Hope & Glory
First Appeared in The Music Box, November 2007, Volume 14, #11
Written by Matt Parish
Sat November 3, 2007, 08:00 AM CDT
As the lead singer of the phenomenally successful group Heart, Ann Wilson (along with her sister Nancy) always has shown that, in spite of the difficulties of life, hope will bring glory to those who believe in themselves. In making the aptly titled Hope & Glory, her first solo record, she assembled an army of todayís biggest recording artists in order to help her spread her ideology and defeat what she sees as the planetís biggest adversary: war.
Hope & Glory is a collection of songs penned by other artists that were hand-selected by Wilson for the project. The commonality among them is the theme of conflict, and their relevance is as crystal-clear as Wilsonís still-soaring delivery. Goodbye Blue Sky, which was made famous by Pink Floyd, kicks off this antiwar rally with a ticking percussion that reminds the listener that there is not a lot of time left to turn things around. Neil Youngís War of Man is reinvented, with Alison Krauss adding a menacing delicacy to the chorus and verse. The Youngbloodsí classic Get Together receives the beatnik treatment, complete with bongos and sing-along harmonies from Deana Carter, Wynonna, and baby sister Nancy Wilson.
Even Ann Wilsonís cover of Led Zeppelinís Immigrant Song and her duet with k.d. lang on Lucinda Williams' Jackson are effective in showcasing the Valhalla-to-Vicksburg continuum of manís aggression that she paints throughout Hope & Glory. Other pairings, such as Where to Now St. Peter? with Elton John and A Hard Rainís A-Gonna Fall with Shawn Colvin and Rufus Wainwright, add a certain amount of reflection to this ambitious yet prophetic release. There are varied interpretations of other classics here, too: Creedence Clearwater Revivalís Bad Moon Rising and Jesse Colin Youngís Darkness, Darkness, for example, are given a lighter treatment, while The Animalsí We Gotta Get Out of This Place and John Lennonís Isolation are presented as stark, emotional, do-or-die pleas.
Wilson drives home her point by concluding Hope & Glory with the setís lone original song Little Problems, Little Lies, which she wrote with producer Ben Mink. The tune chronicles the story of a private first class soldier who is caught within a no-win, war-zone situation that is painfully similar to the U.S. militaryís current predicament.
Since entering the emotional blender known as public life some 30 years ago, Wilson has come to understand a thing or two about waging war against a multitude of issues. She has dealt with the prejudice and oppression of women in rock that pervaded the early í70s, and she has squared off against her self-esteem issues and subsequent weight gain. Early in her career, she also fell in love with a draft-dodger while her father was a Marine Corps colonel. These "battles" have forged Wilsonís resolve, and they have helped her to connect the past with the future. The purple heart medallion that is pictured on the CD itself may or may not be in honor of her father. Nevertheless, it also serves as a symbolic ode to the bruised victories of her past that she had to overcome in order to find her own personal freedom. Ĺ
Hope & Glory is available from
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1 Star: Pitiful
2 Stars: Listenable
3 Stars: Respectable
4 Stars: Excellent
5 Stars: Can't Live Without It!!
Copyright © 2007 The Music Box