Acclaimed Seattle-based folk/indie rock act The Head and The Heart — currently, founding member Jonathan Russell (vocals, guitar, percussion), Charity Rose Theielen (violin, guitar, vocals, Chris Zasche (bass), Kenny Hensley (keys), Matt Gervais (vocals, guitar) and Tyler Williams (drums) — can trace their origins to a series of open mic nights at Ballard neighbor based bar, Conor Byrne Pub back in 2009: At the time, the band’s Jonathan Russell relocated from Richmond, VA — and Josiah Johnson (vocals, guitar, percussion), who had relocated from Southern California were both relatively recent transplants. Russell and Johnson met Kenny Hensley, who was relocated the previous year to pursue a career in film score writing. Charity Rose Theilen, who returned from a year abroad studying in Paris became the band’s fourth member. Russell knew Tyler Williams from the Richmond music scene: Williams was a member of Prabir and The Substitutes and he quickly relocated to Seattle after Russell sent him a demo of Down In The Valley.” Chris Zasche was a bartender at the Conor Byrne pub and was a member of Seattle-based bands The Maldives and Grand Hallway before joining The Head and The Heart.
As Johnson explained in press notes the band’s name came from a very relatable situation that many musicians have in which “Your head is telling you to be stable and find a good job, you know in your heart that this [the band] is what you’re supposed to do, even if it’s crazy.”
Since their formation, the Seattle-based folk/indie rock act have released four critically applauded albums — 2010’s self-titled and initially self-released debut (which later caught the attention of Sub Pop Records, who re-issued it), 2013’s Let’s Be Still, 2016’s major label debut Signs of Light and 2019’s Living Mirage. And with each successive release, the band has received greater critical and commercial success while earning a rising profile: They’ve opened for the likes of Vampire Weekend, The Walkmen, Dr. Dog, Dave Matthews, The Decemberists, Iron & Wine, My Morning Jacket, Death Cab for Cutie and Tom Petty and The Heartbreakers among a list of other equally acclaimed acts.
Back in 2017, they played Newport Folk Festival, Coachella, and Lollapalooza, and they added to a milestone year with headlining stops at Red Rocks Amphitheater, and Central Park SummerStage among a growing list of others.
The band’s latest effort is a lovingly straightforward and gorgeous cover of the Graham Nash-penned Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young hit “Our House,” which appears on the act’s 1970 release Deja Vu. (Admittedly, I’ve somehow just loved the since I was a small. I loved the harmonies — and the melody is an earworm, man.) But most important, The Head and the Heart’s cover is a reminder of two things: Graham Nash is an amazing songwriter and that “Our House” is a pretty song full of longing for the sort of domestic tranquility that’s sadly so very rare. Interestingly, the members of the critically acclaimed Seattle-based act recorded the part of an expansive 50th Anniversary Deluxe Edition of Déjá Vu, which features an additional two hours of rare and previously unreleased audio.
Of course, it shouldn’t be surprising that the members of The Head and The Heart are huge Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young fans — and that the song holds a deep personal meaning for them: “When we first started as a band, we shared a two bedroom apartment where ‘Our House’ was played so much, it became like a mantra of unity and connection to each other, as we discovered what we wanted to do within our music. To say it’s an honor to be asked to cover that very song is an understatement. Happy 50th anniversary to you legends! Déjá Vu Forever!“
The single art for the cover serves as a homage to the original Déjá Vu artwork and features an image of the actual house in Seattle that was The Head and The Heart’s early home.