Hope And Glory

Ann Wilson

Zoe, 2007

http://www.annwilson.com

REVIEW BY: Ben McVicker

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED: 01/19/2008

After more than 30 years in the music business, Heart vocalist Ann Wilson has released her first solo album, a highly enjoyable affair laden with guest vocalists.

At first, one has to question whether or not one original song and 11 covers really constitutes a solo album. Any doubts are quashed within a few songs, however, as there’s such a great vibe to this disc that the number of covers becomes a non-factor.

Things kick off on a great note with a delicate cover of Pink Floyd’s “Goodbye Blue Sky.” Covering Floyd is always a risky affair; as the band was such a musical anomaly, it’s a difficult task to do its songs justice. Ann nails it on this take though, offering a stripped-down version with some modern guitar tones scattered throughout, and some great vocal harmonies with sister Nancy Wilson. my_heart_sings_the_harmony_web_ad_alt_250

An upbeat take on Elton John’s “Where To Now St. Peter?” follows, with Sir Elton himself trading off verses with Wilson. As odd a pairing as it may seem, their voices sound great together. At the ripe age of 57, Wilson still has a great range, from fluttering high notes to an inimitable raspiness that adds a real grit to the tunes at times.

There’s a definite theme about the covers that Ann Wilson chose for her solo debut. Neil Young, Bob Dylan, John Lennon…Hope And Glory is littered with politically-charged songs from the late 60s and early 70s. Thankfully, each of them are more subtle and artful affairs than the likes of System of a Down or Ted Nugent, for example. “War Of Man,” arranged as a duet with Alison Krauss, is simply gorgeous, while a fiddle-powered rendition of CCR’s “Bad Moon Rising” with Gretchen Wilson offers a surprisingly catchy and refreshing take on an old classic.

Admittedly, there are a few misses on this disc. How odd though, that they would be the more rockin’ numbers! Wilson’s take on The Animals “We Gotta Get Out Of This Place” sounds far too polished, and the addition of a string section is, to say the least, ill-advised. Likewise, a half-speed recreation of Led Zeppelin’s “Immigrant Song” is a total write-off, capturing none of the urgency or excitement of the original – funny, given how much Zeppelin influenced Heart.

In spite of these two missteps, Hope And Glory is a highly enjoyable listen. The bulk of the cover songs sound fresh and inspired, and the cast of guest stars adds a great mix of talent to the proceedings.

Rating: B+

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