Gertjan Van Hellemont aka Douglas Firs, went through what you would call ‘an emotional rollercoaster’ last year. It all started during one absurd week, in which one doctor told him the good news that he was going to be a father, and another that his mother was terminally ill and only had a couple of weeks left to live. About a month after his mother, Gertjan’s grandmother also passed away after being diagnosed with Covid-19.
Not really knowing how to handle these conflicting feelings of deep grief at his mother’s and grandmother’s deaths on the one hand, and the pure excitement about his soon to be born first child on the other, Gertjan climbed the stairs to his home studio in his attic, to start writing and recording “Heart of a mother”, the upcoming Douglas Firs album.
Most of what you’ll hear on the album are those first recordings: Gertjan singing, playing guitars and adding layers of piano, Wurlitzer and synths. His loyal touring band came in to add some drums, bass and more keyboards here and there. For the first time
everything on a Douglas Firs album was recorded at home, which was crucial to keep the songs as pure and honest as possible. Kevin Ratterman (Strand of Oaks, Ray LaMontagne, My Morning Jacket) mixed the album in Louisville, Kentucky.
“In my view, no image in this world is more powerful than the heart of a mother, nothing has more love running through it,” Gertjan says about his 4th album. “I was able to witness this both in my own mother and in my girlfriend who was about to become one. My hope is that people will hear and feel this love in these songs.”
releaseshow AB Brussels 16/10
MUSICIANS: Gertjan Van Hellemont (vocals, guitars, keys), Simon Casier (bass, keys), Sem Van Hellemont (keys, vocals), Laurens Billiet (drums), Steven de Bruyn (harmonica), Sam Vloemans (trumpet), Roos Denayer (vocals), Jasper Hautekiet (double bass), Dietrich Strause (trumpet), Bart Vervaeck (pedal steel)
• ENGINEERED by Gertjan and Jan Chantrain (Ertebrekers, Gabriel Rios)
• MIXED by Kevin Ratterman (Strand of Oaks, Ray Lamontagne, My Morning Jacket)
• MASTERED by Fred Kevorkian (White Stripes, Black Keys, Joan As Police Woman)
singles One Day, What If I Can & Delighted