The Wandering Hearts 2024
Photo: Big Feat PR

The Wandering Hearts Know What It Means to Be a ‘Mother’

The Wandering Hearts’ music evokes blue skies and slow road trips with friends, train rides, and walks in the country. It’s solitary and reflective.

The Wandering Hearts
22 March 2024

The Wandering Hearts offer stillness in this chaotic world. The trio’s vocal harmonies express the peacefulness of wild places. “There is beauty in the undiscovered,” they tell us in unison. The songs convey the unhurried quiet that emerges when one just sits and listens. Their music evokes blue skies and slow road trips with friends, train rides, and walks in the country. Sure, often, there are other people involved, but there is something solitary and reflective in the moments described.

The 11 tracks have names such as “Still Waters”, “Tired”, and “Waiting”. The songs suggest the power inherent in restoration. One doesn’t have to move to grow. Personal strength comes from an inner place. Thus, the album’s title, Mother, seems metaphoric as well as literal. Two of the three members (Tara Wilcox, vocals; Chess Whiffin, vocals, mandolin) were pregnant during the album’s creation. A.J. Dean (vocals, acoustic guitar), the male member of the group, seems to have developed a sympathetic contact pre-parenthood. The combination of their voices forms a unified articulation. Even when the individuals take solos, one can’t help but wait expectantly for the other voices to join in. The group dubbed the home studio in which Mother was recorded “The Music Womb”.

The fact that the Wandering Hearts frequently sing in one voice suggests that personal feelings are universal and shared. Cuts like “Not Misunderstood” and “River to Cry” Believe” propose the difference between oneself and others does not, or perhaps should not, exist. One cannot exist by oneself. A person can only tread water for so long. It’s a long way down without the presence of other people to help one stay afloat. The individual voices harmonize as a way of showing the paradoxical need for friends to be truly singular.

Critics have compared the Wandering Hearts folk rock sound to that of the 1960s Laurel Canyon creations or mid-period Fleetwood Mac productions. One can hear echoes of those records in the individual songs, but the vibe here differs from their predecessors. There is a practicality to the utopian dream. Just like any parent knows that giving birth can be a bloody mess, the Wandering Hearts do not romanticize. On the album’s highlight, “Letter to Myself”, the singers confess, “I wish I did not know the things that I know now.” The latent theme of Mother is that reality, flaws and all, is enough. Life has everything you need and a lot you do not. One is better living with the truth than in fantasies and fabrications.

As the trio croon on “What Fools Believes”, living in the present moment is the best one can do. What once seemed important will only be a footnote in the future. The cycle of birth and death gives us the knowledge we need, even if we sometimes forget. The Wandering Hearts focus on the positive. Yet the term “Mother” can be an expletive as well. The curse of just being born is as natural as the joy it can bring. It is best to live with hope, but the only thing for sure is we will all die.

RATING 7 / 10