CHRIS OUSEY – Rhyme And Reason (2011)

CHRIS OUSEY - Rhyme And Reason (2011)


Famous for his early work with Virginia Wolf and more recently with Heartland, ‘the man with the golden tonsils’ Chris Ousey delivers “Rhyme & Reason”, his first solo album in a 30-year career.
One of the best vocalists in the British Melodic Rock / AOR scene – then and now – , has recorded a serious contender for the best of the year.

But if you hire the magical guitarist Mike Slamer (Seventh Key, City Boy, Streets) as the producer / guitarist it’s not a such a big surprise, because this guy knows how to create a tight and solid melodic rock sound that makes you hate that the tracks are only 3-4 minutes long.
Guitar genius Tommy Denander (co-writer/producer as well) and the drum giant Gregg Bisonette (Alice Cooper, Dave Lee Roth) surely help and on the bass we have veteran Neil Murray (Whitesnake, Gary Moore) with his precise and foundational sound.
With this array of talent we really got something special to enjoy.

The album has a very strong opening with “The Mother Of Invention”, which is also the first single, although any song from “Rhyme And Reason” could have been picked for the first release. The album is full of quality songs, and not one of them could be described as weak or insipid.

Follower “Bleeding Heart” has 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.
Tommy’s fast and easy fingers on the guitar neck are doing wonderful loops on the track “To Break a Heart” and Chris’ singing makes the hair on my arms rise.
“Motivation” has this charging drum rhythm from Gregg and Neil that resonates like Night Ranger’s ‘Secret Of My Success’ against possibly older Orion The Hunter with some killer mid-range vocal harmonies during the second verse and chorus.

The intrinsic yet playful keyboards open the smooth guitar tones of “A Chemical High”, another excellent song of this magnificent record.
“Give Me Shelter” offers a nice faster tempo with quick and crisp shifting riffs to lead things on the Hard Rock edge.
One of my personal favorites is “The Reason Why”. The chorus is the catchiest on the album, with Ousey giving a lot of emotion into his vocals and the lyrics that he has written, and Tommy Denander writing the music. The dual keyboard / piano parts here signal another standout in this album, where Tommy and Mike flex their affinity for Journey and Toto.

The empowering vocals of Chris gives me chill once more on the chorus in “Watch This Space”, one of the best songs I have heard all year, proving that you can balance a catchy hook with some nifty keyboard action and off time rhythm parts.
Last track (and the closest you can define here as ballad) “A Natural Law” builds quietly to a soaring and emotional melody, full of class and finesse.

“Rhyme And Reason” is a great album and highlights just how Chris has matured over the last two decades.
Anybody who’s into the Melodic Rock scene and appreciates good songwriting and incredibly catchy material with a heavy hitting sultry riffs, will no doubt rejoice at every tune on here.
Ousey is in fine form, offering that amazing raspy, high powered yet soulful vocals that makes him one of the best singers to ever come out of the UK in the AOR / Melodic Rock genre.
Sometimes, the music is simply the star on the robust and clever “The Mother of Invention”. This is easily the result of working with two skilled and creative individuals, Slamer and Denander. By the way, the production is clear and pristine with an urgent and punchy sound.

You can put Chris Ousey in the category of such great talents like Coverdale, Joe Lynn Turner or Eric Martin, except the man needs more exposure because is an injustice that more people don’t know how great of a talent this artists really is, and on this solo record he burns and crashes into your ears with pure listening bliss.
“Rhyme And Reason” is a great album and a top notch release for the year, adds to the list of outstanding Melodic Rock releases in 2011.
Highly Recommended

You’ve seen it first here, at 0dayrox


01. The Mother of Invention
02. Bleeding Heart
03. To Break a Heart
04. Motivation
05. A Chemical High
06. Give Me Shelter
07. The Reason Why
08. On Any Other Day
09. Dont Wanna Dance
10. Watch This Spac
11. By Any Other Name
12. A Natural Law

Chris Ousey – Vocals (Heartland, Virginia Wolf, The Distance)
Mike Slamer – Guitars, Keyboards (City Boy, Streets, Seventh Key)
Tommy Denander – Guitar and keyboards (RadioActive, Alice Cooper )
Neil Murray – Bass (Whitesnake, Gary Moore)
Gregg Bisonette – Drums (Dave Lee Roth)
Billy Trudel and Kristoffer Lagerström – Backing Vocals

Produced and Mixed by: Mike Slamer
Co-Produced by: Tommy Denander



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