Grit, Growth, and Grief Rights

The Honest Heart Collective’s Sophomore Album

By Kirsti Salmi

 

The last few years have been a hell of a ride for The Honest Heart Collective, but it’s only sharpened their focus. They have the restless energy of a band who knows they’re sitting on their best material, and they aren’t wrong—diamonds are built under pressure, and Grief Rights is a gem of a record. Drummer Jay Savage says the album is a collection of war wounds from the band’s tooth-and-nail fight to make their mark on the Canadian music scene. “There were almost two years between the first track, ‘I’ve Got You,’ and ‘Debts.’ It’s a time map of all the growth we’ve gone through in that time. We put everything we had into it.”

 

He isn’t kidding: Honest Heart literally put their money where their mouths are, paying out of their own pockets to get it done, and get it done right. The wait was worth it. Grief Rights boasts eight finely crafted, arena-ready tracks that marry Springsteen’s shoot-from-the-hip sensibility, Foo Fighters’ dramatic catharsis, and Arkells’ storytelling range. It’s compulsively listenable rock and roll in the best, purest sense—the kind that rattles your ribcage and begs to be bellowed at the top of your lungs. “A lot of people listened to our first album [Liar’s Club] and said that they didn’t get it until they saw us live,” says bassist Nic MacDonald. “We just needed someone to help us translate that to a record.”

 

To service their vision, the band enlisted Jay Ruston and Derek Hoffman, heavyweight Canadian producers known for impressive rock portfolios. Ruston was pulled away by other commitments, but Honest Heart credits Grief Rights successful production to Hoffman’s intuition and uncanny ability to focus their passion and energy. “You hear stories about chemistry between producers and bands, and you never really know if that’s true or not. Derek is somebody that just got it. He is the real deal. We learned so much from him,” Savage says.

 

Having spent the last two years touring, they remained persistent through challenges that would have ground up and spit out lesser acts. Highs such as playing the Vans Warped Tour and The Edge 102.1’s Next Big Thing contest were tempered by lows like flipping their tour van this past winter on Highway 11. They haven’t allowed it to deter them, however. “It made us realize life’s too short to do anything but what you want to do,” says guitarist Kevin Heerema.

 

The title itself is homage to struggle and growth, and Honest Heart wears their scars proudly.

“A therapist told me ‘you’re not depressed, you’re just not allowing yourself your grief rights,” says guitarist and vocalist Ryan MacDonald. “The connection was immediate—it was exactly what we were trying to express. The whole record is about life, loss, and hardship. There are times when you’re gonna be sad, it’s gonna be a fight, and you’re gonna feel like giving up—that’s life. Everyone is fighting battles in one shape or another, and we need to allow ourselves, and each other, our grief rites.”

 

Grief Rights will be released in May, and The Honest Heart Collective will be touring in support

throughout the spring and summer. You can listen to their first single, “I’ve Got You,” on

Spotify and Apple Music. For more information, visit honestheart.co.