Ann Wilson solos, Rush box – Knox County VillageSoup
Ann Wilson: Fierce Bliss (Silver Lining Music CD). Ann Wilson, of course, is best known as the voice and co-founder of Seattle sister rock band Heart. This is his third solo album, after “Hope and Glory” (2007) and “Immortal” (2018). The album, released last week, has already yielded four singles in rock solid “Greed”, “A Moment in Heaven” and its covers of The Eurythmics’ “Missionary Man” and Queen’s “Love of My Life”. Overall, the album, which was recorded at Fame Studios in Muscle Shoals, Alabama, and Soundstage in Nashville, Tennessee, sounds more like a Heart record than his two previous solo attempts. even under the influence of Led Zeppelin.
“Greed,” one of seven co-written originals by Wilson, was written with Nashville session guitarist Tom Bukovac, who provides solid guitar behind his muscular vocals. Bassist Tony Lucido is also from Nashville.
“Greed is that thing in our animal nature that makes us want more,” Wilson said in a press release. “Whether it’s money, sex, power or ecstasy, it excites our desires! It happens with all of us. When you turn around and catch yourself making decisions because you want money, or because you’re caught in the headlights of fame, well, those are greedy times. I think people who claim to have made every decision from a root of pure idealism, and never done anything dark or greedy, [are] lying. I think anyone who ventures into the music industry especially in hopes of a career with great success, ends up doing these Faustian bargains at some point, even if it’s just briefly. It’s an aggressive song and I think I write better when I’m angry.
“A Moment in Heaven” is another heavyweight original from Wilson, co-written with Frank Cox and Danny Marigold. Other originals include the landmark record “Black Wing,” inspired by the birds around the St. John’s River near her Florida home, and featuring mystical Led Zeppelin lyrics; the powerful ballads ‘Angel’s Blues’, co-written with Warren Haynes of Gov’t Mule, who plays guitar on the track, and ‘As the World Turns’, written with keyboardist Dan Walker; the heavy “Gladiator,” also written with Haynes and featuring his powerful guitar; and “Fighten For Life”, which has more dynamics than most tracks.
The album contains four covers, including a cover of Robin Trower’s “Bridge of Sighs”, with guest Kenny Wayne Shepherd’s guitar giving it a heavier sound. There’s also some aggressive guitar playing from Shepherd on “Missionary Man,” which has been turned into a stomper, minus the humor of the original, but with The Rev. Nathan Young Singers for Saving the Gospel. Queen’s newest single, “Love of My Life,” is a duet with country star Vince Gill. Country singers Deana Carter and Wynonna Judd appeared on her 2007 album. especially on the instrumental break. His voice is also included here.
“‘Bridge of Sighs,’ in my opinion, is the best blues song ever written,” Wilson said in a press release. “It’s really saying something because it’s the vastness of the blues world, but this song is about real existential terror. It’s not just that you’re hurt because you lost your boyfriend or your girlfriend, you’re on the brink.
“I like things that go all the way,” she continued. “I’m one of those people who aren’t halfway good enough. So with Kenny Wayne Shepherd, one of the coolest monster guitarists around, it made so much sense, and he tore it up. One of the most rewarding things for me as a singer is not being in a rush. The best singers are the ones who can sing ballads and really make them work, because you don’t have to be a genius to be a rock screamer or sing rock songs. But that ballad, where it’s slowed down or stopped and you’re center stage with the spotlight? Every little nuance is important, and I think that’s what ‘Bridge of Sighs’ was for me. Grade: B+
Rush: Moving Pictures 40th Anniversary Super Deluxe Edition (UMe/Mercury/Anthem, 5 LPs, 3 CDs + Blu-ray). This box set, which weighs approximately eight pounds, contains the remaster of the 2015 album on CD for the first time. The second and third CDs feature the entire unreleased 19-track Toronto concert of March 25, 1981. All audio is also featured on five 180-gram LPs cut at half-speed Direct-To-Metal Mastering. The Blu-ray Audio Disc features the first ever Dolby Atmos and new 5.1 surround album mix, including brand new video for “YYZ” and three music videos for “Tom Sawyer”, “Limelight” and “Vital Signs”.
The 1981 album was the eighth studio album by the Canadian trio, which found vocalist Geddy Lee, guitarist Alex Lifeson and drummer/lyricist Neil Peart at the top of their game. The album’s seven songs skillfully blended Rush’s intrinsic prowess to channel its progressive roots into radio-friendly arrangements, a pattern the band had mastered throughout its previous album, 1980s “Permanent Waves.” “Moving Pictures” was also the second of many Rush recording sessions at the Studio in Morin-Heights, Quebec, which was eventually dubbed the trio’s personal Abbey Road recording studio.
One of my favorite tracks from Rush is the first from the album, “Tom Sawyer”. “Red Barchetta,” which chronicles the thrills of high-stakes motor racing, offers a multi-generational approach. The Grammy Award-nominated ‘YYZ’ instrument is named after Toronto’s Pearson International Airport airport code. It covers the full range of the band’s impressive progressive chops in under four minutes and has notes that represent the title in Morse code. The first side of the LP ends with another favorite, “Limelight”, a look at Peart’s dissatisfaction with fame and public demands, while trying to maintain a personal life in privacy.
The second side opens with “The Camera Eye”, a multi-layered 10-minute travelogue with a bird’s-eye view of New York’s inherent bustle, counterbalanced by the intense energy and deep-rooted history of London. It features many synthesizers. “Witch Hunt,” which is subtitled “Part III of Fear,” shares a dark take on prejudice and mob mentality. The final track, “Vital Signs,” opens with a Who-esque synthesizer progression and foreshadows the more adventurous future musical directions Rush would take.
The two-hour recorded concert at Maple Leaf Gardens is excellent. In addition to tracks from the “Moving Pictures” album, it features favorites such as “Freewill”, “Xanadu”, reggae-infused “The Spirit of Radio” and “Closer to the Heart”, with its beautiful drums and the 10 minute encore of “La Villa Strangiato”. The show opens appropriately with two tracks from “2112,” including “Overture.” Peart’s drum solo comes in “YYZ” and Lifeson plays acoustic guitar for “Broon’s Bane.”
Hugh Syme has created brand new 40th anniversary artwork, with new artwork for each song, all featured in the 44-page hardcover book, alongside liner notes by Kim Thayil, Les Claypool, Taylor Hawkins, Bill Kelliher and Neil Sanderson. Exclusive collectibles include a Red Barchetta model car, two of Peart’s MP40 drumsticks, two metal guitar picks engraved with Lee and Lifeson’s signatures, and a 1981 Moving Pictures replica tour program, pin enamel MP40, a “Moving Pictures” 3D lenticular motion lithograph, 18 24 inch Toronto 1981 concert poster, Toronto concert ticket replica, 12×36 inch Rush 1973-1981 poster, YYZ luggage tag and insert All Access World Tour ’81. Everything is housed in a high-end lift-top box.
The 40th Anniversary release is available in five other configurations, namely a three-CD Deluxe Edition, a five-LP Deluxe Edition, a one-LP Edition, a Digital Deluxe Edition, and a Dolby Atmos Digital Edition. Rating: album and live concert A+; B+ bonus items
Peart passed away in 2020, but Lifeson and Lee discussed creating more music together.
Tom Von Malder of Owls Head has been a music critic since 1972, right after graduating from Northwestern University’s Medill School of Journalism. It has been reviewing videos/DVDs since 1988.
Strand presents a broadcast captured live from London’s “The Book of Dust”