Ann Wilson – Fierce Bliss (Album Review)

Ann Wilson – Fierce Bliss (Album Review)

In the annals of Folk Rock/Pop Rock/Pop Metal, the American band Heart is indispensable and significant–prolific, with sixteen albums and a string of hit singles to boot; and enduring, having formed in 1967! And in the heart of this long-running group was the ‘Dreamboat Annie’ herself – the lead Vocalist and Songwriter Ann Wilson.

Born on June 19, 1950, in San Diego, California, Wilson–after the decades’ success of Heart–ultimately embarked on a solo career in the mid-2000s, releasing her all-covers debut offering in 2007. It took her fifteen years and one more full-length of renditions before she has unleashed her solo effort that contains original materials.

Released on Friday, April 29, 2022, via Silver Lining Music, Wilson’s latest, titled Fierce Bliss – her third–is a ten track record consisting of original material, rather than just covers. It starts with the haunting and driving mood of “Greed.” With the ensuing “As the World Turns,” Wilson then takes the listener to the folky prairies and countryside of a distant past – soothing, nostalgic, comforting. This is then followed by her take on Queen’s “Love of My Life,” featuring Vince Gill of Pure Prairie League, and more recently Eagles, fame.

There is also “A Moment in Heaven” which is a throwback to ’70s Pop Rock – soft and heartwarming, but electric and edgy enough. And then there is a cover of the Eurythmics’ “Missionary Man,” exuding faint echoes of the likes of The Runways and  Joan Jett & the Blackhearts. Additionally, with “Black Wing,” “Forget Her,” and “Gladiator,” Wilson then switches to something that she is also good at dishing out- slow, passionate Power balladry. A change of ambience, “Fighten for Life” offers a desert-dry journey to introspective, Worldbeat-glazed territory. Finally, Wilson with her strong  backing band – Tom Bukovac (guitar), Tony Lucido (bass), Sean T. Lane (drums, percussion), Gordon Mote and Tim Lauer (both keyboards) – finishes Fierce Bliss with the impassioned, soulful, and bluesy “Bridge of Sighs.”

Wilson is more than able to compensate for Heart’s hiatus, the compelling contributing reason for which is for another time, place, and story. In the meantime, let Fierce Bliss take center stage and let the songs accompany you to somewhere new yet familiar. For this, Cryptic Rock gives Wilson’s third endeavor 4 out of 5 stars.

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aLfie vera mella
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Born in 1971, in Metro Manila, Philippines, aLfie vera mella is a healthcare worker, singer/songwriter, and editor/writer. He was the frontman of the ’90s-peaking Philippine Alternative Rock / New Wave band Half Life Half Death, which released a full-length album and several singles on Viva Records. aLfie worked at Diwa Scholastic Press as an editor/writer of academic textbooks and supplementary magazines, focusing on Science & Technology and English Grammar & Literature. In 2003, aLfie migrated to Canada; he has since been living in Winnipeg, Manitoba. He works full-time at a healthcare institution, while serving as the associate contributing editor of Filipino Journal—a local community newspaper in Winnipeg—tackling Literature, Languages, Cultures, Lifestyles, and Music. aLfie has been a music journalist since the mid-’90s for various print magazines as well as websites. He started writing album reviews for Cryptic Rock in 2015. In 2016, aLfie published Part One (Literature & Languages and Their Cultural Significance) of his Essay Series, Can You Hear the Sound of a Falling Leaf?; in 2021, his first book of poetry, Pag-íhip sa Dáhon ng Kahápon [Blowing Leaves of Yesterday]. In his spare time, he enjoys reading books and listening to music. aLfie is a dedicated father to his now 13-year-old son, Evawwen; and a loving husband to Kathryn Mella, who herself moonlights also as a writer aside from holding a degree in Bachelor of Arts, Major in Sociology.

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