hurt You" on Larry Carlton's Fingertips CD which he co-wrote with Larry Carlton and Michael McDonald. He also co-wrote "No Love To Be Found" with McDonald which can be found on Michael McDonald: The Ultimate Collection released in 2005. "From Now On", a blues number written with Steve Leland, can be heard on many TV jingles as it has been used numerous times. "One More Word", another song written with McDonald, was a regional hit on The Wave in Los Angeles in the early 90s. The song was recorded under the name Silent Partner, a band with his good friend Chazz Frichtel.
Currently, Bernie Chiaravalle has a newly released CD All or Nothing and continues to tour with Michael McDonald. He also produced an album of 12 songs for singer Amy Holland McDonald. Bernie co-wrote much of the album along with Amy and other writers including Jon Vezner, John Goodwin, Chazz Frichtel and Michael McDonald. He also plays guitar, bass, keyboards, drums and percussion on the record. It was released on Michael McDonald's record label Chonin Records.
Bernie Chiaravalle Biography
It's hard to imagine the amount of dedication, commitment, focus and sheer energy it takes to complete a record when you're touring the world as a lead guitarist for a popular artist, as well as producing yet another musical project. For Chiaravalle (pronounced ("shaira velley") it simply comes down to passion. It's not a matter of choice; it's just creative necessity. Not that he doesn't absolutely love the job he's had with Michael McDonald for the past 24 years, it's just that he has music he needs to make and artistic statements of his own to offer. And Chiaravalle has done that in a very complete way with "All Or Nothing", his 5th record, on which he supplies all the vocals and plays all the instruments (with the exception of Tommy Oliverio playing mandolin on "Bound To Fall"). All of the songs were written by Bernie alone on this record. "I had a lot of personal feelings and emotions to express while writing this record and I felt to really say what I felt, I need to write alone". "All Or Nothing" was produced in his home studio. The album contains 12 mostly new songs written by Chiaravalle over the last 2 years. A few of the songs were written some years ago but never released. "I go through my catalog every now and then and hope to find songs I've forgotten about that stood the test of time. Sometimes it happens, but mostly not! But I did find a few that I really still liked and re-worked them and re-recorded them. One song for example is 'Love Will Deliver'. I remember where I was emotionally when I wrote that and it held up as a good song I believe. I was really talking to myself in this one; encouraging myself to move forward with hope and trust that love will get you through the hard times. Turns out that this still stands true many years later. It's also a fun one to perform live". On this newest release you'll also find songs about his parents (Bernie lost his father in 2011), in particular the song "Always". "I had this chord pattern I was playing with on piano which was very haunting and melancholic and suddenly I realized I was writing about my late father. It turned out to be a tribute song to him more or less". There are songs of friendship like "Bound To Fall" and "Honesty" -- songs of hope, "Love In Our World" and "In Our Hands Now" -- love songs, "In The Beginning" and even a latin inspired song called "Hands of Time". He also has remade an older song from the 1992 Silent Partner album (with Chazz Frichtel), "Forgive and Forget". "I always wanted to re-do this song again and record it with an updated production. And since it was 20 years ago that I wrote and recorded it originally, it sort of turned into a tribute to my mom and dad. I really enjoy playing this song live". The Beatles were his influence from the start, growing up in Marin County, CA. Their famous 1964 Ed Sullivan appearance prompted him to begin playing piano and drums at the age of nine. He remembers being absolutely voracious, learning his first guitar bar chord in the middle of the street. "It changed my life," he recalls. After the formative bands and local gigs, Chiaravalle moved to L.A. in 1985 with a band by the name of Page One. Just as the group was disbanding, he met up with Ambrosia's David Pack. "I sent him a tape," Chiaravalle recalls. "And immediately we hit it off and began hanging out together and writing and playing songs." At the same time, Pack was telling Michael McDonald about the guitarist. Chiaravalle auditioned for him and in1988, they began their playing and songwriting partnership. In 1996, Chiaravalle released his first solo effort, Driven By Desire. Two years later, he relocated to Nashville and the following year he enjoyed a No.1 hit song, "Speak," by the band The Waiting on the CHR charts. He also had a song called "Til I Hurt You" on Larry Carlton's Fingertips, co-written with Carlton and McDonald, which sat on top of the NAC charts. Chiaravalle delivered his second album, Life As We Know It, in 2002, followed by Mystery Of Love in 2005. In 2008, Chiaravalle completed production on the highly acclaimed "The Journey To Miracle River", an album for Amy Holland (McDonald), which had been several years in the making. Check it out at www.amyhollandmcdonald.com. In 2010 Chiaravalle released his 4th solo record "The World Around Me". So while some people say, "I've had a busy week," Chiaravalle says, "I've had a busy decade," with a chuckle. "Seriously, I don't know what I would do if I couldn't make this music. I'm thankful that I still have the drive – and the ideas — to do it. I do these records to re-charge myself, do these groups of songs, move on and write some more. I'm lucky to be able to do it," says Chiaravalle, who, no surprise, already has a batch of new songs for the next one!
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