Artistes - Heather Enid Wells

I have two musical identities: I've played bass for my living most of my adult life, and I also play solo guitar, write songs and guitar instrumentals and, after a fashion, sing. I still very much enjoy playing bass on gigs with various bands, and now, following the release of my album entitled Sleeping Dogs Never Lie (which also incorporates The Simplicity Suite), I hope once again to expand my work as a solo songwriter-performer and guitarist.


Biography and background

My first guitar (and banjo) teacher was Derek Brimstone, then I continued my studies at Hertfordshire Guitar Academy under David Lamport. I soon began writing my own material, and played in the late 1960s at many famous London acoustic or folk venues, including Cecil Sharp House, Les Cousins Club in Soho, and at the Horseshoe, Tottenham Court Road when Pentangle were the house-band. I played there for the first time as a 'floor-singer', but I was given ten shillings and told to come back the next week! I continued to do so each week, playing during the main artistes' break and getting paid, until the closure of the Club, for which I do not accept the blame. I also played guitar and sang in bands in various genres from folk to prog.

I began to add bass to my guitar and banjo work, and decided I liked it. As well as playing with live bands, I was the regular session bassist at Studio Republic, Pinner, and toured Germany with the Tommy Trinder Show in the early 1970s.

I moved up to Norfolk to take a full-time bass job with the Alan Dennis Band (Cathy Dennis's father) in the mid-1970s, then played with Derek Cubitt's band, Q-Bits for eight years, and many others, playing rock, pop, blues, jazz, folk and country music.

After many years as a full-time professional bassist, with a few "bassists' back-trouble" detours such as project work for Community Music East, an NVQ2 as a fitness instructor, newsroom work at BBC TV, and my BSc Honours degree from University of East Anglia in Biological Sciences, I picked up my guitar again in late 1999 and recommenced writing. Soon I had a useful collection of my own songs and instrumentals, and began getting gigs playing them.

I played at many clubs, pubs, arts centres and festivals in the Midlands and East Anglia, including solo on the Club Stage at the main Cambridge Folk Festival three years running, 2000-2002. I performed most weeks at the Music House in Norwich and most months at the Acoustic Showcase at Norwich Arts Centre when Simon Black was running them. Recently, in addition to the club and concert-type gigs where I present my songs, I have been playing instrumental guitar music for art exhibitions.

My music

My fingerstyle guitar techniques and arrangements have developed over the years from the solid grounding of the early tuition mentioned above. My songs and instrumentals are based on strong melodies, counterpoint basslines and complex chordings, sometimes exploring some less commonly-used time signatures.

My songwriting covers a wide variety of topics, including that well trodden theme of human relationships. I'm one of those people whose words and music just 'come out of the air', rather than sitting down with a guitar and working from a chord sequence, or deciding to write about a certain subject or situation.

My lyrics offer a variety of approaches. People seem to find some of my ditties gently amusing; other songs are perhaps more poignant, slightly unkind or with a thought-provoking edge.

I am somewhat hampered by my lack of a proper singing voice, as I have only one functional vocal fold ('cord') - not as uncommon as you might think. The kindest thing people can usually find to say about my singing voice is that it is 'distinctive' ... hmm ... Anyway, I will have a go at anything from sweet folky ballads to belting rock numbers and everything between.


Recordings and FREE guitar tabs

Please click on each album title below to go to the page for each collection of songs. On each of the pages are lyrics, track notes, pictures and a good many FREE correctly-written guitar tabs. The tabs are jpg images, just right-click anywhere on the tab-sheet and "Save Picture As" into a suitable folder on your computer, then you can resize and print them to your taste.

There are links on many of the song titles (in red on each page), where you can hear or download mp3 audio of the tracks, also FREE. Mostly these are just demo versions.

My first solo CD, Different Windows on the Travelling Records label, was well received and very kindly reviewed upon its release, sold out, is currently out of stock and will only be re-released in the unlikely event of massive demand.

My second album, Sleeping Dogs Never Lie, released Summer 2013, features all-new recordings of songs and instrumentals that I've written over the previous eleven years, though nine of the total of nineteen tracks are ones I wrote between January-May 2013. The main part of the album has twelve 'normal' tracks comprising ten songs and two instrumentals, but the CD also includes the whole of another project - a collection of seven short and simple instrumental pieces, called The Simplicity Suite. The album comes with an eight-page full-colour booklet of lyrics and pictures - good value at £12 including P+P! On sale at my gigs for £10, or send me an email and we'll sort something out.

Here on Travelling Records there is also a page of Secret Tabs of mostly well known songs ...


Sleeping Dogs Never Lie – Reviews

This is a CD to put your feet up and relax into, rather than head-butting a wall. It's a collection of bittersweet songs played in a clean, crisp, melodic fingerpicking style. Subjects range from personal hygiene, getting fit, departed pets, dodgy MPs and relationships.

There is also a suite of short instrumental pieces designed for acoustic guitarists of all abilities to try out if they would wish to.

This is a quintessentially English album and Heather's wry humour and playing style does put one in mind of a female Jake Thackery for those long enough in the tooth to know who I'm talking about.
Mick Hardy

Terrific CD the cover!   love the music! ....What a collection....a great mixture of laughter and tears.
George Layton

''Sleeping Dogs Never Lie'' has to be listened to because this is no background music. Heather does what only Heather can. This lady's touch on the electric guitar is spellbinding producing an almost harp like sound that is melodic and soothing.

Her lyrics range from literally the kitchen sink to the human emotion, from hilarity to poignancy, all sung with a sweet yet expressive voice. The only genre this fits into is pure Heather Enid Wells. If I were a director looking to portray Siren music from Greek mythology I would look no further.
Paul Coppard

The song lyrics are absolutely ‘signature’ yet each tone and character fresh and funny - all subtle & stylish, yet with strong & character-full overtone and undertone - placed with such aplomb, uniquely for that song - which are inimitable - as inimitable as any songwriter we know and respect. Each song has its own ‘edge’...  (If I heard one on the radio I’d not heard before, I would be able to put your name to it.)

The meanings are so multi-faceted, timely - both in Zeitgeist and ‘rhythm’ senses!  All melodies and tunes are distinctive & I have thoughts and responses to every song, to all the words and melodies, all the expression and layers of feeling in there.  I’m sure everyone will love this CD.
Ann S. Gavriel

Rarely do you get a collection of music as accomplished as this. The technical brilliance of a much respected performer, who is willing to give you the tablature (via downloads) and show you how easily you too can play her Simplicity Suite. This CD isn’t only a masterclass into how to play though, the songs on the non-instrumental section of the CD are observational, insightful and based on experience. You can almost read the pages of the well thumbed notebook yourself.

It is an amazing piece of work. It feels more like a life’s work as opposed to just a new album, but I guess the mark of a great album is that it feels like it is everything the artist has to give.
Yes, the songs are consistent. The CD is like a greatest hits in a way, as it is difficult to identify any weak spots. There is a variation to the pieces, which means different people will favour different pieces, but nobody is going to say ‘I don’t like that song’ because of the quality.
Jason R. Burgess (Play The Music Acoustic Showcase)

I am currently listening to the shower song. Great song, clever lyrics! However, I will still stick with my lovely big shower – sorry!!
Mary White (The Pavilion Big Band)

I had a listen to the new album yesterday.

I think my fav track is Being a Girl! Really nice chorus melody line on that and indeed on many of them.. you certainly have a novel imagination and vision for lyrics.

I did think to myself that a song like that if done by the modern female artists like Katy Nash or Lily Allen it would be a hit!! Kind of reminded me of their style of songwriting.

Lovely guitar playing on it too.. as you've said yourself the singing isn't the best around, but you do have a nice warmth and timbre to your voice couple of times it gave me goosebumps! Something in the frequency range..

Good luck with many many sales!!
Nigel Harris (Audiotree)

I am enjoying your album… I didn't realise that it is a bit of a greatest hits album…
Richard Blackburn (Hard Rain)

I've finally had chance to listen to "Sleeping Dogs Never Lie" & "The Simplicity Suite", and really enjoyed it. 1001 Rag is probably my favourite (I'm a Scott Joplin fan), plus I struggle with walking bass lines/melodic picking, so I'm very impressed!
James Pepper (Pepper and Shepherd)



A few of my lyrics ...

A Distant Country

The past is a distant country
to which you can never return,
and all the people there you knew
long abandoned that land for pastures new.
Now, swept along on a wave of days,
surfing time's ruthless board, in turn
erratic, yet travelling just one way,
there are more lessons to learn.

Washed up on the beach of the present,
torn from the time that was home,
with no way back to familiar scenes
and to those who exist now only in dreams,
you find you're an orphan out of place,
lost in a land you don't belong,
scanning the crowd for a friendly face
who knows you from the throng.

You're here now, an immigrant traveller
in a time that's new and bright.
There are treasures you've never seen before
buried in the sand of this stony shore.
Look round, for today is now your land –
this is where you belong, by right.
So take time's riches in your hand,
and walk into the light.

Pixel by Pixel

Here’s that photo we had taken on our holiday – summer evening by that Thames-side cottage where we’d stay. It’s my favourite snap of me because I look so blithe. Unfortunately, you’re there too – slouching by my side. Could I not see then what you were like? I was so blind. I can’t believe I’ve kept this in my handbag all this time. This photo, once so glossy, is now bent and scratched. A shame. But it’s not quite so cracked and battered as our love became.

I was going to bin it, but it’s such a nice one of me. So, next, I got the scissors out – but then I couldn’t see how to cut you off, and fill the space where you had been with something photogenic to replace you in the scene. Then I had a great idea – I’ve scanned the picture in on my computer. Here it comes, enlarged upon the screen. The scratches and the creases and the grime will soon be gone – and, better still, now you’ll be wiped away before too long...

I’ll sample bits of grass, of trees, of soil and sunset skies, and copy, move and paste them so your image is disguised. So pixel by pixel I’ll make you disappear. Hey! Now the picture’s magnified, the detail’s getting clear. When I view the photograph at eight times normal size, I see there’s just a hint, a glint of boredom in your eyes. Your arm’s across my shoulders, but now I see your heart wasn’t really in it. Well, that arm’s gone for a start.

Your other hand is in your pocket, skulking in its lair. It rarely brought your wallet out – well, not when I was there. Never mind, it’s gone now, and a flowerbed takes its place. I’ll make more of that pretty shrub to cover up your face. A nice piece of the riverbank where your legs used to be – it’s looking better already – well, at least, it does to me.
Pixel by pixel, taking shape against the trees,
Pixel by pixel, are the edges of my sleeves.

So now there’s no trace left of you, just me on holiday – just a carefree single girl, I’ve made the picture say. I scroll across again. What’s this? Ah, now I understand – this pink blob hanging in mid-air would seem to be a hand. It can’t be yours; they’re both accounted for. No – I forgot – it’s mine. My arm around you squeezed my fingers into shot. Oh, poor misguided little hand, the last bit hanging on to someone not worth holding, where it never did belong.
There! Pixel by pixel – pixel by pixel – it’s gone!

Dozy River
(This song was also recorded by Bright Spark)

When I’m worn and weighed with woe, there’s a place I always go –
Dozy, dozy river, soothing comfort giver, any time my thoughts are low.

Dreaming in the sun I’ll stay. The river’s cool and green today.
Lying by the water… look! That angler’s caught a bream – or has she? No, it’s got away!

Dozy dozy river, by my feet you slither – little ripples trip and play.
I can feel your bubbles taking all my troubles, floating all my blues away…

Never may your course run dry! Though we mortals live and die,
Dozy dozy river, endlessly forever,
Dozy river flow on by.


My other 'hat' is as a versatile bassist playing with all types of bands. Well, anybody who'll have me!

I've played fretless basses since 1974 and now have a unique floor-mounted fretless electric 5-string bass in an extra-low tuning, custom built for me in 2004 by Mike Walsh of Iceni Music (designer and makers of the beautiful Zoot basses). I work with a wide variety of line-ups in many styles and genres, both regularly and as a dep and session player.

I'm a member of the Norwich City Concert Band (we play mostly classical and show music) and the soft-jazz band Quiet Stars, and I often play fun gigs with good-time eclectic party covers band Hard Rain. I also play occasionally with the Pavilion Big Band, The Bellhops, The Ugly Bug Jazzband, The Wississippi Jazzmen, and various other jazz, rock, blues and pop line-ups, including playing most weeks with the Christchurch Big Band led by David Buchan.

From 2000-2008 I sang and played both guitar and bass with ace guitarist-singer, the late Rick Hayward, as the eclectic duo A Little Uneasy. Some of our duo tracks, still on free download, can be heard on

With the late singer-songwriter-guitarist John Bartram and singer-percussionist Pete Allen, from November 2004 until John's untimely death in May 2013 I played bass and sang with 1950s-60s-style harmony vocal and instrumental trio Bright Spark and our acoustic-style version, with the same personnel, UnSparkPlugged.

The original Bright Spark played a mixture of self-penned (mostly John's) and well known songs. After losing John, Pete and I reformed as Bright Spark with Hannah, recruiting guitarist Chris Mortimer and vocalist Hannah from local band Miss B. Havin'. The new band plays covers from the 1950s to the present day.