CD Reviews

Chris Ousey - 'Rhyme And Reason' Hot

Added by Central Electronic Brain     January 10, 2012    
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A set of songs possessed of both memorability and longevity.

Arguably one of the finest bluesy hard rock singers of his generation, since he was first enticed away from the clutches of Monroe to work with Nick Bold and Jason Bonham in Virginia Wolf back in the mid 80's, Chris Ousey has never failed to deliver. Perhaps not the most prolific of singers (on album at any rate), over the last two decades he has nevertheless produced ten excellent studio releases with Heartland, each embodying the spirit of everything that's great about sophisticated MHR/AOR.

Have to admit, since it was first announced some months ago that Chris was working on his first solo album with Mike Slamer (Streets, Steelhouse Lane, etc.), I've been growing more and more impatient waiting for its release. Two of the most consistent (albeit underappreciated) talents the world of melodic hard rock has ever seen; on paper at least it was a marriage made in heaven. The devil in me would love to tell you that it hasn't worked out that way in practice, but half a dozen spins into 'Rhyme & Reason' and I'm absolutely blown away by what they've created together!

Helped out in the studio by Tommy Denander (who also co-wrote a lot of the material with Chris), Neil Murray and Gregg Bisonette; the pair have produced a set of songs that crackles with an effervescent energy most artists spend an entire lifetime searching for but ultimately never manage to find. As longstanding admirers will no doubt attest, Ousey has one of those warmly soulful, bluesy voices that could quite easily sing the phone book if he wanted and still make it sound seductive, and he certainly wrings every last drop of emotion from a truly heartfelt performance here ... but that's only the start.

Fireworks - The Ultimate Magazine For Melodic Rock Music

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The key to success for any album whatever the genre is a set of songs possessed of both memorability and longevity, and in a nutshell, that's exactly what 'Rhyme & Reason' delivers. As for the spiralling guitar solos (take a bow Mister Slamer), dramatic keyboard fills and driving rhythms; you'll do well to find any better (or indeed more contemporary sounding) anywhere this year ... and don't even get me started on the Slamer/Denander production job; simply amazing!

Proffering a dizzying mixture of brash AOR hooks, sassy blues rock rhythms and theatrical melodrama, tracks like punchy opener 'Mother Of Invention', the insistently persuasive 'A Chemical High', the svelte 'The Reason Why' or swaggering 'Give Me Shelter' hit hard and hit deep to leave an indelible mark on your subconscious mind (the kind you'll never want to be free of). I know that technically speaking it's being billed as a solo album, but if there's any justice in the world this lot will be the next supergroup to follow in the footsteps of Chickenfoot and Black Country Communion.

The world of melodic hard rock has already produced some rarefied gems this year (Shy, Serpentine and Toby Hitchcock to name but three) but the more I listen to 'Rhyme & Reason', the more I'm convinced that this one could actually top the lot!

Dave Cockett

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