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The Head and The Heart Shine as Lyrical Storytellers at ACL Live

The Head and The Heart Shine as Lyrical Storytellers at ACL Live



Hippo Campus opened the show for The Head and the Heart at ACL Live on Wednesday night. Their charisma and emotive performance stirred the crowd into dance, readying them for the headlining act. The penultimate song of their set, South, is inspired by Texas, they said. A great set, great presence; visiting from St.Paul, Minnesota, the band brought electric energy for the Austin crowd.

The Head and the Heart have toured through Austin numerous times earning them a warm reception. They opened the show with “All We Ever Knew,” and immediately hooked the room with the hit song from their 2016 album, Signs of Light. The band played a balanced mix of tunes from their old and new albums; their newest album, Living Mirage, released earlier this year. The all-ages crowd indiscriminately bopped to the acoustic chords from their earlier music and the synthy sounds from on the newest record.

Admittedly, the most cheesy moment of the performance was when the lead singer, Josiah Johnson, paused in the middle of the beloved “Let’s Be Still,” with a call for flashlights: “Everyone, take out your phone flashlights and let’s fill this room with fireflies.” Somehow it seems less romantic when the musician makes this request, compared to the days past of music loving audiences spontaneously breaking out their lighters.

Although their sound is evolving, they’ve maintained a deep sense of lyricismThe album’s single, “Honeybee,” sings of a relationship sticking it out through hard times, and is not at all about bees: “Such a fool, I took your love and I bent all the rules...stuck around to let me know, built a family of our own.” Frontwoman and violinist, Charity Thielen explains that “‘Honeybee’ really captures the idea of realizing you may have been living a life complacent with the familiar. Maybe even taking the person closest to you for granted and regretting not expressing your love towards them until it’s too late.”

They closed the evening with the song everyone was waiting for, Rivers and Roads, reminding us of why we fell in love with them in the first place. Released in 2011, the song’s sentiments grow more relatable each year contributing to it being a timeless favorite in the neo-folk canon. They sing, “a year from now we’ll all be gone, all our friends will move away.” Imagine now all the change you’ve experienced in the last 8 years. Do you relate? Does this song resonate? Do Charity’s haunting vocals still move you like the first time you heard it?


-Melissa Green

Published: July 20, 2019 |

This Emerging Artist is based in NYC,
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