The Head and The Heart is an indie folk-pop band from Seattle, Washington. Formed in the summer of 2009 by Josiah Johnson (vocals, guitar, percussion) and Jonathan Russell (vocals, guitar, percussion), the band also includes Charity Rose Thielen (violin, vocals), Chris Zasche (bass), Kenny Hensley (piano), and Tyler Williams (drums). The band signed to Sub Pop Records in November 2010.
The band self-released their debut album The Head and The Heart in June 2009, selling it at concerts, by word of mouth, and through local record stores. In the ensuing months the album sold 10,000 copies. Their music plays heavily on the trio of vocal harmonies, piano and violin melodies, and prominent drums and percussion. It was the top-selling album of the year 2010 for the independent Sonic Boom Records in the band's home neighborhood of Ballard, Seattle. The remastered, expanded album was re-released on Sub Pop Records on April 16, 2011.
The band has toured extensively through 2010 and 2011 in both the United States and Europe, opening for Vampire Weekend, The Walkmen, Dr. Dog, Dave Matthews, The Low Anthem, The Decemberists, Iron & Wine, My Morning Jacket, and Death Cab For Cutie, as well as headlining their own shows. In March 2011, Seattle's City Arts Magazine named them "Seattle's Best New Band", and the band made their network television debut on April 21, 2011 on Conan.
The band met and was formed through a series of open mic nights at Seattle's Conor Byrne pub in Old Ballard. Josiah Johnson had moved to Seattle from Southern California to pursue graduate school, and Jonathan Russell was a recent transplant from Richmond, Virginia. They met keyboardist Kenny Hensley, who had also moved to Seattle to pursue musical score-writing, and Charity Rose Thielen who had recently returned from a year studying abroad in Paris at the Sciences Po. Drummer Tyler Williams had been in the band Prabir and The Substitutes in Richmond, but moved to Seattle to be a part of the nascent Head and The Heart after hearing one demo that Russell sent to him for the song "Down In The Valley." Chris Zasche was bartending at the Conor Byrne and playing in Seattle bands The Maldives and Grand Hallway, and was the last to be added to original lineup. In an interview with American Songwriter, Thielen stated that she was asked to join after the band had already considered themselves formed, saying "I was kind of invited in, when theres already this wave, theres already this boat in motion and I didnt want to re-steer its course."
Self-burned copies of The Head and the Heart in handmade denim sleeves were being sold at shows within a few weeks, and soon local record stores Easy Street and Sonic Boom couldn't keep them in stock. After a "feeding frenzy" of interest from record labels and managers, the band signed with Sub Pop in November 2010. Sub Pop remastered the album, expanded it with a studio version of their traditional concert closer "Rivers and Roads," and re-recorded one song ("Sounds Like Hallelujah"). The album was re-released in CD format, and for the first time on vinyl LP, on Record Store Day 2011. The band is managed by Zeitgeist Artist Management out of San Francisco, and are signed with Heavenly Recordings in the United Kingdom and Europe.
"Rivers and Roads", one of the band's singles, was used in the series finale of the American television program Chuck. It was also played in the sitcom How I Met Your Mother, at the end of the 7th-season episode "The Drunk Train". Their single, "Down In The Valley", was played in the season finale of the British television program Beaver Falls. The song Lost in My Mind was played in the series Hart of Dixie in the episode Hairdos & Holidays. It was also the backing track for the theatrical trailer of The Silver Linings Playbook. The first episode of season two of BYUtv's AUDIO-FILES centered on the band and featured live performances of "Winter Song" (performed atop a ferris wheel), "Sounds Like Hallelujah", etc.