New York, NY (Top40 Charts)
Arlington, VA-based Americana/roots rock singer-songwriter Ken Francis Wenzel has released a new single, "Healing Heart," today, his first new music in almost six years. Written in late April and recorded at Sucker Punch Recording Studios in Bethesda, MD, the song is available at all digital outlets today, with a video premiere at Americana Highways on June 26th. The track premiered at Elmore Magazine on June 18th.
Wenzel says, "I wrote this song on a Sunday night in late April, deep in the middle of quarantine. At that time, we had yet to hear any whispers of re-opening the country, and we were all left with our own thoughts on how to get through it." The initial idea came to him as he woke up, and he had it finished by day's end. "COVID-19 was already political by then, and I wanted to describe common themes that we all, as people, were dealing with: isolation, uncertainty, fear, worries about getting sick, getting our loved ones sick, wanting to 'do something' but not knowing what, financial pressure, depression, all of it," he says. "At that time, there was no light at the end of the tunnel, and I wanted to try to shine a light somewhere."
He began playing it during his weekly livestreams and decided to record it after receiving many positive responses. "I recorded it with my old producer and friend, Mark Williams, at Sucker Punch Studios in Bethesda," Wenzel says. "We social-distanced in the studio, which had two main rooms separated by glass. I never went into the control room where he was, and I left the recording room whenever he'd position a mic. We knocked it out in one day. I remember it going pretty quickly."
Wenzel says he put out a call for photos on Facebook for a video for "Healing Heart." "I thought about what a video might look like, and the first thing I decided was that I didn't want to be in it," he recalls. "I knew I needed photos from my fans, friends, and family. Folks sent in photos that described their reality during COVID-19 - front-line workers, families, masks, pets, donation drives. Anything that was significant to them for getting through the pandemic. Response was huge, and I was happy with what we came up with."
He says that the song and video were finished before the murder of George
Floyd on May 25th, and that the ensuing protests and national conversations about racism and police brutality changed how he viewed the song. "I knew that although the song was not written about racial injustice or police brutality, it had themes that could possibly - hopefully - speak to those topics," he says. "Obviously, it would have been completely tone-deaf for the video to not acknowledge, and include in some way, demonstrations, marches, and our current national conversation about racial inequality and justice, so we went back and re-worked the video a bit. Hopefully, this song and video now capture a more complete snapshot of these unprecedented times we're living in."
"Healing Heart" is Wenzel's first release since 2014's full-length, ...Beneath Potomac Skies, which garnered national AAA radio play, and was nominated for four WAMMIEs (Washington Area Music
Awards). Originally from Champaign, IL, he performs solo, as well as with his band Cross Kentucky. Wenzel is also a saxophonist, and he has played with artists such as Carlos
Santana, Noel Gallagher's High Flying Birds, and Ruston Kelly.
Wenzel is donating a portion of the proceeds from the sale of the "Healing Heart" single to www.colorofchange.org and to www.cdcfoundation.org/coronavirus.