Ann Wilson is releasing an EP featuring songs by the band she was in before Heart. The four-song record by the Daybreaks will be released in July.

The singer will revisit her earliest recordings with the Seattle-based band on a 10" vinyl reissue that includes advance digital download of the songs.

As Wilson noted in an email to her fan base, the group played in bars and clubs on military bases until late 1968. They eventually encountered “two country songwriters who were looking for a group to record some of their songs for studio time in return.”

Entering Kearney Barton’s Audio Studio at the beginning of 1969, they put down four sides of music that were to be split across two 45rpm records. With only three country songs, they were able to also track “Through Eyes and Glass,” the first song Wilson had written with sister Nancy, as the fourth number. You can hear that song below.

“Audio was a tiny studio in downtown Seattle under the Monorail,” Wilson recalled. “But it may as well have been Abbey Road, as we’d never been in any recording studio before.”

Seattle's Topaz Records pressed 500 copies of the songs, but only a “handful” of them sold, according to Wilson. But that hardly mattered, because in her view, it represented the start of her career.

“Listening now, my voice sounds high and naive and you can hear the influences of Judy Garland, Peggy Lee and Patsy Cline, [artists that] my mother played at home growing up,” she said. “I remember feeling scared and shy at first behind the microphone but soon something else took over!”

Most importantly, the experience of recording the Daybreaks music put to rest doubts Wilson had been having about pursuing music professionally. “I was at art college then, at a crossroads deciding whether I was going to continue to study fashion design or give myself to music. I chose to run away with the circus,” she said. “I have always felt that first experience in the studio with these songs, strange as they are, made up my mind for me.”

Inviting fans to enjoy these “pure, vintage moments,” Wilson said she’s looking forward to playing her first shows since the pandemic began. “I hope to see you there with mask and groove on,” she said regarding the Rite of June mini-tour, which hits Florida for three dates beginning on June 22 in Fort Myers.

Wilson has kept busy since the pandemic forced her off the road last year. She's put out a string of solo singles that will eventually be collected for an upcoming EP release, and she logged time in March recording additional music in Muscle Shoals, Ala.'s FAME Studios, including a “duet with a very special guest."

After singing the national anthem for this year’s NFL draft, she was also onstage at the beginning of this month in a more traditional concert setting, guesting with Gov’t Mule for a set that mixed covers of Led Zeppelin and Tom Petty songs with a version of “Magic Man” from the Heart catalog.

 

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