Niagara Gazette — This week’s Tuesday in the Park is aptly described on Artpark’s website as the “much-anticipated Artpark debut” of Heart. Fronted by Ann and Nancy Wilson, Heart’s storied career has included a diverse selection of hits including “Baracuda,” “What About Love” and “These Dreams.”
They will also include songs from their upcoming release of new music, entitled “Fanatic.” The album features a duet with Sarah McLaclan entitled “Walkin’ Good.”
This year has been a busy one for Heart, in addition to recording a new album they released a retrospective box set of hits and rarities entitled “Strange Euphoria,” in September the Wilson sisters will release the autobiographical book, “Kicking and Dreaming: A Story of Heart, Soul, and Rock and Roll.”
Fans attending the Artpark show will be able to hear songs from “Fanatic,” including the title cut which Nancy Wilson described during an exclusive interview by phone last week.
“It’s got that arena rock sound and we have been using it to open our set. It’s a great song to open with even if people don’t know it because it has the iconography of an arena rock song, and it’s something people get right into and its working really well,” she said.
The album as whole feature’s a harder sound, “ ‘Fanatic’ was something we went right for a muscular rock sound. I guess that’s because we had some muscular acoustic stuff on our last album, ‘Red Velvet Car,’ so we felt like this was a good time for it. Along with that, we were preparing for our book, and our box set and it was really cool to be looking over our entire career while working on new stuff. It made us realize that it’s not time to put us out to pasture (laughs). Instead it helped us feel energized and we approached the new album with the attitude, let’s rock! And we had a great time doing it,” Wilson noted.
With a new album came the task of deciding which songs to incorporate into the band’s live set, especially since they had just revisited their past while preparing the retrospective box set.
“There were some things we rediscovered and thought about tinkering with in the live context when we prepared the box set but the new material took precedent. There is only so much stuff that is unfamiliar that you can get away with in a ninety minute show, or even a two hour show,” Wilson said.
Over their career Heart has produced a unique variety of songs, from Zeppelinesque rockers to tender ballads and everything in between. That can create some interesting challenges. “It’s not easy for the guy out front to mix us, but it’s cool to have a show with such variety. This show has more rockers in it because the new album is a rocker. Each of our songs is a painting, and that is what draws people to this band, in no way are we mono-dimensional,” Wilson said.
In recent years, Heart’s live performances have become the stuff of legend. Anyone that witnessed the band opening up for Def Leppard at Darien Lake last year can attest to the fact that Leppard had a very tough act to follow. “We heard that a lot that summer. We felt like the little engine that could, we didn’t have the bells or the whistles or the lighting. We just tried hard to be noticed,” Wilson said about the opening gig.
While there have been many highlights in Heart’s career, the one Wilson spoke about glowingly was the opportunity to work with Led Zeppelin bassist John Paul Jones on their critically acclaimed release entitled, “The Road Home.” “We were over the moon. We were super fans so we couldn’t contain our excitement, but we did the best we could. It was intensely wonderful to work with him, he is the consummate musician,” Wilson said.
In addition to Nancy and her sister Ann, there is a third Wilson sister who plays an important role in the group, “Our oldest sister Lynn travels with us and does our wardrobe. We are the only three siblings and are a really tight-knit family. We move together as a school of Wilsons. Lynn has a gorgeous voice and has done some harmonies with us on ‘Dog and Butterfly,’ and “Little Queen.’”
Popular local musician Bruce Wojick and his band will be getting things started at 6:30 p.m. Tickets for the show are available at Tickets.com and Artpark’s website.