Like many of Loudoun’s singer-songwriters, Ken Francis Wenzel life on the performance stage came to a sudden halt in mid-March. The COVID-19 shutdown closed down the wineries and breweries where he’d typically be playing weekend shows.
As Loudoun’s entertainment scene begins its revival, Wenzel emerges from quarantine with a new gift for his audiences. His latest single, “Healing Hearts,” was inspired by life during the pandemic and the strength of the community in fighting through—together. The lyrics became still more poignant as protesters took to the streets seeking to end racial injustice.
In the song, the singer laments the deserted streets, learning how to make masks, working to stretch a budget, and the isolation felt by so many. But the chorus celebrates the strong feeling of community that emerged as neighbors work to help each other through the crisis.
Wenzel said the song came to him during the last weekend in April. After playing it a few times during his livestream shows and porch concerts, he headed to Mark Williams’ Sucker Punch Recording Studios in Bethesda, MD, and quickly knocked it out. Williams added percussion and guitar and Tommy Gann added keyboard and organ overlays from the safety of his home studio.
It’s been six years since his most recent CD and he has quite a few unrecorded songs. This one seemed special.
“The reaction I got is the reason I decided to record it,” he said. “I felt this deserved to get down.”
The single was released Monday, with a special video debuting five days later. The video features a montage of images of life during the pandemic. After it was complete, George Floyd was killed and the protests began. The video was updated to capture those emotions, as well. Wenzel is donating a portion of the proceeds from the single to .colorofchange.org and the CDC Foundation.
“Good songs can allow you interpret meaning and speak to events that are happening,” he said, adding that the emotional challenges of the coronavirus crisis will be with us all for quite a while.
Meanwhile, Wenzel is getting back on the concert circuit. You can catch him Sunday afternoon from 1-4 p.m. at the Barns of Hamilton Station Vineyard.
Learn more at kenwenzelmusic.com.