The Doe Bay Sessions: The Head & The Heart
Photo by Josh Lovseth
“All that I’m asking for is a place to call my own, a place to call home.”
Last year when we shared The Head and The Heart’s first Doe Bay Session, it had just been announced they would be opening for Vampire Weekend at the Paramount. A huge leap forward for the band and, at the time, their largest local show to date. Today, as we share The Head and The Heart’s second Doe Bay Session, they are about to open for Death Cab for Cutie at the Key Arena, which again will end up being the band’s largest local show to date. In the year between, The Head and The Heart have celebrated many milestones: signing to Sub Pop, playing late night talk shows, captivating the mainstage of Sasquatch, being on the cover of Billboard Magazine, criss-crossing the country and the Atlantic for an ever-growing, ever-louder fanbase. They have in the year between spent all-told a total of two months at home, mostly a day at a time, which perhaps is why their longing for home and “a place to call their own” is more palpable than ever.
This sunny August Sunday evening, as the sun crept behind Mt. Constitution and Doe Bay 2011 came to a close, we gathered down on the beach at Otter Cove to enjoy one last moment of collaborative magic in front of Two Bar, the beach-side margarita haven curated by Scott and Jenny that had served as an after-hours shadow stage all weekend. The Head and The Heart were joined by Kyle Zantos (the unofficial house banjo player of Doe Bay) and Damien Jurado, as they performed for a growing crowd of foot-ferry passengers who were packing out. Before letting anyone go though, we had one last thing to do. Sing.
Performing two new songs “Oh Virginia” and “Josh McBride,” the Head and The Heart’s chorus would eventually grow to include the well over a hundred plus people watching the session be filmed. “Oh Virginia, you’re callin’ out my name!” John Russell lead his choir that would grow to include all assembled in a plea for his childhood home. “Now I’m a stranger! Ohhhh, ohhhh, ohhhh!” The refrain was bittersweet, perhaps applying to everywhere the band may be that isn’t a two-lane highway, an 8 person van or whatever stage that they might be standing on.
Between the songs a small group of departing souls climbed aboard the foot-ferry and waved goodbye to band and gathered crowd alike. As they rumbled out of Otter Cove, those who remained were treated to pebbles for percussion and Charity, Josiah and John’s raw harmonies. A collage of lifelong memories and longing for more than a transient life, unreleased live staple “Josh McBride” becomes more poignant as time passes and for the band home seems to exist as small shapes standing on rocky shore, always waving goodbye for now.
On Saturday October 22nd The Head and the Heart are opening for Death Cab For Cutie at Key Arena. After a blessed few weeks at home, in November they’ll be circling Europe in support of My Morning Jacket.
PS. If you can spot Slacksquatch lurking in the background, you win a gold star