Heartland When Angels Call
Chris Ousey, the Heart of Heartland, is a veteran who's first major recording achievement never came to fruition. His first band was "Monroe" who were signed to Polygram. However, Chris never made it to the album as Jason Bonham, the son of Led Zeppelin's John Bonham, was so blown away with Chris's vocal acrobatics that he hired him for the job of front man in the much loved Virginia Wolf. That band notched up a respectable 250,000 album sales from their two very collectable albums; the self titled debut (produced by Queen's Roger Taylor) and "Push" (produced by Kevin Elson).
Heartland were formed by Chris and his old sparring partner Gary Sharpe and together they released their eponymous debut on A & M Records, produced by James "Jimbo" Barton, whose production credits include Steve Perry, Trixter and Queensryche. Their second release, "Wide Open", didn't appear until 1994on Long Island and became one of the labels hottest sellers. When the label folded Heartland were out on a limb, but not for long as later in the same year Escape Music's Khalil Turk signed them and introduced Chris to guitarist Steve Morris. Steve is an experienced musician who recorded two albums for Epic with his band "Export" (Living in fear of the Private Eye and Export), and later with vocalist Ian Gillan (Deep Purple) recording three albums in addition to co-writing all the material. Heartland, as we know them now, were born.
At one point or another a greatest hits package
rears it's ugly head, normally when a band changes a label or even
splits up. In Heartland's case we have an album that marks a chapter
in their recording career, a tribute to past glories and a thank
you to their many fans old and new alike. The album is a collection
of Heartland classic's, new material and tracks from pre Heartland
Project Virginia Wolf all delivered in an intimate acoustic style.
Now hold your horses, you're thinking boring, right? A few guys
sitting on stools jamming some half-baked versions of your favourite
tracks? Wrong! This album could set the standard for other acts
to follow (remember where you heard it first, mark my words) but
then again not everyone is as talented as Chris & Steve, who
have reworked the songs very imaginatively. Steve is a damn fine
guitarist and this acoustic sound really shows him off to perfection
and will surprise a few people out there. The new tracks "Never,
Neverland", "Carved in Stone" and "Only Time
will Tell" are all masterpieces, and the classics like "Voodoo
eyes", "Knife Edge" and "Try Me" should
appeal to all. In short, the album is a majestic piece of work that,
in time, will be regarded as one of Heartland's finest hours.