Veronica Grim returns to Ohio

Photo: Members of the outlaw clan: lead singer Veronica Grim and guitarest Honey Osborn

By Gary Spencer

There’s an adage that goes something to effect of “you can take the girl out of Ohio, but you can’t take the Ohio out of the girl,” or as more specifically heard in Dayton in particular when someone leaves the state, “you’ll be back.” Both sayings seem to hold true for Cincinnati-based singer/songwriter Veronica Grim, as her musical influences are well informed by her roots in the Midwest, and her life journeys that have taken her to New Orleans to Ohio to California and back to Ohio again.

“There were a lot of reasons why we decided to move home,” Grim says. “I missed my father, my old friends, and Cincinnati itself. We also wanted to be able to tour more effectively, cover a lot of ground and get to play for a lot of different people and come back to a nice home base when we are done. Cincinnati will always be home no matter what.”

All of Veronica’s travels and places she’s lived she says have been significant to the songs she writes and music she creates.

“Living somewhere, you develop a relationship with that place just like a lover,” she says. “Cincinnati is where I fell in love for the first time, the place I learned to love life and started learning what it means to be a person. I was stepping into becoming an adult when I moved to New Orleans. The history and culture embedded themselves on my sensibilities forever. Los Angeles is a kaleidoscope of cultures, temptations, flash, art, trash, beauty, and everything in between. Everything moves fast there, and being there renewed my drive to attack life and make things happen. There’s a reason we have all the adventures in our lives.”

This remarkable mix of life adventures here, there, and everywhere bears its sonic fingerprints all over the music of Veronica Grim & The Heavy Hearts, a style that they have declared “outlaw gutter country.” Twangy, reverb-infected surf guitar licks often associated with the West Coast rule the roost in the group’s music as well as an undercurrent of spooky voodoo vibes one might associate with a dark, steamy night on the bayou in N’awlins, not to mention twinges of rockabilly all brewed together seamlessly for good measure.

“We are a rock-n-roll-Wild West-burlesque-haunted-house circus act,” Grim says. “We sound like the feeling you get when your heart gets broken badly. We sound like the best day of your life and the most passionately you ever laughed or loved or danced or even made love. It’s the vintage movie sepia echo of all the pieces of a full, flawed, and gorgeous story—the singularly beautiful ache of lives lived fully.”

But at crux of it all is Veronica’s unmistakeable down-to-earth, Midwest sensibility that manifests itself in her earnest, heartfelt, Southern-inflected vocals as well as her words.

“The lyrics I write are concerned with life and love and the darkness and joy and everything in between—I write about living and emotion, about people and what makes and breaks them,” Grim says. “I draw a lot of inspiration from true events in my own life. I’ve written about exes, suicide, and marriage but there is a lot of happiness, hopefulness, and playfulness in places too… I would rather write a song about the human condition and how the actions and environment around someone can affect their life more than a strict singular event.”

All of this love, darkness, joy, and living is certainly evidenced on Veronica Grim & The Heavy Hearts’ 2016 debut release Revelator. However, it is perhaps best experienced in the live setting where all of these emotions and everything in between are conjured up and emitted between band and audience.

“The music is definitely turbo charged and very impactful live,” Grim says. “We love interplay with the audience. We like making people laugh. We like hearing audience reactions and seeing how people are affected by the music. The audience feeds us and we get more and more into our performances. I think the audience can feel that and everyone just has a fun, sexy, cool time. The record is something I’m proud of, but live is what I was born for.”

And just like Veronica herself was born for life, love, music, travels, and adventure, Veronica Grim & The Heavy Hearts was spawned with a lofty yet admirable purpose.

“There is definitely a goal behind the band—we want to leave a legacy,” Grim says. “The goal we always had was to tour, to continue to record a zillion amazing records. We want to spend our lives creating something that people can listen to, relate to, and love or hate or debate forever. We want to leave a scar on the world—leave behind a contribution to the great human tapestry and all that jazz.”

Veronica Grim & The Heavy Hearts will perform Saturday, Sept. 2 at Rockstar Pro Arena, 1106 E. Third St. in Dayton. Dark Backward, Big Lightning, Viceroy Kings, and GeeGee’s Punk Rock All-Stars are also on the bill. Show is all ages and tickets are $6 in advance. Music begins at 7 p.m. For more information, please visit RockStarProArena.net.

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Gary Spencer
Gary Spencer is a graduate of Miami University and works in the performing arts, and believes that music is the best. Contact him at GarySpencer@DaytonCityPaper.com

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