The Head and the Heart

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The Head and The Heart
THATH sunset.jpg
Background information
Origin Seattle, Washington, United States
Years active 2009 (2009)–present
Labels Warner Bros. (U.S.)[1]
Heavenly Recordings (UK)[2]
Kobalt (UK)
Sub Pop (U.S.)[3]
  • Josiah Johnson
  • Jonathan Russell
  • Charity Rose Thielen
  • Chris Zasche
  • Kenny Hensley
  • Tyler Williams

The Head and the Heart is an American indie folk band. They were 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).[4][5] The band is signed to Warner Bros. Records and have released three albums thus far. Since March 2016 Johnson has been on hiatus due to health-related issues.[6] 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.[7] 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, working aftercare shifts at The Perkins School, and playing in Seattle bands The Maldives and Grand Hallway, and was the last to be added to original lineup.[8] 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."[9] 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."[10]

Debut Album[edit]

Self-burned copies of The Head and the Heart (album) in handmade denim sleeves were being sold at shows within a few weeks,[11] and soon local record stores Easy Street and Sonic Boom couldn't keep them in stock.[12] After a "feeding frenzy"[13] of interest from record labels and managers, the band signed with Sub Pop in November 2010.[14] 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 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,[4] 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",[15] and the band made their network television debut on April 21, 2011 on Conan.[16] The album reached the Billboard 200 Album Charts at #110 and the record stayed on the chart for ten weeks.[17]

Let's Be Still[edit]

The band's second album Let's Be Still was released on October 15, 2013.[18] Recorded in Seattle and produced together with Shawn Simmons, the first track "Shake" was aired on the August 5, 2013.[19] 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".[20] James Christopher Monger of describes the album as: “The group’s predilection for heartfelt, Avett Brothers-meets-Fleet Foxes roots rock is apparent right out of the gate with “Homecoming Heroes” and “Another Story,” both of which utilize familiar folk-rock architecture to spin earnest and familiar tales concerning the two body parts from which the group takes its name.” [21] On November 2, 2013, Let's Be Still reached #10 on the Billboard 200 Album Charts.[17] The band spent much of 2014 touring the album.[22] Thielen spent time writing for other artists, including Mavis Staples,[23] while she married the musican Matt Gervais.[24]

Signs of Light[edit]

In the middle of 2015, Johnson and Russel began the writing process for the third album at Montecito Heights in Los Angeles.[22] The band continued recording for much of the year, it was announced in March 2016 that Johnson would not feature in the touring plans of the band.[6][25] He was replaced by Thielen's husband Matt Gervais.[26] In September 2016 the band released their third album Signs of Light.[27] It was preceded by the single "All We Ever Knew".[28][29]


"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", and in the last scene of the season 4 finale of New Girl. Their single, "Down In The Valley", was played in the season finale of the British television program Beaver Falls,[30] was also featured in Sons of Anarchy in the 5th season episode 9 "Andare Pescare", and was used at the end of episode 5 of the first season of Battle Creek. The band made a cameo appearance in the series Hart of Dixie, performing their song, "Shake," in the episode "Take This Job and Shove It." Their song "Lost in My Mind" was played in the same series' episode "Hairdos & Holidays." "Lost in My Mind" 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.[31] The song "Let's Be Still" appears in a 2015 television commercial for Corona.[32] "Let's Be Still" was also featured in an episode of the second season of The Night Shift[33] and at the end of season one, episode three of Heartbeat.[34]

The band is featured in the first episode Showtime television comedy drama Roadies created by Cameron Crowe. The Head and the Heart is the opening act in the first episode of the series,[35] opening for the band to which a fictionalized road crew, managed by Luke Wilson’s character “Bill”, dutifully support as they make their way across the country in a major multi-city tour.[36]


The band is featured in a club scene in the 2013 film Lucky Them, performing their song "Shake."

Their song "No One to Let You Down" is heard over the end credits of the 2014 film Wish I Was Here.[37]




List of singles, with selected chart positions and certifications, showing year released and album name
Title Year Peak positions Album




"Lost in My Mind" 2011 × 1 24 The Head and the Heart
"Down in the Valley" × 14
"Ghosts" 2012 ×
"Shake" 2013 4 [A] Let's Be Still
"Another Story" 10
"Let's Be Still" 2014 9
"All We Ever Knew" 2016 38 1 4 19[B] Signs of Light
"—" denotes a recording that did not chart or was not released in that territory.

Compilation appearances[edit]

  • "No One To Let You Down" (Sub Pop Records, Please To Enjoy: Terminal Sales Vol. 4 Sampler, 2011[42]
  • "What Are You Doing New Year's Eve?" (Holidays Rule)[43]
  • "Don't Forget Me" (Sweetheart 2014)[44]



  1. ^ "Warner Bros. Artists". Warner Bros. Records. Retrieved 30 March 2016. 
  2. ^ a b "The Head and the Heart". Artists. Heavenly Recordings. Retrieved 23 April 2011. 
  3. ^ "Sub Pop Artists". 
  4. ^ a b Levin, Hannah (14 September 2010). "The Head And The Heart: Seattle's Next Big Band?". NPR. Retrieved 23 April 2011. 
  5. ^ Matson, Andrew (18 April 2010). "Pitchfork pans The Head and the Heart: what does it mean?". The Seattle Times. Retrieved 23 April 2011. 
  6. ^ a b "The Head and the Heart's Josiah Johnson Sits Out Tour to Battle Addiction". Retrieved 2016-09-10. 
  7. ^ Messer, Kaylyn (11 May 2010). "Interview: The Head and The Heart". Seattle Scenester. Archived from the original on 23 April 2011. Retrieved 4 February 2016. 
  8. ^ "The Head and the Heart". Sub Pop Records. Retrieved 23 April 2011. 
  9. ^ Riggs, Liz (3 July 2012). "I'm With The Band: Three Women Making Inroads In Indie Rock". American Songwriter. Retrieved 3 February 2016. 
  10. ^ Caldwell, Maggie (7 October 2013). "Such a Nice Band: The Head and the Heart". Mother Jones. Retrieved 4 February 2016. 
  11. ^ Lee, Brian (14 February 2011). "Riffing // Tyler Williams of The Head and the Heart". Fighting Tinnitus. Retrieved 23 April 2011. 
  12. ^ "The Head and the Heart Video Premiere!!". Record Store Day. 8 April 2011. Archived from the original on 10 April 2011. Retrieved 4 February 2016. 
  13. ^ Zwickel, Jonathan (16 October 2010). "The Seattle band The Head and the Heart prepares itself for something big". Seattle Times. Retrieved 23 April 2011. 
  14. ^ Zietz, Bekah (11 January 2011). "It's Official: Sub Pop Records & The Head and the Heart are Totally Doing It". Sub Pop Records. Retrieved 23 April 2011. 
  15. ^ Baumgarten, Mark (1 March 2011). "Best New Bands Poll 2011". City Arts Online. Retrieved 23 April 2011. 
  16. ^ "Thursday's talk shows". Chicago Sun-Times. 21 April 2011. Archived from the original on 11 May 2011. Retrieved 4 February 2016. 
  17. ^ a b "Billboard Chart History". Billboard. Retrieved 29 March 2016. 
  18. ^ Joiner, James (2013-08-06). "Q&A: The Head and the Heart on Their Next Album". Retrieved 2016-09-10. 
  19. ^ Keong, Lori (5 August 2013). "The Head and the Heart Unveil New Single "Shake"". Paste Magazine. Retrieved 4 February 2016. 
  20. ^ Reed, Ryan (8 October 2013). "The Head and the Heart Reach Outward on 'Let's Be Still' - Premiere". Rolling Stone. Retrieved 4 February 2016. 
  21. ^ Monger, James. "All Music Review 'Let's Be Still'". All Music. Retrieved 29 March 2016. 
  22. ^ a b "How Travel Shaped The Head and the Heart's 'Signs of Light'". Retrieved 2016-09-10. 
  23. ^ "Catching up with The Head and the Heart, and a critique of the new album". 2016-08-26. Retrieved 2016-09-10. 
  24. ^ "Nirav Patel | Fine Art Wedding Photographer » matt-gervais-wedding". Retrieved 2016-09-10. 
  25. ^ "Frontman Josiah Johnson taking hiatus from The Head and the Heart due to addiction issues". 2016-03-12. Retrieved 2016-09-10. 
  26. ^ "Live Review: The Head And The Heart – Red Rocks, Colorado". 2016-09-09. Retrieved 2016-09-10. 
  27. ^ "Review: Head and the Heart Hulk Up on Major Label Debut 'Signs of Light'". Retrieved 2016-09-10. 
  28. ^ "The Head and The Heart Announce New Album, Release 'All We Ever Knew' Single: Exclusive Premiere". Retrieved 2016-09-10. 
  29. ^ "Listen to The Head and the Heart's New Single, "All We Ever Knew"". Retrieved 2016-09-10. 
  30. ^ "Beaver Falls Series 2 Soundtrack". Channel 4. Retrieved 20 September 2012. 
  31. ^ "Audio-Files - The Head and The Heart". BYUtv. Retrieved 18 November 2012. 
  32. ^ "Corona Extra TV Commercial, 'Release' Song by The Head and the Heart". Retrieved 4 February 2016. 
  33. ^ "Music from The Night Shift". TuneFind. Retrieved 4 February 2016. 
  34. ^ "Music from Heartbeat Episode 0103". TuneFind. Retrieved 2016-04-19. 
  35. ^ "The Head and the Heart Detail their Unexpected Role in 'Roadies'". June 24, 2016. Retrieved 2016-06-25. 
  36. ^ "Roadies TV Show Main IMDB Page". IMDB. Retrieved 2016-06-13. 
  37. ^ Bowe, Miles. "Zach Braff's Wish I Was Here Soundtrack Tracklist Revealed". Stereogum. Retrieved 4 February 2016. 
  38. ^ "Canada Rock - Chart History: The Head and the Heart". Billboard. 2016-06-24. Retrieved 2016-06-24. 
  39. ^ "The Head an the Heart – Chart History: Adult Alternative Songs". Billboard. Prometheus Global Media. Retrieved June 14, 2016. 
  40. ^ "The Head and the Heart – Chart History: Alternative Songs". Billboard. Prometheus Global Media. Retrieved June 14, 2016. 
  41. ^ "The Head and the Heart – Chart History: Hot Rock Songs". Billboard. Prometheus Global Media. Retrieved June 14, 2016. 
  42. ^ "Various Artists / Terminal Sales Vol. 4: Please to Enjoy". Mega Mart. Sub Pop Records. 16 April 2011. Retrieved 4 May 2011. 
  43. ^ "Holidays Rule". Retrieved 4 February 2016. 
  44. ^ "Press Release". Sweetheart. Retrieved 4 February 2016. 
  45. ^ "The Head and the Heart – Chart History: Rock Airplay". Billboard. Prometheus Global Media. Retrieved June 14, 2016. 
  46. ^ "The Head and the Heart – Chart History: Rock Airplay". Billboard. Prometheus Global Media. Retrieved August 16, 2016. 

External links[edit]