Album review: KING OF HEARTS

KING OF HEARTS - King Of Hearts

MelodicRock Records [Release date 22.11.19]

King Of Hearts are another band making a comeback many years after their first shot at musical stardom back in the late 80s. However, their label at the time didn’t release their debut album which eventually saw the light some ten years later under the title ‘1989’.

Original members’ vocalist Tommy Funderburk (fellow sleeve note anoraks like me will know he has appeared on many albums down the years including Whitesnake, Yes, Motley Crue) and guitarist Bruce Gaitsch (Chicago, Richard Marx, Madonna) decided to record new music after many requests from fans of the band’s debut album. Rounding out the band this time around are bassist John Patitucci (Chick Corea, Herbie Hancock), drummer Keith Carlock (Steely Dan, Toto) and producer, songwriter, arranger and keyboardist, CJ Vanston (Toto, Spinal Tap) – he was also involved in the original album. Then we have guest musicians including Timothy B Schmit (Eagles), Peter Cetera (ex-Chicago) and Def Leppard’s Phil Collen.

On ‘California’ you can almost feel the sunshine pouring out of the music, whilst ‘Say It Now’ recalls Toto complete with a snazzy keyboard solo. Tommy Funderburk has lost none of his melodious singing style and it is a real delight to hear him taking the mic spotlight, instead of being in the background.

‘Rose Maria’ could be a Don Henley solo song and on this one they add accordion to give it a country feel. In amongst the silky smooth AOR the big riffing ‘A Simple Song’ adds a bit of hard rock, plus the solo of the album by Bruce Gaitsch. A tale of how rock ‘n’ roll started and one of the album’s highlights.

Not many bands make albums like this anymore, rich in sound and melody – ‘real music’ as the band call it. King Of Hearts, along with Boulevard and Soleil Moon, have produced one of the best AOR albums in recent years. ****

Review by Jason Ritchie

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