High up in the Catskills, Woodstock in winter is so snow-padded and soft “it sounds like someone put the world on mute”, explains AJ. This was where The Wandering Hearts – AJ Dean-Revington, Chess Whiffin and Tara Wilcox – recorded their self-titled album early on in 2020.
“It was on the Ashokan trail and had the most incredible views,” Chess says of the intimate studio where they recorded their sophomore album. The eerie-beautiful landscape of statuesque hemlocks heaving over a frosty lake made it look “Tolkein-like and magical”, says Tara. It was within that hallowed musical space, a sacred ground on which musical history was made, that the band created what we now hear today – an album which captures the essence, spirituality and vitality of the surroundings in which it was made. The twangs of a 1930s Recording King tenor guitar, loaned by the local whose mountainside clapboard farmhouse the band would jam in after daily recording sessions, dapples through the 12 tracks.
Adding a further layer of authenticity to their late-60s Americana-folk, music legend Marty Stuart and his wife, country star Connie Smith, gifted a song to The Wandering Hearts; the elated ‘Dreams’. The chugging rhythm, laid down by Marty on the mandolin and guitar, lends the record a hickory-smoked grit. Recorded at the legendary Cash Cabin in Hendersonville, a little upstream from Nashville, ‘Dreams’ carries both a history and a message of hope for the future.