On Thursday, the Patagonia Store on Boston’s Newbury Street announced that Josiah Johnson of The Head And The Heart would be playing a free show the following day in support of the 1% For The Planet Initiative. From the moment I heard the news, I knew I had to go. Johnson has been on hiatus from The Head And The Heart, so I was excited to see him return to the stage, or in the case of this show, the space between the ladies flannel clearance rack and the colorful and puffy winter coats. The hour long set was filled with tracks both new and old, and Johnson’s voice somehow sounded even richer in person. The whole time, I felt like I wasn’t in a functioning retail store, but rather a coffee shop in a sleepy coastal town where I first heard introduced to Johnson’s music. That’s the true power behind Johnson’s songwriting–it has a certain quality that allows his songs to act as a time machine, transporting the listener to nostalgic places filled with familiarity and fondness, and hearing the tracks live only adds to this sensation.
Despite the short notice, Josiah and I were able to set up a time to chat in a nearby Starbucks–not surprisingly, Patagonia has plenty of fitting rooms, but no green rooms or a real backstage area. We set up shop between two students intently studying for a midterm and proceeded to have a deeply honest conversation about creative control, recovery, and The Head And The Heart’s self-titled album, a record that holds a special place in both of our hearts. After getting the chance to speak with Johnson, I get the sense hallmarks of his musical style, specifically the strands of honesty and kindness in his lyrics, all come back to the desire to connect with the audience in a very sincere manner. Johnson is one of the most genuine people I’ve had the pleasure of spending time with over the past five years doing this show. Through music, he is trying to bring people together and encourage them to be open about their struggles and successes. He’s doing an amazing job with it, and I can’t wait to see where his creativity and talent takes him next.