Saturday, December 31, 2011

The Top 100 Songs of 2011 -- #9: "Down in the Valley" -- The Head and the Heart

I firmly believe 2011 was a fantastic year for folk music -- as has been the last two years. One of the resurgence's biggest benefactors so far is Seattle's The Head and the Heart, who makes delightful indie-folk with a slight pop element.

The band opened for The Decemberists in 2011 and scored a hit single in the form of "Lost in My Mind." However it is "Down in the Valley," perhaps the band's most outdoorsy song, that rises above the rest.

With "Down in the Valley," we are introduced to Johnathan Russell's totally-suited-for-folk voice, slightly raspy but totally deserving of the throngs of indie-inclined fans he's sure to garner due to it. As evidenced throughout the song, harmonies are a big part of the band's success, and other members of the six-piece are able to hold their own against Russell's tenor -- including Josiah Johnson, who trades off on lead vocals with Russell.

Lyrically, the song brings to mind a roving fellow whose travels have led him afar -- but in the end, he always comes back to the valley that he calls home. "Lord have mercy on my rough and rowdy ways," Russell sings, the tagline that I'm sure now adorns a thousand Tumblrs everywhere.

Along with warm folk instrumentation, the vocals on "Down in the Valley" create a sound that many will find appealing in this new age of folk music, provided by one of the rising stars of the genre.

No comments:


Blog Archive