CHRIS OUSEY – Rhyme and Reason
Heartland vocalist Chris Ousey steps away from his main act and releases a solo album with some killer musicians in the mix. Joining Chris on this “Rhyme And Reason” 12 song odyssey are guitarist/keyboardist Mike Slammer (Seventh Key), guitarist/ keyboardist Tommy Denander (Radio Active, Alice Cooper), bassist Neil Murray (Whitesnake, Gary Moore), and drummer Gregg Bisonette (David Lee Roth). Overall songs like “Give Me Shelter” and “Bleeding Heart” have a distinct blend of Chris’ golden bluesy pipes and this street sensible songwriting with enough bite in the guitar department to appeal to both the melodic mavens and those into conventional hard rock.
“Motivation” has this charging drum rhythm from Gregg and Neil that resonates like “Secret Of My Success” Night Ranger against possibly older Orion The Hunter with some killer mid-range vocal harmonies during the second verse and chorus. Dual keyboard /piano parts signal another standout in “The Reason Why”- where Tommy and Mike flex their affinity for Journey and Toto amidst the more church choir like vocal arrangement. You’ll even get a little bit of flash and dash in “Watch This Space”, proving that you can balance a catchy hook with some nifty keyboard action and off time rhythm parts. With no song over the 4:31 mark, “Rhyme And Reason” subscribes to the ‘hit them quick and get away’ songwriting philosophy- even keeping the ratio of ballads to rockers to a bare minimum (with closer “A Natural Law” one of the better, emotional slower songs I’ve heard this year).
Let’s hope this isn’t a one off sojourn for Chris Ousey. “Rhyme And Reason” adds to the list of outstanding melodic hard rock releases in 2011.