The Head and the Heart

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The Head and The Heart
The Head and the Heart - 22.jpg
The Head and the Heart opening for Dr. Dog at the 9:30 Club, Washington DC Jan 29, 2011
Background information
Origin Seattle, Washington, U.S.
Genres Indie folk, folk rock, indie rock
Years active 2009–present
Labels Sub Pop (U.S.)[1]
Heavenly Recordings (UK),[2] Kobalt
Members Josiah Johnson
Jonathan Russell
Charity Rose Thielen
Chris Zasche
Kenny Hensley
Tyler Williams

The Head and The Heart is an indie folk band from Seattle, Washington. Formed in the summer of 2009 by Josiah Johnson (vocals, guitar, percussion) and Jonathan Russell (vocals, guitar, percussion), the band also includes Charity Rose Thielen (violin, banjo, vocals), Chris Zasche (bass), Kenny Hensley (piano), and Tyler Williams (drums).[3][4] The band is signed to Sub Pop Records and have released two albums thus far. The band has toured in both North America and Europe.



The band met and was formed through a series of open mic nights at Seattle's Conor Byrne pub in Ballard.[5] Josiah Johnson had moved to Seattle from Southern California to pursue graduate school, and Jonathan Russell was a recent transfer from Richmond, Virginia. They met keyboardist Kenny Hensley, who had also moved to Seattle to pursue musical score-writing, and Charity Rose Thielen, who had recently returned from a year studying abroad in Paris at the Sciences Po. Drummer Tyler Williams had been in the band Prabir and The Substitutes in Richmond, but then moved to Seattle to be a part of the nascent Head and The Heart, after hearing one demo that Russell sent to him for the song "Down In The Valley". Chris Zasche was bartending at the Conor Byrne and playing in Seattle bands The Maldives and Grand Hallway, and was the last to be added to original lineup.[6] In an interview with American Songwriter, Thielen stated that she was asked to join after the band had already considered themselves formed: "I was kind of invited in, when there’s already this wave, there’s already this boat in motion and I didn’t want to re-steer its course."[7] Johnson explained how the name of the band was chosen: "Your head is telling you to be stable and find a good job, you know in your heart that this [the band] is what you're supposed to do even if it's crazy."[8]


Self-burned copies of The Head and the Heart in handmade denim sleeves were being sold at shows within a few weeks,[9] and soon local record stores Easy Street and Sonic Boom couldn't keep them in stock.[10] After a "feeding frenzy"[11] of interest from record labels and managers, the band signed with Sub Pop in November 2010.[1] Sub Pop remastered the album, expanded it with a studio version of their traditional concert closer "Rivers and Roads," and re-recorded one song ("Sounds Like Hallelujah"). The album was re-released in CD format, and for the first time on vinyl LP, on Record Store Day 2011. The band is managed by Zeitgeist Artist Management out of San Francisco,[12] and are signed with Heavenly Recordings in the United Kingdom and Europe.[2]

The band has toured extensively through 2010 and 2011 in both the United States and Europe, opening for Vampire Weekend,[3] The Walkmen, Dr. Dog, Dave Matthews, The Low Anthem, The Decemberists, Iron & Wine, My Morning Jacket, and Death Cab For Cutie, as well as headlining their own shows. In March 2011, Seattle's City Arts Magazine named them "Seattle's Best New Band",[13] and the band made their network television debut on April 21, 2011 on Conan.[14]

Let's Be Still[edit]

The band's second album Let's Be Still was released on October 15, 2013. Recorded in Seattle and produced together with Shawn Simmons, the first track "Shake" was aired on the August 5, 2013.[15] Frontman Johnson described it as "This is the first time that we produced as a full band. This one is everyone's influences equally present and prevalent throughout the album".[16]


"Rivers and Roads", one of the band's singles, was used in the series finale of the American television program Chuck. It was also played in the sitcom How I Met Your Mother, at the end of the 7th-season episode "The Drunk Train". Their single, "Down In The Valley", was played in the season finale of the British television program Beaver Falls[17] and was also featured in Sons of Anarchy in the 5th season episode 9 "Andare Pescare". The song "Lost in My Mind" was played in the series Hart of Dixie in the episode Hairdos & Holidays. It was also the backing track for the theatrical trailer of Silver Linings Playbook. The first episode of season two of BYUtv's AUDIO-FILES centered on the band and featured live performances of "Winter Song" (performed atop a ferris wheel), "Sounds Like Hallelujah", etc [18]




  • "Lost in My Mind" (2011; #1 Adult Alternative Songs)
  • "Down in the Valley" (2011; #14 Adult Alternative Songs)
  • "Shake" (2013; #4 Adult Alternative Songs, #24 Hot Rock Song, #43 Rock Airplay)
  • "Another Story" (2013; #39 Rock Digital Songs)

Various artist compilations[edit]

  • "No One To Let You Down" (Sub Pop Records, Please To Enjoy: Terminal Sales Vol. 4 Sampler, 2011[19]
  • "What Are You Doing New Year's Eve?" (Holidays Rule) [20]
  • "Don't Forget Me" (Sweetheart 2014) [21]


  1. ^ a b "It's Official: Sub Pop Records & The Head and the Heart are Totally Doing It". Sub Pop Records. Retrieved 23 April 2011. 
  2. ^ a b "The Head and the Heart". Artists. Heavenly Recordings. Retrieved 23 April 2011. 
  3. ^ a b Levin, Hannah (2010-09-14). "The Head And The Heart: Seattle's Next Big Band?". NPR. Retrieved 23 April 2011. 
  4. ^ Matson, Andrew (2010-04-18). "Pitchfork pans The Head and the Heart: what does it mean?". The Seattle Times. Retrieved 23 April 2011. 
  5. ^ "Interview: The Head and The Heart". Seattle Scenester. Retrieved 2011-04-23. 
  6. ^ "The Head and the Heart Bio". Sub Pop Records. Retrieved 2011-04-23. 
  7. ^ "I’m With The Band: Three Women Making Inroads In Indie Rock". American Songwriter. Retrieved 2012-07-03. 
  8. ^ "Mother Jones interview 2013" Maggie Caldwell, 'Such a Nice Band: The Head and the Heart', Mother Jones, October 7, 2013
  9. ^ "Riffing // Tyler Williams of The Head and the Heart". Fighting Tinnitus. Retrieved 23 April 2011. 
  10. ^ "The Head and the Heart Video Premiere". Record Store Day. Retrieved 23 April 2011. 
  11. ^ Zwickel, Jonathan (16 October 2010). "The Seattle band The Head and the Heart prepares itself for something big". Seattle Times. Retrieved 23 April 2011. 
  12. ^ "The Head and the Heart". Zeitgeist Artist Management. Retrieved 23 April 2011. 
  13. ^ Baumgarten, Mark. "Best New Bands Poll 2011". City Arts Online. Retrieved 23 April 2011. 
  14. ^ "Thursday’s talk shows". The Chicago Sun Times. 2011-04-21. Retrieved 23 April 2011. 
  15. ^ "Paste Magazine 'Shake' release" Lori Keong, 'The Head and the Heart Unveil New Single "Shake" ', Paste Magazine, August 5, 2013
  16. ^ "Rolling Stone preview of 'Let's Be Still' Ryan Reed, 'The Head and the Heart Reach Outward on 'Let's Be Still' October 8, 2013
  17. ^ "Beaver Falls S2-Ep6 Music". e4. Retrieved 20 September 2012. 
  18. ^ "BYUtv - Audio-Files - The Head and The Heart". Retrieved 18 November 2012. 
  19. ^ "Various Artists / Terminal Sales Vol. 4: Please to Enjoy - SP932". Sub Pop Records. Retrieved 4 May 2011. 
  20. ^
  21. ^

External links[edit]