It wasn’t that long ago that the members of Seattle’s The Head and the Heart were busking on street corners, strumming their acoustic guitars, stomping their feet and singing in harmony as they attempted to attract the attention of passersby. After capturing that unbridled energy on the band’s 2011 debut album for hometown label Sub Pop, the band went from playing open mic nights to selling out headlining shows in prestigious venues. The album became one of Sub Pop’s best-selling debut releases in years. And, slowly but surely, ideas began to form for the band’s second album, imbued with the experiences of traveling the world and playing to ever-growing crowds.
The Head and the Heart’s new album, Let’s Be Still, is a snapshot of a band that didn’t exist four years ago. Virginia native Jonathan Russell and California transplant Josiah Johnson formed the core songwriting partnership, which was rounded out by drummer Tyler Williams, keyboardist Kenny Hensley, vocalist/violinist Charity Rose Thielen and bassist Chris Zasche, who’d met Russell and Johnson while tending bar at an open mic they frequented. The nascent group dove headfirst into writing, recording and performing, and even moved into the same house.
After the breakaway success of their debut and countless shows on the road, the band is in a distinctly different situation. “There is a confidence gained from having such an amazing fan base,” says group member Jonathan Russell. “You start to trust yourself more. When we were busking, we were filling so much space to keep the listener from walking away.” Says Johnson, “We wanted to write songs that felt bigger, and didn’t need to be so frantic. I think for the most part we wanted to record an album that sounds like the way we play now.”
Adds Russell, “Has there been an impact on our lives since we have become full-time musicians? Sure. On one hand, it’s everything you have ever wanted. On the other hand, you start to miss the things you’ve lost and had to give up. And that’s just life. My job is to write about it.”
1. Homecoming Heroes
2. Another Story
5. Josh McBride
8. Let’s Be Still
9. My Friends
10. 10,000 Weight in Gold
12. These Days Are Numbered
Let’s Be Still will be available from October 25th.