The pulsating new single from Greensboro band Old Heavy Hands is built upon a thudding bass line and thumping drums. It’s hypnotic, absorbing songwriting and makes for an engaging listen. The twanging guitars give way to a grungier sound as the song grows, culminating in a searing solo from David Self, just as the characters in the video go down into the fires of Hell. Larry Wayne Slaton’s voice is emotive and full of weary character while Nathan James Hall delivers an excellent reply with the call and response vocals.
Nate Hall says of the song: “This song comes from a place of clouded vision – a self-induced stupor. It’s about being lost in a haze and dragging the people around you down, and not realizing until it’s too late. ‘Coming Down’ is the end of the party. It’s the lucky moment when the light comes through the fog and you have a chance to pick yourself back up again. The spacey sounds and fuzzed elements of the song bring me right back to that state of mind. Writing and recording Small Fires was extremely cathartic. I had a lot of demons to let loose.”
Over the years, Old Heavy Hands have shared stages with the likes of Jason Isbell, John Moreland, Lucero and Tyler Childers, delivering their energetic shows. It has been a long journey from when the band was formed in Greensboro. Nathan James Hall (vocals, guitar), Larry Wayne Slaton (vocals, guitar, keys) and David Self (lead guitar, vocals) all work at Legacy Irons Tattoo shop where the band name is a ‘trash talk’ term of endearment. Meanwhile, Josh Coe (bass, mandolin) owned the bar next door, and John Chester (drums) worked at the bar across the street. Creating the band was a natural process as they all developed friendships within Greensboro’s close music community.
The single is taken from the forthcoming album ‘Small Fires’, due for release on 19th January. The follow-up to 2018’s ‘Mercy’ has been a long time coming and the band members have packed a lot of life experience into the intervening years. Between them, they have survived cancer, tackled addictions and raised families. Musically, the band blend their early punk influences with alt-rock, Southern rock and Muscle Shoals Americana. The band have come a long way. Slaton says: “I got three times better at guitar between ‘Mercy’ to ‘Small Fires’. There was a lot of sitting around with D [Self] playing guitar, watching this motherfucker, play over stuff. Then I started noodling over stuff. Over COVID I started playing keys, took singing lessons, and learned to produce. Everyday, I work to learn something new about my craft.”
All that work has paid off and ‘Small Fires’ promises to be a compelling album. Enjoy.