The heartfelt harmonies of The Head And The Heart were on delightful display at the Santa Barbara Bowl this week. From the opening title track of their new album Every Shade Of Blue — a timely reflection of the soul-searching ups and downs of the pandemic waves we’ve weathered the past few years — to the 2011 sentimental capper “Rivers and Roads” — with the lyrics “Nothin’ is as it has been/And I miss your face like hell/And I guess it’s just as well/But I miss your face like hell” making it such a perfect ending song that TV shows like Chuck and New Girl adopted it for their series and season finales.
One of the biggest revelations of the night for me was the ethereal voice of violinist/vocalist/guitarist Charity Rose Thielen. Her haunting vocals on “Let’s Be Still” reminded me of the late, great Julee Cruise, whose songs set the tone for so much of David Lynch’s memorable work in the late 1980s and 90s. And the way she breezed through every quadrant of her vocal playground on the very modern, whatever-the-opposite-of-a-Hallmark-movie-is love song “Honeybee,” combined with the yin and yang of her coiffure and harlequin outfit, was simply fabulous!
It’s a tricky thing for a band to perform an oft-played hit live and still have it sparkle for the audience — and themselves — but The Head And The Heart did a great job with this, particularly on “Missed Connection” and “All We Ever Knew” where (mostly) lead vocalist/guitarist Jonathan Russell managed to make the practically anthemic tunes sound both familiar and fresh.
When I interviewed Russell in advance of the show, he gave plenty of props to Dawes, saying, “Dawes is such a phenomenal band” and that audience members should definitely get there early to catch what was really more of a two-fer than an opening act. It was great to see their mutual admiration and connection onstage as well. The energy and respect was palpable when Taylor Goldsmith and the Dawes crew joined them for a rousing version of “Lost in my Mind.”
For the finale of Dawes’ set, The Head And The Heart’s Thielen and Matt Gervais (and a baby that was presumably theirs) joined them for a wonderful rendition of the 2015 Dawes hit “All Your Favorite Bands,” with the lyrics, “I hope the world sees the same person that you always were to me/And may all your favorite bands stay together.” Although it was early in the night, it was a fitting benediction for a most enjoyable show.