In support of their new album, The Head and the Heart will take the stage Thursday night at Stephens Auditorium.
Succeeding “Son’s of Light” in 2015 and born out of the dry oasis of Joshua Tree, California, The Head and the Heart’s fourth full-length album “Living Mirage” is the tool that shaped both their adaptation in style and band dynamic.
With three albums and multiple Billboard chart toppers preceding this project — songs “All We Ever Knew,” “Lost in My Mind” and “Rhythm & Blues,” to name a few — the motion for putting a fourth album in the works was obvious as the American indie folk-rock band experiences larger and longer strides in the industry within their compound genre. However, the next step would be facing the reality of tackling challenges of the band’s relationships with one another and evaluating their shift in inspiration and sound.
The construction process for this particular album was complicated by the palpable disconnect between the band’s members. It was no secret to anyone in the current group that the early years of the original folk-rock gang dominating the open mic night scene out of Seattle had long since passed.
Co-founders Josiah Johnson and Kenny Hensley had left the band and Matt Gervais was a new addition. Naturally, the group’s sound and disposition experienced some growing pains that hindered more than helped the record’s songwriting process in the beginning. Each person had their own story to tell, but as a collective they lacked the harmony to meld those stories together.
“It became pretty evident how fractured our friendships were,” said singer, guitarist and percussionist Jonathan Russell in an interview with Billboard. “It started out as a pretty involved process of trying to become friends again, trying to actually be humans with each other and not just talking at each other.”
Not without moments of toil and occasional snags on the new orientation of musicians, it would seem apparent “Living Mirage” ended up being a triumphant ice breaker for The Head and the Heart. Released in May, the album unifies the mellow, rhythmic pop beats in tracks such as “Missed Connection” and “Honeybee” (written in collaboration with alt-pop artist Ryn Weaver) with emotional, instrumental anthems like “Saving Grace” and “People Need A Melody.”
This record is an expansion of the warm, buildable melodies with bright, airy vocals from Russell and violinist-guitarist Charity Rose Thielen and a traditional indie-folk cadence they already demonstrated a mastery of in their previous albums. “Living Mirage” maintains these roots, but also achieves pop status with its more radio-ready beats and tonality.
The north doors on the ground floor of Stephens Auditorium will open at 7 p.m. Thursday for The Head and the Heart’s stop on their “Living Mirage” tour. The performance will begin at 8 p.m. Tickets can be purchased at the Stephens Auditorium box office, online at Ticketmaster.com or by calling 800-745-3000. Every ticket purchased online includes a CD or digital copy of of the touring album, “Living Mirage.” Instructions on how to redeem your album after your ticket purchase will arrive via email.