Put Your Records On: The Head and The Heart

The Etownian September 5, 2012 0
On the Turntable: The Head and The Heart
Genre: Indie Folk-Rock
My Rating:   A fresh, new band for a brand new year; perfect to set the tone for your fall semester. 

Hey, Jays. Welcome back to the busy semester beat. The start of a new school year always stirs up the thoughts that seem to settle at the bottom of my mind while I’m relaxing at home over the lazy summer days: “Where am I going?” and “what am I working towards?” Sometimes, it’s “How am I going to get there?” or “Who am I, really?” That’s where The Head and The Heart comes in.
The Seattle-based band formed back in the summer of 2009 when they were all regulars at the open mic nights at Conor Byrne’s Pub in Seattle. Songwriter Josiah Johnson, a California native, was pursuing a graduate school degree in Seattle, while Jonathan Russell, another aspiring songwriter, had just moved to the area from Virginia. Keyboardist Kenny Hensley was attending school in Seattle to earn a degree in musical score-writing, and Charity Rose Thielen had just returned from a year studying abroad and playing music in Paris.  Drummer Tyler Williams joined the band after hearing a demo CD, leaving a flourishing band in Richmond behind to join The Head and The Heart on their journey to musical harmony. Last to join the band was Conor Byrne’s bartender, Chris Zasche, who offered to play bass for the fledgling group.

They quit their day jobs to start their music career in earnest, meeting at the Seattle Public Library, as well as parks and beaches, to write songs. During these early days, Charity sent Josiah an email where she expressed her excitement over the “shared purpose” of the band’s direction, and admitted she was “sleepless and penniless, but inspired nonetheless.”

The band’s self-titled album captures the formation of their group, and the songs create a musical map, each line a road overlapping and connecting one theme or place to another in their musical process, chronicling the joy and heartache of leaving home, finding home, and chasing down a shared dream. Songs “Rivers and Roads” and “Down in the Valley” ring true to the band’s values and impart the willingness to do what it takes to achieve a goal.

Sometimes, we ask ourselves questions that don’t need to be answered with words, but with experiences. Sometimes, what we know in our minds and what we feel in our hearts conflict. The Head and the Heart form their songs on this principle, hoping to connect this troubled place within the listener and fill it with peace. Whether coming to Etown is a trek for you or just a stroll down the road, I hope you’re doing what you love. Welcome home.

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