written by Ben Salmon | photos by James Minchin


The Head and the Heart came together in Seattle, but the winsome folk-pop band’s roots stretch far beyond the Pacific Northwest.

Formed in 2009 out of an open mic scene at Seattle’s Conor Byrne Pub, The Head and the Heart moved from playing uncrowded bars to large theaters in a matter of months, thanks to their effortless amalgam of wholesome Americana and memorable melodies. When record stores couldn’t keep their self-released debut album in stock, Sub Pop Records signed the band and released a follow-up, Let’s Be Still, in 2013.

Swept up in the excitement of their rise, the six-piece band said yes to almost every opportunity for four years. “It was a pace that isn’t really sustainable for anyone,” said Charity Rose Thielen, the band’s violin, banjo and vocals virtuoso. “For the first time, we took a break as a band, and we came back refreshed.”

Indeed, The Head and the Heart sounds rejuvenated on its sunny, soulful third album, Signs of Light. The songs are snappier, the arrangements are lavish, and the hooks are huge. It’s The Head and the Heart fully realized.

“We’ve really grown into who we are as a band on this one,” Thielen said.

the head and the heart, train tracks