It is rare to find a band made up of genuine people, purely interested in conceptual songwriting; that can go from performing live on David Letterman to doing an intimate record store performance just days apart. That is what Seattle’s “The Head and The Heart” did not too long ago, and they are still basking in the limelight their newest album has brought them.
Lets Be Still is the group’s second studio album which was released on October 15th, 2013 and has been receiving plenty of buzz on social media and music publications. It debuted on Bill Boards Top 200, iTunes Top Ten and is still lingering in the top 20, only recently being surpassed by Imagine Dragons (*sigh*). They have been endlessly touring and promoting, progressively gaining a bigger following at a pretty rapid speed.
The six members came together in 2009, when songwriters Jonathan Russell and Josiah Johnson met in their hometown of Seattle at an open mic. They then found pianist Kenny Hensley, bassist Chris Zasche, violinist Charity Rose Thielen, and drummer Tyler Williams to round out the roster. With a pretty large palette of instruments and beautifully harmonizing vocals, The Head and The Heart were able to find their distinct sound, which they say is influenced mainly from folk, Americana, country-rock, and “classic Beatlesque pop.”
Besides musically, the group formed also out of the simply understood concept (that almost all Disney movies and Sit Coms are based off) of making life choices using your brain, or following your heart.
“So many decisions in life and in the music we love can come down to a critical tug between the logic in our heads and the hot red blood beating through our hearts,” the band wrote in their Facebook bio.
Their newest album definitely reflects on this classic concept, as well as expanding more about their own travels and personal life. The group as accredited their success to touring over the past four years since their debut album was released in 2009, with bands such as My Morning Jacket, Iron and Wine, Death Cab for Cutie and Dr. Dog. They found inspiration from the talent around them and has lead them to a new realm of music and song writing. There are noticeably more funky guitar riffs, electro-based beats and dream-like harmonies. Songs such as, “Another Story,” “Summertime,” “Fire/Fear,” and “Shake,” which is their most popular off the album, capture the essence of their expanded sounds best.
Opening song “Homecoming Heros,” flows with a melodic violin and catchy piano harmony sounding closer to The Head and The Heart’s original songs. “Josh McBride” also captures the more folk influenced side of the group with more of a Mumford and Son sound with plucks on the banjo and a slow tempo vocal harmony.
Half way through the album, (and my personal favorite) “Lets Be Still” provides a meditative reflection on the world around us. “The world just spinning a little too fast, if things don’t slow down soon we might not last, so just for a moment lets be still,” the chorus sings. It is a peaceful melody that allows even the busiest of people to take a moment and relax.
They finish strong with a lengthy 6 minute ballad “Gone,” that incorporates a more jazz influenced piano tune intertwined with whimsical violin playing.
The Head and The Heart have something that everyone can enjoy, including a sense of humor, a need to find peace, and a genuine love of sing writing. They have been interacting with fans with an ongoing AMA on Redditt (where they admit to over doing the Whiskey at times and reveal the mystery man Josh McBride). They have also released a music video for their hit “Shake” on October 23rd that has scored almost 30,000 views. For all in Boston, the group will be playing two nights of sold out shows at the Royale on November 1st and 2nd.