The Head and The Heart don't just feel like a band.
They feel like an essence, a united being. The physical pull of their performances, alongside the emotional understanding that bleeds from their lyricism, has led them to more and more listeners and long-standing devotees who take so much from what they do.
Whether in their full band, or as a duo here with us in the session, they have the bewitching ability to make you feel like the only person in the room - a private conversation between friends that you come away from having had the weight taken off your shoulders.
As the sun begins to set on the final day of revelry at Railbird Festival 2023, John Russell and Matty Gervais join Holler to close out the festival, delivering a show-stealing turn that shows us why we keep returning again and again to their songs of spirit and benevolence.
"I'd just moved out from Seattle to Virginia, and I was hanging out with these work friends that I'd known for two-and-a-half weeks. We all went to this bar in Freemont - and this was pre-iPhone - and when they left they didn't even know they'd left me, because I barely knew them. I walked home and it took me nearly 9 hours through these valleys of all these different neighbourhoods of Seattle to get to where I lived, and so I wrote a little song along the way".
Even in the hush of the space, you hear the rivers and hum of the wildlife through their voices, the push and pull of their harmonies swimming through the protagonist's journey as they capture moments of serenity in being outside.
"This is one of our earliest songs off of our first record, which is self-titled. This was one of first songs to get picked up for radio play which was a wild feeling at the very beginning of the band's career. This is one that, anywhere in our set, you can throw this one in and it uplifts everyone on stage and in the audience; it's a clears the air sort of feeling".
'Lost In My Mind', despite it's insular title, is certainly a balm for sore hearts and fractured souls. With John and Matty's synergy, it's a melodic lift that gets you back on your feet and asks you to take that first step in finding yourself again.
"I keep moving and coming back to the state of Virginia, over the course of two decades" John explains before introducing their final track. "Every time I come back I'm in a completely different part of my life, so it's an interesting feeling when a city stays the same and gradually changes, but you come back and there's people that you used to know you really well that aren't even there anymore. You go to your familiar haunts and they feel like they belong to someone else now. So, it's this concept of what is home".
'Virginia (Wind in the Night)', in it's simple, evocative nature, shows not only the groups harmonic richness but their lyrical brilliance.
The Head and The Heart are an expressive and powerful group; their songs, in whatever setting, offering great solace to regroup and regrow.
Performing their songs 'Down in the Valley', 'Lost In My Mind' and 'Virginia (Wind in the Night)', this is The Head and the Heart for the Holler Railbird Sessions.