The Head and the Heart
The Head and The Heart
|Origin||Seattle, Washington, United States|
|Labels||Warner Bros. |
Heavenly Recordings (UK)
Sub Pop (U.S.)
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, guitar, vocals), Chris Zasche (bass), Kenny Hensley (piano), and Tyler Williams (drums). 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. 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. 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. 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."
The Head and the Heart
Self-burned copies of The Head and the Heart in handmade denim sleeves were being sold at shows within a few weeks, and soon local record stores Easy Street and Sonic Boom couldn't keep them in stock. After a "feeding frenzy" of interest from record labels and managers, the band signed with Sub Pop in November 2010. 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.
The band has toured extensively through 2010 and 2011 in both the United States and Europe, opening for Vampire Weekend, 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", and the band made their network television debut on April 21, 2011 on Conan. The album reached the Billboard 200 Album Charts at #110 and the record stayed on the chart for ten weeks.
Let's Be Still
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. 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". James Christopher Monger of AllMusic described 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." On November 2, 2013, Let's Be Still reached number 10 on the Billboard 200 albums chart. The band spent much of 2014 touring the album. Thielen spent time writing for other artists, including Mavis Staples, while she married the musician Matt Gervais.
Signs of Light
In the middle of 2015, Johnson and Russel began the writing process for the third album at Montecito Heights in Los Angeles. 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 and instead do his best to manage his drug addiction. He was replaced by Thielen's husband Matt Gervais. In September 2016 the band released their third album Signs of Light. It was preceded by the single "All We Ever Knew".
"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 16th episode of the 7th season, in the last scene of the season 4 finale of New Girl, and in the last two scenes of the 14th episode, titled ‘She’, of the TV show The Good Doctor. Their single, "Down in the Valley", was played in the season finale of the British television program Beaver Falls, 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 episode 3 of the 3rd season. 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. The song "Let's Be Still" appears in a 2015 television commercial for Corona. "Let's Be Still" was also featured in an episode of the second season of The Night Shift and at the end of season one, episode three of Heartbeat.
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, 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.
The band is featured in a club scene in the 2013 film Lucky Them, performing their song "Shake".
Their song "Rivers and Roads" was featured prominently in the 2016 documentary Gleason, which chronicles the life of ex-NFL player Steve Gleason and his living with ALS. Gleason and his wife sing a line from the song to their newborn son Rivers. The song also plays at the end of the film.
|Year||Album details||Peak positions||Sales|
|2011||The Head and the Heart
|2013||Let's Be Still
|2016||Signs of Light
|"Lost in My Mind"||2011||×||1||—||24||The Head and the Heart|
|"Down in the Valley"||×||14||—||—|
|"Shake"||2013||—||4||—||—[A]||Let's Be Still|
|"Let's Be Still"||2014||—||9||—||—|
|"All We Ever Knew"||2016||32||1||1||13||Signs of Light|
|"Rhythm & Blues"||—||2||21||—[B]|
|"City of Angels"||2017||—||10||—||—|
|"—" denotes a recording that did not chart or was not released in that territory.|
- "No One To Let You Down" (Sub Pop Records, Please To Enjoy: Terminal Sales Vol. 4 Sampler, 2011)
- "What Are You Doing New Year's Eve?" (Holidays Rule)
- "Don't Forget Me" (Sweetheart 2014)
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