Best Of The Batch: Ann Wilson
Hope & Glory
Artist: Ann Wilson
Title: Hope & Glory
Label: Zoe Records
When you have been around for a while and have lived the life of the successful rock star, what is left? Well, you keep plugging away and make great music, then there are no reasons to retire, and you have every reason to continue and in some instances record the album you always wanted to. Music fans are familiar with this process and more artists seem to be recording the songs that inspired them to become performers lately, which is a sign of the times.
Ann Wilson is the other half of the legendary rockers Heart, and she is no exception to the rule of making an ultimately career-capping recording at this stage of her career. Why not put the icing on the cake then get right back to rockin’ down the house again? Heart is coming out with some new music soon, and sister Nancy and their band are waiting in the wings to rock again, so standby for more.
Hanging on and putting out an album to satisfy a label contract is not part of the game for this veteran rocker. Ms. Wilson is in total control of her destiny and sounds as proud and powerful as ever on Hope & Glory.
You will hear many of your own favorites on this 12-track tribute to Ann’s desert island jukebox. She kicks it off with Pink Floyd’s track from The Wall, “Goodbye Blue Sky.” I would think that any Pink Floyd song would be difficult to cover, especially if you are attempting to sound somewhat like the original. In this case, Wilson does an exceptional job of keeping the original meaning and feel intact while adding her own little twists and turns.
This is what she pulls of consistently throughout this CD. Led Zeppelin’s “Immigrant Song” is best described as different; it sounds like the track went from being played at a 78 speed on the turntable down to 45. It sounds good just the same, and you can tell by the way it’s done that this is a lifetime Zep fan giving it her all. The Wilson sisters have never kept it a secret that they were heavily influenced by Zeppelin’s music and openly played their songs in concert over the years. That influence was always so obvious in their catalog and we have all been the fortunate recipients of their acknowledgements.
A highlight is her duet with Sir Elton John on his enduring classic “Where to Now St. Peter.” It was very gratifying to hear these two elder rockers sounding as fresh and vibrant as their contemporaries half their age, it gives me hope that I can remain a teenager inside eternally if I choose.
Alison Kraus shows up; she is a label mate on Zoe. That young woman is becoming quite the celebrity with her own music, good looks and beautiful voice. She is the perfect partner for Ann on “War of Man.” I felt like I was thrown back in time after a few listens. Those are a few of the highlights and the album closes out with Ann’s own track “Little Problems, Little Lies,” which actually sounds like a Heart title. Fittingly she ends this journey with her own song after doing a string of covers very well with a group of music’s messiahs.
01. Goodbye Blue Sky - with Nancy Wilson (Pink Floyd)
02. Where to Now St. Peter - with Elton John (Elton John)
03. Jackson - with k.d. lang (Lucinda Williams)
04. We Gotta Get Out of This Place - with Wynonna (The Animals)
05. Immigrant Song (Led Zeppelin)
06. Darkness Darkness - with Nancy Wilson (The Youngbloods)
07. Bad Moon Rising - with Gretchen Wilson (Creedence Clearwater Revival)
08. War of Man - with Alison Krauss (Neil Young)
09. Get Together - with Nancy Wilson, Deana Carter & Wynonna (The Youngbloods)
10. Isolation (John Lennon)
11. A Hard Rain’s a-Gonna Fall - with Rufus Wainwright & Shawn Colvin (Bob Dylan)
12. Little Problems, Little Lies
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