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09/25/20: Diamond In The Rough – Diamond In The Rough


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David Buckthorpe (vocals)
Troy Reid (vocals)
Scott Hall (guitar)
Kim Kayzer (guitar)
Ray Roper (guitar)
R. Marsland (gutiar)
Rik Emmett (guitar)
Tom Christainnsen (bass)
Lewis Nitikman (keyboards)
Bud Williams (drums)

Produced by: Mike Rheault, Lewis Nitikman
Engineered by: Howard Rissin
Mixed by: TBD
Mastered by: TBD

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Canadian keyboard player Lewis Nitikman whose major influence is  early Elton John, began his professional music career in 1981 when he joined Stonebolt at the age of 21 gigging worldwide including a two-month-run in Japan. 1982 saw the release of Stonebolt’s ‘Juvenile American Princess’, his first recording experience. While still being a member of the band, Nitikman decided that he needed to expand his musical knowledge and applied to Berklee college of Music in Boston, Ma. Winning two scholarships for composition, Lewis quit the group and headed from Vancouver to Boston. After two and a half years he got his diploma and came back to Canada where he decided to write and record his own album. He was subsequently introduced to singer /writer Dave Buckthorpe, and together the two of them set upon writing and recording an album of original music. Their friendship still lasts to this day. Putting a lot of effort and money into the record, the two of them started looking for the right musicians from the Vancouver area to join them. Scotty Hall (g, Agent, Idle Eyes, Rez), Phil Robertson (d, Idle Eyes/Rez) and Tom Christiansen (b, Boulevard) with Ray Roper (v, Stonebolt) also making an appearance on the sessions came on board as well as a host of the finest musicians in the city. They raised a sizeable amount of money, and also won a FACTOR grant which enabled them to complete the songs at Vancouver’s Ocean sound studios with the help of award winning engineer Howard Rissin. Once the songs were completed, Lewis flew to Toronto where he managed to make appointments with all the major Canadian labels. He was turned down by everyone but his final meeting was with Doug Chappell at Island records (Virgin Canada). Doug was very impressed and after living with the songs for awhile phoned the pair and told them he was going to release the album. Doug decided to add to the recorded tracks and flew Lewis and Dave to Toronto to record additional production at The famous Metal works Studio, home to Canadian Rock Band Triumph. Virgin put in a huge sum of money to the delight of the two writers and hired Red Rider’s producers to complete the Album. It would not only feature Sharon Lee Williams (who sang on Bob Seger’s ‘Night Moves’) singing backing vocals on ‘Where Is Love’, but Lewis also managed to persuade Triumph guitarist Rik Emmett to make a guest appearance on the opening track ‘Walk On The Wire’ written by Vancouver song writer and Lewis’s long time performing partner Neil  Harnett. The result was an album with a hugely enjoyable collection of songs that feature a mixture of sublime pop rock arousing comparisons to Spandau Ballet, Level 42, and Toto, all very successful back then. Originally released in 1988, the success of the singles (‘Where Is Love’ was followed by ‘I Wish There Was A Way’ and ‘Ain’t Good Lovin’’) ensured the self-titled album’s sales were fantastic and airplay for the singles was massive. The group never did tour but their songs received critical acclaim. For various reasons the two friends decided to go their separate ways and Dave went on to co-write a number of songs on Boulevard’s second album, ‘Into The Street’ (1990). Since ‘Diamond In The Rough’ was originally released, Lewis eventually relocated to Sheffield, England, where he has long enjoyed a successful musical partnership with Liverpool born singer/songwriter John Reilly. In addition, he recorded an album’s worth of material with former Agent vocalist Troy Reid and his erstwhile Stonebolt band mate Ray Roper that became Stranded’s ‘New Dawn’ CD (released by Escape Music in 2019). This re-release is identical to the 1996 Long Island Records newly remastered version including the two bonus cuts “I Believe In This Love“ sung by Vancouver session singer Troy Reid,  and “Tell Me“.  The re release is limited to 500 copies and includes  liner notes by Dave Reynolds and exclusively sold via AOR Heaven in Germany.

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