Five Star - Ann Wilson - Fierce Bliss

by Kevin Wierzbicki

Wilson has put out so much good music away from Heart that it is perhaps unfair to label Fierce Bliss as her strongest solo effort ever. Suffice it to say that the album is a winner that will thrill fans of Heart and of her solo work. The effort begins with "Greed," a radio-ready rocker that Heart fans will especially love; the cut is followed up with "Black Wing," a slow, simmering song where Wilson demonstrates her well-known fondness for Led Zeppelin in an impressive fashion. Fierce Bliss features several covers, including a take on the Robin Trower signature tune "Bridge of Sighs." Trower isn't often covered, perhaps because it is not easy to replicate his amazing guitar playing; here Wilson enlists the help of guitar hero Kenny Wayne Shepherd to play Trower's part while she does an excellent job with the ominous vocals, originally sung on Trower's version by James Dewar. The other covers that Wilson chooses here are a take on the Eurythmics hit "Missionary Man" and the album's quiet moment, a version of Queen's "Love of My Life" where she duets with Vince Gill. "Fighten for Life" is slow and dreamy, except the dream is more like a nightmare as it chronicles a guy who is slipping into heavy dissipation, musically represented by squalling guitar and psychedelic effects. "Gladiator" is cryptic and again Zeppelin-ish, "A Moment in Heaven" features stinging guitar leads and Wilson's instantly-recognizable voice cooing and crooning hooks galore while "Angel's Blues" turns down the lights as Wilson tunes into a sultry blues rocking groove. Eleven songs in total, and well, we're going to say it anyway. Fierce Bliss is by far Wilson's best solo record yet.


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