Sound Clips   
Track 1 - Imagine my surprise
Track 2 - Follow me
Track 3 - Man in the Iron Mask
Track 4 - The Best of Times
Track 5 - Fight the good fight
Track 6 - Time and Tide
Track 7 - The bottom line
Track 8 - Black & White
Track 9 - Refugee
Track 10 - All her own way
Track 11 - Classical Blast

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Communication Down


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).
Heartland was actually formed by Chris with Gary Sharpe and their self titled debut on A & M Records in the early nineties 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. Heartland originally toured with Mr. Big in support of their debut album. Chris and Gary later got together and put out "Wide Open" in 1994, an album that has been reissued by Escape Music with bonus tracks (ESM 046). Later that year, 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 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 (ESM 002), which was essentially the first release on the then newly formed Escape Music label, has done extremely well since its release in November, 1995 and six years 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. In early 1997 the brand new album "Bridge of Fools" (ESM 011) 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 joined 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, known as “The Distance”, culminating in the release of two albums “The Distance” (ESM 022) and “Live and Learn” (ESM 042).
Soon after, the production started for “Miracles by Design”(ESM 029), the fifth Heartland album. The album was released in May, 98 and 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. Loverboy/Blackstone man Paul Dean in his own Vancouver studios carried out the mixing.
Chris and Steve have both expanded their already sound experience by working with many Escape Music artists in recent years, examples being Change of Heart, Message, Radio Silence and Newman, plus both Foreigner and Boston tributes. Their production and input is clearly evident. Since the release of “Miracles”, Heartland have released a sixth (acoustic) album “When Angels Call” (ESM 043), featuring songs old and new as the Heartland wagon train rolled ahead into a new millennium. The Ousey/Morris core remained backed with original drummer Steve Gibson, bass player Tim Hewitt (Boulevard) and keyboards aficionado Steve Millington (10cc).
“As it Comes”, the seventh album, was a major leap forward by the band in the way that it combines all of their best elements and brings them out in a beautiful manner. This album was something special, something different, something exciting…. and no one was going to be disappointed. More importantly, the album rocked! Chris Ousey has a voice like a good red wine; it gets better with age. This was a winning album, with production from Steve Morris, mixing by Ray Roper (Stonebolt) and mastering by Craig Wadell. The winning formula of “As it Comes” presented the band with the task of surpassing it, not an easy thing to do as most critics claimed it as their finest hour. Heartland has to do something better, and change their sound to suit.
The new album:
“Communication Down”, album number eight, sees Heartland going for the throat, the first track “Imagine my surprise” rips out of the speakers in classic Heartland manner, but the guitar sound created by Steve Morris is much more aggressive and the keyboards from Dave Chapman are just simply huge. Chris’s voice takes on another dimension and he hones his pipes to perfection as Heartland make their mark in an explosive manner. “Follow Me” is dominated by the harmonies of Chris, this is a great song that crescendos into a momentous tune, with memorable harmonies, rasping guitars and shimmering keyboards. “Black and White” is worthy of mention in the way that its moody chords give way to a massive wall of sound that combine guitar and keyboards to maximum effect. “Best of Times” is an ideal way for Chris to show his vocal prowess, the clever use of backing vocals and effects create an ambience that is very pleasant to the ears. . “All her own way” has a feel of classic Heartland about it, whilst “The bottom line” is marvellously executed, with tremendous harmonies and swirling keyboards. “Fight the good fight” is driven along by a pumping guitar hook and is drenched by Chris Ousey’s passionate vocals, before we are thrust straight into the racy lines of ”Time & Tide”. “Man in the Iron Mask” is the track featured on the hugely popular “Millennium Collection 2” (ESM 072) and most should be familiar with that track by now! “Refugee” makes sure that the quality of the album does not waver as it rattles along at a furious pace, and the grand finale in the shape of Steve who is in the limelight with “Classical Blast”, an instrumental track that weaves its way to you heart, with nice keyboard touches from Dave Chapman and intricate rhythms from bassist Tim Lewis and drummer Frank Baker has a beautiful feel to it, with glorious guitar notes and that certain Heartland panache.
The production, as you would expect, is faultless and the mixing has been handed to Paul Dean (Loverboy) for the icing on the cake. The whole package is a new era in the career of Heartland as they go from strength to strength in their dominance of the classic melodic rock scene.