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Fergie Frederiksen - 'Happiness Is The Road' (frontiers records) 5/5

2010 was a tough year for former Angel / Toto vocalist Dennis 'Fergie' Frederiksen. in the June he was diagnosed with inoperable liver cancer, only given a slim chance of survival and facing a period of painful and exhausting treatment. So in order to give himself something positive to work on he set out to record 'Happiness is The Road' an album that could well have been his final work. Now just over a year on Mr Frederiksen is experiencing better times. The cancer is in long term remission and the product of those dark days is at last released.

Now its a bit of cliche to say that often a persons darkest hour is their finest, but it is one that so often holds true. 'Happiness Is the Road' is a truly remarkable album, musically its typical US stadium rock, but I'm convinced that it is one that will be hailed along side the likes of Toto 4, Journey's 'Escape' and Styx's 'Paradise Theater' as one of the true great albums of that genre.

It's not just that this album is superbly played and produced, but that Mr Frederiksen is giving one of the most powerful and emotional performances I have ever heard. From beginning to end this record is a real spine tingler, it takes the listener on the real roller-coaster ride of feelings this guy must have been going through as he wrote and recorded it. Tracks like The Future Ain't What It Used To Be and Elaine with their lyrics of an uncertain future and lost opportunities, are delivered with a heart felt passion that brings a lump to the throat of even this most skeptical of power ballad hating rockers. Then others such as the title track, The Saviour, Angel (Mirror To Your Soul) and First To Cry are real life affirming no regrets uplifting numbers that still dampen the eyes, but this time with tears of joy. Whats more at no point does this album ever get morbid or depressing, but retains a positive vibe through out. It is indeed refreshing that in a world where emotion in rock is all to often over played and false, we have at last an album that speaks from the heart to the heart without ever having to fake it.

Add in the fact that musically this album is dripping AOR sensibilities that hat tips the likes of Toto, Journey, Foreigner, etc without ever becoming derivative or cliche and you have a work that is something very very special indeed and an album that is all set to become an all time classic.

for fans of.... Toto, Angel, Styx, Loverboy, Journey, House of Lords, etc...

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