Home Read Now Hear This: The Town Heroes | Home

Now Hear This: The Town Heroes | Home

Visit 1999 Nova Scotia on the Halifax indie-rock duo's endearing concept disc.


THE EDITED PRESS RELEASE: “In the summer of 1999, a father — longing for what he left behind — returns with his family to his hometown of Inverness, Nova Scotia, after moving to San Francisco for work. There, he re-experiences the charms of his small, close-knit community. A young “local” boy falls for his
daughter, and a short romance ensues. The nine songs on The Town Heroes’ new narrative concept album Home, told from three different perspectives, tell a chronological tale of coming home, youth, and ultimately, lost love.

“I wanted to make an album that paid tribute to small-town Cape Breton in the summer,” said The Town HeroesMike Ryan. “It was such a magical time when your tiny, quiet hometown was suddenly overflowing with new people, energy and endless possibilities. I couldn’t have written these songs earlier in my life, because it takes a certain amount of time to pass to be able to look back upon those years with the proper lens of nostalgia.”

hat star-crossed romance at the heart of Home begins to unfold on focus track The Walk, as the young “local” man makes his way to a summer dance at the Strathlorne Hall. “After successfully securing alcohol — four litres of Tropikiwi cooler — from a town legend named Chi Chi, the boy is drunk for the first time in his life,” said Ryan. “En route to the dance, he walks along a path where the old railway tracks used to run into Inverness. In his mind, every good thing he’s ever imagined is at the tip of his fingers.”

Mixed by Nico Essig (The Rolling Stones, Kings of Leon, Father John Misty), Queen tells the story of their meeting. With the confidence gained from a river of sugary booze in his system, the boy asks the girl to dance. He learns she’s from San Francisco, and it’s love at first sight. “There’s something about the sense of home attached to being from a small town,” said Ryan. “I’ve met people from bigger places who just don’t have it. There’s nothing wrong with that, but for most of the people I know from small towns, there’s a sense of pride and connection that exists between them and their home. I wanted to capture that here.”

Photo by Kristen Herrington.

An upbeat, energetic rock song with tender falsetto vocals sitting atop fuzzed out guitars and driving drums, lead single Fuse is a love letter to firsts, the summer, and carefree days where everything you hope for is falling into place. “Fuse is a song about the initial stages of falling for someone; when new love is written all over your face and, in your mind, will last forever,” Ryan said. “Appropriately, the video for Fuse was shot in the Inverness Miners Museum, the day before the building sold. The museum pays tribute to the history of the town of Inverness, the video acting as a final curtain call to the chronicles of the small town that inspired the song.”

Home captures the energy and spirit of a youthful summer and coming of age. It’s a soundtrack for the summer that’s relatable and, most importantly during the current locked-down world we live in: fun. It’s a time before the internet and social media, when you talked face to face or on a landline you prayed wasn’t answered by cross-examining parents.

Whether a sweaty rock show or an intimate acoustic environment, The Town Heroes want you to be entertained. Born and raised in Inverness county, Mike Ryan and Bruce Gillis have played together for the past 10 years — touring the world, releasing five albums and winning an array of industry awards. Anthemic choruses, danceable arrangements, and tender falsettos highlight their catchy yet thoughtful songs. At heart, a perfect soundtrack for contemplating life with a bounce in your step.

Musically, the band blend their ’90s alt-rock influences with singer-songwriter stylings in the vein of Neil Young or Ryan Adams. On stage they move like intense caricatures — soaked in sweat, pushing every chord, note and beat to the limit. A structured wall of sound emerges; familiar yet distinctive. Camaraderie shows in their musicianship, their song-writing highlights what they are: friends playing music for the love of it, in it for the long haul.”

Photo by Kristen Herrington.