Heartland Miracles By Design
Chris Ousey’s career goes from strength to strength. His first main achievement was with Polygram recording artists "Monroe" with guitarist Gary Sharpe, but Chris never made it to the album as he was snatched in the pre-production stages by John Bonham's son, Jason, for his new band of the moment, Virginia Wolf. The band notched up 250,000 album sales between two records in the form of their self titled debut (produced by Queen's Roger Taylor) and "Push" (produced by Keith Olsen). The band also managed to tour with "The Firm" in the USA.
Heartland was actually formed by Chris with his old band mate Gary Sharpe and their self titled debut on A & M Records was produced by James "Jimbo" Barton. Barton eventually teamed up with Heartland bassist Phil Brown and the pair went on to produce Trixter, Steve Perry and Queensryche. Prior to this, Heartland had toured with Mr. Big in support of their debut album.
Chris and Gary later got together and put out "Wide Open" through Germany's Long Island label in 1994, which ended up as one of the company's best sellers. In late 1994 Escape Music's Khalil Turk introduced Chris to guitarist Steve Morris. Steve is a guitar virtuoso and as experienced as Chris in his own field having recorded two albums with Epic recording artist's "Export" (Living in fear of the Private Eye and Export) as well as touring with their own independent album supporting Slade. Through Export he got to work with Tony Bongiovi and Lance Quinn as well as writing with Bob Halligan Jnr. and Michael Bolton. Finally, Steve became guitarist for Ex-Deep Purple vocalist Ian Gillan and recorded three albums in addition to co-writing all the material, before he hooked up with Chris Ousey.
The album Heartland III, which was essentially the first release on the then newly formed Escape Music label, has done extremely well since it's release in November, 1995 and a year later is still very much a popular album. This third outing was considered more commercial than the previous two albums, but nevertheless kept the rock fan's respect as well as gaining a wider audience.
On February 28th, 1997 the brand new album "Bridge of Fools" was unleashed, with a return to rock roots and more of a 'band' feel. Along with Chris on lead vocals and Steve on guitars, Say keyboards player Chris Lloyd and original Heartland drummer Steve Gibson join the line-up, together with bassist Tim Duncan. At this point in time, Escape Music was working on many other projects, one of these being Vancouver based band “Pokerface” (Life’s A Gamble ESM 008). This particular outfit is fronted by Darcy Deutsch (Prism) and features guitarist/song writer/producer Kenny “Kaos” Loney. Kenny was to become very much a part of Heartland when Steve was tied up recording “Dream Catcher” with Ian Gillan. Hence, the collaboration between Chris and Kenny, culminating in the release of a melodic masterpiece called “The Distance” in November, 1997 which coincided with a tour in Germany supporting Brazen Abbot and Jeff Paris. At the time of the tour Steve had completed his work with Ian Gillan and so was able to play alongside Kenny in the set.
Soon after, the production started for “Miracles by Design”, the brand new Heartland album. This fifth album was recorded in Parr Street Studio’s (Belonging to Genesis’s management) using Ken Nelson as sound engineer. As keyboards player Chris Lloyd (Say) had recently been injured in a car crash, Steve Morris had to finish the keyboards before the tapes went to Vancouver for completion. Kenny made his contribution to the album and “Distance” cohorts John Counsel and Dave Hopia added keys and bass respectively. The mixing was carried out by Loverboy/Blackstone man Paul Dean in his own Vancouver studios and mastering is by the very same man who did the job for the new Van Halen album. No expense has been spared and the end result shows, every note being crystal clear.
Miracles By Design will take Heartland
into a new dimension.