From The Heart

From The Heart

Band lets go, finds joy in new music


Dandelion Heart has been performing together a little more than a year and a half, but followers of the Northwest Arkansas music scene will recognize the faces and the voices that comprise the foursome. Part of other projects and playing here and there, they got to know each other — as many future bandmates around here do — through the music community.

In the spring, the four women were looking forward to debuting their first album together. You know the line: Covid-19 hit. And their plans were thrown for a loop. Thanks to some flexible scheduling and a healthy dose of persistence, Lacy Hampton (guitar/piano/hand percussion), Chase Hart (guitar/hand percussion), Korey McKelvy (mandolele/banjo) and Willa Thomason (cello/guitar/hand percussion) finished the album over the next few months, and they’re finally able to share it with their CD release this month.

“It’s kind of crazy to think about this album coming out and the people who we were then were so different from who we are now,” Thompson muses.

The 13 tunes written for Dandelion Heart’s debut, “Retrospect,” are about change, renewal and letting go, she shares. Going into the first recording session in the early spring, the music held individual meaning for each musician. But having this project to come back to throughout this year of turmoil — a time when Dandelion Heart wasn’t even able to practice together, let alone perform — throws the music into new relief as epitomizing a different kind of catharsis now that it’s finished.

“I’ve seen all three of those women grow so much, and I think that we are really happy to be together in this band,” Thompson says. “It’s just been a source of strength for all of us coming from different places in our lives. So definitely, the songwriting can be a huge source of release, especially when you can share that with other people in such a big way.”

“I feel like we can feel even more proud BECAUSE of the extra struggle of this year,” Lacey Hampton, one fourth of the harmony-rich Fayetteville folk band Dandelion Heart, says about the band’s debut album, out this month.
(Courtesy Photo)

“This album is special to me, because it represents finding my voice again,” Hampton adds. “I went through writer’s block for a while there and a lot of big, exciting life changes. As I became a mom and teacher in the same year, other things (and tiny humans) took my focus.

“Before Dandelion Heart came about, I knew I needed to surround myself by musical people again and find my creative energy. And my bandmates showed me the encouragement I needed to start getting stuff out there again. It’s amazing what a little positive affirmation can do. And here we all are, trying new instruments, and with a whole album to showcase that positive spirit and community.

“Having a project and a goal anchored me through this time,” Hampton adds, “and now that we are finally at the finish line, I feel like we can feel even more proud BECAUSE of the extra struggle of this year.”

“The most special part of the album for me was putting together something so deeply personal for all four of us — all together,” Hart picks up the thread. “The group has supported one another in our musical journeys and in all aspects of life. This album is a concrete artifact that represents that special friendship.”

That concrete artifact blends the backgrounds, skills and influences from these four musicians to offer a new sound that another adored Fayetteville musician, Donna Mulhollan of Still on the Hill, calls “the most beautiful harmonies imaginable…”

“One of my favorite things about this album is that there are four very different songwriting styles coming together here,” McKelvy shares. “Though we are each unique in our writing and our voice, we have been able to mesh these styles together pretty well (we believe). The overall tone of this album to me is about assessing the past and looking to the future, taking in the sights, and enjoying the beauty and pleasure that life has to offer. I think this album truly has something for every listener.”

“This album just seemed like climbing a mountain. And now it feels like we’re not being defeated by this” stressful year, Thompson reflects. “We really hope that this album can bring the community and our friends and our family a lot of joy, because it’s definitely been a bright spot for all of us.”



Dandelion Heart

Categories: Music