Nancy Wilson Releases Tribute to Eddie Van Halen

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Nancy Wilson of Heart is set to release her first solo album, You and Me, on May 7, 2021, via her new label, Carry On Music. The album ends with “4 Edward,” Wilson’s tribute to Eddie Van Halen, who died in 2020.

Wilson came to know the guitar legend when Heart toured with Van Halen. “4 Edward” is said to capture the full spectrum of loss, love and redemption in one instrumental coda. Listen to it, and several other songs from the new album, below.

The album was recorded primarily in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductee’s California home studio, working with band members and special guests remotely. “Being off the road last year from touring with Heart, and at home with my good guitars and amps out,” Wilson says in the Feb. 22 announcement, “I felt like I was once again able to reconnect with my pre-Heart self, my college-girl self, creating poetic, intimate and romantic songs, which pretty much is what I first brought in to Heart.”

Of “4 Edward,” Wilson says, “ When Heart toured with Van Halen I asked Eddie why he never played acoustic guitar, his response was ‘I don’t have one.’” Wilson immediately rectified that situation. “I gave Eddie one of mine and he immediately wrote a song on it that stole my heart. After he passed, it hit me so hard I felt it was time to pay tribute to him.”

Listen to “4 Edward,” released on April 16

Most of the tracks are originals, but Wilson, who turned 67 on March 16, 2021, decided to include a handful of covers by a few of her favorites, including a female perspective of Pearl Jam’s “Daughter,” and a stirring turn of Simon & Garfunkel’s “The Boxer” featuring Sammy Hagar.

“‘The Boxer’ is one of the songs that’s just inscribed in my DNA,” she told Best Classic Bands. “We’ve always sung that song, indoors and outdoors, at fire pits, in people’s kitchens. It’s so fun for people to sing along to. And I when I thought of putting it on the album, I wondered who would be the most unexpected guest star to have sing with me and Sammy Hagar came to mind because he’s a buddy. And he’s got such great energy that would be completely unexpected in a context like that.”

She also sings a cover of the Cranberries “Dreams,” featuring Liv Warfield with whom Wilson collaborated with in the band Roadcase Royale. She told Best Classic Bands that it came about through pure serendipity when she was in a car with her husband, Geoff, and heard [the Cranberries’ original] on the car radio. He said, “You and Liv Warfield could do a great version of this song, a duet,” and I said, “What a great idea!”

Wilson first teamed with singer Warfield when they formed the band, Roadcase Royale, in 2017. They recorded an album and had just begun a massive tour as the opening act for Bob Seger’s farewell when the legend was forced to postpone due to back surgery.

“She’s an angel on the earth,” says Wilson, “a wonderful person. Most of those players, like [guitarist] Ryan Waters who came with Liv out of the Prince camp, played with Heart on the last big tour. I brought him in as a wing man. (laughs) And [drummer] Ben Smith who’s on my album was in Heart forever. Even though we had to record everything completely remote from each other, there’s that experience of having just done a long tour and knowing each other’s playing so well.”

The first single from the album was a cover of Bruce Springsteen’s “The Rising,” which was released last fall. “During this horrific time in the world, with all this enduring loss, it seemed like the right time for an aspirational song about hope and perseverance,” Wilson says.

The other eight tracks are originals, mostly acoustic ballads, but there are also some rousing rockers like “Party at the Angel Ballroom” which features a superstar backing band, including Duff McKagan of Guns N’ Roses and Taylor Hawkins of the Foo Fighters.

The title track “You and Me,” as with several of the songs on the album, reunites Wilson with longtime collaborator Sue Ennis, who co-wrote many of Heart’s classics with Nancy, and sister Ann. “I’ve known Sue since I was 12,” Nancy says. “Back then she was a high school friend of Ann’s. We’ve always worked well together.” The ballad, “You and Me,” is about her mother. “It means so much to me.”

With her band Heart, Wilson has recorded 16 albums, sold over 35 million albums worldwide and has four Grammy nominations. She had previously released one other album with just her name on it, Live at McCabe’s Guitar Shop, which captured her playing a set of covers and new songs in 1999. She considers this her first true solo album, a positive creative move amid a surreal year of loss; life during lock down.

“I don’t know why it took me so long to do this,” she laughs. “Maybe I was stuck in traffic, maybe I was stuck in the Heart vortex of it all.” But in a year with “no traffic,” Wilson finally found a place for the music she’s been writing in her head for decades.

You and Me Track Listing
1. You and Me
2. The Rising
3. I’ll Find You
4. Daughter
5. Party at the Angel Ballroom (with Duff McKagan & Taylor Hawkins)
6. The Boxer (with Sammy Hagar)
7. Walk Away
8. The Inbetween
9. Dreams (with Liv Warfield)
10. The Dragon
11. We Meet Again
12. 4 Edward

Related: Our conversation with Nancy Wilson

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  1. RecordSteve
    #1 RecordSteve 22 February, 2021, 23:16

    Beautiful flower-power dress=rock on!

    Reply this comment
  2. JCB
    #2 JCB 23 February, 2021, 11:59

    That is a great sound on The Rising. Always loved her playing and her voice. I’ve seen Heart several times over 40 years, they deliver.

    Reply this comment
  3. Stick
    #3 Stick 10 March, 2021, 09:08

    The released tracks sound really good.

    Reply this comment
  4. Yvette
    #4 Yvette 11 April, 2021, 01:13

    Nancy, I Love the Very Pretty Floral Splash of Color Dress… The Song “You and Me” is quite Lovely. I have to say though … Nothing is Better than Ann and You Nancy TOGETHER in Duet…
    I was at the Saratoga Mountain Winery Concert which was the HEART that I Know and Love..
    Waiting for another Tour in San Francusco Bay Area…

    Reply this comment
  5. Rich
    #5 Rich 11 April, 2021, 22:43

    Beautiful dress, beautiful lady and super music! It doesn’t get any better than that! You rock Nancy!

    Reply this comment
  6. ezlvn3
    #6 ezlvn3 16 April, 2021, 10:40

    Just wanna say my late wife was a huge Heart fan from day one and she never knew, me either, they had the same birthday March 16 till I just read it and I was/am a hug EVH fan thanks Nancy for the tribute to EVH and my late wife would’ve absolutely loved your new solo music

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