London country-folk-pop quartet the Wandering Hearts followed in the footsteps of Ward Thomas, the Staves, and the Shires as part of the vanguard in the new British Americana scene of the mid-2010s. The seeds of the band were sown in late 2015 when Tim Prottey-Jones and Tara Wilcox found themselves singing at the same gig, and immediately hit it off over their shared background. Both were hard-bitten pros: the heroically bearded Prottey-Jones was a multi-instrumentalist, singer, and actor who had worked extensively in musical theatre and as a session musician; Wilcox, with years of experience under her belt, had her own singing school. Shortly thereafter, they were introduced by mutual friends to singer/guitarist A.J. Dean, an alumnus of “the U.K.’s premier rock ‘n’ roll band” the Bluejays; and Francesca “Chess” Whiffin, also a former musical theatre performer.
Deciding to get together at Tim’s apartment over G&Ts to play some songs he had written, the quartet clicked at once. Christening themselves the Paper Hearts, they recorded two demo songs, “Today Is Ours” and “Sunshine,” which they uploaded to SoundCloud, leading to a flurry of immediate interest. The deft fingerpicking, rousing choruses, dark-hued lyrics, and sweet, close vocal harmonies drew comparisons to Fleetwood Mac, whom the band later acknowledged as a major influence along with First Aid Kit, the Civil Wars, Tom Petty, Simon & Garfunkel, and Cara Dillon. Within a month, they had been invited to audition for Decca, who signed them on the spot.
Rebranded the Wandering Hearts, probably to avoid confusion with any of numerous other acts with the same name, they played a number of high-profile festival shows in 2016, and released their debut single, the bittersweet “Wish I Could,” early in 2017.
Their eponymous debut album followed in September of that year.
“Ruston Kelly has a beautiful talent for creating cinematic works of music that allows listeners to get a first-hand experience of intimate moments in his life… Kelly defines modern folk-rock songwriting. It’s music with an ear-worm melody that you can’t help but whistle along to but laced with sincere lyrics that bare the deepest part of the singer’s soul.” – EARMILK
‘Faceplant’ from the new Ruston Kelly album Dying Star.
The Wandering Hearts website
Ruston Kelly website