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The Head and the Heart headlines Ann Arbor Folk Fest

For Journal Register Newspapers

Posted: Friday, January 25, 2013

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Not many bands with just one album could land a prestigious spot such as headlining the Ann Arbor Folk Festival, but that's a mark of the impact The Head And The Heart has made during its three-plus years together.

The Seattle sextet -- filling in for original Saturday night headliners the Civil Wars -- formed in 2009 and was named Seattle's Best New Band by City Arts magazine. Its self-titled debut came out in 2011 on the town's venerable Sub Pop label, but while it made THATH a new darling of the contemporary folk world, drummer Tyler Williams says it hasn't been an easy fit for the group.

"I think the (folk) tag is something we've never really related to (and) not something we enjoy, really," notes Williams, 26. "But I've never heard a band agree to any definition someone else has put on them. Nobody in a band ever says, 'Oh yeah, that is exactly what we are.'

"We all love Bob Dylan and Pete Seeger and the original folk artists. We listened to old folk and a lot of Beatles and Crosby, Stills & Nash. We never really listen to Mumford & Sons and the things people lump us in with. But you learn pretty quickly to just play and try not to worry too much about what people call it."

Williams says the world will hear growth on THATH's sophomore album, which the group has finished writing and will be recording soon, with hopes to have ready for a mid-September release. And, he promises, it will certainly not sound like a carbon copy of its predecessor.

"I'm not hearing as much, like, overtly simple folks songs," the drummer says. "I'm hearing much more classic, timeless pop songs. It's more musical, too; we're just better musicians now. It's inevitable you're going to be a better musician when you play together a lot, and I feel like that's happened.

"We're also three years older than we were when we made that first record. We're not the same people, and I think that will show, too. We're really looking forward to having more music out there."

The 36th Ann Arbor Folk Festival, a fundraiser for The Ark, takes place at 6:30 p.m. Friday and Saturday, Jan. 25-26, at Hill Auditorium on the U-M campus. City and Colour, Rodriguez, Trampled By Turtles, Delta Rae, Carl Broemel, Frontier Ruckus and Brown Bird perform Friday. The Head And The Heart, Lucinda Williams, Dar Williams, Frank Fairfield, the Steel Wheels, Brother Jocephus & the Love Revolution and Drew Nelson play Saturday. Colin Hay will emcee both nights. Both shows are sold out. Call 734-761-1451 or visit www.theark.org.

Web Site: www.theark.org

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