The past few years have been a series of changes for Jon Wolfe. Some were unique, like marrying his fiancé at the end of 2019, and others were more relatable, like being shut out from the world due to the pandemic. Amid all of these transitions, Wolfe felt the itch to express his truer, authentic self. He wanted to create something that represents who he is today and who helped him get there.
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Wolfe recently sat down with American Songwriter to chat about this journey that led him to record his upcoming album Dos Corazones. The album premieres in its first chapter at the end of this month.
“When things slow down I begin to think about the things that I love,” Wolfe said. “I love the outdoors and I love old guitars and old beat-up pickup trucks and country music. So these were my trains of thought at the time, and it all converged into this idea that said, ‘I want to cut a record that pushes me and inspires me and inspires my fans and lets them know more about Jon Wolfe.’”
After voicing this desire to his wife Amber (multiple times over), she encouraged the country singer/songwriter to start a new project in Terlingua, Texas—a place where the couple had spent some time before and during the pandemic. “I came up with this idea to rent a little adobe house in the Chihuahuan Desert and bring in my producer Dave Brainard. [Also to] bring in my favorite songwriter Tony Ramey, and I would bring in a photographer and a film crew. The idea was that we would all go out to the desert… and write for this record,” Wolfe said.
Wolfe continued to explain that his crew of creatives hunkered down in the adobe house for 11 days total—off the grid—and produced the vast majority of the material for Dos Corazones. They shot editorial photos (over 5,000 photos) and video footage (13.5 hours) in addition to writing the 17-track album. “I think they trusted me on this vision, and they all got on board with it,” Wolfe recalls. “We definitely all caught a common creative bug I guess you could say. And [the album] took on a life of its own.”
The specific house that Wolfe found for his album-producing getaway bore the name Dos Corazones, which means Two Hearts when translated from Spanish. Right from the beginning, this name inspired the direction of the album. The house itself was previously owned by a songwriter from Austin, Texas, in the ’70s, which Wolfe superstitiously believes brought the crew a little luck. “There might have been some songs hanging out in that house. And in a way, we went and mined those songs out of this house,” he said.
There was one member of Wolfe’s inner circle, however, who did not make it to the songwriter haven. “In mid to late July we suffered a loss due to COVID. Conrad Soriano was my stage manager and my best friend. He passed away,” Wolfe said. “And so we lost somebody that was very important to us. I became more intense on accomplishing this [record] when that happened, because… number one, Conrad knew about this record that I was going to work on. He was always really encouraging of me growing my career and pushing the boundaries and staying consistent and working hard. So I knew at that point I needed to do something. That became a driving factor behind the momentum of going and doing this project.”
With all of these factors in play—Conrad’s passing, the adobe house, and a designated creative boot camp—Wolfe concluded that the record is simply, and completely, beautiful. He added that his producer had free rein over the instrumentals and its blended sounds are wholly American. “I’ve kind of gotten to a place, personally, where I’m able to enjoy the process of collaboration and trust my creative partners,” Wolfe said. “I’m finding a lot of joy in being a part of something instead of trying to always make it.”
Find out more information on the album’s upcoming releases here and get ready for a sensational sonic experience. You can pre-save the album here. Upcoming releases will include “Tequila Sundown,” which was inspired by Wolfe’s friend Tomas and his favorite bar in Cabo.