a l b u m r e v i e w s

Produced by: Steve Morris
  1. Carrie Ann
  2. Knife Edge
  3. Never Never Land
  4. Wide Open
  5. Indian Ground
  6. Try Me
  7. Keeping The Faith Alive
  8. One Night
  9. Voodoo Eyes
  10. When Angels Call
  11. Carved In Stone
  12. Make It Tonight
  13. I Count The Days
  14. Only Time Will Tell
The new Heartland album is a makeshift Greatest Hits album - recorded acoustically and features songs from the 4 Heartland albums and a couple of songs from Chris Ousey's debut band Virginia Wolf. Those two songs are from their killer debut album.
This also fills in time nicely before the band record their new album in October.
From what I have heard over the years - starting with Tesla's Five Man Acoustic Jam - acoustic albums are generally hit or miss.
I am happy to report this album is a definite hit. Heartland have more than enough material to make up an album like this and the 2 Virginia Wolf songs only add to the quality. There are some of my favourite Heartland songs and a few new ones as a bonus and the production is nothing short of full studio album quality.
Chris Ousey's voice is in fine shape and sounds like it is growing with every record he makes. Steve Morris is also in fine form. This album highlights just how good a guitarist he is with numerous displays of fantastic guitar plucking and acoustic solo's.
Chris Ousey manages to squeeze real emotion out of his voice. He always sounds at his peak when reaching for that higher note. Just check out the latter moments of Carrie Ann, Wide Open and Carved In Stone. The first and utterly classic Virginia Wolf album is represented by Knife Edge and
Make It Tonight - two killer tracks. I was pleasantly surprised to see the latter included - being one of Ousey's best moody ballads. The only other track from that album I would love to have seen was Take A Chance. Next time maybe?
Nice also to hear Wide Open getting reworked. I always loved that track, great to see it upgraded from demo status. Never Never Land is first up of the new tunes. Another very good Heartland pop song of some length, with plenty of hooks, a good extended acoustic solo from Steve Morris and extended instrumental ending.
Keeping The Faith Alive will no doubt become a favourite in years to come. This soft ballad has real class and I think would go down real well during a acoustic interlude live.
One Night is another simple pop rock track with a simple, yet catchy, chorus. The title track When Angels Call is a more complex song with no major chorus, but a melody that entrenches itself in your mind.
I really like I Count The Days. This typical Heartland ballad is given a strong re-working, with a tremendous vocal from Chris Ousey. Just take a listen towards the end where he really puts some emotion into it.
I have written a lot here for just an acoustic album, so I will sum it up before I start repeating myself.
This is essential for any Heartland or The Distance fan and could hopefully bring new fans into the fold with some great new versions of classic songs and is highly recommended for those who look for something a little different occasionally.
ESSENTIAL FOR: All Heartland, Virginia Wolf, The Distance and Chris Ousey fans. Unplugged fans.
DISCOGRAPHY:Heartland . Wide Open . III . Bridge Of Fools . Miracles By Design . When Angels Call

b a c k t o i n d e x