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The Heavy Heavy

With the arrival of their debut EP Life and Life Only, The Heavy Heavy immediately filled a longtime void in the musical landscape, delivering a soulful breed of rock & roll untouched by modern artifice. As audiences across the globe grew enchanted with their era-bending sound, the UK-based band began selling out headline shows in major cities like New York and Chicago, opening for the likes of Black Pumas and Band of Horses, and earning critical comparisons to Jefferson Airplane, The Band, The Mamas & The Papas, and more—all with only a handful of songs to their name, including the AAA radio top five singles “Miles and Miles” and “Go Down River.” After spending the past two years on the road and in the studio, The Heavy Heavy now draw listeners even deeper into their dreamworld with their long-awaited debut album One Of A Kind.


Written entirely by co-founders Georgie Fuller and William Turner and mostly recorded at Turner’s studio in Brighton, One Of A Kind maintains the self-contained approach of Life and Life Only—a seven-song project acclaimed by outlets like NME (who named them an essential emerging artist for 2023) and The Guardian (who noted that The Heavy Heavy “write and play music with that lick of madness that makes early Fleetwood Mac and peak Stones so thrilling”). To that end, Turner produced, engineered, and mixed every track and handled most of the LP’s lavish instrumentation (including guitar, bass, piano, organ, Mellotron, and more), with The Heavy Heavy’s live band lending their explosive energy to the album. But in a departure from the EP, One Of A Kind leans away from Laurel Canyon-esque folk-rock and fully embraces their British roots, finding a particularly crucial inspiration in the gritty and groove-heavy hedonism of the Rolling Stones’ Goats Head Soup. “A lot of our EP was very bright and pretty, so we wanted to smash the door down like we do in the live show,” says Turner. “Because we were creating an entire album, there was so much more space to explore and expand,” Fuller adds. “It’s still undoubtedly that Heavy Heavy sound, but now we have all these other rooms to play around in.”


For One Of A Kind’s lead single, The Heavy Heavy chose a sun-drenched and sing-along-ready number that serves as an auspicious bridge to the band’s new era. The last song written for the album, “Happiness” bends toward the lush psych-pop of Life and Life Only while introducing a new level of visceral intensity. “We felt we needed a song that had that summery, flowery feel of the EP, and somehow at the last minute we were able to pull magic out of thin air,” Fuller recalls. A fast fan favorite at their live shows, “Happiness” channels a bold determination to break free from loneliness and stagnation, ultimately providing an automatic mood lift thanks to The Heavy Heavy’s resplendent melodies and signature multi-part harmonies.


Kicking off with a majestic bang, One Of A Kind opens on the rolling drumbeats and walloping riffs of its title track—a feverishly chanted anthem whose lyrics transform the listener into the protagonist of their own impossibly glamorous movie (e.g., “You’re getting down/You’re keeping on/You look the best/You’re all night howling”). Graced with a breathtaking vocal performance from Fuller (a classically trained singer), “One Of A Kind” quickly set the tone for the album’s larger-than-life vitality. “Something about the primal nature of that song inspired us to keep making songs that feel quite big and powerful,” says Turner. Later, on “Because You’re Mine,” The Heavy Heavy sustain that feel-good spirit and share a carefree love song lit up in slinky grooves and hallucinatory lyrics depicting what Fuller refers to as “the psychedelic daydream of a wandering nomad type—someone who goes wherever the wind takes them.” 


As One Of A Kind floats along, The Heavy Heavy endlessly push into previously uncharted sonic terrain, tapping into such unexpected influences as mid-’90s big beat on the bass-driven and gorgeously hazy “Miracle Sun.” “It’s a song with a lot of attitude to it—sort of our way of telling the world, ‘We’re living the way we want to live, and it doesn’t matter if you don’t understand,’” says Turner. Meanwhile, on “Feel,” the band merges the mesmerizing grooves of Madchester-era Britpop with a bit of idiosyncratic poetry (“I am a freeloader love junkie/A real heavy cannonball and I’m hungry…I stand between the sun, between the stone/I feel it in my fingers, feel it in my bones”). And on “Wild Emotion,” One Of A Kind offers up a country-infused serenade laced with galloping rhythms and twangy guitar tones partly inspired by the work of Dire Straits frontman Mark Knopfler. “That’s probably the most emotional song on the album,” Turner points out. “It’s meant to have a reassuring message, but at its center is the story of a woman who’s gone through a heartbreak and can’t find her way out of feeling hopeless and distraught.” 


After journeying through a whirlwind of sounds and textures—the hypnotic Mellotron of “Lemonade,” the frenetic psych-rock organ and skyscraping vocals of “Dirt,” the earthy acoustic guitar and sweetly playful harmonies of “Lovestruck”—One Of A Kind lands at the reverb-soaked splendor of its closing track, “Salina.” Named for a sparsely populated volcanic island off the coast of Sicily (an otherworldly spot Fuller and Turner visited on vacation), the slow-building epic unfolds in so many exquisitely strange sonic details: moody cello lines, thundering percussion, a spellbinding pedal-steel part simultaneously played by two separate guest musicians. “‘Salina’ was one of those moments where we let ourselves get experimental with the production and create a whole ocean of sound,” says Fuller. “We knew we had to put it at the end and let the reverb ring out in those final seconds—almost as if we’re leaving the album hanging in the air.”


Formed in 2019, The Heavy Heavy emerged from a potent alchemy of their eclectic sensibilities. Hailing from the small town of Malvern (a stretch of the English countryside he describes as “a beautiful place full of hippies and longhaired people”), Turner took up guitar in his early teens and later played in a series of psychedelic/surf-rock bands, while Fuller’s extensive background includes performing at Montreux Jazz Festival as a teenager and acting in the London theater. As they moved forward with a mission of “making music that sounds like our favorite records ever” (including everything from Peter Green-era Fleetwood Mac to folk-blues act Delaney & Bonnie to Fleet Foxes), the duo dreamed up a batch of songs in a London flat and self-released an early version of Life and Life Only in late 2020, eventually catching the attention of ATO Records and signing with the U.S.-based label in 2022. Fueled in part by the breakout success of “Miles and Miles” (their ATO debut single), The Heavy Heavy’s five-piece live band soon began playing bigger and bigger venues and taking the stage at leading festivals like Bonnaroo, Boston Calling, and Newport Folk Festival, in addition to performing on “Jimmy Kimmel Live!,” “The Late Show With Stephen Colbert,” and “CBS Saturday Morning” and scoring major syncs with the likes of Nissan and Netflix’s “Outer Banks.”


Because of the rapturous response to their debut EP, The Heavy Heavy found themselves in an unfamiliar headspace when it came to the creation of One Of A Kind. “With the EP we were making songs as a way to soundtrack our own lives, but now it’s a different beast—it’s no longer theoretical, which gives everything more weight,” says Turner. But in the end, the band discovered an essential touchstone in the connection they’ve forged with their fans over the last two years. “Not too long ago, a woman came up to us at a show and told us she was getting a tattoo of one of our lyrics to remind herself to keep pushing on and keep chasing her dreams,” Fuller says. “Moments like that always remind us that as long as we keep making what feels good, chances are it’s going to make other people feel good too. I hope this album feels like a great big party to everyone, and I hope it inspires them to live their lives however they want.” 


Dylan LeBlanc

Dylan LeBlanc is a singer-songwriter and multi-instrumentalist who often finds himself flirting with the edge — or “dancing on a razor,” as he calls it — as it is all he has ever known. A verdict vagabond since he was a little boy tossed between Texas, Louisiana and Alabama, LeBlanc thrives on the precipice, never staying in one place for too long. It is that nomadic spirit that drew him not only to a life as a touring musician, but also to the beast that titles his newest record: ‘Coyote.’

LeBlanc says he has always related to the insatiable, scavenging nature of the wily coyote. Much like the animal, LeBlanc is a wanderer who knows when to trust his instincts, musically and otherwise. It is a spiritual kinship that runs deep, but he credits one particularly hair-raising face-to-face instance with solidifying his bond with the animal.

LeBlanc was in Austin, Texas, climbing the face of a 100-foot cliff, gambling with Mother Nature’s good graces as he pulled himself up by tree branches. Once he reached the top, all that laid ahead of him was a lush treeline. There was a breath of stillness, then the sound of a thunderous rustling that drew closer and closer to him. In a blink, LeBlanc watched as a frenzied raccoon came speeding out of the treeline, trailed by an animal that stopped and stared at him with striking intensity: a coyote.

“We’re looking at each other dead in the eyes…and I’m saying — out loud — ‘If it’s you or me, I am going to kick you off the side of this cliff. I’m not going down.’ It was intense, this human-animal moment,” LeBlanc recalls. “I’ve never forgotten that… he was just trying to survive and so was I.”

‘Coyote’ is LeBlanc’s first self-produced release, boasting a cherry-picked lineup of what he calls “killer session players,” such as drummer Fred Eltringham (Ringo Starr, Sheryl Crow), pianist Jim “Moose” Brown (Bob Seger), and bass player Seth Kaufman (Lana Del Rey). Though ‘Coyote’ covers familiar ground for LeBlanc of living on the edge of danger and its many consequences, the record is both autobiographical and a concept album built around the character of Coyote, a man on the run.

The story of ‘Coyote’ progresses linearly, opening with the dizzyingly declarative, strings-heavy title track which details Coyote’s arrival and quick departure as he crosses the border and gets involved with drug cartels. The trouble builds and dark waters rise until track six, “No Promises Broken,” a soaring, against-all-odds love song that marks when Coyote meets a girl, and his luck begins to change for the better. The song tells of how love heals, and places emphasis on lovers remaining open while maintaining their own freedoms, as LeBlanc believes that true devotion does not equal possession. He says that though both Coyote and his love each faced adversity, the hand of destiny put them on the same path and bound them together before they ever met:

“‘No Promises Broken’ is an honest love song about two people who come from the same troubled past, and fate intertwines them together. It’s about acknowledging that there will be hard times ahead, but vowing to stick it out without making promises to each other that they know they can’t keep.”

“Wicked Kind” delves into Coyote’s addiction and warns of ever-present temptation looming on the horizon, and the restraint it takes for him to look away. The LP closes with “The Outside,” the title of which LeBlanc says is meant to be literal, as Coyote is outside of prison walls at last. With boundless slide guitar and skittish keys, it paints a haunting, desert highway vignette of Coyote fighting off lingering ghosts that breed a hesitance so potent that Coyote has to adjust his perspective and remind himself that he is free — the fight is over.

LeBlanc has seen shades of a life not unlike the character of Coyote. He, too, strayed from the straight and narrow and sparred with managing anger in his adolescence. Just as the brutal truth of “Hate” describes that the most gnarled parts of Coyote were molded by his harrowing experiences, it is something LeBlanc feels is universal, as hate does not discriminate.

“I went to school with people from all walks of life. We were different, but we thought, ‘We’re all poor,’ so we’re all in the same boat. We all grew up in chaos. It was the ‘90s in Louisiana on the border of Texas… that air was thick, man. Sink or swim type of mentality.”

LeBlanc is the first to warmly acknowledge his rough edges and tendency to chest-up to conflict, both the result of the volatility and instability of his youth. Now, no longer a boy who always had to be on alert and ready to defend himself, LeBlanc recognizes that his roots do not define or limit the man he is today. The cover art of a coyote wounded by arrows reflects just that, symbolizing LeBlanc’s resilience through what he has experienced:

“The coyote is still upright, even though he’s full of arrows, even though he has been shot at and wounded many times. He still keeps going in defiance of everything that has been thrown at him. You can’t get an arrow out completely. You can break one side of it off, but the arrow is still there… there’s still a scar. It becomes a part of you… of your identity.”

Considering the distinct wisdom and lifetimes in his voice, it is no surprise that LeBlanc has known hardships, but he is a shining example of what beauty comes from perseverance. LeBlanc’s tenacity has paid off in spades, leading him to a record deal with ATO Records, releasing the critically acclaimed ‘Renegade’ in 2019, and now ‘Coyote,’ which LeBlanc says is “the record he has always wanted to make.”

Now in his thirties with a fiancé and a daughter he adores, LeBlanc is the closest he has ever been to the man he has always strived to be. With endearing candor, he confesses he is still learning to be less hot-headed and more gentle; but he doesn’t think about dying every day, like he used to. LeBlanc credits fatherhood for the perspective he has now on what matters, and his key concern is remaining devoted to those he loves most. Though far removed from a perilous life like Coyote’s, LeBlanc admits he still feels as if he is dancing on a razor’s edge all the same. The goodness he is surrounded by only gives him more to lose, with each glimmer carrying an asterisk of fear. One misstep and he worries that it all could vanish, but the lionhearted LeBlanc seems to forget he once unnerved even a wild coyote with his eyes alone.

Event by
The Kessler
Age Limit
All Ages