Texas-bred country trio Midland takes a sepia-toned step into the past with the wistful ballad “Fast Hearts and Slow Towns.”
The five-time CMA award-nominated group discussed the inspirations behind the song in their visit to our studios for EW’s In the Basement series.
“We all have that girl that we grew up with in high school and loving her and never talking to her again,” says Midland bassist-vocalist Cameron Duddy. “It’s not a specific song about a person and it means something different to each one of us. And I’m sure it means something different to everybody who listens to it. And that’s the beauty of music.”
“For me, this song is about a conveyance of youthful bliss in a way,” says frontman Mark Wystrach, who says it reminds him of “growing up in a little tiny small town” and the good times that entailed, but also the yearning to search for new adventures beyond the borders of that town.
The group, including guitarist Jess Carson, have certainly done that since breaking through with their 2017 debut album On the Rocks. They released its stellar follow-up Let it Roll in August and, in addition to non-stop touring, launched a podcast called Set It Straight.
“It’s an exploration of country music myths and legends and lore,” says Wystrach. “We tackle a specific question and answer the question if it’s true or not.” Recent episodes have focused on possibly apocryphal stories around artists like Tanya Tucker, Gram Parsons, and Garth Brooks.
Although the pace of touring and recording in the last few years has proved a whirlwind, the members of Midland say that they have tried to stop and absorb the peak moments of their career thus far, like playing the “Mother Church” of country music, the Ryman Auditorium in May.
“In country music, it’s about those experiences that you can tell your kids and grandkids about, the places that you played,” says Carson. “The Ryman is such an important one in country music and playing that was very special for us. We brought out Brooks and Dunn, which still feels crazy to even say that because we know Brooks and Dunn well enough to have them show up and walk out onto that stage with us. We brought out Chris Isaak, another one of our heroes. That’s something that you’ll always have and it was such a special experience.”