Traditional-leaning country and folk music often dances along the sharp and rough edges of life – loss, heartbreak, yearning and the desire for salvation. It connects heart-first, goes deep and then, gets into your bones. Toronto based alt-country quintet Gregory Childs and Heart Lung are aiming straight for what’s under your ribs with their raw and driving new single, “From the Chest” – available now.
Following up the band’s two-song debut “Baby Blue EP”, released in late 2020 and a one-off single “Lonesome” released last May, “From the Chest” delivers a train-chugging emotional wallop and carries the band’s stylistic and songwriting evolution another several steps further along the track. The sweet and savory counterpoint of songwriter, guitarist and lead vocalist Gregory Childs and his wife, Tyrah, vocalist and tambourine player for the group, illustrates the duality of the song’s story of a man both grieving the death of his wife and pleading for his own salvation.
“It details the desperate pleas he makes to God as he asks to be allowed into heaven despite living a life of less-than-Christian ideals and shortfalls,” explains Gregory Childs. “It’s about praying your own way and being a good person without necessarily following all the ‘rules’ laid out by organized religion.”
I sing this song just to ensure that at that Holy hour
you’ll let me through your front gate though the devil may be sour
cause I may have promised him just a thing or two
but Lord I swear I’ll make it up to you
It turns out that the impetus to write “From the Chest” came from a very personal place of loss for Childs.
“I wrote this song out of inspiration and through a dedication to my own lost friend, a drummer who passed away too young,” he explains. “He was a devout Christian but struggled to keep up with the church-going ideals requested in the bible. A good heart that stumbled, fell and ultimately pleaded ‘take me home’ through his own song writing. He left a legacy that continues to breathe in the whole band.”
Take me back sweet Jesus
I want to go home tonight
Lord take me home
I’ve said my goodbyes
“Spun up with outlaw country and Cobain grease”, reads a descriptor from Gregory Childs and Heart Lung’s bio and it paints a vivid picture of this strum and thump group of storytellers who like to tinge the traditional with a dash or two of rock ‘n’ roll rebellion. Formed in 2019, the group also includes Nick Cousins on harmonica, Brent Kervin on bass and Zachary Moloci on drums and vocals.
“From the Chest” was recorded last winter at Pineship Sound in Toronto, which is owned by the band Zeus. Two members of Zeus lent a hand in the process, Carlin Nicholson and Mike O’Brien, who played organ on “From the Chest”. Childs and his cohorts rocked their way through a series of back-to-back shows before sequestering into Pineship to lay down the tracks, the bones live off the floor first followed by overdubs.
Just prior to the pandemic and since live music has revved up again, Gregory Childs & Heart Lung have been tearing up legendary stages around Toronto including The Horseshoe and The Dakota Tavern. With at least two more singles planned for release in the coming months, they’ll undoubtedly be expanding their roots and roll beyond the GTA.
When they get back under the lights on those hallowed Toronto stages and beyond, Gregory Childs & Heart Lung will be reaching deep into the audience’s own hearts with their revealing, very personal alt-country anthems coming right “From the Chest”.
“This song was catalyzed by my owns fears, fearing loss, fearing being split apart from passed-on loved ones,” adds Childs. “It’s a message to higher powers, a request to look beyond the superficial when casting final judgment on mortals and to give us a break for all our earthly shortcomings.”
“From the Chest” is available now.