Live at Black Deer: The Wandering Hearts

June 20, 2023
It’s day three of Black Deer and whilst it’s hot and humid now, the rain has been promised for most of the afternoon. This hasn’t discouraged droves of festival goers heading to each of the stages, or getting early lunches from the many food trucks and vendors.
As die-hard Wandering Hearts fans we head straight to the main stage to stake our space in front of the barrier, ready to fall in love with AJ (guitar and vocals), Tara (vocals) and Francesca (vocals and more) all over again. We’re delighted to hear that the band are sharing new material with us from their recently released EP ‘Hesperus’, in preparation for their 2024 album. The songs may be new, but the beautiful harmonies and strength of their storytelling is familiar, as are many faces in the crowd, returning performance after performance for TWH.
In the third song, AJ finger picks his guitar and sings, ‘I put myself between you and a bullet…but now I really see it’s you who’s killing me’, and we turn to see sombre faces all around us. Every person is completely absorbed by the song, moved in this moment. There is utter silence for every verse and chorus of ‘Running With Ghosts’ and ‘Nothing Happens When You Die’, until erupting cheers at the end. We sway and tap our feet in pleasure to Tara and Francesca’s pure voices,  complimented by Aj’s smooth, raspy tenor.
Throughout the set, messages are clear within the lyrics. ‘There’s beauty in the undiscovered…you don’t have to have it all figured out…’ and ‘If you’ve got something to say, take a moment to think, if you’ve got nothing nice to say, then don’t say anything.’ We share AJ’s sentiment when he says ‘It’s great to be able to play these songs for a crowd, some of them for the first time!’ and we laugh as Francesca and Tara request that we follow them on ‘all the things you follow people on…except the train, don’t do that’.
It is with regret the band closes their final song and the compãre calls to us, ‘death by harmony, who needs Fleetwood Mac?’ We move away from the main stage, our day enriched, glad to have seen The Wandering Hearts rightfully recognised as one of the bigger artists of this year’s festival.
Photos by David Court, test by Rebecca Bates

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