You And Me

Nancy Wilson

Carry On Music, 2021

http://www.heart-music.com

REVIEW BY: Peter Piatkowski

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED: 06/10/2021

For some reason, Nancy Wilson took her time to put out a solo album. A rock superhero due to her work with sister Ann in the iconic rock group Heart, Wilson finally steps into the spotlight on her own with the wonderful You And Me. A brilliant guitarist with a distinct, husky voice, Wilson is a fantastic musician and this release is a great, quiet album of solid covers and elegiac originals. Though it would be exciting if Heart puts out more music, the beauty of You And Me should prompt Wilson to follow up with more solo projects.

Opening up with a tribute to her late mother, title track “You And Me” is a heartfelt ballad that works so well because of its subtle instrumentation and sweet lyrics. She eschews bathos or histrionics and instead chooses to pay tribute to her mother with a gorgeous, aching song. For her homage to Layne Staley, she chose to perform a grunge rock song in his honor.  She closes the album with another loving eulogy, “4Edward” a heartbreaking instrumental in honor of the late Eddie Van Halen. Choosing to bookend my_heart_sings_the_harmony_web_ad_alt_250 You And Me with tracks that pay homage to deceased loved ones is a smart and emotional one to highlight the delicate, plaintive tone of much of the album. So much of last year was about loss and You And Me is a sensitive note that scores the tragedy so many have felt.   

The rest of the record is devoted to originals, remakes, and guest spots from some of Wilson’s fellow rock gods. The songs that Wilson chooses to reinterpret show an interesting, eclectic taste in music. Given the turmoil of the world from the past year, it’s fitting that she chose Bruce Springsteen’s “The Rising,” a rousing, anthem inspired by 9/11; there’s a sacred, uplifting tone to the song, and Wilson adapts Springsteen’s original healing power to the song. She takes on Pearl Jam’s “Daughter,” the disturbing story of a young girl with learning difficulties who is struggling with abuse and matches the song’s angst with a cathartic roar. And with Sammy Hagar, she does a great job, covering Simon and Garfunkel’s “The Boxer,” her throaty croon imbuing the song’s winding story song with a well-worn gravitas. The most surprising choice of covers is the Cranberries’ “Dreams” which sounds remarkably good. It’s a nearly note-for-note remake, complete with ambient guitars and driving drums; Liv Warfield’s harmony vocals work beautifully with Wilson’s.

The covers on You And Me show that Wilson is a great song stylist and should think about releasing an album of her favorite songs. But the originals are fantastic, too. The ballads are wrenching and moving, fitting the mournful, relaxed tone of much of the album; but she hasn’t abandoned the high-octane rock swagger of the best work of her Heart days. She’s a blast when she’s barreling through a rock song, guitars shredding, but she’s truly tremendous when she embraces the sadder, bluer notes of her songs.

Rating: A

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© 2021 Peter Piatkowski and The Daily Vault. All rights reserved. Review or any portion may not be reproduced without written permission. Cover art is the intellectual property of Carry On Music, and is used for informational purposes only.