It’s been a long time in the making, but this is the first solo studio album from the legendary Nancy Wilson of Heart fame.
Written by: Explorer
ARTIST: Nancy Wilson
ALBUM: You And Me
LABEL: Community Music
COUNTRY OF ORIGIN: USA
LINEUP: Nancy Wilson – lead vocals, guitars * Ryan Waters – guitars * Andy Stoller – bass * Ben Smith – drums* Daniel Walker – keyboards * Andrew Joslyn – strings
TRACK LISTING: 01 You And Me * 02 The Rising * 03 I’ll Find You * 04 Daughter * 05 Party At The Angel Ballroom (feat. Duff McKagan & Taylor Hawkins) * 06 The Boxer (feat. Sammy Hagar) * 07 Walk Away * 08 The Inbetween * 09 Dreams (feat. Liv Warfield) * 10 The Dragon * 11 We Meet Again * 12 4 Edward
Nancy Wilson doesn’t really need any introduction, but if by any chance her name and music have passed you by, she is one half of the Wilson sisters, and along with older sibling Ann Wilson and their band Heart they have been producing top quality rock music since the early 70’s.
Starting out initially with their Led Zeppelin inspired rock/folk hybrid and then the ‘Big Hair’ re-invention of the early 80’s. In the later years, the band has moved away from the overtly commercial sounds of that period to a more rootsy style, but nevertheless keeping up the quality.
Sister Ann has been dipping her toes in the solo market for a few years now with, it has to be said, mixed results. This is Nancy Wilson’s first solo studio album (her first solo outing being a live album ‘Live At McCabe’s Guitar Shop) although she has worked on various projects outside of Heart in the past such as soundtrack work and also with The Lovemongers.
The album is made up of original material and cover versions from the likes of Simon and Garfunkel, Pearl Jam, Bruce Springsteen and The Cranberries.
The opener and title track harks back to the 70’s work of Heart with its folky, rather gentle approach. The first of the covers is next: Bruce Springsteen‘s ‘The Rising’, and in Nancy Wilson’s capable hands very much makes it her own.
‘I’ll Find You’ once again is a laid-back number but with a lovely chorus and an impassioned vocal really does add to its charm. Another cover Pearl Jam‘ s ‘Daughter’ is a track I’m unfamiliar with but it’s a nuanced hard rocker with Nancy giving it her all in the vocal department.
‘Party At The Angel Ballroom’ is an infectious ‘Lo-Fi’ rocking tune, and is almost at complete odds with what comes next, Paul Simon‘s ‘The Boxer’ which features Sammy Hagar on vocals with Nancy.
‘Walk Away’ is once more a song that would easily fit on any of Heart‘ s 1970’s albums, with its cool hippy vibe and strings. ‘The Inbetween’ is a mid paced slice of Americana, and the cover of The Cranberries ‘Dreams’ is an absolute pop/rock gem.
‘The Dragon’ is a slow burner that over its 5 minutes + length manages to convey a set of very different emotions, and is more in keeping with what her main day job is doing these days. ‘We Meet Again’ reverts to the gentle fingerpicking style that Nancy is probably most known for, although the tune had me thinking of Alice Cooper‘s ‘Only Women Bleed’ all the way through.
The closing song is Nancy’s heartfelt tribute to the late Edward Van Halen, and is a fine way to finish off what is a very creditable album indeed.
The most surprising element of the whole album for me is Nancy’s vocal performance. Very similar to her sister Ann but with a rather alluring rasp to her voice.
The choice of covers are in the main inspired and the original material certainly stands up on its own two feet. The songs are kept interesting with a set of arrangements that are always quite inventive and a production that is sympathetic to the material. In a year that has so far been in the main bereft of quality releases, this album is one very much to lift the spirits and is sure to figure in my ‘Best of’ end of year list.