There’s nothing like showing up at a world-famous recording studio and knowing that fun music will happen!
One of the things that inspires me the most is working on good songs with talented writers, engineers, and performers. The thrill that comes from knowing that I get to do what I love is what motivates me and the people I work with. Of the many things we love to do in the world, playing music is one of our greatest joys…
In July Heart released our Beautiful Broken record, and two weeks later Ann Wilson released her EP #2: Focus.
Heart’s Beautiful Broken release features three new songs, ‘I Jump‘, ‘Beautiful Broken’ and ‘Two‘. We added these three songs to a group of favorite songs that Ann and Nancy Wilson wanted to take new approaches on.
One of the most fulfilling weeks of my life was spent taking the older tunes, re-imagining the grooves, the tempos, the harmonic and rhythmic focus, and finding a way to let these great songs live a new life. The new songs, when added to the re-imagined songs, showed us a cool new picture of the depth and warm soul of Heart, Ann and Nancy, and the band.
We cut this record at Sunset Sound in Los Angeles, one of the most revered and still-active recording and mixing studios on the west coast. Nancy Wilson and our bassist Dan Rothchild, co-produced and mixed with Ken Sluiter engineering and mixing, and Billy Mims as the second-engineer.
Our main direction when recording the basic tracks (guitars, bass, drums and keys) was to achieve natural sounding parts. We took the time to experiment with new sounds, different drum tunings, a variety of bass, keyboard, and guitar tones, and put them together with vocal parts to see what worked and what needed more playfulness, energy, or depth.
The belief and contribution of the musicians and engineers came together soon after we got going, with the tunes finding their shape and sound, the vocals feeling great, and the clarity of the recording coming into view from the first day. I am often surprised by the excitement I feel when I think we’re on the right track, and we all throw our hearts into the playing and communicating about what we want to change or try.
This release shows the quiet side, the rough side, the empowered and mysterious. String arrangements by Paul Buckmaster bring a beautiful and powerful strength, acting as percussive elements one minute, and providing lush and lovely thematic colors the next. I feel that this record is an all-around expression of the many things Heart wants to give to our fans, ourselves, and the greater world!
Just as I believe in Heart, I’m also proud to say that The Ann Wilson Thing’s ‘EP #2: Focus‘ brings a soulful and joyfully-expressed new sound to our awareness of what Ann and the band are capable of. The mix of two covers and the two new songs she wrote with our guitarist Craig Bartock, who produced the EP, show our band’s ability to approach songs with great energy, passion and talent.
The covers are from live shows we did in the last year, two songs which sound so different from each other, but are woven with the originals into a whole that expresses the band sound that Ann has encouraged all along. We all were asked to contribute our ideas and creativity into the parts we developed and organically recorded, which ended up making this EP another beautiful experience that I’m so glad to be a part of.
As Heart continues into the late summer and fall on the Rock Hall Three For All tour with Joan Jett And The Blackhearts and Cheap Trick, we bring the strength of our fun and inspiring studio experience to back us up. Later this year The Ann Wilson Thing will play in Florida and other cool shows around the nation.
Photo Copyright Anna Knowlden Friel 2016