When The Head and the Heart shared news last year of their then-upcoming album, Signs of Light, fans (myself definitely included) were hyped for their return. But then, just as swiftly came the saddening news that Josiah Johnson — one of the integral founding members of the band — had been struggling with addiction, and was going to take a break from touring to focus on his health and recovery.
Through this, the band has continued to put on impeccable live performances, but Johnson’s presence and vital vocal harmonies have still been missed dearly.
And it turns out, during his hiatus from the band, Johnson has played some small shows speckled here and there. This fall, he’ll be performing one of those intimate solo gigs in Philly over at MilkBoy on October 6th. Continue reading →
The struggle between the head and the heart is one we all know too well, but there is no debate this time: when The Head and the Heart come to the Fillmore on September 22nd, the show is a must-see.
The indie-folk group released their third record Signs of Light last year — for me, it was slightly disappointing but nonetheless expansive and complex record. It was also their first album in three years following a bit of time off for the members to reset and the extended absence of co-frontman Josiah Johnson. As a long-time fan, I knew I was going to see their Fillmore show during last year’s tour no matter what I thought of the new album and, let me tell you, it was the right decision (I may or may not have cried at several points throughout the set, but nobody can prove anything). Continue reading →
Seattle’s The Head and the Heart haven’t performed to an empty club audience in quite some time, but that’s just what happens in the new video for Signs Of Light cut “Rhythm and Blues.” The humorous clip is replete with all the white suits and glittering streamers you could ask for from a song that references Elvis Presley in the chorus. It’s a feel-good visual to a feel-good song, and you can stream it below. Check out a write-up of The Head and the Heart’s recent gig at The Fillmore here and a full interview with the band’s Jonathan Russell here. Continue reading →
Some of the final lyrics to ring out in The Fillmore last night during the Seattle roots rock band’s headlining show dated back to their 2011 debut: “My family lives in a different state / If you don’t know what to make of this / Then we will not relate.”
Founding member Josiah Johnson is originally the one who sang those words — he has since stepped back from the band to focus on his mental health, though that isn’t the only change facing The Head and The Heart as they tour in support of Signs of Light, their third and finest album to date.
The band — the family, if you will — does in fact live different states now, and as my interview with singer-guitarist Jonathan Russell detailed, Signs of Light is The Head and The Heart’s first record on a major label (Warner Brothers), and its first record working with a major producer (Jay Joyce). If last night’s Fillmore gig is anything to go by, the band is working with change admirably, adjusting and growing and thrilling a capacity crowd along the way. Continue reading →
After a long run of supporting their breakout sophomore album Let’s Be Still, Americana rock luminaries The Head and The Heart needed a breather.
The bandmates had been on the road together practically nonstop for two years; beyond that, they’d been at the grindstone since emerging from the Seattle coffee house community in 2009 with their self-titled Sub Pop Records debut. Stepping back for a year was essential, and some of their experiences in that time off were liberating and joyous – frontman Jonathan Russell embarked on nonprofit work in Haiti, and found himself teaching music alongside Jackson Browne; pianist Kenny Hensley learned to fly planes, and vocalist Charity Rose Thielen wrote songs for Mavis Staples. Other experiences were more serious, and co-frontman Josiah Johnson took a hiatus from the band this spring, announcing that he was battling addiction and needed time to focus on recovery.
At the end of it all is a tremendous new record called Signs of Light. It’s The Head and The Heart’s major label debut, and even though a heavy-hitting producer helped bring it to life — Jay Joyce, whose resume includes Cage the Elephant, Amos Lee and Emmylou Harris — the music within sounds refreshingly true to the band’s life-affiriming spirit, just on a somewhat grander scale. From the out the gate anthems “City of Angels” and “All We Ever Knew,” to the nuanced and reflective “Library Magic” and the deeply personal “Signs of Light,” it’s a striking blend of pop accessibility and emotional connectivity. This Sunday, October 24th, The Head and the Heart’s tour in support of the album comes through Philadelphia at The Fillmore.
Earlier this year, I caught up with Russell via phone to unpack the new record, and our wide-ranging conversation touches on The Head and The Heart’s gradual growth into theater headliners, Russell’s empathetic songwriting tendencies, ideas of collaboration versus autonomy, the absence of their friend Josiah on this run, and how they aim to pay forward the opportunities they had in their career. Read the interview in full below; tickets are still available for Sunday night’s show at The Fillmore, and more information can be found at the XPN Concert Calendar.Continue reading →
Book-lovers know the whimsy and wonder felt when entering an old library — there’s so much history to explore and aisles to get lost in. Seattle folk outfit The Head and the Heart channel a piece of that energy with their new single “Library Magic,” that all-encompassing awe musicians also experience when embarking on an expansive tour.
And that’s exactly what The Head and the Heart will be doing soon. Releasing their new full-length Signs of Light on September 9th, the band will set off on a full U.S. tour in the fall with a date at Philly’s Fillmore on October 23rd. Despite the starry-eyed expectations and excitement, life on the road can really take its toll on musicians. Fortunately for us, however, vocalist and multi-instrumentalist Charity Thielen expressed all those feelings on this new track. Continue reading →
Following a stellar showing at NonCOMM last month, which included the debut of new single “All We Ever Knew,” The Head and the Heart stopped by Jimmy Kimmel Live! for a performance in support of their new album, Signs of Light. This appearance really shows the band for the rockstars they’ve become, owning the stage and confidently jamming on to the new track. Continue reading →
The last two Philly gigs for The Head and the Heart have been anything but simple. Really, hectic might be the perfect word to describe them.
At NonCOMM, the Seattle folk rockers battled through jetlag-induced exhaustion, as they had just returned from Sweden hours before. Last night, after being told their appearance at Festival Pier had been washed out, the band found out on their way to the airport that arrangements had been made to host them at The Fillmore in a last-minute effort.
Jonathan Russell and his friends made due with the new plan and dazzled a hardly-filled Fillmore. They played new songs, like “All We Ever Knew,” the first single off their forthcoming third LP Signs Of Light, due out September 9th on Warner Bros. Records. They even dusted off some favorites from their 2011 self-titled debut, such as “Ghosts” and “Sounds Like Hallelujah.” Continue reading →