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 12 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 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 combined all of their best elements and brought them out in a beautiful manner. This album Rocked!: it was a winner from the start, with production from Steve Morris, mixing by Ray Roper (Stonebolt) and mastering by Craig Wadell. Heartland recorded album number eight, “Communication Down” in 2002 and this saw Heartland going for the throat. This album was a real ripper and the band was now pushing towards a more hard rock sound. Keyboards were supplied by the great Dave Chapman (Change of Heart).
“Move On” was the ninth studio album by this great British melodic rock band. It was over two years in the making and was well worth the wait. Steve Morris has also been a very busy man, as well as working with Gillan he has also been working on the Shadowman albums with Steve Overland (FM, The Ladder). Mind Your Head was their 10th studio album no less. The core of the band Ousey and Morris are at their best, like a fine red wine they have matured into the much loved band we hear and love today.
Just recently Chris is recording a solo album produced by Mike Slamer and is also working with Steve Overland on a new project called “Ozone”.
In the meantime “Travelling through time” is an enjoyable way to be reminded of how great they are, with tracks old and new and something you may just never have heard before….this is a milestone achievement from both Escape Music and Heartland, here’s to the future of a great working relationship that has stood the test of time.