Monday, 20 November 2017

The Wandering Hearts share debut EP ‘Burning Bridges’ (Review)

Burning Bridges (EP)

Burning Bridges / Nobody’s Fool / Never Expected This/ No One’s Gonna Love You
Release Date: 17 Nov 2017)
Time: 14:24
Label: Decca (UMO)
Genre: Indie & Alternative

Chart success: Debut Fri 17 Nov: #38 UK Alternative iTunes (#227 overall UK Albums chart), then #12 Alternative iTunes (#62 overall UK Albums chart) then #56 | Mon 20 Nov: #39 Alternative iTunes (#241 overall UK Albums)

The Wandering Hearts who comprise vocal harmony group Tara (Tara Wilcox), Chess (Francesca Whiffin), AJ (Alexander John Dean-Revington) and Tim (Timothy Prottey-Jones) fairly burst onto the Folk Americana/ country scene in 2017 with the release of their superb debut single, the bittersweet "Wish I Could," back on May 5, 2017.
Their first London show at St. Pancras Old Church (26th April 2017) was a sell-out, and the single was championed by Michael Ball and his team at BBC Radio 2. Then on August 19th Radio 2 “B” playlisted their brilliant catchy follow-up single "Devil".
Fresh from recently hearing they have been honoured winning The Bob Harris Emerging Artist Award (to be presented at The UK Americana Awards in Feb 2018) in somewhat of a quiet release they have now surprised fans with a 4-track EP BURNING BRIDGES with the title cut and an additional three acoustic tracks produced by Ant Whiting.
With its delicate acoustic opening with a soft cello bittersweet tale Burning Bridges questions and points a compass on the love merry-go-round-difficulties of losing one’s way in a relationship.
Although it seems there’s no turning back, there’s a distant reassuring plea to patch up differences when reaching out: You can’t see but if put your hand in mine and it will be alright
But it seems it’s all in vain from the female’s standpoint:
I’ve tried it all but nothing has worked yet, I’ve given all that I can give
And after all that I’ve been searching, can we put this thing to rest

The harmonies are tight and beautiful with a lovely open and somewhat eerie sound. Although references have been made likening The Wandering Hearts to Fleetwood Mac I feel, especially on this track, there’s more close resemblances to American folk-rock quartet Bryndle (who consisted of singer-songwriters the late Andrew Gold, Karla Bonoff, the late Kenny Edwards and Wendy Waldman) with an equally gorgeous sound.

With its Lindsey Buckingham-esque acoustic rhythm, Nobody’s Fool is a bouncy number they showcased at the Country To Country C2C 2017 Festival on The Big Entrance Stage to an appreciative audience on Sunday March 12, 2017. It’s a song that pulls no punches after a hazy, drunken night filled with regret and later tears.
Tara, whose vocal has more angst and rawness in contrast to the softer tones of Chess share the lead vocal duties taking no prisoners to escape the craziness, as hollow words are dismissed playing the female protagonists role with AJ and Tim providing the harmonic ooohs

On the beautiful slow-paced shuffle Never Expected This, with AJ on lead, it conveys a story where unexpectedly love finds a comforting home and its warmth melts a frosted heart. In just a moment, a smile and one kiss two searching souls unite. The joy is intense and is raised vocally as the song flows seamlessly
Heaven knows what I expected, but I never expected this
I never expected this,
Never for a moment
I never expected this
But my heart has found its home

Another love related song No One’s Gonna Love You closes out the 4-tracker. It’s a cover of Seattle based American rock band Band Of Horses single first released in February 2008 as the second single from sophomore release CEASE TO BEGIN. The song went on to have chart success in Europe some three years later in Denmark.
Putting their own twist on the track, it seems to be a perfect fit for The Hearts as firstly Tim and then AJ on lead are joined on harmony by Tara and Chess. The result is pure delight showing that each member is more than capable of expressing the emotion. The synergy is breath-taking with production that is restrained allowing their qualities to shine.
This exciting taster will leave fans eager to hear and get their hands on a full album which is expected to drop in the early part of 2018. Terrific stuff!

Adrian Clark

Press Release:


Within 30 minutes of uploading their first demo online, the London band were discovered. When you hear them perform, it’s easy to see why.” – Telegraph

Their music is a British twist on everything you love about the classic Fleetwood Mac plus some of the finest harmonies you’ll have heard in years.” – Record Of The Day

There’s no doubt that Folk-Americana group The Wandering Hearts have taken the UK music scene by storm this year with a string of high profile performances and sold out shows. The momentum is set to continue with the announcement of their debut EP Burning Bridges, out on Decca Records on 17th November 2017.

This week, it was announced that the band have won the Bob Harris Emerging Artist Award at The UK Americana Awards 2018. Handpicked by Bob Harris OBE himself, this special award celebrates the breakthrough act that has particularly impressed the legendary music broadcaster throughout the year. The award ceremony will take place at Hackney Empire on 1 February 2018, where the band will accept their award and perform live.

Often performed off-mic during their live shows, the EP’s title track ‘Burning Bridges’ has the power to completely silence a room. The haunting vocal arrangement and gentle accompaniment highlight the captivating lyrics, giving the audience space to connect with the song’s themes. The EP showcases another two live favourites, ‘Nobody’s Fool and ‘Never Expected This, alongside a stunning cover of ‘No One’s Gonna Love You by Band Of Horses.

Speaking of the track, The Wandering Hearts say, “Burning Bridges is about reaching out to those around you to find some hope in the world when you feel lost, alone and don’t know who to trust. The EP brings together some of the earliest songs we worked on as a band, when we met almost serendipitously and everything kind of fell into place. We’re excited to get these songs out into the world ahead of our debut album.”

With their seamless vocal harmonies, The Wandering Hearts are reminiscent of First Aid Kit and Of Monsters and Men, whilst channelling Fleetwood Mac’s pop sensibility and the storytelling of Chris Stapleton, all the while keeping their British roots at their heartBand members AJ, Chess, Tim and Tara are all grafters – working hard to hone their skills as musicians, and the standard is there to be seen. Hearing how naturally their voices blend together, it’s incredible they met almost by chance two years ago. Their shared passion for folk, Americana, vocal harmonies and gin drew them together, and one afternoon in an empty bar room of the Earl Haig Hall in Crouch End, The Wandering Hearts were born.

The Wandering Hearts have been writing and recording their debut album at east London recording studio, The Premises with producer Pete Hammerton. The EP brings together ‘Burning Bridges’ from the album sessions with three acoustic tracks produced by Ant Whiting. ‘Nobody’s Fool’ – “one for the girls”, ‘Never Expected This’ – “about unwittingly stumbling into love”, plus band favourite ‘No One’s Gonna Love You’ by Band Of Horses, reworked in The Wandering Heart’s distinctive style.

In-between recording dates, The Wandering Hearts have played two sold out shows in London, and a string of summer festivals across the country including British Summer Time Hyde Park – sharing the bill with the late Tom PettyStevie Nicks and The Lumineers – Bestival, Cornbury, Secret Garden Party and Standon Calling. 

The band recently completed a UK tour supporting the legendary Marty Stuart & His Fabulous Superlatives, and are set to join Marty again in Nashville in June 2018.

Speaking of the Bob Harris Emerging Artist Award, The Wandering Hearts say, “We are overwhelmed to be acknowledged at this stage of our career and to be recognised by the legend that is Bob Harris, makes it even more incredible. We can’t wait for 2018 – the Americana Awards, releasing our debut album, touring the UK and a trip to Nashville - it’s a dream come true, can it get better than this? We are honoured to be AMA-UK ambassadors!”

The BURNING BRIDGES EP was released on Decca Records on the 17th November 2017, with a full album to follow in early 2018, which promises to be a thrilling debut from this exciting new band.

See related BLOG POST (Sept 2017):

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Sunday, 19 November 2017

Sarah McQuaid new single, The Tug Of The Moon

Reviewers of the Madrid-born, Chicago-raised, Cornwall-based singer/songwriter’s previous albums have repeatedly alluded to her “relative obscurity” (The Big Takeover) and “under-the-radar” (The Vinyl District) profile.

Sarah McQuaid: The Tug Of The Moon (Single)
Release Date: November 3, 2017
Label: Shovel And A Spade Records
Genre: Folk/World/Acoustic/Singer-Songwriter
Cat. No: SAASCD0011

The Tug Of The Moon is the first single from IF WE DIG ANY DEEPER IT COULD GET DANGEROUS, the fifth solo album by UK-based singer/songwriter Sarah McQuaid. Produced by guitar icon Michael Chapman (memorably described in The Guardian as “the godfather of new cosmic Americana”), the album will be released worldwide on Friday 2 February 2018. The single is being released for radio and online streaming only, and is not available for sale, but is included as an immediate free download with pre-orders of the new album, which open this week.

Sarah shares: The album features what I’m convinced is by far my best batch of original songs and instrumentals ever ... plus another co-write with the wonderful Gerry O’Beirne, an arrangement of the medieval chant “Dies Irae” and a cover of Jeff Wayne’s classic “Forever Autumn”. In addition to my custom-made Andy Manson and 1965 Martin D-28 acoustic guitars, I’m also playing electric guitar (a lovely Ibanez Artist model that Michael’s kindly given me on long-term loan) and piano!

Click on to see pre-order options including vinyl LPs, test pressings with original hand-drawn artwork, CDs, T-shirts and a beautiful 30-page hardcover book containing behind-the-scenes photographs and reminiscences from the album recording sessions, photo shoot and video shoot.

Inspired by the leap second added last New Year’s Eve, “The Tug Of The Moon” morphs scientific fact into a poignant and heart-rendingly emotional waltz-tempo ballad (see lyrics overleaf), with Sarah’s rich voice accompanied only by her own plangent, tremolo-enhanced fingerpicking on an Ibanez electric guitar given to her by Michael Chapman on long-term loan.
Photo Credit: Phil Nicholls (

“The precision and sophistication of the writing and playing blows me away. I am so glad to be involved,” Chapman writes in his liner notes for the album. The legendary singer-songwriter and guitar sage (whose January 2017 Steve Gunn-produced release 50 has drawn widespread acclaim) first met Sarah when both artists played the Village Pump Festival in 2014. Since then, he’s become a staunch friend and supporter, even performing as Sarah’s opening act at a local concert he and his wife Andru arranged for her a few months after the festival. Sarah became a regular visitor to the Chapmans’ farmhouse in Cumbria, and during one visit he made her an offer she couldn’t refuse: “We were having a chat and a glass of wine, and he said ‘Why don’t you let me produce your next album?’,” Sarah recalls. “I’m glad he said it, because I’d never have dared ask otherwise!”

While the single (like Sarah’s live concerts) is a solo performance, Chapman does play on many of the other album tracks; guest musicians also include Roger Luxton on drums and percussion, Samuel Hollis on upright and electric bass, Richard Evans on trumpet, Georgia Ellery on violin and Joe Pritchard on cello.

A video for “The Tug Of The Moon”, filmed in St Buryan Village Hall by Cornwall-based filmmaker Mawgan Lewis of Purple Knif Productions, is due to be released later this month, and will be followed by other music videos, plus a promotional video featuring album recording footage and interview clips with both Michael and Sarah. The video production and the album itself have been made possible thanks to financial support from Arts Council England Grants For The Arts, using public money from the Government and the National Lottery, and from Cultivator, which is funded by the European Regional Development Fund, the European Social Fund, Arts Council England and Cornwall Council.

Recently honoured with a Lifetime Achievement Award by the Ards International Guitar Festival, Sarah’s also drawn critical praise for her voice (variously likened to malt whiskey and melted chocolate) and her engaging rapport with audiences:  “I’ve attended hundreds of concerts of all kinds, and her subtle mastery onstage launches her straight into my fave shows ever,” wrote The Huffington Post.

Reviewers of the Madrid-born, Chicago-raised, Cornwall-based singer/songwriter’s previous albums have repeatedly alluded to her “relative obscurity” (The Big Takeover) and “under-the-radar” (The Vinyl District) profile. With her new album – on which she expands her battery of instruments to include piano and the aforementioned electric guitar – she looks set to change that.

If We Dig Any Deeper It Could Get Dangerous will be launched with a concert at the Acorn arts centre in Sarah’s adopted home town of Penzance on Thursday, 25 January, following which she’ll be touring the album extensively in the UK, Ireland, the Netherlands, Germany and the USA.

Thurs January 25, 2018 - The Acorn, Penzance (Parade Street, TR18 4BU) (Album launch)
Fri January 26, 2018 -: Limelight Theatre, Aylesbury (Queens Park Arts Centre, Queens Park HP21 7RT)
Sunday January 28, 2018 - The Black Robin Inn, Folk In The Barn, Kingston (Covet Lane, Canterbury CT4 6HS) £12 Event
Monday January 29, 2018 - Colchester Folk Club, Colchester Arts Centre (Church Street, Colchester CO1 1NF)
Tues January 30, 2018 -: The Roses, Tewkesbury (Sun Street, GL20 5NX)
Weds January 31, 2018: Pavilions Teignmouth, Teignmouth (The Den Crescent, TQ14 8BG)
Fri February 2, 2018 - The Poly, Falmouth (24 Church Street TR11 3EG)
Sat February 3, 2018 -: The Millpool Centre, West Looe (PL13 2AF Looe)
Sat Feb 4: The Square and Compass, Worth Matravers (Swanage, Dorset, BH19 3LF)
Monday 5 February 2018 - The Greys, Brighton (105 Southover Street BN2 9UA Brighton) £10 Event
Thurs February 8, 2018 - The Brindley Studio, Runcorn: (High Street, Runcorn, Cheshire WA7 1BG) Event
Fri February 9, 2018 -: Sheep Dip Sessions, Princethorpe (Website)
Sat February 10, 2018 - Ustinov Studio, Theatre Royal, Bath (Sawclose, Bath BA1 1ET)
Sun February 11, 2018 The Wharf, Tavistock (Website; Canal Road PL19 8AT)
Wednesday 25 April 2018 - St John's Church, Farncombe (Website; St John's Street, GU7 3EH)
Tour Flyer (JPEG) Tour Flyer (PDF)

Pre-order music merch
IF WE DIG ANY DEEPER IT COULD GET DANGEROUS: Digital Album, Compact Disc & CD/ Vinyl Bundles -

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Country Music Legend Mel Tillis passes aged 85


Nashville, Tenn. (November 19, 2017) — Following a lengthy struggle to regain his health, country music legend Mel Tillis passed away early this morning at the Munroe Regional Medical Center in Ocala, Florida. Tillis battled intestinal issues since early 2016 and never fully recovered. 
The suspected cause of death is respiratory failure. Tillis was 85.

The Country Music Hall of Famer leaves behind six children (Pam Tillis, Connie Tillis, Cindy Shorey, Sonny Tillis, Carrie April Tillis, and Hannah Puryear), six grandchildren, a great grandson, a sister (Linda Crosby) and brother (Richard Tillis), the mother of five of his children (Doris Tillis), his longtime partner (Kathy DeMonaco), and many lifelong friends and fans around the world.

The Tillis family asks for your prayers and will soon release more information regarding funeral services in Florida and Nashville.

Lonnie Melvin Tillis was born in Tampa, Florida on August 8, 1932.

Throughout his 60+ year career, the Grand Ole Opry member recorded more than 60 albums, had 35 Top Ten singles, six #1 hits ("I Ain't Never" (1972), "Coca-Cola Cowboy"(1979), "Southern Rains" (1980), "Good Woman Blues" (1976), "Heart Healer" (1976; >> Audio) and "I Believe In You" (1978)).

He was named the Country Music Association's coveted Entertainer of the Year in 1976, and was elected a member of the Country Music Hall of Fame.

CMA Nominations:       
Song of the Year           1967 All The Time (Mel Tillis and Wayne Walker)
Vocal Duo of the Year    1975 Mel Tillis and Sherry Bryce
Entertainer of the Year   1976    
Vocal Duo of the Year    1976 Mel Tillis and Sherry Bryce
Entertainer of the Year   1978 * CATEGORY WINNER * 
Vocal Event of the Year 1999 Old Dogs (Waylon Jennings, Mel Tillis, Bobby Bare & Jerry Reed)

He wrote over 1,000 songs, 600 of which have been recorded by major artists including Kenny Rogers ("Ruby, Don't You Take Your Love To Town"), George Strait ("Thoughts Of A Fool"), and Ricky Skaggs ("Honey, Open That Door"). Broadcast Music Inc. (BMI) named Tillis Songwriter of the Decade for two decades. In February of 2012 President Obama awarded Tillis the National Medal of Arts.

Top 20 Country Albums
LET ME TALK TO YOU (Kapp Records; released January 1968) #17
I AIN'T NEVER (MGM Records; released October 1972) #18
SAWMILL (MGM Records; released Aug 1973) #3         
LOVE REVIVAL (MCA Records; released 1976) #14
HEART HEALER (MCA Records; released 1977) #6      
LOVE'S TROUBLED WATERS (MCA Records; released 1977) #15                    
I BELIEVE IN YOU (MCA Records; released 1978) #14  
ARE YOU SINCERE MCA Records; released 1979) #17

First published in Country Music People, April 1982:

Alan Cackett: Mel Tillis: Part One - M-M-M-Mel: Entertainer With The Genuine Country Beat  (Part 1) & Part 2

“I’ve lost a brother. Mel was the very first person I met when I came to Nashville in the late ‘50s and we’ve been friends ever since. I’ve lost another fishing buddy and a talented, talented brother. Without Mel and ‘Detroit City,’ I probably would not have had a career. Mel’s one of those people you’ve got to love.” - Bobby Bare, fellow Country Music Hall of Fame member and bandmate of Tillis' in "Old Dogs" with Jerry Reed and Waylon Jennings. Mel Tillis co-wrote Bare's smash-hit "Detroit City."

"Mel was a special friend, great artist, and constant inspiration to me—Heaven’s choir just got sweeter." - Randy Travis, fellow Country Music Hall of Fame and Grand Ole Opry member

“Hall of Fame entertainer and songwriter — he was all in one, a great combination. He is one of our biggest heroes.” - Randy Owen of ALABAMA, fellow Country Music Hall of Fame and Nashville Songwriter's Hall of Fame member

"Mel Tillis, you will be missed by so many of us you touched over the years. Rest in peace my friend." - Charlie Daniels, fellow Country Music Hall of Fame and Grand Ole Opry member

"All I could think of when I heard the news of Mel’s passing was 'one of the brightest lights in country music went out last night.' He left an amazing legacy with his songs, but I will always remember his humor more than anything else. It’s sad to think there will be no more ‘Mel Tillis stories.’ - Jeannie Seely, fellow Grand Ole Opry member

“It's a sad day in country music but even sadder for the family and those of us who loved the late, great Mel Tillis. His life was the stage and making people laugh for years. He was truly one of the kindest men in the business to me. He was great friends with my dad and my uncle Bill and he's treated me like a daughter. My heart breaks for the future of the Tillis family while they heal. It's a hole that will never be filled for them. God bless Mel Tillis and the Tillis family.” - Lorrie Morgan, fellow Grand Ole Opry member

“Mel was a great entertainer who inspired me so much. I am deeply saddened. What a great friend he was to me. I just thought the world of him. We will miss him dearly. His great songs will be with us forever. God Bless his family.” - Moe Bandy

"I first met Mel when I played with him on Bobby Bare and Friends in ‘85. He was a true country gentleman, a giant songwriter and an icon." - Max T. Barnes

"We always loved working with Mel. He was one of the kindest, funniest persons we were ever around! We still laugh about the stories he would tell, hanging out after a show - one of the memorable people in our career." - Marlon Hargis of Exile

"I was honored to be Mel's friend! He took me under his wing a long time ago and for that I will be forever grateful. The world has lost a truly talented man. His music and hilarious stories will live on forever. Rest in peace my friend, I'll see you on the other side.” - Johnny Lee

"Mel Tillis was one of the first people I met in Nashville and he was always so kind to me. We certainly have lost a giant in our music family." - Lee Roy Parnell

"We lost a treasure today! Mel Tillis will always be an American original, he was humble, kind, gracious and funny. His stories were amazing -- thank you, Mel, for showing me how it’s done. Be as cool off stage as you are on stage. Rest in Peace my friend." - Tim Rushlow

"Thank you to Mel Tillis for the years of songs, stories and music; what an amazing legacy." - Paul Bogart

Friday, 17 November 2017

CMA “Entertainer of the Year” Garth Brooks’ “The Anthology Part 1, The First Five Years” now available

To Celebrate The Release Brooks Will Make National TV Appearances
On Good Morning America, The Ellen Degeneres Show and The View

Nashville, TN —  Recently crowned CMA “Entertainer Of The Year,” Garth Brooks’ highly-anticipated THE ANTHOLOGY PART 1, THE FIRST FIVE YEARS is available today (11/14.) 
The first volume of a five-part anthology written by Brooks, the release reflects on his meteoric rise and includes the music from the first five years of his career. In support of the Anthology, Brooks will kick off a stacked schedule of national TV appearances with multiple spots on Good Morning America starting live on 11/20 on ABC, as well as visits with The Ellen Degeneres Show on 11/20 on NBC and The View on 11/22 on ABC.

Told by Brooks himself and those involved with the creating, recording, and promotion of his first five albums, The Anthology Part 1, The First Five Years, is a detailed look at the first five years of Brooks’ career. The first book Brooks has ever written, fans can enjoy over 150 never before seen photos, sessions charts, tracking sheets, all in a 240-page hardcover. The anthology will also include five CDs sharing never before heard music, songs written long before the debut album, outtakes, first takes, demos and more. 


The collection has been praised by Billboard, noting “while the oral histories entertainingly and informatively detail the behinds-the-scenes story… the CDs are more selective, in part to allow Brooks to delve musically deeper behind the chosen songs.” For more information and to purchase a copy, visit here:

Hardcover: 240 pages

Publisher: Pearl Records; Limited edition (14 Nov. 2017)
Language: English

ISBN-10: 1595910999
ISBN-13: 978-1595910998

Garth Brooks’ current single “Ask Me How I Know,” is currently in the Top 10 and climbing. Written by Mitch Rossell, the track is the second single from his “strong new album” (New York Times) GUNSLINGER and heralded by LA Times as a “romantic power ballad.”

Garth Brooks just won Entertainer of the Year at the CMA Awards for a sixth time, a first for any artist. He is also the first artist in history to receive 7 Diamond awards for the now seven albums certified by the RIAA at over 10 million album sales each and remains the #1-selling solo artist in U.S. history certified by the RIAA with over 148 million album sales.

Garth Brooks The Anthology: The First Five Years available on Amazon UK &

He has received every accolade the recording industry can bestow on an artist. Garth has been inducted into the International Songwriters Hall of Fame in New York, the Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame, Country Music Hall of Fame and most recently, the Musicians Hall of Fame. Garth is currently on the Garth Brooks World Tour with Trisha Yearwood. The tour began with 11 sold out shows at the Allstate Arena in Chicago. The tour is smashing records previously held by such acts as The Beatles, The Rolling Stones, and even Garth Brooks.  In a little over three years, the tour has sold over 6.3 million tickets, making it the biggest North American tour in history and the biggest American tour in the world. Garth has also launched Inside Studio G, a weekly Facebook Live series. It airs every Monday on Garth’s Facebook page at 7:00 PM EST

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