Amber Waves The home page of Nick Evans & Jeff Horne



Heartland Publishing Ltd and the Amber Waves imprint were founded in 1997 by Nick Evans and Jeff Horne, who had been playing in folk, rock and country bands (independently and together) since the late 1960s. They joined musical forces in 1990 as part of Small Town Romance, a six-piece Americana band based in Kent, England. Nick played acoustic guitar and sings lead and harmony; Jeff plays bass and acoustic guitars and sings harmonies.

The Come From the Heart project

The music of North American folk/country songwriters such as Guy Clark, Nanci Griffith, Robert Earl Keen, John Prine, Butch Hancock and Jimmie Dale Gilmore has long been ignored by the print media both in America and Europe.

The Come From The Heart project was the attempt by one independent English publishing house to remedy this situation. It had its own roots in this period and perhaps represented for Nick and Jeff a bridge from the musical to the literary. The first books in the series were Nanci Griffith's Other Voices: A Personal History of Folk Music by Nanci Griffith and Joe Jackson, and Songbuilder: The Life and Music of Guy Clark by Nick Evans and Jeff Horne, both published at the end of 1998.

The series title Come From the Heart was taken from the song by Susanna Clark and Richard Leigh which seems to define the otherwise indefinable area of American folk/country music that the songs of Guy Clark and Nanci Griffith inhabit with a poetic honesty and integrity all too rarely seen in mainstream Nashville music. The song's chorus says it all:

   You've got to sing like you don't need the money,
   Love like you'll never get hurt,
   You've got to dance like nobody's watching,
   It's got to come from the heart
   If you want it to work.

Sadly the project came to a grinding halt, partly due to our own naive belief that it would build up its own momentum, and partly to other parties' withdrawal of help or enthusiasm. Our own projected biography of Kate and Anna McGarrigle, The Rainbow Ride, foundered on the lack of co-operation from the sisters themselves (though we had ample material from those who knew them well and could easily have gone ahead with it as an unauthorised biography); and Robert Earl Hardy's biography of Townes Van Zandt, A Deeper Blue simply never got beyond various drafts from the author, even though when we realised we lacked the resources to publish and promote it ourselves, we gave him contacts with several US university publishers who had shown interest.

The McTell Years

We did, however, go ahead with what turned out to be our major project for the millennium: Ralph McTell's two volumes of autobiography, Angel Laughter and Summer Lightning.

(more soon)