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Interview: The Head and the Heart

Photo by Curtis Wave Millard

Photo by Curtis Wave Millard

The Head and the Heart has already got a warm welcome from Edmonton fans, and their tour doesn’t start until March.

The band played to a sold-out, enthusiastic crowd at the 2013 Edmonton Folk Music festival. Locals were so eager for return that their upcoming April 10, 2014 show at McDougall United Church sold out so quickly that the concert was quickly moved to a larger location — the acoustically impressive Winspear Centre. This was news to The Head and the Heart’s vocalist/guitarist Jonathan Russell when I phoned him for an interview: “A larger venue, really? So are we playing for, like, 600 people now?” When I told him that the venue holds 2000 people — ok, 1932 to be exact — he was shocked. “What? Amazing. Awesome. That is… that’s a pleasant surprise. Right on, Edmonton.”

The Head and the Heart — a six piece folk-rock band from Seattle — will be touring music from their October 2013 album Let’s Be Still, which Russell says is very welcome after playing music from their debut album at so many shows and festivals. “It was a good problem to have, that people just kept wanting to hear our old record and we were able to tour it for so long. But I’m so glad we finally got the time to record new songs. These new songs are still relevant to my life so it’s nice that when I play them live I believe in what I sing. We’re like a new band with this new album, everything is so refreshed.”

Russell says that Let’s Be Still was written with live performances in mind, sensing they’d be able to perform this album for large audiences. “It is easier playing in the bigger venue with the lights, fog machine… all that stuff. You just believe in the song as it creates this ambiance. I personally really enjoy… not necessarily acting out the songs, but, you know, being in character. Doing what you can on the stage to convey certain ideas in the songs and make a seamless performance from one song to the next. You don’t want the audience to slip out of the moment.” Expect a great live show from this band — with a full stage set, numerous instruments, and six talented musicians, it’s an impressive set.

It was clear fans loved The Head and the Heart at the Edmonton Folk Music Festival, and the feeling was mutual: “The Canadian folk fests we do are always so good,” Russell says, “and we meet so many new musician friends from those experiences. But it’s nice to headline your own show. You know people are there to see you and that instills a sort of confidence — you can be really open with the crowd and trust that they’ll know what you’re doing.”

“Well, I guess I’ll see 2000 of you in March,” Russell says to end our conversation, still overwhelmed by the response. Don’t miss a chance to be a part of the crowd enjoying live renditions of singles like “Shake” and “Another Story” — you won’t be able to resist getting up from your seat and moving along to their folky, soulful rhythms.

Catch The Head and the Heart on their cross-Canada tour March 27 – April 10, and at the Squamish Valley Music Festival in August.

The Head and the Heart | April 10, 8 pm | Winspear Centre, 99 St. & 102 Ave. | General Admission $37; Tickets available by calling 780-428-1414 or online at www.winspearcentre.com




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