When Captain Bluetongue of Sydney duo the Blues Preachers embarked on his new project it was a case of following his heart.
The seasoned musician, who has performed at festivals all over Australia, including Byron Bay Bluesfest, the Woodford Folk Festival, the Blue Mountains Music Festival and the Gympie Muster, wrote a bunch of songs that felt like they needed a new home and so the Marvellous Hearts were born.
The first track he wrote was Give Love, the lead single of their debut self-titled EP, and the uplifting song reflects the band's philosophy.
"The only thing you can do is fight hate with love," says the Captain. "Realise we're all different and that's what makes the world a special place."
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At first he thought he'd hire a few musicians to record the tracks and that would be it, but the more people heard about the project, the more they wanted to get on board.
Now his ragtag crew includes Marco Solo on lead guitar, Hutch on drums, The Wizard on bass, Katherine Vavahea on backing vocals plus special guests on keys. Not only do they represent a broad age range, they also come from wildly varying styles, including blues, punk, rock, jazz, pop and reggae.
If the Blues Preachers evoked classic blues of the 1930s and '40s, then the Marvellous Hearts take their influences from the '60s and '70s. They've been compared to the Beatles and Bob Dylan by none other than music icon Stuart Coupe.
"The Marvellous Hearts sound like what happens when you give crate-digging music fanatics instruments and tell them to go make a record," Coupe has written.
"There's snippets of every record they've ever heard swirling around in their sound.
"And yet out of this melting pot comes something distinct and un-pigeonholeable. And did I mention that they ooze attitude? I like them. Chances are you will too."
Give Love is backed up by songs including Impatient World, an anti-hymn to greed, Lovesick Rambling Blues, which pokes a stick at the addictiveness of new love, and Babble On, a hypnotic calypso-vibed serenade that points out the dangers of social and mass media.
The diversity of their sound comes from the diversity of their influences, and it's also meant that the harmonica stalwart has had to strap on a guitar.
"I've always had a guitar hanging around," says the Captain, who also runs the Bluetongue Harmonica School, "but like most harmonica players I was too lazy to do the hard yards. Now I'm in a situation where I'm writing all the songs and I'm playing guitar on everything and I'm really enjoying the process."
The songs were recorded at Studio 57 with producer Marc Scully. And now the band are looking forward to taking them to stages across Australia or wherever the road leads.
While he might have goals and ambitions, the Captain is happy to let the project unfold organically - because that's what's been working so far.
"It's like what John Lennon said. 'Life is what happens to you when you're busy making other plans'.
"You can have your ambitions, but it's more than likely going to be different from what you had in mind, and if you're on the right side of the fence, it should be positively different.
"I'm just happy to get the songs out there for people to listen to and hopefully put a good message out."
The Marvellous Hearts are playing the Murrah Hall this Saturday, August 31, from 8pm. Get tickets here
The Strides' drummer Carlos is laying down the beats for them on this run, meaning you're in for a great night of blues dance and upbeat party music.