A sensitive soul’s inspired fourth album - release show
DOUGLAS FIRS - HEART OF A MOTHER
The past year has been an emotional rollercoaster for Gertjan Van Hellemont, also known as Douglas Firs. In the space of one bewildering week, one doctor told him he would soon be a father, and another broke the news that his mother was terminally ill, and only had a few short weeks left. About a month after his mother’s passing, Gertjan lost his grandmother to Covid-19.
Stuck between mourning for his mother and grandmother on the one hand, and the excitement of welcoming his first child on the other, Gertjan withdrew into his home studio to write what would become the new Douglas Firs album ‘Heart of a Mother’.
He immediately recorded any ideas that came to him, and many of those first recordings have made it onto the final record. From a single vocal or guitar cord, Gertjan then developed multi-layered songs with piano, Wurlitzer, synths, and much more. Members of his regular band contributed drums, bass and some extra keyboards. For the first time, an entire Douglas Firs album was recorded at home, which proved essential to making the songs as pure and sincere as possible. Just like ‘Hinges of Luck’, the new album was mixed by Kevin Ratterman (Strand of Oaks, Ray LaMontagne, My Morning Jacket) from his studio in Louisville, Kentucky. About the mother’s heart of the album’s title, Gertjan says - “I don't think there is a more powerful image in this world, nothing that has more pure love flowing through it. I felt it with my own mother, and I also felt it with my girlfriend when she was about to have a child of her own. My hope is that people will hear and feel that love in these songs.”