TH&TH touch on heartache & hope @ Iroquois

head and heart john miller
The Head and the Heart | Iroquois Amphitheater 9.28.17 | 📸: John Miller Photography

The Head and the Heart was on an all-time high after selling out and performing one of their best shows at Red Rocks Amphitheater in Colorado. They took this high straight into Louisville for Iroquois Amphitheater’s final show of the season and delivered the same contagiously positive energy. While Iroquois is no Red Rocks, its structure mimics certain aspects of the venue and gives off similar acoustics. It was the perfect venue for TH&TH’s Americana folk sound. Not only was the venue perfect, but the band’s simple, yet intimate stage decor topped off the entire ambiance of the night. With a large Aztec-printed carpet under the band’s feet, pots of greenery, dimmed lights imitating the stars, and harmonica solos, the crowd felt like one big group singing songs around a campfire.

While most people do not know this, or can even depict the difference of the new sound on their third studio album, Signs of Light, the lead singer has actually changed since the band’s past two albums. Josiah Johnson, lead singer from Let’s be Still and The Head and the Heart, was not present on their 2016 album, due to battles with addiction. According to Rolling Stone magazine, the new co-front man, Matty Gervais, could be a permanent member, but at this point the group is trying to take things one day at a time. Having seen them before and at the same venue with Johnson as the lead, I have the benefit of being able to experience and compare the band’s sound from then until now. Being a huge fan, I could tell the difference in the overall sound, but was not disappointed. It was one of those feelings of knowing something was different, but being okay with it. Taking on such big shoes to fill and considering the circumstances, I think Gervais did a great job of trying to keep the authenticity of The Head and the Heart without trying to replace Johnson. He was still passionate about every note he was singing and was invested in the lyrics, but in his own way. The other lead singer/violinist – and my personal favorite element of this band – Charity Rose Thielen, was absolutely incredible to hear and see live for a second time. Her presence on stage is that of a Stevie Nicks or a Janis Joplin: completely free spirited and always putting her whole heart into everything she sings, with pure raw vocals.

Although this was the band’s Signs of Light tour, they made sure to satisfy the crowd’s desires by singing songs off all three of their albums. Each individual song felt like a tribute to the different instruments they incorporate in their music. “Rhythm and Blues” was a perfect example of this, Thielen shining with her violin solo. They also included their most recent cover of “Don’t Dream it’s Over,” which was a huge crowd-pleaser with the multiple harmonies. Every one of their songs is filled with passion, whether it is upbeat rhythms, emotionally intense lyrics, or a combination of both. The way the band members interact with one another is not only exciting to watch, but also inspiring to see what we hear on the album be brought to life by these six individuals.

The title of their album, and inspiration for most of the songs, is a reflection of the hard times this band is facing as a unit. The songs are real when singing about heartache and the confusions of life, and yet they maintain an element of hope. Overall, the band brought love, unification, and pure sense of peace into the city of Louisville that Thursday night. Despite a new sound, The Head and the Heart’s core components are still evident, and thriving in a new way.


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