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Picks and Pans Review: Talking With...

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>Ann and Nancy Wilson

HEART TO HEART

“WHEN WE WERE CHILDREN, SUNDAY morning around the Wilson pad was pancakes and Madame Butterfly,” says Nancy Wilson, 39, the blond half of Heart. “Music was a big part of our growing up. Our parents would take us to the opera, and at home we’d listen to Ray Charles, Peggy Lee, Judy Garland—all kinds of great stuff.” Before they were in their teens, Nancy and Ann, now 42, were banging around in the basement of their Seattle home, learning to make music.

In the mid-’70s the sisters got their big break when, after a scheduled act pulled out, they opened for Rod Stewart in Montreal. Since then, they have played stadium-size shows that rock with intensity but make little personal connection with the audience. Their 12-city tour, kicking off in Buffalo this week, is different. Heart will now play in the more intimate realm of theaters. “It’s something we’ve wanted to do for a long time,” says Ann, “to present a very strange, beautiful, musical evening—something you can’t do in a hockey arena.”

The Wilsons’ new album has a more intimate feel as well, in part because it was recorded at their Bad Animal Studio in Seattle, where they live (Ann is unmarried and the mother of one adopted daughter; Nancy and her husband, director Cameron Crowe, have no children). The CD was created with “no one breathing down our necks,” says Ann. “It was very private, just the producers and ourselves, and we made the record exactly how we wanted to, using mostly our own songs. It was all very relaxed.”