The Head and the Heart, along with opener New York rock trio Dreamers, is making a stop at Arlington Theater on Apr. 8 to promote their new album Signs of Light and play hit songs from previous ones.
The show at Santa Barbara, along with those in Reno, San Diego, Las Vegas, and Coachella, is a last-minute addition to their Signs of Light 2017 World Tour, included to appease the high demand from fans in these regions.
I first gained an interest in the group when I laid my ears on their Doe Bay Sessions, part of an online series provided by YouTube channel Sound on the Sound in 2011. Their earthy and rustic tunes offer a nostalgic feeling to any listener, even first time listeners. Most people would compare their style to a blend between The Lumineers, Fleet Foxes, and Noah and the Whale, all encompassing a somewhat similar rural style of indie rock.
Some of THATH’s top songs from their newest album include “All We Ever Knew” and “Rhythm & Blues,” both tracks recently debuting with music videos. Other songs that are going to be performed on tour (according to setlist.fm) include “Lost in my Mind” and “Down in the Valley” from their self-titled 2010 debut album, as well as “Another Story” and “Shake” from the 2013 release Let’s Be Still.
The most attractive thing about this band is that there is no drop-off or noticeable intonation mismatch between the studio and live versions of their tracks, highlighted by their colorful history on NPR Radio, Late Night with Jimmy Kimmel, and KCRW. Their live performances almost best their recordings with a dimension of authenticity that is lost when playing in front of a microphone instead of an eager audience. Also, they are constantly evolving, as their music has slowly transitioned from a traditional Northwest-folk style when they first formed in 2009 into more of a mainstream indie-rock sound.
Although the band has reached a steady level of commercial fame and critical acclaim, blossoming into a more recognizable band from its once-grassroots production, the group of six still face major challenges. Its lead singer and original co-founder, Josiah Johnson, was unable to take part in this tour because faces rehab for drug addiction — a diagnosis that the band did not delve too deep into in its press release (His Instagram bio reads “THATHer. Inactive. Hang on I’ll be right back.”).
This significant blow to the team’s morale was rallied when their lifelong friend Matty Gervais filled in the vocals, guitar, and percussion vacancy. His presence is so strong that there are rumors that he may stay long-term if and when Johnson returns, expanding the band to seven strong.
This playful flexibility, along with the band’s monumental talent and passion, allow The Head and the Heart to transcend music. They embody the underdog story, facing overwhelming obstacles and insurmountable odds to bring joy through their loving and soulful tunes. Once openers for artists such as Iron & Wine, Vampire Weekend, and Death Cab For Cutie, their idols have become their rivals, so to speak. Each note hit and chord struck is a little reminder of how far they have come along.
The Seattle-based indie-folk band will be traveling across North America, Canada, Germany, and the United Kingdom headlining their Signs of Light 2017 World Tour.