Eli West’s new single, from his forthcoming album Tapered Point of Stone (April 23), opens sparely, floating in on airy notes of Steph Coleman’s shimmering shruti before blossoming into West’s circling banjo rolls. The poignant roundelay grows layer by layer musically and vocally, as West’s earthy vocals weave over and around his gourd banjo rolls and Coleman’s shruti on the first verse before Julie Fowlis’ harmony crystalline harmony vocals add a visceral emotional dimension on the refrain and the remainder of the song. In a tale that could have come right out of Child’s Ballads, “I Know Your Wandering Heart” regales us with a story of a wandering man who swears his love for a woman and claims he will settle down with her if only she’ll wait for him. Cannily she responds that she wasn’t born yesterday (“Do you think I’m a flower that blossomed just this morn”), and that she won’t wait for him because his heart will always wander. She bids him farewell, telling him he’ll one day regret all the love he’s left behind. The somber air of the song belies the irony of the tale.
As West points out, this is “a song written by Chris Coole, who rightly skewers the Peter Pan tendency in all of us. A rudderless man claims his love for a woman, bragging about how much of the world he had seen and how special she is. She rightfully feels a mistrust, calling him out for all the opportunity missed by not sticking his rudder in the water (to use a parallel metaphor). The first time I heard Chris sing this, it hit me right on the nose. Freedom of opportunity is such a cultural value for all of us. The irony of that allegiance to freedom preventing other opportunities is a lesson I’ve had to learn a few times, prob a few times more. Check out Chris Coole. He has a wonderful depth to his writing and person.”
“I Know Your Wandering Heart” from ‘Tapered Point of Stone‘ is available HERE.
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