The songs of Paul Simon have always been a source of musical inspiration for bassist/composer Dave Hertzberg; a more personal connection to Simon's work was formed when the classic song "Hearts and Bones" began to resonate with Hertzberg's own life experience. As he began to further immerse himself in the Simon songbook, he was also developing a passion for the inventive, rootsy music of alt bluegrass bands like the Punch Brothers and Crooked Still. Sensing a subtle kinship between the earthy, joyous groove of bluegrass and Simon's poignant, lyrical melodies, Hertzberg had the crazy notion to merge these disparate musical worlds in what was to become an exciting new project: Hearts & Bones.
No stranger to music with diverse roots, Hertzberg is a longtime member of Pablo Mayor's renowned 13-piece Colombian big band Folklore Urbano; the Rafi Malkiel Ensemble, a group that fuses latin, jazz, and middle eastern sounds; and the Shul Band, a quintet whose repertoire spans from ancient Jewish liturgical melodies to klezmer- and bluegrass-inluenced original compositions. Taking inspiration from these eclectic experiences as a sideman, he began to develop a new ensemble that would allow him to forge his own path as a composer, arranger and bandleader.
Initially envisioning a vehicle for bluegrass versions of Paul Simon songs, Hertzberg set to work on an arrangement of "Hearts and Bones," and soon followed with a fresh take on the Simon and Garfunkel classic "Cecilia." He incorporated aspects of jazz and bluegrass by utilizing a unique instrumentation (flute, fiddle, acoustic guitar, upright bass and drums), sophisticated harmonies, and simple, infectious grooves. This combination of elements soon provided the spark that drove Hertzberg to create a set of compositions that would borrow freely from the diverse musical styles he has played throughout his career as a bassist. This distinctive blend of Paul Simon covers and inventive original music would form the core of what was to become Hearts & Bones.
Based in Brooklyn and featuring some of New York City's top jazz and bluegrass musicians, Hearts & Bones has quickly become one of the most compelling bands on New York City's burgeoning newgrass scene. Their debut album, "Don't Lose Sight of Your Song," features five innovative Hertzberg compositions, two Paul Simon classics reimagined as modern bluegrass instrumentals, and a harmonically sophisticated interpretation of the traditional American folk song "Wildwood Flower." Hailed by WNYC’s David Garland as “fiery music that will get your pulse moving,” Hearts & Bones is a band that defies category while staying true to its myriad musical roots.