Heart returned to the road this past summer after a three-year absence from touring. Their first headlining shows since 2016 topped a bill that also included Joan Jett, Sheryl Crow, Brandi Carlile and Elle King.
The tour found Ann and Nancy Wilson blitzing across North America, and now, as Nancy tells UCR, they’re hoping to keep things moving forward in 2020 with new music. “The tour was really exciting after three years of not being [out there],” she says.
On break until the spring, she plans to make good use of the downtime. “I’ve got a lot of song ideas in my head and in my notes on my phone, and [I’ve been] singing into my phone,” she explains. “So I think that new Heart material would be really great, because the last album we did was Beautiful Broken, [where] we kind of redid some of our favorite [songs from Heart’s catalog].”
Roadcase Royale, the band Nancy formed during Heart’s hiatus, will be put on hold for the new year as Heart plans shows at some of the places they didn’t get to this year. “[With] the Heart thing, the whale swallowed the sailor there,” she admits. “I think the next smart move would be to get some new Heart stuff going and then take it out on the road again. But not the same shed tour. Canada wants us up there … and probably some European dates and some other festivals and stuff like that. Things that don’t imitate what we just did.”
Wilson has also been busy with other projects. She was recently at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in Cleveland to celebrate the launch of the museum’s Play It Loud exhibit, which features her classic 1978 Ovation acoustic guitar.
“They knew that I’d seen one and it was a one-off, I think, that they’d made for Jim Messina of Loggins and Messina,” explains Wilson, who was inducted into the Rock Hall in 2013 with Heart. “My heart flew out of my body when I saw that guitar. I knew that I needed one of those guitars, so they made me one too.”
She played the instrument extensively in the ’70s, and it still showed up onstage in the next decade too. “Stylistically, things changed up in the ‘80s,” Wilson notes. “So I played a lot more of the ‘80s-style, whammy-bar things for a while. The Ovation carbon top went into storage for maybe 20 years or so. When they called me about the guitar to maybe put it in the [initial] exhibit at the Met, I pulled it back out of storage and I opened it up, and it was perfectly in tune and it played beautifully.”
Wilson says the “strings didn’t even feel rusty. It had just been waiting there for me to rediscover it and fall in love again. Now, it’s the only guitar that went on tour without me. So when I got to see it again, I was like, ‘Hi, I can’t wait until you can come home with me again!’ That’s a real special guitar.”