A new album and a children's book based on an old album are on Heart's docket for the balance of the year.
Guitarist Nancy Wilson tells Billboard.com that she and sister Ann have been in and out of the studio during the past few months with producer Ben Mink working on Heart's first set of new material since 2004's "Jupiter's Darling." "We've done a lot of writing and we've been in the studio a couple times so far between some of the touring stuff we're doing," Wilson says. "We've got about eight songs that we really like, and we've recorded three basic (tracks) that work so far. I know it will be out this coming year, but I can't give you any more specific time frame than that."
Wilson adds that recording has been done so far in Los Angeles and in various hotel rooms during the group's tours. She also expects to log some studio time in Seattle. Song titles so far include "Hey You" and "Closer," and Wilson says the recording process has been organic. "We're recording with just a real woodshed, small acoustic element, people playing together at the same time and (in) the same room -- like what they used to call a hootenanny," explains Wilson, who hopes to debut some of the new songs live this summer. "There's no ProTools feel to it at all. We're just sitting around playing guitars together and going for a performance that is on the spot."
Heart is also planning for a fourth quarter release of a storybook inspired by its 1978 album "Dog & Butterfly," which will come with a CD that includes new versions of the title song and "Dreamboat Annie" Heart will record with Mink. "We always wanted to do a children's book of some form or another," Wilson says. "Ann pretty much did the writing, and I kind of was her editor. She made the initial drawings of the dog and I did the butterfly. She drew the characters, mostly, and I painted them. And then we had an artist come in and kind of fill in some of the other designs 'cause we're kind of busy right now. It looks really good. It's really simple."
Heart has tour dates booked into September, including nine dates opening for Journey.