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Music Review: Heart – Red Velvet Car

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Red Velvet Car was released August 31, 2010, and is Heart’s last studio album to date. It was the group’s most successful release in two decades, as it reached number 10 on the Billboard Magazine Album Pop Chart.

The band consisted of vocalist Ann Wilson, guitarist/vocalist Nancy Wilson, guitarist/keyboardist Ben Mink, dobro player Craig Bartuck, bassist Ric Markmann, and drummer Ben Smith. Mink also produced the album.

The band continued its recent trend of composing its own material. The Wilson sisters co-wrote all of the tracks, but were joined by Mink for six songs and Bartock for four of them. Even old writing partner Sue Ennis lent a hand on two of the tracks.

It was another solid album of mostly guitar-based rock ‘n’ roll.

My only complaint was the use of bonus tracks, which varied by country or where you purchased the album. If you made the purchase at Target; add two songs. If you downloaded it in Canada, add two tracks, but if you bought it in a Canadian store, add one track. The Japan download added three. I say just release all of the songs together, but that’s just me.

There were three standout tracks. “WTF” was released as a single and received considerable airplay. The group cranked up their guitars and rocked like the Heart of old.

“There You Go” is one of the band’s most sophisticated compositions. The music meanders with some twists and turns, yet always returns to the melody.

The best of the lot was “Safronia’s Mark,” which finds Heart at its best. It is old school rock ‘n’ roll with a mandolin sound thrown in for good measure. It contains some witty and biting lyrics, and Ann Wilson’s voice remains one of the best in rock music.

Two other tracks stand out. “Death Valley” has an ominous feel as it churns along, and “Wheels” is an air guitarist’s delight.

The best of the bonus tracks, if you are near a Target store or plan a visit to Canada, is “In The Cool,” which is one of those beautiful songs that Heart was so good at producing.

Red Velvet Car is a solid and simple album which enabled the band to return to its roots. It finds Heart rocking on into the 21st century.

Photo credit: restorebirth.blogspot.com

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