(Interview) Alt-Country Outfit Gregory Childs & Heart lung Release Debut EP Baby Blue
Gregory Childs & Heart Lung, a new alt country outfit based in Toronto have recently released their debut EP Baby Blue and if you like your country outlaw with an alternative tinge, you’ll definitely want to give it a listen, it’s one hell of a first release! Spun up with outlaw country and Cobain grease, the 2 song EP has really got me missing live music, as I imagine this would fit perfectly with a cold whiskey and a venue like The Dakota Tavern or The Cameron House. On Baby Blue harmonica runs, country riffs and growly vocals guide the listener towards a story of heartbreak, family estrangement and self-destruction.
If you’re as a big a fan of these tracks as I am, you’ll definitely want to keep your eye out for their brand new music video for “Blood Ties” which is being premiered here on Dropout this Saturday! The EP is also scheduled for physical distribution on 45 inch vinyl early 2021!
We had the chance to interview Gregory Childs about the new EP, taking pop-country to a gnarlier place, the pandemic, Toronto’s music scene and more! Click below to listen to Baby Blue and keep scrolling for our interview!
You recently released a new EP called Baby Blue, can you tell us about the release?
These songs came from a rough place. I was spending too much time drinking and wandering around by myself in the Junction and just Toronto in general. I spent a lot of time in the past. My day to day was a maelstrom for a while and the weekly meetups with Heart Lung became extremely important for me – the practices were my church and the songs hymns that brought meaning to what was otherwise a very bleak period. Heart Lung and I agreed that Baby Blue and Blood Ties bookended each other nicely and we focused on them for our debut release.
You’ve noted you’re focused on taking pop-country to a gnarlier place (a description I love) can you elaborate on that?
As a group we’re all drawn to raw storytelling. While we respect the pop elements of both classic and contemporary country we want our songs to feel like the mics just happened to be there, with the imperfections, throat pulls and chair squeaks included. We definitely aren’t perfect and we like it that way.
I love the combination of sounds you put together to make this EP, can you tell us about some of your inspirations for it?
Early Rod Stewart (Never a Dull Moment), Blaze Foley, Townes, Mary Gauthier, Elliott Smith, Ernest Tubb and Meat Puppets
You formed in late 2019…I’m sure you had very different plans for 2020. But you haven’t let the pandemic stop you, can you tell us about how you stayed inspired to create music during the craziest year of most of our lives?
I’ve been blessed to have met some phenomenal musicians who have the dedication to match their skill (Heart Lung is; Nick Cousins, Zachary Moloci, Brent Kervin). After an important upcoming show at the Cameron House was cancelled at the start of Covid, we all knew that if we didn’t push forward in some way the group would start to fall apart. It became clear that none of us wanted that so we kept meeting and practicing in between lockdowns. Getting into the space and just cranking the amps got us sweating on the same path again and we were able to build the energy towards another recording session.
Before the lockdown you played at Cameron House, Monarch Tavern & other Toronto staples. Can you tell us about one of your favourite live music memories?
Our first time at the Cameron House was electric – we had a lot of support from the local community, friends and family and the Ferraro’s gave us a solid night in front of the red curtains. Something just sat right that night and we played our hearts out.
What do you think the Toronto music scene will look like once we’re finally able to have concerts again?
In contrast to many, I actually feel really hopeful. I remember talking to Toronto booker Dan Burke years ago about how the emergence of the “ma and pa venues” at every other café were really hurting the scene because the established venues’ weeknights were shot – bands would take a Friday night at “John’s Café” as opposed to a Tuesday at the Silver Dollar Room, effectively killing off the weeknight shows and dispersing the crowds. While I feel for the low budget venues that closed, I’m hopeful that a more concentrated music scene based around a few key venues that have survived will create music hot spots reminiscent of past places like the old Silver Dollar Room, and maybe even New York’s CBGB’s (I’m getting ahead of myself).
What are your most listened to songs so far in 2020?
I found a $3 dollar Hank Williams CD at an antique shop with a bunch of his recordings from the Health & Happiness Shows of 1949. Songs Weddings Bells, Lovesick Blues and Lost Highway stand out from it – it’s been on repeat.
What can fans expect next from Heart Lung?
At the beginning of Winter 2020 we were able to record our staple collection of songs with Steve Aylward (same engineer as Baby Blue EP). We are currently mixing with Erin Cousins (also same mixing engineer) and getting ready to do a full length release sometime this year. We also have a video for Blood Ties coming out this month and the Baby Blue EP coming out on 45” Vinyl soon.