Monday, 24 March 2014 14:59

The Head and the Heart Navigates Its Rapid Success

Written by  Dwayne Hoover
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The Head And The Heart The Head And The Heart COURTESY PHOTO: Curtis Wave Millard

The Head and the Heart wsg. Basia Bulat
Calvin College, Grand Rapids
April 3, 8 p.m.
$30, (616) 526-6282

Just to listen to them, you wouldn't know Seattle's folk-rock sextet The Head and the Heart have only been around since 2009. The music feels more experienced and sophisticated, with melodies that sound like they were constructed by people who have been creating together for much longer. Add an eclectic assortment of instruments and some impressive vocal harmonies, and it's no wonder why people have taken notice.


The success of the band's self-titled debut album catapulted its members into what they had been working toward: the role of successful musicians. But even as they were achieving what they had sought after, they were also becoming very aware of how deeply that very success was affecting their lives.


"Inevitably there's going to be that sort of voice of everything changing, you know?" said Jonathan Russell, vocalist and guitarist. "It's just growing pains, essentially. If we were fresh out of college and had landed our real jobs in Chicago, we'd experience that same sort of thing."


But those growing pains were very real, and as the band's members began living their lives on the road, this harsh reality became the inspiration for their next album. 


"Falling out of touch with family members and all of those things are very similar to what happens to musicians when they finally get to that place and are out touring and traveling all the time," Russell said. "It's what you're shooting for, but sometimes you're like, 'I just want a mundane day. Get up, make coffee, get in my car and drive to work.' It lingers in your consciousness all the time, and when you're writing songs it just kind of comes out."


The result was the band's second record, Let's Be Still, which debuted at No. 10 on the Billboard 200 and has the band on a pretty consistent touring schedule in support. And not only are the band members pleased with the recent success in the business, they're excited about the music they're creating.


"You feel [our chemistry], and it's not contrived," Russell said. "We try to make things as little as work as we can. If you're having to work that hard at something right out of the gate, it might not be the right fit for where you're at." 


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