I made an interesting decision... To NOT listen to The Head and The Heart’s album until after I had seen them at Calvin College. Let me hear it fresh and see if without knowledge of their songs they could hit… well… my head and heart. And… the jury is in and very quickly indeed; I have a newly found musical love.
Oh my goodness what an impact, viscerally and cerebrally. I had actually named a worship project The Head and The Heart Collective in my early days at Fitzroy (we need to revive that… maybe with a name change) because I am interested where the head and the heart comes together; something that hits he kardia and makes me think. These Seattle guys are perfectly named. The harmonies, the instrumental grace notes, the jaunty bass groove and percussive imagination. Kardia hit!
Then the songwriting. Well, I was tipped off to the thoughtfulness in an afternoon Q & A, with the cultural shaper that is Ken Heffner, in a Calvin College classroom. I had never been at a rock band interview where one of the lead singers spoke at length, and with some passion, about the early formation of children that led to long term education…and he has not even got any children! On first listen I became very quickly aware that these guys don’t add a fiddle sound without meticulous thought and that lyrically they are going to be deep companions on the journey ahead. In a concert setting it was hard to pick out the killer lines but I knew that the next weeks would be a discovery of deep thoughts to ponder and surmise.
"The world's just spinning
A little too fast
If things don't slow down soon, we might not last
So just for the moment, let's be still."
What struck me early in the show was the mid 60s Beatle sounds, particularly coming from the Lady Madonna-like piano. Then those harmonies. Oh my goodness. Such tenderness and power all in the same song. So Crosby, Stills and Nash. Yet, this is a contemporary sound in a College Sports Hall filled with students. These guys have mined the best traditions of songwriting and blended it through their time and come up with something that connects fast and will linger long. Converted at Calvin College in head and the heart. Appropriate!