It’s a simple arrangement with the boys playing guitar and occasionally joined by Chess on mandolin and Tara concentrating on her amazing voice. They are joined by a rhythm section which fleshes out the sound considerably to give the songs the required depth.
Before the main event we made sure we got there early to catch Ruston Kelly providing one of the support slots tonight. He’s certainly a talented singer songwriter who pulled no punches where stopping the show to tell the loud talkers at the back of the venue to shut the eff up. It’s a ballsy move for a support act but he certainly gets my full backing. I wish more artists called this out. There have been too many times over my nearly 800 gigs where there is that annoying group of people sharing the boring minutiae of their day or as is often the case record company liggers who probably haven’t paid for a ticker chatting away. Anyhow, rant over and Kelly delivers a fine 30 minute set showcasing his talents with quirky songs with titles such as ‘Faceplant’ from his excellent album this year ‘Dying Star’ and ‘Asshole’ his apology to new wife after getting arrested a month after the wedding. Hopefully he will be back for a headline tour soon.
Back to the Hearts. After the release of their debut album ‘Wild Silence’ earlier this year they seem to have been non-stop touring both here and the US and they are certainly getting a lot of support from the UK country establishment whatever that is. And rightly so. The whole album is played tonight along with a couple from the upcoming deluxe version and there’s even time for a cover of Elvis’ ‘the Wonder of You’.
Whats strikes me most now hearing the songs live is that even the weaker songs from the album sound good and the four or five good songs sound great and they have certainly established a solid foundation for future albums and live shows with the start of a really great canon of songs to build on. They have also manged to avoid the trap of falling into that safe, over produced, polished country sound that sadly dominates US country radio and the Nashville establishment.
Easy going and comfortable on stage, lead vocals are shared in the main between Tara and AJ but any of the four of them could take lead comfortably. It’s a strong set throughout but highlights for me would include show opener ‘Biting through the wires’, ‘Rattle’ and the fine ‘Burning Bridges’ played Bluegrass style with the four crowding around a single microphone.
If you like your folk with a pop edge with great harmonies then you have found your perfect band with The Wandering Hearts who are moving quickly to justify the Fleetwood Mac comparisons.
Keep on rockin y’all