The Head and the Heart

Sold Out: The Head and the Heart

Carl Broemel

Fri, April 19, 2019

Doors: 7:00 pm / Show: 8:00 pm

Hargray Capitol Theatre

Macon, GA

$35.00 - $50.00

The Head and the Heart
The Head and the Heart
In 2014, exhausted after four years of non-stop touring, the six members of the Head And The Heart pointed their individual compasses to new cities, new relationships and new adventures. Pianist Kenny Hensley learned to fly planes and enrolled in kung-fu training in China, while bassist Chris Zasche packed up a camper and went off the grid in the Canadian Rockies. Drummer Tyler Williams put down stakes across the country and immersed himself in the burgeoning music scene in Richmond, Va., while vocalist/multi-instrumentalist Charity Rose Thielen honed her compositional skills by writing for such legends as Mavis Staples.

After his own cross-country trip to reconnect with family and friends, vocalist/guitarist Jonathan Russell traveled to Haiti and found inspiration working with the non-profit Artists For Peace And Justice. “When I found out we were going to have a significant amount of time off, I saw it as an opportunity to touch base again -- to listen to what other people were saying and what they were going through,” he says. “I really wanted to make sure that I reconnected with a world that was starting to feel farther and farther away.”

When the Head And The Heart regrouped last summer in Stinson Beach, Ca., to start writing together again, “it almost felt like we were a new band, trying things we hadn’t tried,” Zasche recalls. “We stayed at a bungalow on the beach. We’d wake up, have coffee and go boogie boarding. We were ready and excited to be back together.”

That renewed sense of purpose can be felt throughout “Signs Of Light,” the group’s first release for Warner Bros. Records. “This album isn’t about us now having achieved our dreams,” says Thielen. “The day we started being able to live off our art was the day we achieved our dreams, in my mind. This is the album where we really fell into our true voices as those artists.”

Recorded in Nashville with producer Jay Joyce (Eric Church, Cage The Elephant), “Signs Of Light” crackles with the upbeat, sing-a-long energy of the Head And The Heart’s finest work. Lead single “All We Ever Knew,” which was written during the “Let’s Be Still” era but never captured to the band’s satisfaction until now, is sure to be a crowd-pleaser, while “Turn It Around” seems primed to be a future concert staple, matching its inspirational message with a lush and multi-layered soundscape.

Throughout, the colors are brighter, the electric guitars are louder and the musical touchstones more universal. The propulsive, smile-inducing ode to Los Angeles “City Of Angels” and the head-nodding “Rhythm & Blues” nod to classic Fleetwood Mac, while the organ-flecked “Dreamer” is a timeless-sounding ballad that could have been beamed straight out of an old jukebox.

“Jay was really adamant about getting a great performance,” Russell says. “We have all the tools in the world to make something sound real or more excitable, but it’s never really as true as the band in the room for the whole take. ‘City Of Angels’ — we had previously re-cut that song and played it so many times. But within two takes in Nashville, we nailed it. It felt like we were playing on a massive stage in front of tons of people.”

Elsewhere, Thielen’s “Library Magic” could almost be seen as a letter to the other five members, acknowledging the ups-and-downs of life in a successful band while celebrating the unique and constantly evolving bond between them. “I wrote that song after having our first real time off as a band,” she says. “It touches on the storied relationships between band members trying to survive living in a van off of accelerated time and gas station crafts for years straight, but it also applies to any of life’s relationships.”

The Head And The Heart’s 2011 self-titled debut album captured a nascent but undeniable creative partnership between six strangers thrown together by little more than a shared love of music. It became one of Sub Pop Records’ best-selling debut releases ever, and rocketed the band to acclaim well beyond its then-home base in Seattle. The formative experiences that followed both on and off the stage heavily informed the 2013 follow-up “Let’s Be Still,” which continues to remind Russell of “the stale beer, bleach and potato chips from all the venues we saw once this became our livelihood.”

On “Signs Of Light,” that gamut of emotions is felt most deeply on the Josiah Johnson-penned title track, which none of the other members had ever heard until they happened to walk in on him playing it over and over at the piano during pre-production in El Paso, Texas. “It was one of those moments where no one talks,” Russell remembers. “No one needs the chords; no one is looking up. You simply pick up your instrument and play. The next thing you know, nearly 10 minutes have gone by and you have no idea how or why or what just happened.”
Carl Broemel
Carl Broemel
Years before Carl Broemel joined My Morning Jacket — the Grammy-nominated, globetrotting rock band featuring his guitar playing, saxophone solos, harmony singing, pedal steel riffs, and songwriting support — he wrote his very first songs in his Indiana bedroom.

From the start, he was a multi-instrumentalist with a singer's gift for melody. A sideman capable of handling a frontman's job. As his guitar-playing career blossomed, Broemel continued writing songs of his own, carving out a personal, introspective sound that reached beyond My Morning Jacket's sonic landscape. With his third solo album, Wished Out, he merges articulate, pensive songwriting — including ruminations about science, love, the passing of time, and the grind of the artistic struggle — with some of the most energetic, rock-inspired songs to date.

"I wanted to get things moving," says Broemel, who remembers playing shows in support of his 2016 solo release — the critically-acclaimed 4th of July, full of daydreaming guitar tones and soft dynamics — and hearing the quiet crash of glass whenever his fans tossed beer bottles into the clubs' trash cans. "My songwriting can be very mellow," he adds. "I love that mood, but I needed more balance this time around. I needed more energy! Wished Out is all about the yin and yang."

Broemel recorded Wished Out at his newly-constructed home studio in Nashville, tracking many of the instruments alone before reaching out to several friends — including Robbie Crowell (Deer Tick), Russ Pollard (Everest, Sebadoh), and My Morning Jacket bandmates Tom Blankenship and Bo Koster — for help. He worked in spurts, taking short breaks to drive his son to school and longer breaks to hit the road with My Morning Jacket. With sunlight filtering through the studio windows during his days at home, Broemel steadily whittled his new album into shape, pulling tri-ple duty as Wished Out's producer, engineer, and frontman along the way.

From the harmonized guitar riffs and deep-seated grooves of the kickoff track, "Dark Matter," to the McCartney-worthy pop textures and densely-stacked vocals of "Out of Reach," Wished Out finds Broemel picking up the pace without sacrificing his love of melody. Hooks are everywhere, hidden in the dreamy, California folk-rock of "Malibu Shadow"; the percussive, psychedelic punch of "Starting from Scratch"; the stoned, stuttering rock & roll swagger of "Rain Check"; the show-stealing guitar solo that stretches itself throughout the second half of "Wished Out"; and beyond. A heavy reader, Broemel found inspiration in the scientific writings of Neil deGrasse Tyson, the work of evolutionary biologist Richard Dawkins, and the anthropological essays of Loren Eiseley. The result in an album whose melodies go down smooth, but whose lyrics unveil new layers with each listen. It's a thinking man's rock & roll record…or is it the other way around?

Songs like "Dark Matter" and "Out of Reach" take a turn for the metaphysical, with Broemel exam-ining his own place within the cosmos. Meanwhile, "Second Fiddle" tips its hat to Ronnie Lane, George Harrison, Art Garfunkel, and other sidemen who've have balanced solo careers with their dedication to a larger, busier band. [For Broemel — an in-demand instrumentalist who's toured with Ray Lamontagne, recorded with country icon Wanda Jackson, and become an integral part of My Morning Jacket's engine over the last 14 years — a song like "Second Fiddle" feels particu-larly poignant, offering a first-hand perspective of rock & roll life in the passenger seat.]

Throughout the writing process, Broemel worked with drum loops and other programmed beats, looking to instill a strong sense of movement into his songs. He wrote at home. He wrote on tour. He wrote during an inspirational trip to Malibu, where he rented a quiet cabin above the Pacific Ocean and emerged several days later with "Malibu Shadow" and "Starting From Scratch." The result is a tracklist whose diversity reflects the many influences, instruments, and commitments of its own creator. With its mix of guitar muscle, rock & roll grit, left-field pop punch, and lyrical wit, Wished Out sheds new light on a team player who shines just as bright when he's calling his own shots.
Venue Information:
Hargray Capitol Theatre
382 Second Street
Macon, GA, 31201
http://www.hargraycapitoltheatre.com/