Indie-folk group The Head and The Heart lit up LA’s iHeartRadio Theater with pendent light fixtures and forged an intimate tropical atmosphere to celebrate the forthcoming release of their third studio album, Signs of Light, on the AT&T LIVE stage.
Hosted by ALT 98.7’s Harms, the six-piece ensemble – Josiah Johnson, Jonathan Russell, Charity Rose Thielen, Chris Zasche, Kenny Hensley, and Tyler Williams – treated their fans to a setlist comprised of new tracks off their latest project, as well as memorable hits from their previous releases.
The band launched the album release party with a live rendition of their latest single “All We Ever Knew,” an upbeat, harmonious track that was written during the Let’s Be Still era but wasn’t unveiled until after their three-year hiatus.
The indie collective also put on an arresting performance of the L.A. skyline-inspired “City of Angels,” the true-to-title “Rhythm and Blues,” the tambourine-tinged “Lost In My Mind,” the soulful slow jam “Let’s Be Still,” and their pensive grand finale “Rivers and Roads.”
Album Release Party on AT&T LIVE Setlist:
“All We Ever Knew”
“City of Angels”
“Rhythm and Blues”
“Lost In My Mind”
“Let’s Be Still”
“Down in the Valley”
“Rivers and Roads”
In between performances, the band spoke to Harms about how their latest effort is a departure from 2013’s Let’s Be Still, the inspiration behind Signs of Light, and more. Find key moments from their interview below.
How Their New Album Is Different:
More than I think we realized until we listened to it as a whole piece of music. It's hard to really tell when we were making the song ... We finished this record in March, really, and the first time we were like, 'Oh that's what we sound like now.' Part of that sounds familiar and part of that doesn't. So I'm sure that you guys who's not in the band, you're probably seeing more of it than we are. But I like where we're at.
On the California vibe of Their Album:
The first time we got back together as a band, we went to this small beach called Sunset Beach. We were there for a few weeks in this house that was also a studio ... I think we definitely got a little closer to California on this record. It's not a bad thing.
Josiah On the Inspiration Behind "City of Angels":
I started that one in L.A. It was January 2015. I bought myself a van, I drove myself out here, and rented a place for a few months, you know, traveled with a bunch of gear from Virginia and made it kind of a live-in studio situation. I had friends cycling through.
We were staying up in Montecito Heights ... but off in the distance every night, if you walk down, there was this hillside and it was the coolest view of the skyline. [That's when] 'City of Angels' started seeping inside of my brain.
Charity On Writing “If It’s a Light” With Mavis Staples:
It was amazing. She's been a hero of mine since forever. She's one of the greatest and her camp kind of approached us, and I got to hop on the phone with freaking Mavis Staples. At the end of it, I just realized it was the song that I had written originally during the time of Let's Be Still, but it was written for Mavis Staples. I started crying good tears. I just realized, after talking to her and rewriting stuff, this was the song. It was pretty surreal.
Least Favorite Song To Play:
Any Christmas songs probably, which is unfortunate because Charity loves Christmas songs. I feel like we would've done a Christmas album six years ago, but I was so against them.
The exclusive video stream of The Head and the Heart's iHeartRadio Album Release Party on AT&T Live premiered via iHeartRadio.com/watchATT on September 2 at 8 p.m. ET/PT. Subscribers can also see the show on the AUDIENCE Network on DIRECTV Channel 239 or U-Verse Channel 1114 where available.
Their album Signs of Light is out September 9.
Photo: ceethreedom for iHeartRadio