Americana Highways brings you this video premiere of The Wandering Hearts’ song “On Our Way” from their self-titled album set for release on Aug 6. The album was recorded and mixed at Sun Mountain Studios, mastered at Sterling Sound, and produced by David Baron and Simone Felice.
“On Our Way” was written by AJ, Francesca Revington, Tara Wilcox, Robin Howl, and Julien Forsythe-Lewis. The peformance of this song is AJ Dean Revington, Chess Whiflin, and Tara Wilcox on vocals; David Baron on keys; Lee Campbell on bass, drums, and electric guitar; Simone Felice on tambourine and Steve Melbourne on acoustic and electric guitar. We had a chance to chat with AJ Revington about the album and some other things along the way. The premiere appears just beneath the interview.
Americana Highways: The Wandering Hearts last came to America nearly three years ago and now you’re returning with a new album in hand. Tell us about the new album — any favorites among the new songs?
AJR: We were in the US at the start of 2020, finishing our album in the Catskills with the brilliant Simone Felice and David Baron. We then hit the road, winding our way to SXSW, but after a few shows, we had to hightail it back to London due to the pandemic. We cannot wait to be able to get back over and pick up where we left off. Luckily, before we left, we had a day at the Cash Cabin in Hendersonville with Marty Stuart, where he put down the guitar and mandolin parts for “Dreams.” “Dreams” is a big favorite of ours. It was written by Marty and Connie Smith and they thought we might be able to do something special with it. Marty came over to our house in Nashville one day (he brought his really sweet Mom with him too) and played us this song – he just sat there with a guitar and sang it to us. And we loved it. It took us a while to work out how we could do it justice but we’re really happy with how it turned out.
AH: You have a new single “Build A Fire”? How did that song come together?
AJR: We wrote it with our good friend Fiona Bevan who we met when we all played the Bluebird together on our first trip to the States. She’s such an incredible writer, not to mention an incredible person, so writing with her feels less like work and more like chatting with your mate. “Build A Fire” came from a conversation about vulnerability. We all related to that feeling of meeting someone you really like but having that fear that you could get hurt if you took the relationship further. Sometimes, you get that feeling that maybe you should just run away and save the pain. But then we know it could be worth it if you took the risk. So, this song is saying, just go for it. Put the work in. Work on yourself, on each other – you could build something really special from it.
AH: Can you talk about this new video for “On Our Way”?
AJR: Totally! We shot it a few weeks back on the west coast of Scotland. It was last minute working out when we could go and film as the weather in Scotland tends to be quite rainy but we were lucky and had the most gorgeous summer evening to film in. Stuart Breadner, the director, had the idea to shoot it in Ayr, taking in the gorgeous Scottish Highlands and the ruins of Greenan Castle. The video depicts the events of this past year with a couple separated and writing to each other through messages in glass bottles. You see the real struggle with isolation that they are both managing but by the end of the video, it feels like they can breathe again and that’s what this song is about for us. It really HAS been a long, long year but it’s starting to feel like we are finally “On Our Way.” Wait, is quoting your own song just really cheesy?!!!
AH: Do you have musicians who you really look up to for inspiration for either their songwriting or musicianship?
Oh we have loads, soooo many! Allison Russell, Brandi Carlile, Courtney Marie Andrews, The Milk Carton Kids, Yola, Ruston Kelly. Obviously, Marty Stuart. We must have listened to Jason Isbell’s “If We Were Vampires” a gazillion times and we still all cry every time we hear it. And don’t even get us started on the absolute genius that is Natalie Hemby….
AH: “Dolores” is about The Cranberries. Was this more of a cautionary tale about the effects of celebrity on a vulnerable person or a song particularly about Dolores and what happened?
AJR: Truthfully, whilst we knew a lot of The Cranberries music, we didn’t know a lot about the struggles that Dolores O’Riordan had faced. It was a Rolling Stones interview about her life that we’d read before the session that got us all talking about her and then the music industry in general. How vulnerable we are, how isolated we can feel, how we live in a world where people can be so awful to one another and not really consider the ramifications of their words or actions. We didn’t want the song to be like a biopic but more a reminder to be check in with one another. We just don’t know what everyone is dealing with so the least we can do is be kind.
AH: Marty Stuart has always been a major supporter and an advocate for the band. An endorsement of that magnitude isn’t something that happens often. How did you feel when you found out about that?
AJR: We have been incredibly lucky to have Marty as our champion. He’s the reason we first made it out to the States and played CMAFest in 2018 as he invited us to play his Late Night Jam. We’d supported him in the UK and after watching us play a couple of times, he invited us over. We made our international debut at The Ryman Auditorium and played the Grand Ole Opry and then Graceland later that week. Absolute highlights! The American audiences were amazing and so welcoming to us Brits, mainly because Marty would introduce us and tell everyone ‘you’re gonna love ‘em’. So of course, that gets them on your side! We owe a lot to Marty, a whole lot.
AH: Since you are UK-based and Marty’s presence is centered in the US, were you already fans of Marty or did you not know exactly who he was?
AJR: We knew his music but when we saw Marty Stuart and his Fabulous Superlatives play at C2C festival in London in 2017, we found out just how brilliant they are. They absolutely blew everyone away! That man is a total showman, his musicianship is off the scale. He’s the kind of performer that no matter how good you think you might be, after watching him you really wanna put the practice in.
AH: Your music traipses across genres from Americana to folk to country to even Fleetwood Mac-styled classic rock. Was your creative musical palette inspired by music you listened to growing up or is it more sourced from music that just flows out of you when writing?
AJR: It’s a little bit of both. Definitely the music we listened to growing up inspired us, it almost feels like those artists were the ones that taught us about music. We all listened to great harmony bands like Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young, Simon & Garfunkel, The Mamas and The Papas, The Beach Boys and Fleetwood Mac to mention a few. It was cool that we had that in common when we met and owing to that, it does just kinda flow out of us from that.
AH: You’ll be at AmericanaFest in Nashville in September? The band must be looking forward to getting out on the road.
AJR: Arghhhh we honestly can’t wait!! Nashville is such a gorgeous city whenever you visit, but during AmericanaFest there’s such a buzz everywhere you go. And the audiences are such huge music fans, so if they’re liking what you’re doing, you know you’re doing something right.
The album is available to pre-order here: https://wanderinghearts.lnk.to/TWH and will be released on CD, vinyl, cassette and digital formats. The band’s official store offers a selection of exclusive bundles as well as signed items and a new t-shirt design.
The video was directed by Stuart Breadner (LaFontaines, Seafret, Del Amitri). Enjoy the ethereal harmonies and the soaring messages of the Wandering Hearts.