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Heart by Heart faithfully delivers Heart’s classics with original members

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Steve Fossen and Mike DeRosier, bassist and drummer for the band Heart during the 1970s and early 1980s, are touring as Heart by Heart with vocalist Somar Macek, guitarist, keyboardist and vocalist Lizzy Daymont and guitarist Chad Quist. "Our mission is to perform the classic Heart music as faithfully as we can," Fossen says. Steve Fossen and Mike DeRosier, bassist and drummer for the band Heart during the 1970s and early 1980s, are touring as Heart by Heart with vocalist Somar Macek, guitarist, keyboardist and vocalist Lizzy Daymont and guitarist Chad Quist. "Our mission is to perform the classic Heart music as faithfully as we can," Fossen says. (Image courtesy of Heart by Heart)

The original rhythm section for Heart - one of classic rock’s most successful and revered bands - is still locked in and delivering those iconic songs as faithfully as possible, says bassist and co-founding member Steve Fossen (a member of Heart from 1973 to 1982), of his band Heart by Heart.

Along with former Heart drummer Michael DeRosier (1975-1982), vocalist Somar Macek, Lizzy Daymont on guitar, keyboards and vocals, and guitarist Chad Quist, Fossen says Heart by Heart is committed to playing the music with as much reverence and respect as possible.

“Our mission is to perform the classic Heart music as faithfully as we can,” Fossen told me during an interview from his home in Kenmore, Washington, located just north of Seattle.

Heart by Heart began organically as a duo when Fossen met vocalist Somar Macek in 2008.

“We started out playing dinner parties, bistros and jam nights around town,” Fossen said of the musical pairing. By 2009, Fossen and Macek were a couple and have since married.

“We were so in love, we decided to call the project Heart by Heart,” Fossen says.

When booking agents began requesting a full band, Fossen welcomed the opportunity to once again play professionally with DeRosier while sharing the stage with his new wife.

“We take the music very seriously,” said Fossen. “Ann and Nancy Wilson are rock’s premiere sisters, and with Heart by Heart, we respect and honor that music we made together.”

Beginning with 1975’s “Crazy on You” from Heart’s debut album “Dreamboat Annie,” the music of Heart has always had a home on the radio, a fact for which Fossen says he is grateful.

“I’m very appreciative of classic rock and classic hits radio for keeping our music alive for so many years,” he said. “It’s really cool to listen to the radio and hear a Pink Floyd song followed by a Led Zeppelin song and The Beatles and then a song by Heart will come on. It’s just a great feeling. I sit there and think ‘How did that ever happen?’”

Heart’s origins can be traced back to the mid-1960s when Fossen formed The Army – a band that eventually morphed into Heart after a series of different names and personnel changes, key among them being the addition of sisters Ann and Nancy Wilson.

Heart went on to release six top-10 albums and landed 20 hit singles on the Billboard top 40 chart, including “Magic Man,” “Barracuda,” “Straight On,” “Heartless” and “Even it Up.”

Fossen and DeRosier left Heart in 1982 following the recording of “Private Audition” and were inducted into The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame with the rest of the classic Heart lineup in 2013.

“That was an amazing night,” Fossen said of Heart’s induction. “I had a conversation with Ann and it was good to reminisce a little bit. We have such high regard for our rock and roll heroes that it was a little surreal when we joined them in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. There’s a part of you that says ‘You’re not worthy’ but then you remember how big Heart was - and still is - such a big part of classic rock, that it was a no-brainer for us to be in there.”

Fossen remembers what it was like in the studio when those classic Heart songs were recorded.

“Mike Flicker was our producer and the guy who pretty much discovered us,” he said. “He would arrange the songs and have us play them in a way that would make it interesting. Before a take, Mike would say something like ‘Do a good job because you’re going to be listening to this song for the rest of your life.’ We thought, ‘OK, sure,’ but he was right (laughs).”

Fossen says he gets a kick out of hearing Heart’s music played everywhere he goes, including the grocery store.

“I’ll be out grocery shopping when ‘Magic Man’ or ‘Barracuda’ or ‘Dreamboat Annie’ will come on the overhead speakers. I’ll stop and listen and look around the store and I get a kick out of that. People don’t usually realize that one of the musicians they hear is shopping with them.”

Fossen says that one of the most rewarding aspects of Heart by Heart is meeting with fans after each show.

“We have people coming up to us after shows with tears in their eyes,” he said. “They thank us for bringing back memories of those days. Somar and I started singing these songs out a pure love for the material, and now that we’ve branched out and are touring around the country, it’s really rewarding to talk to fans and hear their stories and memories.”

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