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Hope & Glory CD (2007)

Artist: Ann Wilson

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First ever solo album full of covers and duets

by on 9/11/2007

Heart's always been a tough act to follow. When "Crazy on You" and "Magic Man" broke in 1976, more than one headliner had to find a way to top the vocal firepower of Ann Wilson as an opening act. After three decades as the signature sound of Heart, Wilson faced a similar prospect in crafting her first solo album. How could she leverage her vocal gift without recording a Heart album sans Heart? Her answer was to pull together a slate of cover songs, several of which take her away from the heavy rock sounds of Heart, and to enlist guest vocalists to bring their own spin. ¶ At its best, such as a duet with Elton John on his rarely covered "Where to Now St. Peter" (originally from his 1971 album, "Tumbleweed Connection"), the two veterans sing with a strident authority that recalibrates the song from questioning and pastoral to inquisitive and angry. John's vocal engages a gritty edge that's particularly effective against Wilson's smoother toned power. Another surprisingly good fit is Lucinda Williams' "Jackson" (from 1998's "Car Wheels on a Gravel Road"). Wilson could never sound as broken as Williams, but the cathartic energy of her wail (augmented by harmony from k.d. lang) fits the blue melody and turns the mood from failed self-esteem building to sheer defiance. Wilson's take on John Lennon's "Isolation" fares similarly. It couldn't be expected to live up to the primal original, but the electric guitar, fiddle and flute arrangement provides a good backing for an emotion-laden vocal. ¶ Sister Nancy Wilson helps out on Pink Floyd's "Goodbye Blue Sky" (from 1979's "The Wall") and The Youngblood's "Darkness Darkness" (from 1969's "Elephant Mountain"). The former opens the album with processed vocals and modern production (courtesy of Ben Mink) that's quite apart from Heart. The latter, led by Mink's fiddle, has the sort of renaissance fair atmosphere Heart parlayed on their first few albums. Alison Krauss adds a high-end to Wilson's beefier low on Neil Young's "War of Man," with chorus harmonies arranged unnervingly like The Carpenters. All three songs fit into Wilson's cover song cycle of anxiety and fears about the world's current mess. ¶ The few cuts that don't excel are mostly the product of guest pairings that are sizzle rather than steak. Wynonna's mismatched with The Animals' "We Gotta Get Out of This Place," and Gretchen Wilson's "redneck girl" was already wearing thin before joining Wilson on a cover of Creedence Clearwater Revival's "Bad Moon Rising." Wynonna fares better blending into a chorus with Nancy Wilson and Deana Carter for Dino Valenti's "Get Together." The album closes with the set's sole original, Wilson and Mink's newly penned "Little Problems, Little Lies," a harrowing first-person narrative from a dying soldier. ¶ With so little popular music actually addressing the war and the atmosphere in the U.S., it's a shame that Wilson chose to express herself almost entirely with covers. In particular, many of the well-worn hits carry too much baggage to be fully repurposed; the more obscure selections sound fresher. The choice to have guests on nine of the twelve tracks is also disappointing, as they often feel like a crutch than a magnifier. Wilson's a great vocalist and a good enough songwriter to have put out something more wholly original and solo; hopefully we'll get that with her second album. 3-1/2 stars, if allowed fractional ratings. [©2007 redtunictroll at hotmail dot com]

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Hope & Glory - Ann Wilson's voice has never been b

by Andrea on 9/14/2007

Most hard core Heart fans have waited a very long time for Ann Wilson to release a solo album. It was surprising to us that Nancy actually released hers first. Now, the wait is over and Hope & Glory is available to everyone. Do not let the names of the guests on this album fool you. Ignore the fact that Nancy Wilson appears on three of the twelve tracks (25% of the album as one reviewer pointed out). This is indeed an Ann Wilson solo album. There is never a doubt on any of these songs who the star is here. If you are one of those fans who loves when Heart does originals, your knee-jerk-reaction might be to dismiss this album since only 1 song is an original. Do not make that mistake. If you do, you will miss out on perhaps the best recorded studio peformance Ann Wilson has ever given. Ben Mink does an excellent job producing Ann and the album showcases Ann's voice with its various facets in a way no Heart album ever has. If I had to catagorize this album into a specific genre - I wouldn't even know where to begin. I guess Americana is the new in word for this eclectic mix of musical stylings. It is nothing like you've ever heard Ann do before. Highlights are Jackson, Darkness Darkness, and War of Man. But no song is done as masterfully as Isolation. In 1999 when Ann and Nancy toured with their acoustic show, they covered Mother by John Lennon. To this day, I remember the chills I got hearing Ann sing a song that was so emotionally personal for John. It was as if she channeled John that night. I love that this Beatles fan that gravitated more towards Paul McCartney seems to embrace the John Lennon songs first. Most of the songs John Lennon wrote for his first effort post Beatles were immensely personal. When I first heard Ann was going to cover Isolation, I was excited about it. She did such an amazing job with Mother, I was sure she would do Isolation justice as well. When I finally got to hear Isolation, I was not disappointed. Ann's version stands on its own merits. Isolation is such a perfect fit for Ann's voice. Hearing that it only took one take to get what's actually on the album, only heightened my appreciation of Ann's version. It is a perfect vehicle to showcase all the facets of Ann's voice. No doubt, John Lennon would be proud. Ann selected most of these songs to make a statement about the times in which we live and how we, as a country keep repeating the same mistakes. She said she wanted to do it in a way that doesn't cram the message down your throat. Ann should be happy to know that she's accomplished that. Ann's solo album is finally here and it was well worth the wait. And for most Ann Wilson fans who say they'd be happy to hear Ann sing the phone book, you will be glad to know that she's giving you much more than that on this album. She's giving you her soul. And a wondeful soul it is.

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Product Overview


Label Zoe Records (rounder)
SKU 205505608
UPC 601143108525
UPC 14 00601143108525
Format CD
Release Date 9/11/2007
Author Ann Wilson
Product Attributes
Artist Wilson,Ann
Label Zoe Records (rounder)
Music Format Compact Disc
$8.13 + $2.98 shipping
$17.98 You save $9.85 (54%)
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Recent Product Reviews

Hope & Glory - Ann Wilson's voice has never been b by Andrea on Sep 14, 2007

First ever solo album full of covers and duets by on Sep 11, 2007