Great New Album From Heart
Bruce Von Stiers
I have been a fan of Heart since I was just a kid. Their debut album Dreamboat Annie had a freshness and uniqueness that hadn’t been seen in rock music before. And that the band was fronted by two women, sisters in fact, added to the fervor surrounding Heart.
Ann Wilson and Nancy Wilson are the two sisters who front the band. There have been various other band members that have come and gone, but Ann and Nancy are who everybody really knows and remembers. Ann is the lead vocalist for the band and Nancy the lead guitarist and backing vocalist. Although Nancy does take the lead vocal role on some songs.
Throughout the years, Heart has had major hits with songs like Crazy On You, Barracuda, Little Queen and Heartless. One of my favorite earlier songs of theirs was Kick It Out from the band’s Little Queen album. Later hits for the band include Straight On, Dog & Butterfly, What About Love and Dreams.
Ann and Nancy also took things somewhat towards the folk rock movement with the forming of a group they called Lovemongers. That group had a moderate success. And Ann also put together a solo album that I really liked called Hope & Glory. It featured duets with Elton John, Gretchen Wilson and Ann’s sister Nancy among other noted performers.
Now Heart has a brand new album out. Titled Red Velvet Car, the album is being released on the Sony Legacy label. It was released on August 31 st, which just happens to be my birthday. By noon on the 31st, the album had the top seller spot on Amazon.com.
The current lineup of the band is Ann doing lead vocals and Nancy doing guitar and vocals. There is also Craig Bartock on guitars, Kristian Attard on bass, Ben Smith on drums and Debbie Shair on keys. Besides Heart, Craig has worked with Blondie and other iconic rock artists. He has also worked with indie artists such as Brie Larson and The Troys. Kristian has played with Jimmy Barnes and Mahalia Barnes. Ben has been a drummer for the Lovemongers and has worked with greats such as Peter Frampton, Taj Mahal and jazz icons like Nancy Wilson and Kenny G. Debbie has played keys for Heart since 2004. She is also part of a duet called Marizane. I reviewed their album Cosmosis a couple of years ago.
Some classic rock acts have been opening for Heart on the current concert tour promoting the album. Bands like Night Ranger and rockers like Edgar Winter are great opening acts. But there are also some pretty great indie acts who have opened at concert dates. One of those indie acts is the very talented Ruby Rendrag, whose album Wartime Favorites I reviewed a while back.
For the first song the album, they chose There You Go Again. It has a tough guitar rock groove. The vocals by Ann are smooth but the throaty vocalization she’s known for comes out at times. It has a definite moody rock tone to it.
The second song it WTF. Yes, it stands for what you think it does. This is a killer rock piece. Ann cranks out some tough, harsh vocals. According to Nancy, the song started out as a jam and then angry lyrics just poured forth. The song has some super cool guitar.
Then there is the title track, Red Velvet Car. It is a soft, gentle ballad. The song has a touch of R & B mixed with sultry, yet aching rock vocals.
The next song, Queen City, reminded me of the music from the band’s early career. Gentle in places and tough rock balladry in other spots.
Hey You has more of an alt folk touch to it. The song is really pretty.
Wheels has a too cool bass line. It is a darker, moodier piece with some tough vocals and slick guitar work.
Safronia’s Mark once again kicks it back to the band’s roots with a tough rock ballad that has soft and gentle vocals mixed with killer rock music. Like Nancy states, “It felt like it could be one of the first songs we wrote for Dreamboat Annie.”
Death Valley has moody moments and is a bit darker than the other songs on the album.
Sunflower is a definite soft and gentle alt folk rock song. It is a very pretty song and a nice addition to the album.
The album ends with another gentle song called Sand. Ann and Nancy originally recorded the song for Lovemongers but decided to add it to this album as well.
Heart keeps on rocking with this new album. The music is fresh yet comes with the styling that made Heart a top ranked band from day one. Ann and Nancy Wilson aren’t ones to just tour, playing their old hits to legions of dedicated fans. They are constantly writing and performing music that gains them new fans along with reinforcing the solid fan base that has loved Heart ever since Dreamboat Annie first came out.
Red Velvet Car is available at traditional music outlets, retailers like Target and online at venues like amazon.com.
Check out videos and information about Red Velvet Car on the Heart official web site. That site is www.heart-music.com
© 2010 Bruce E. Von Stiers