WYEP Studio Session: The Head and the Heart


The Head & The Heart in the WYEP Studios on August 1, 2012 The Seattle-based band The Head and The Heart dropped by WYEP as a trio (they are normally a six-piece) featuring Jonathan Russell (vocals, guitar, percussion), Josiah Johnson (vocals, guitar, percussion) and Charity Rose Thielen (violin, vocals). They talked about their beginnings in 2009, playing coffee shops at open mics. Jonathan commented on how he met Josiah: “He started dating my friend, that’s what it was.” Josiah added: “I did! First night I met her, we did a whiskey shot together and it was all downhill from there.” Jonathan added: “They didn’t last very long, but still it was effective.” One thing that stands out about The Head and the Heart are the beautiful three-part harmonies. Josiah commented on how those harmonies came to prominence after he first started playing with Jonathan: “We only both had acoustic guitars. How else are you going to add to someone else’s song? I’m not going to shred with the acoustic over his songs. It was the only natural way to play on each other’s songs.” Josiah explained that they discovered Charity’s harmonies after they had recruited her as their violin player. Charity added: “I grew up singing. I have two sisters and my mom is an orchestra teacher. We were always singing old hymns and harmonizing. I’m the youngest, so my two sisters and my mom would figure out harmonies and I would take the third or fourth. So, with them (Josiah and Jonathan), I’ll just find what’s natural, I’ll find the third harmony and complete it.” On their dedication to the Folk/Americana sound, Jonathan commented: “I used to write a lot of songs on the piano when I lived in Virginia. When I was moving across the country, I wanted to force myself to get better at songwriting on the guitar. I made it a point to leave all my pianos behind. I was really into more indie rock stuff: Clap Your Hands Say Yeah, Spoon, things that had nothing to do with folk. When I moved, I only brought my $100 Fender Acoustic. When I met this guy (Josiah), he was already writing on acoustic, so it just flourished based on the parameters that were already set”. Although their Sub Pop debut is very folky, Jonathan claims that there will be some different sounds on the next release: “We’re touring with bands we’ve idolized since we’ve been obsessed with music. You get to a level where we’re playing bigger stages and you just start natural thinking bigger. We’re no longer getting off work writing songs on our bed in our small rooms. We’re writing on a stage that’s like the size of this room. You have more space to fill. Touring with bands like Dr. Dog and My Morning Jacket, they have a much bigger sound and it makes you want to dabble.” One of those bigger acts that The Head and the Heart have shared the stage with is The Dave Matthews Band. Josiah said of Dave Matthews: “He’s always been kind of a fatherly advice kind of person when we were just starting out and making all these crucial decisions about what direction we were gonna go as a band before we even signed a record deal.” Jonathan went on to say: “He came to one of our shows in Seattle. He introduced himself after our show and I was like “What... is…. happening?!?” I thought this is about get really weird, our lives are about to change. It was really surreal.”

Songs Performed:
1) Down in the Valley
2) Honey Come Home
3) Ghosts
4) Lost in My Mind