Formed in Seattle by a group of northwestern transplants, the Head and the Heart is an indie folk band whose influences include Americana, country-rock and classic Beatlesque pop. The lineup came together in 2009, when songwriters Jonathan Russell and Josiah Johnson met at an open-mike event at Seattle's Conor Byrne Pub. Pianist Kenny Hensley, bassist Chris Zasche, violinist Charity Rose Thielen, and former Prabir & the Substitutes drummer Tyler Williams rounded out the roster, and the Head and the Heart spent the first half of 2010 touring the Pacific Northwest before self-releasing their eponymous debut in June. By the end of the summer, they'd created enough buzz in the Pacific Northwest to entertain offers from several record labels, eventually signing with Sub Pop that fall and reissuing their album -- this time with remastered tracks and one new song -- in early 2011.
The Head and the Heart spent much of their time on tour in 2012 and subsequently began the writing process for their second album while they were on the road. The bandmembers eventually returned to Seattle to record their sophomore release, 2013's Let's Be Still. Enjoying continued success, they moved from Sub Pop to Warner Bros. and, after taking a break to recharge their creative batteries, returned to the studio and recorded their third full-length album (and first major-label release), Signs of Light. Featuring their second U.S. Adult Alternative chart-topper "All We Ever Knew," the album was released in September of 2016 and soared to number five on the Billboard 200, their highest showing to date. The companion Stinson Beach Sessions, a collection of unreleased demos from the making of Signs of Light, arrived the following year. Steady touring followed until the group returned to the studio to record a follow-up. That fourth effort, Living Mirage (Warner Bros./Reprise), was issued in 2019. ~ Andrew Leahey