By Mark Kemp
In 2013, Arkansas singer and guitarist Shawn James and his friend, the photographer and videographer Anna Hutchison, quietly uploaded a stunning video of James and mandolin player Baker performing a cover of singer-songwriter A.A. Bondy’s 2007 song “American Hearts.” What’s special about this version is the setting: Hutchison taped the duo in the snowy wilderness of Colorado’s W.O.L.F. Sanctuary during a tour stop.
This past October, that amazing video went viral, thanks to Reddit user Michael Jonestowne. And you can see why so many users responded when you watch the clip and hear the wondrous voices of wolves joining in with the musicians.
“It was such a surreal thing to witness,” Hutchison told Arkansas’ news and arts paper The Fayetteville Flyer last year. “We were just touring the facilities and learning about the wolves and the sanctuary’s mission. Shawn asked the owner if it would be possible for them to get their instruments out and play a song . . .
“We were freezing and Shawn and Baker were performing on an icy slope — you can see them start to slip at points. We all hoped that the wolves would howl along, but we had no idea how awesome it was going to be. It was such an awesome experience that we all went and got wolf paw prints tattooed behind our ears to commemorate it.”
What’s almost as special as the performance itself is the clip below of Shawn bonding with one of the wolves.