Interview: The Wandering Hearts talk New Album, Recording It Where ‘Dirty Dancing’ was Filmed, Comedic Song Title Quotes The Story Behind Dolores and more

The Wandering Hearts are one the UK’s most gifted artists. Vocal harmonies to die for, the trio have produced some of the most beautiful music in their genre and beyond and they just keep getting better and better. With their very much eagerly anticipated second album (for fans and the band themselves) to be released on August 6th (titled The Wandering Hearts), the band have already released a number of stunningly beautiful tracks such as the emotive Dolores which is incredibly moving and plays a supportive role to mental health. Fans of The Cranberries will hear right away that the track is in dedication to their lead singer Dolores O’Riordan who took her life after years of suffering from depression.

If the bands albums weren’t enough, The Wandering Hearts live performances are not to be missed. You can almost say that their albums don’t do them enough justice. Born to sing together, they don’t even need a band or to play accompanying instruments as their vocals alone could fill an arena just as well. The Wandering Hearts already have a pretty much sold out tour at the end of the year but they have recently announced another tour for next year.

The tour, titled The On Our Way Tour are at the following dates;

15th – Glasgow, St. Luke’s
16th – Newcastle, Riverside
17th – Leeds, The Wardrobe
18th – Manchester, Academy 2
20th – Liverpool, O2 Academy 2
21st – Norwich, Waterfront
22nd – Birmingham, O2 Institute 2
24th – Bristol, Trinity Centre
25th – London, O2 Shepherd’s Bush Empire
27th – Brighton, Concorde 2

Humble and always having time for their fans and generous to media, The Wandering Hearts are always an absolute joy to talk with. It’s like talking to old friends.

Like many of my fellow Country Music website owners and reviewers, we have all been there from the start and to watch the group grow has been beautiful and we never tire of talking to them. Hey, if we do maybe the next interview can be like a musical where I sing-talk the questions and they can answer in their beautiful singing voices? Ok, I actually want this to happen now and think all their interviews should be this way! What do you think????

I hope you enjoy our chat!

How are you all? How have you been during this pandemic? I am sure you must get asked this a lot now but how have you been both professionally and personally?

Chess: We are good! We are all healthy which is a good start -Touch wood. It has obviously been an interesting time for everyone but we’ve tried to make the most of it in the sense of learning new skills.

When it comes to recording music we weren’t all necessarily that savvy with recording ourselves because someone else would do it but because we have done everything remotely, we have all had to get better at that. That has been a real positive I think from the last year.

We have managed to keep on writing as much as we can via zoom. We were really lucky that we got to record the album before the pandemic hit. We were lucky in that sense so that was ready to come out when the time was right.

As tough as it has been and boring at times and desperate to get back on the road, actually we have survived and have got through it and have supported each other. We are hopefully going to come out the other side.

You did manage to do some band stand gigs during this last year. What were they like because it must have been a mixture of really missing the live shows and a full audience but at the same time appreciating playing for even one person?

There were times during these shows where very few people would be there not due to lack of interest but just due to not risking things or due to being vulnerable and so on. In some ways it must have been a bit like when you first started out as it’s been so long since you haven’t played to a massive crowd as your shows are always very full.

AJ- For sure! We had a few varied experiences in our live performances from when we have started. Obviously we have been very lucky where we have got to play some massive venues and to really big crowds. Our first ever gig was in a really small basement in London and we have always carried on playing in small venues too as we like doing record stores and in store gigs, coffee shops.

We are always trying to play so having a variety between a really big show and a really intimate show is lovely if you are fortunate to get that variety which we have been.

But certainly at the time that we were playing the band stand shows that was still quite an uncertain time and we weren’t quite sure whether they were going to be possible despite the fact they were outdoors. A lot of councils were still unprepared to take the risk but we did get a handful of shows in and we just felt very fortunate and have people turn up, that was enough.

I love your small intimate shows. I was at the Omeara showcase which is where I first heard you and I will never forget it! I can’t even remember who else played that night, that’s how good you were.

All – Thank you!

So you mentioned that this album was ready before lockdown but of course you have had to postpone its release and by quite a bit. How does that feel for you because a lot of artists have released their music still during the pandemic which is of course risky as are unable to fully promote it in terms of radio tours, live performances, anything that you would usually do. Was the reason you have delayed it so that you can do those promotions?

Tara – The album was actually delayed before the pandemic so we really wanted to get the right team to record it. Album two is super important to us and I think we needed to be able to pick the right time to release it. We recorded the album in February (2020) and the last day of doing anything to it was like Friday the 7th of March or something and then we had to fly home like two days later on the last flight out of America because of the pandemic. It was a case of if you don’t fly out now, you aren’t going to get home.

It had already been delayed by about two years probably and last March lots of us had no idea what this pandemic was going to look like and we thought by maybe September it was going to be alright. Putting it out on the originally planned date in April, I think unless you are already established it would have been a bit of a mad thing to do. Certainly for us, the lifeblood of musicians for all intents and purposes is touring. So for us to put an album that we can’t see people and we can’t build any traction when we had already worked so hard to get it to this point and we had already waited so long, it seemed far better to wait for the right time.

You recorded the album in The Catskills in the USA. Am I right in thinking that’s where Dirty Dancing was set?

All pause and Zoom shows three pensive faces.

Chess – Do you know what…it was!

Did it look like the same place?

AJ – Yeah, what’s the name of the place where they all stayed???

Tara – I just Wikipediaed it. It says in the Upscale Catskill Mountains Resort at max expense so yeah spot on!

AJ – Good knowledge Hannah crikey!

They filmed part of the Marvellous Mrs Maisel there too

Chess – I love that!

I was going to ask if you were tempted to get into the water and do the lifts like they do in the film but I guess that question is irrelevant now ha!

All laugh

Tara – but we did have the time of our lives!

Hahahah good one!

AJ- we didn’t want to put our baby (album) in the corner


Tara – at the end of it we all had hungry eyes

All laugh

Oh my goodness this can happily go on forever, it’s hilarious! Dang it for timed interviews haha!

I want to talk about the song Dolores! Weirdly before I had even heard the song I wondered if it was going to be about Dolores O’Riordan of The Cranberries. I then heard it and realised that it was. The Cranberries were one of my all time favourite bands and were my first ever gig back in the nineties. So it was such a sad time when she died. Chess, I read that you brought the story to Tara and it went from there?

Chess – It was pretty mad. I had read this article on the train on the way to a writing session and we were writing with our lovely friend Caitlin Stubbs and I didn’t really have any idea of the back story. I knew the songs, I knew the band but I didn’t know what had happened until I had read it. I said to everyone “did you know that this was her life and this is what happened?” And so I felt that I kind of needed to share it with the room.

As I was talking Caitlin was writing it down as I was speaking and she said “Right, I think this is our song” and then Tara had said that there was something her mum would always say to her which is “everyone’s fighting a battle that you know nothing about” which is of course a lyric in the song. The story of the struggle and that quote became central points that we wrote the song about and around and as much as it is a terribly sad story, harrowing story, we wanted there to be some sort of positive takeaway, message that came with it so that quote was so on point to what we were feeling. When people are struggling we wanted to send the message that there will always be someone there to listen. Don’t suffer on your own.

The words and lyrics and the meaning of that song have just become more and more poignant throughout the last year. It was an emotional writing session and was emotional again to record it.

Have you had any feedback from fans of The Cranberries? I have seen anywhere that you have actively said that the song is about her but I wondered if fans, like I had had figured it out?

Chess – It was an inspired by her story song. We have had some Cranberries fan pages that have posted about it. It has all been positive feedback from them. Also our PR person in America is The Cranberries PR person which is completely coincidental and random. We got a really positive response from them (PR) as well and the guy still works with the rest of the band so that was really comforting to us.

AJ – Yeah because you really want to be, giving the subject matter and the fact that it’s somebody’s life, if it was anybody you want to be sensitive about that but when it is someone we really admired we wanted to be particularly respectful so to get the feedback we have was very welcomed and kind of a relief in a way.

It’s a song that I think, not that I knew her personally but is a song that I do think she would love. It’s not too distant really from the music that they made. When you listen to the No Need To Argue Album whilst it’s very different it also isn’t if that makes sense? In terms of it has elements of that album sonically. The stunning, somewhat melancholic, folky feel to it.

AJ – That’s it! There are a couple of musical nods to the band in there I think in a respectful way. All of that stuff was in our minds when we put that track together.

The album as a whole – what can you tell us about it? What did you want to do differently this time?

Tara – We were dead set that we wanted this album to sound as much like us live as we could get it but with all of those little bits of fine tuning that are needed.

With the first album it was such a wonderful vehicle for us and it did wonderful things and we are ever so grateful that we had the opportunity to put Wild Silence out in the way that we did but it was really important that with this album we kept it small, we went out to Woodstock and it was just us three plus Lee who people have seen at some of our gigs, he is our multi instrumentalist. He played drums on this record, guitar, he is an amazing guitarist.

Simon and David who are our producers, Simon did some percussion and David did some piano, I say some piano, THAT amazing piano that you hear in Dolores. Just to make it feel really organic we wanted it to be something that would translate in a live show and this album has really done that for us. We feel like it sounds like us live.

Well as a fan, that is very exciting and what we all want to hear because there is nothing like it. I could listen to you live all day. It’s amazing how you all found each other, it’s like it’s meant to be.

Aww thank you!

There seems to never be an ego in your group which I really love. For example I often see you walking around festivals and letting fans approach you and have really long conversations. I think that is so important.

AJ – That’s what makes us! It doesn’t make any sense to us when people lose touch with their fans. You owe everything to the people who have an interest in what you do and therefore why wouldn’t you want to spend your time with them?

Chess – Yeah because of them and without you wouldn’t be doing it or playing those stages.

You are going on tour soon, can you believe it? Live shows? What do you imagine the first gig will be like now because it is going to mean so much more than a first night of a tour normally would.

Chess – I think I am going to cry loads and probably not be able to sing that much which will be really disappointing for the fans.

AJ laughs

Chess – We have actually set rules for ourselves that we won’t be drinking for the first couple of shows because I think alcohol with emotion and the adrenaline will be a complete overload for our bodies. That nervous energy and the emotion, everything so we said let’s just ease ourselves into this because it is going to be utterly overwhelming in every single sense of the word.

Of course, and it will be a night you won’t forget.

When is the first show?

Tara – Colchester. It is our smallest show and is about fifteen minutes from my house. Haha so this no drinking think I feel like it is kind of news to me because I was thinking I can get a cab back haha. When you leave Hannah us three may to have a little chat about that haha.

Thanks so much and I cannot wait to be at a show again and I cannot wait for the new album.

All – Thank you so much!

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