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Catalog Number: PM16
Release Date: March 10th, 2022
Formats: Digital, Cassette
Heartleaf is an album about change, a musical diary about moving from one place to another, wrapped in the expansion of the season from spring into summer. Wilkins is a Texan and part of that state’s music scene. “I moved to Austin in the ’90s from Lubbock with a band, and have drummed in many bands, mostly shoegaze and post-rock type stuff, over the years.” Along the way, he also picked up the guitar, which is at the core of Heartleaf.
But this is not a rock or pop album. It’s about the guitar’s (and Wilkins’s) journey as he and his family moved from Austin to a smaller town outside the city. Listening to the album means following the guitar from one home, through the landscape, to another. Around Wilkins’s finger picking and tapping are field recordings of Wilkins’ and his family’s “life around the house during the move” added in, along with touches of effects. Literally ambient music, with sounds from the world around, the audio is from Wilkins’s own experiences and memories, now shared with the listener via Heartleaf.
The spacious sound is focussed on the particulars, with an innate Americana flavor not just from the guitar but from the land itself, moving through the country. For those particulars, Wilkins points out specific details: the first track, “Hummingbirds,” is “about setting up a hummingbird feeder and checking hopefully for little visitors;” the ethereal “Howsounds” is “my attempt at producing an ethereal version of the everyday sounds of the house and our lives;” the wobbly looping of “Kitchen Table Candlelight,” “tries to capture in sound the flicker of a candle on our dining table and its reflection in the kitchen window;” and the final track, “Spring Dream,” is the sound of Wilkins “watching the spring and early summer storms on the horizon as we drove the 30 miles or so back and forth every day during the move.”
Despite the compressed time he had to work with, these in-the-moment, on-the-fly impressions fill out a rich sonic picture of both nostalgia, and some of the pain of the inevitable loss when leaving a home, along with the hope and renewal of a new beginning. Those are sepia-tinged emotions that come through on Heartleaf, the feeling of beckoning horizons, receding in the rear-view mirror, and laid out ahead, waiting. of the album concept in terms of sound and composition, yes.” But it looks to the future, as “it forms a bridge to a new album,” in the works for later this year.