February 9, 2011

The Head and The Heart with Dr Dog in Nashville

jos and jon

So when your dayjob hands you lemons (uhh, Indianapolis in February?), I say you make a lemonade and whiskey mix, with a drive down to see a best friend in Nashville and an uncle along the way in Kentucky. And if it turns out that The Head and The Heart is playing at the Cannery Ballroom that night with Dr Dog, well heck that’s even better.



So this past weekend I rented a zippy car, drove across rivers, through snow, and past Elizabethtown — and found myself in Nashville for less than 48 hours. After a stop at the Flying Saucer, Bethany and I headed straight to the Cannery Ballroom, which was buzzing with excitement (and a long line outside by 7pm). First thing to delight me was that The Head and The Heart has proper merch now (they only had a suitcase of CDs last time I saw them at my house show): white vinyl 7″ singles of “Down In The Valley” b/w “Ghosts,” two sweet tshirt designs (I got the brownish one with raindrops) and posters, as well as download cards for their albums in advance of the Sub Pop physical re-release coming up on Record Store Day.

Down in the front waiting for The Head and The Heart to take the stage, I smiled to listen to the crowd around me talk about them. The excitement was palpable, and it was a shift to have so many people singing along to their lyrics around me, and so far from home (mine or theirs). This band keeps playing bigger stages –just announced: um, Sasquatch mainstage– and it is a joy for me to get to dance and sing along. And I am glad so many more are dancing along with me – their three part harmonies, their clever rhythms, all the smart lyrical twists continue to delight and convert new audiences.


And then wow, did Dr. Dog completely blow me away live. Their technicolor stained-glass stage and fuzzy-knit everything was the perfect visual metaphor for their music – explosive, bright, and warm.

They’re one of the best live bands I have seen in a long time — they’ve forever been on that list I keep running in my head of “I know I need to see this band, really” but never had until Saturday night. I was negligent in 2010 by not naming Shame, Shame one of my top albums of the year. I’ve been compensating the last few months by just listening to it on repeat and trying my hand at the resplendent harmonies, wishing I could shred a guitar like them.


dr dog

The night ended just exactly like this video shows, shot two days before the Nashville show I was at (in fact many people appear to be wearing the same exact thing). The Head and The Heart joined Dr Dog on stage for a jubilant closing rendition of “Jackie Wants A Black Eye,” probably one of my favorite songs I heard all of last year.

And we’re swapping little pieces of our broken little hearts….” Absolutely marvelous.

These two bands will pair back up to play the Pearl Street Music and Arts Festival in Boulder in May, and it was announced today that The Head and The Heart have been invited to play at the Telluride Bluegrass Festival June 16-19, one of the very best music festivals this world has to offer you. Telluride organizer Brian Eyster wrote to me last week to tell me that they’d booked the band, and said the opportunity was something that “we rarely if ever give to a young band like this… but we believe in them.”

Me too, Brian. Yay.

shows_ive_seenSHOW ALERT!
The Head and The Heart are playing another Fuel/Friends house show on the night of Saturday, March 12th, on the way down to SXSW. Follow Fuel/Friends on Facebook to be notified when I post all the details!



  • Of all the bands you’ve introduced me too, The Head and the Heart is the one I most need to thank you for. I’ve been preaching about them (to the point of feeling like a giggling 16 year old) to everyone I know. Every single person I’ve sent songs or videos of them to has come back to me a fan. It’s rather incredible.

    All my hoping and wishing worked, as they are coming to Chicago at the end of February and I will be there front and center. After getting to see Josh Ritter 10 days earlier, I’m pretty sure my heart is going to burst that night.

    Adam — February 9, 2011 @ 6:59 pm

  • This was an amazing show! I saw them 5 days earlier in Knoxville as well, but all three bands absolutely killed it in Nashville! Thanks for turning me on to these guys back in the fall. I’ve been singing their praises ever since. …and I did my pre-gaming at the Flying Saucer as well :)

    Love your blog btw. I’ve been reading for about a year, after stumbling upon it when searching for old Counting Crows shows. You had posted a recording from a show prior to the release of August and Everything After. I’ve been hooked since.

    Stephen — February 9, 2011 @ 7:21 pm

  • [...] This post was mentioned on Twitter by The Head & The Heart and Dainon Moody, Eversilences. Eversilences said: The Head and The Heart with Dr Dog in Nashville: So when your dayjob hands you lemons (uhh, India… http://bit.ly/gGnKKT (fuelfriends) [...]

    Tweets that mention The Head and The Heart with Dr Dog in Nashville | Fuel/Friends Music Blog -- Topsy.com — February 9, 2011 @ 11:14 pm

  • Awesome experience this must have been. I am so jealous! The Head and The Heart are playing in Chicago on the 27th, but I don’t think I’m going to be able to make it. Talk about being pissed off! I know I will have my chance to see them again somewhere, but I fear that I will not have the privilege to see them in such an intimate setting. Wow! Dr. Dog is so great too! It must have been quite an experience to see and hear them together. Thanks Heather!

    Michael — February 10, 2011 @ 8:02 am

  • I can’t beleive you were here in Nashville at the same show as me! It was my third time seeing Dr. Dog in the last year and a half since they seem to love coming here so much(not complaining). But I knew I had to go to see The Head and The Heart since you introduced me to them. Thanks for being my favorite blog and come back soon but next time make your way over to the 5 Spot in East Nashville for some fun local acts.

    upfromthecity — February 14, 2011 @ 2:15 pm

  • Heather, I love your blog. A fellow music lover introduced me to it just a few weeks ago. You feature many of the bands and artists I love, and introduce to me many as well. I’m actually from Nashville, but had to miss the Dr. Dog show due to work. They played a free show downtown this summer, and it was one of my favorite performances of the past few years. Are you thinking about going to Bonnaroo this year?

    Take care,


    Daniel — February 16, 2011 @ 10:38 am

  • hey daniel nice to meet you! i would loooooovvvvve to go to bonnaroo this year (never been), especially since it is the only US date of my favorite italian musician Jovanotti (GO to his set!) but i don’t think i can swing it. i might be starting a graduate program this summer so june could be busy….
    anyways, hello and welcome and thanks for saying hi.

    browneheather — February 16, 2011 @ 10:42 am

  • Dr.Dog is cool and their label Park the Van has the most awesome other bands The Generationals and Floating Action. Check it

    chris — February 26, 2011 @ 6:51 pm

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Bio Pic Name: Heather Browne
Location: Colorado, originally by way of California
Giving context to the torrent since 2005.

"I love the relationship that anyone has with music: because there's something in us that is beyond the reach of words, something that eludes and defies our best attempts to spit it out. It's the best part of us, probably, the richest and strangest part..."
—Nick Hornby, Songbook
"Music has always been a matter of energy to me, a question of Fuel. Sentimental people call it Inspiration, but what they really mean is Fuel."
—Hunter S. Thompson

Mp3s are for sampling purposes, kinda like when they give you the cheese cube at Costco, knowing that you'll often go home with having bought the whole 7 lb. spiced Brie log. They are left up for a limited time. If you LIKE the music, go and support these artists, buy their schwag, go to their concerts, purchase their CDs/records and tell all your friends. Rock on.

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