Alt-country/Americana group The Wandering Hearts have become one of the true success stories of country music in the UK, after the London-based band had a whirlwind 2018. Before heading out on a sold-out album tour, they won the coveted Bob Harris Emerging Artist Award at the UK Americana Awards
The seeds of the band were sown in late 2015 when Tim Prottey-Jones and Tara Wilcox found themselves singing at the same gig, and immediately hit it off over. Both were hard-bitten pros: the heroically bearded Prottey-Jones was a multi-instrumentalist, singer, and the actor who had worked extensively in musical theatre and as a session musician; Wilcox had years of experience under her belt and had her own singing school.
Deciding to get together at Tim’s apartment over G&Ts to play some songs he had written, the quartet clicked at once. Christening themselves the Paper Hearts, they recorded two demo songs, “Today Is Ours” and “Sunshine,” which they uploaded to SoundCloud, leading to a flurry of immediate interest.
With neatly skilled finger picking, rousing choruses, dark-hued lyrics, and sweet, close vocal harmonies, they drew comparisons to Fleetwood Mac, whom the band later acknowledged as a major influence along with First Aid Kit, the Civil Wars, Tom Petty, Simon & Garfunkel, and Cara Dillon. But still whilst keeping their British roots at the very heart of their music.
Within a month, they had been invited to audition for Decca, who signed them on the spot.
Rebranded the Wandering Hearts, probably to avoid confusion with any of numerous other acts with the same name, they played a number of high-profile festival shows in 2016, and released 2 singles in 2017, their debut single, the bittersweet “Wish I Could,” and Devil.
After the success of singles, they came back with a collection of four heart-warming tracks.
Drawing upon themes of isolation and loneliness, the quartet use their unbelievable harmonies to offer reassurance and hope on title track, ‘Burning Bridges’.
The EP gave fans a glimpse of what they can expect from the band’s debut album, ‘Wild Silence’, which they dropped in February 2018, and picked up the coveted Bob Harris Emerging Artist award at the UK Americana Awards 2018, a prize hand-picked by the legendary broadcaster himself.
Bob Harris stated, “I was just blown away by them, by their harmonies, their energy, their enthusiasm and of course the fantastic quality of their music. I am truly thrilled for them and their new album is everything I hoped it would be.”
Following this, they performed their song ‘Burning Bridges’ and joined Imelda May, Mumford and Sons and Robert Plant on stage for a rendition of the late Tom Petty’s ‘Wildflowers’.
The band spent the rest of the year playing a number of British festivals, including Latitude, Black Deer, and BST Hyde Park as they started to gain traction as the new group to watch.
But they never intended to be an Americana band.
The Wandering Hearts fell in the genre more or less by accident. The sound that came out of their initial song writing sessions took on a life of its own and left them squarely rooted in a Folk-Americana category.
By June, the talented four-piece started making big moves in Nashville during the summer of 2018. This included a personal invited by music legend Marty Stuart to join him for his 2018 Late Night Jam at the Ryman Auditorium, playing alongside well-known names including Margo Price, John Prine and Chris Stapleton. Two days later, the quartet made their Grand Ole Opry debut, receiving a rapturous welcome and standing ovations, the band were invited back to the Opry the following week, after a trip to Memphis to support Marty Stuart at Graceland – live recordings from this show feature on the Deluxe Version of their 2018 album Wild Silence.
As they worked on their second album, the group was reduced to a trio with the departure of Prottey-Jones, but they continued performing, including the C2C Country to Country festival at the O2 in London, CMA Fest in Nashville, and a support slot for both Jack Savoretti and Brothers Osbourne.
After seeing American songwriter and singer Natalie Hemby tell the story of ‘Jealous’ at a writers round a few years ago, it had stuck with them ever since. And in September 2019, they release their own rendition as a single, which included the tracks ‘Nothing Breaks Like A Heart’ and ‘When The Party’s Over’. The latter adds another cover to their collection, which was released in 2018 by teen prodigy Billie Eilish.
In December, The Wandering Hearts released news that their upcoming 2020 intimate tour titled ‘In Harmony’ would start over in the States on March 7.
But UK fans needn’t worry. As the threesome also have a string of dates throughout April, performing their biggest hits across the country in cities and towns such as Southampton, Cardiff, Guildford, Milton Keynes, Poole and many more.
Tickets are selling fast so Get Yours while you can!
The rise of The Wandering Hearts has been nothing short of exceptional, with the group going from strength to strength. But when you hear them perform, it’s easy to see why.
The BCA wishes the Award-winning trio continued success for the future and to remind our readers that you can keep up to date on our Artiste of the Week on their websites and socials for more information being released in the coming months.
Keep up with the band via their socials.
Just as The Shires and fellow Black Deer artists Ward Thomas have previously, The Wandering Hearts are at the vanguard of the British movement, leading the charge of cool, emerging UK Americana and country artists, with their added blend of folk and roots.
Black Deer Festival
It’s clear that the effort being put into the band’s promotion indicates how far Decca appear willing to invest in an act they see as having huge breakthrough potential. https://americana-uk.com/
The Wandering Hearts are a phenomenal folk-Americana group who are paving the way in the UK country scene.
Danielle Booden https://www.eveningnews24.co.uk/
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To find out where you can hear The Wandering Hearts being showcased all this week, check out http://britishcountryairplay.co.uk/artiste-of-the-week