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The Head and the Heart Go California on ‘Signs of Light’

"This whole album feels like a California record to me."

By Radio.com Staff

After nearly a year off, taking a break from a grueling tour schedule, The Head and the Heart hunkered down to write Signs of Light, their major label debut and one of their best to date. But how did the Virginia-to-Seattle-to-Los Angeles band end up with the title, and what does it mean?

“It’s the last song on the album and once you go through the whole album it just wraps everything up really nicely, says Jonathan Russell of the Josiah Johnson-written song. “At the same time it makes you want to start the whole thing over again. He called it “Signs of Light” and it just felt like the perfect statement for the whole album.”

Related: The Head And The Heart’s Kenny Hensley Regrets Buying a Rolls Royce

Reading through the lyrics on the liner notes or Genius.com, one might think the songs on “Signs of Light” are somewhat bleak. But nothing could be farther from the truth. The uplifting music balances the sometimes cynical lyrics perfectly. In fact, “This record feels like we’re coming together as a band,” says drummer Tyler Williams. It’s a positive record,” adds Kenny Hensley. Although the lyrics occasionally come from dark places, bandmembers insist it’s an uplifting album, which is easily proven when watching their elated audiences.

“Everyone’s gone through a relationship where things didn’t work out… you try it again and it doesn’t work out,” says Jonathan Russell of the album’s breakout single, “All We Ever Knew.” “That feeling of ‘Why are we doing this to ourselves? We know it’s not going to work out. We’ve tried it before. Just let it go.’” Russell explains he’d just got out of the tour bus in Texas and it was one of this hot, arid days and realized that he’d chosen the life of a musician over an amazing relationship. “What the hell are you doing?” Russell remembers asking himself. “That’s where my head was at when I started that song.” As time went on though, Russel recall the song becoming more positive.

“City of Angels” on the other hand is tale of the band’s newest home, specifically Russell’s experience trying to make new friends while living in remote corner of the city. Although meant to be a positive look at LA, Russell couldn’t help but comparing it to the small town feel he’d grown up with in Virginia. “And, it was also me hinting at trying to see someone who lived in LA and it not coming to fruition so I got a lot of love in this town but it never seems to stay and never seems to grow,” Russell recounts as he repeats lyrics from the track.

“This whole album feels like a California record to me,” says Williams. “We did a lot of writing in Stinson Beach, just an hour North of San Francisco and Kenny grew up here and we’ve been here so much that now it does feel like we live here and we’re part of California and that writing session defined the record. Anything that’s about California on this record just feels right… feels like where we should be.”

The Head and the Heart hit the road to share their live rendition of Signs of Light beginning September 15 in Brooklyn, wrapping up November 15 in Seattle.

Find their tour stop near you with Eventful.

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