The Revivalists & The Head And The Heart
Chart-topping rock band The Revivalists had been grinding for 10 years when their now platinum-selling single “Wish I Knew You” took off, setting a record for most single-week spins ever at Alternative Radio and becoming a mainstream phenomenon spending 9 weeks on the Billboard Hot 100. Now, their new hit songs from fourth studio album Take Good Care, including #1 Triple A and Top 5 Alternative single “All My Friends,” and #1 Triple A and Top 15 Alternative hit single “Change” (their third Mediabase Triple A #1 in a row) – have become instant fan favorites and are adding to their more than 410 million total streams. The band has performed on numerous television shows including Austin City Limits, The Late Show with Stephen Colbert , Jimmy Kimmel LIVE!, Ellen, TODAY, and garnered major media attention from the likes of Rolling Stone, NPR, Billboard, Buzzfeed, Entertainment Weekly, USA Today, Forbes, Salon, HuffPost, Grammy.com, Alternative Press, Paste, UPROXX, Flaunt, Nylon, Interview, and more. They made a big statement in support of the anti-gun violence movement with their powerful song “Shoot You Down” which they performed during their debut at Lollapalooza, opened for the Rolling Stones, were nominated for a Billboard Music Award and two iHeartRadio Music Awards, were named Billboard’s Top New Rock Artist of 2017, and between sold-out shows at their biggest venues yet, including Beacon Theatre and Red Rocks, the band has also ignited festival stages at Bonnaroo, Governor’s Ball, Lollapalooza, New Orleans Jazz Fest, Outside Lands, and Pilgrimage. Renowned for their live firepower, soulful alt-rock anthems, and their distinct mix of many of the classic styles of American music, the 8-piece ensemble of pedal steel guitar, unique two-drummer set-up, horns, and more is led by the incredible voice of front man David Shaw.
Most recently, the band released their Made In Muscle Shoals live studio EP and accompanying documentary, which was recorded and filmed at the legendary FAME Recording Studio in Muscle Shoals, Alabama and directed by Jay Sansone of Human Being Media. Capturing the essence of The Revivalists at this exciting time in their 10-year journey, the Made In Muscle Shoals EP features brilliant re-imaginings of the band’s hits “Oh No,” “You & I,” “Change,” and “All My Friends” from Take Good Care, as well as a soulful rendition of The Bee Gees’ “To Love Somebody,” a gorgeous stripped down piano-and-vocal take of “Wish I Knew You,” and a never-before-released, brand new song “Bitter End.” The Revivalists also established their philanthropic umbrella fund, Rev Causes, which supports the essential work of organizations dedicated to reviving and investing in our communities, health, and environment. $1 from every ticket sold will be donated to a variety of organizations that are close to the band’s heart, including Center for Disaster Philanthropy, Everytown For Gun Safety Support Fund, National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI), Songs for Kids Foundation, and Upturn Arts.
The Revivalists are: David Shaw [lead vocals, guitar], Zack Feinberg [guitar], Andrew Campanelli [drums], George Gekas [bass], Ed Williams [pedal steel guitar], Rob Ingraham [saxophone], Michael Girardot [keyboard, trumpet], and PJ Howard [drums, percussion].
The Head And The Heart
2022 has been a busy year for The Head And The Heart. The acclaimed Seattle band released their fifth studio album, ‘Every Shade of Blue’, headlined sold-out shows all over North America on their Every Shade of Blue 2022 North American Tour, and performed multiple times on national television, everywhere from The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon to performing at the championship banner drop for The Seattle Sounders. Every Shade of Blue was produced by GRAMMY-award winning songwriter, producer and engineer Jesse Shatkin (Sia, Pink, The Shins, Tegan and Sara) except for album tracks “Shadows”, “Don’t Show Your Weakness” and “Love We Make” which were produced by Andrew Sarlo (Big Thief, Wet), and “Paradigm”, produced by John Hill and Sammy Witte (Florence + The Machine, Portugal The Man, Cage The Elephant), and mastered by Emily Lazar and Chris Allgood at The Lodge, NY. Initially self-released in 2011, The Head and The Heart’s self-titled breakout debut produced instant classics including “Rivers and Roads,” “Down in the Valley” and “Lost in My Mind” (#1 at AAA) and is now certified Gold. 2013’s Let’s Be Still and 2016’s Signs of Light settled into the top 10 of The Billboard 200 album chart, with Signs of Light securing the #1 position on Rock Album Charts, scoring the band’s first #1 at Alternative radio with “All We Ever Knew” and also holding the #1 spot at AAA for nine straight weeks. The band’s fourth full-length album, Living Mirage, was released to critical praise in 2019. “Missed Connection” reached the #1 position on the Alternative Chart as well as the Mediabase and BDS alternative charts, after having already achieved #1 on the AAA chart. The album’s breakout track, “Honeybee,” became a fan favorite with 153M+ total global streams and 1M+ global weekly streams. The Head and the Heart have appeared in Cameron Crowe’s Roadies, and their music has been featured in countless other commercials, films and TV, among them Corona, Silver Linings Playbook and more. The band is a touring powerhouse, having landed prime-time mainstage slots at Coachella, Lollapalooza and Austin City Limits. The Head and the Heart has performed 18 times on national television, including appearances on Ellen, The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon, The Late Show With Stephen Colbert, Austin City Limits, CBS Saturday Morning and more. Every Shade of Blue is the band’s fifth studio album.
If there’s one lesson to be gleaned from Neon Cross, the newest release from singer, songwriter and guitarist Jaime Wyatt, it’s that life, in all its inherent messiness, goes on. And through it all—good times and bad, triumph and trouble, dreaming and desperation—Wyatt continues, to borrow the title of one of her new songs, just L I V I N.
To be sure, there’s a whole lot of livin’ in the 11 tracks on Neon Cross, from the whisky-soaked honky tonks outlined in the heated and hungry title track, where Wyatt, with “pitiful perfume, dark glasses, gold liquor and alligator shoes,” plies her trade from the stage, to the mountains of pain, regret and loss baked into the slow-burning soul groove of “By Your Side,” which the artist says she wrote “after my dad died and my best friend overdosed, and I wasn’t able to show up for either of them because I was loaded,” to the stark solitude of “Sweet Mess,” where Wyatt, in the throes of a crumbling relationship, opines that “just like all the rest, I’ll be forgotten.”
“I tried not to have any filter with these songs,” Wyatt says about her open-book approach to writing. “Because I’ll be honest—it feels like I’m gonna die if I don’t tell people how I feel and who I am.” She pauses and lets out a slight laugh. “It sounds so dramatic, but that’s the truth.”
If Wyatt sounds defiant, well, there’s a reason for that. Her life story is specked with difficult—and unusual—twists and turns. She’s an immensely talented and insightful singer-songwriter who signed to her first record label as a teenager, achieving early success before losing that deal and being put through the music-industry wringer; a country music devotee who ever since has been honing her craft in bars and clubs, late night after late night and long year after long year; and a hard-luck, hard-living artist whose outlaw tales are more than mere lyrical fodder for a woe-is-me honky-tonk tune—before she was even 21, Wyatt battled a nasty drug addiction and served close to a year in L.A. county jail for robbing her heroin dealer, experiences that were chronicled on her much-lauded 2017 effort, Felony Blues.
“It’s been just this gnarly, gnarly process, but one that is so human,” Wyatt says. “So there’s been a lot of turmoil and drama. But this record is a lot about rebirth, too.”
When it came to capturing that rebirth, Wyatt had some assistance from key collaborators—in particular, Shooter Jennings, who produced Neon Cross. The two have history together—Jennings has taken Wyatt on tour, and she used some of his backing band on Felony Blues. But none of that mattered to Wyatt when it came to putting her songs in Jennings’ capable hands.
“Shooter’s my friend and, yeah, he’s Shooter Jennings,” she acknowledges. “But when it comes to the studio I don’t care who you are—I’m really, really decisive about what I want, so I’ve got to be able to work with you. And what really sold me on Shooter is that he understands grooves—he gets how to instruct a band to build a groove that is so powerful underneath a song. And it’s crazy because that’s what Waylon [Jennings, Shooter’s father] did. He always had these rad country songs with these super-weird, like, funky rock ‘n’ roll grooves under them. He would take things to interesting and unexpected places. Shooter has that same instinct.”
As does Wyatt. Together, she and Jennings boldly color outside the country lines on Neon Cross, taking a wide-lens sonic and stylistic approach to the songs. Sure, there’s plenty of swaggering, tough-as-nails rock (“Goodbye Queen,” the aforementioned “Make Something Outta Me”) and classic-minded honky tonk (“L I V I N,” the pedal-steel-doused Wyatt/Jennings duet “Hurts So Bad”) to be found on the album, but the 11 tracks are also studded with all manner of sonic ear candy, from moaning, misty guitars (“Mercy”) and stately pianos (“Sweet Mess”), to spacey effects (“Make Something Outta Me”) sawing fiddles (“Demon Tied to a Chair in My Brain”) and even a Buddy Holly-style rhythm pulse on the title track.
“I have a pretty strong vision,” Wyatt says, “but Shooter would suggest some crazy rock reference on a song that I thought was clear-cut Buck Owens and somehow it would just be right. It was this real organic process of working together.”
At the end of the day, that sonic backdrop (and it’s worth noting here that much of the excellent six-string work on Neon Cross comes courtesy of the late, great Neal Casal, in one of his final studio performances before his passing in August) is all in service to Wyatt’s incisive lyrics and expressive vocals, which can be achingly sensitive and sincere one minute, and unflinchingly cocksure and dispassionate the next.
Either way, they’re never anything but wholly captivating, and maybe nowhere more so than on another duet on the record, “Just a Woman,” which sees Wyatt paired up with an outlaw forebear, Jessi Colter, for a trad-country feminist anthem on which she declares “There’s not a man in this world I would rather be.”
As for the origins of that one, Wyatt explains, “I was just living my life and having a hard time with the fact that I can’t really fully ‘bro down’ with a guy who does what I do, because, you know, his wife is gonna look at me and think it’s inappropriate.
“Also,” she continues, “I’m leading a band full of young men, and I’ve been doing it for 20 years now, and I have to find a particular type of young man that’s going to listen to me and trust me and want to work for a woman. And that’s fine. It’s a deeply ingrained thing and it’s kind of odd that I do what I do. So I wanted to write a song that addressed all that without being too…”—Wyatt pauses, searching for the right word—“lame.” And, she says, “Who better to do it with than the queen of outlaw country?” Who better, indeed?
And yet, as might be expected from someone with such a turbulent backstory, even the challenges faced by Wyatt as a woman working in country music come with an extra wrinkle: Following her most recent bid at getting clean (which, as of this moment, has been successful), Wyatt confronted some hard truths about her life and past romantic relationships, which resulted in her coming out as a gay woman to family and friends.
For Wyatt, a self-described introvert, this is very much a personal issue. “I’m not, like, on the internet with flying rainbows,” she quips. But at the same time, she says, “I’m also basically coming out to the world with this record.” This is particularly evident on “Rattlesnake Girl,” where Wyatt sings, “I see my sweet friends out on the weekends, they all look happy and gay / They keep their secrets all covered in sequins, people have too much to say.” And for anyone who might have a problem with that? Well, there’s also a line in the song about what Wyatt might do with her boot heel…
Addressing the lyrics of the song, Wyatt says, “My experience with recovery made me realize I lost years of my life being in the closet and living a lie and trying to be someone else. I just can’t do it anymore. And yeah, I’m scared there are people that like country music that aren’t gonna like that I’m gay. But like I said earlier, ultimately I’m going to die if I can’t be who I am.”
And besides, Wyatt, who was born in Los Angeles, grew up “in the middle of the woods” in the Pacific Northwest and currently resides in Nashville, has never been overly concerned with fitting in anyway. “I mean, honestly, I don’t feel like I fit in anywhere,” she says. “But that’s fine—I wouldn’t want to get too comfortable. Because as an artist, being unique is my greatest asset. So if I were to fall into a scene, I probably wouldn’t push myself to really make something that is captivating.”
With Neon Cross, Wyatt has indeed made something captivating—and also incredibly unique. Which isn’t as easy as it might seem. “It’s like John Lennon said—there’s nothing you can sing that can’t be sung,” Wyatt surmises. “But hopefully you can at least put a new spin on it.”
At the end of the day, she continues, “that’s all I’m trying to do. I’m just a songwriter, and I spend a good portion of my life in barrooms performing and worshipping country music and rock ‘n’ roll and telling my story. And I do it because I believe in the power of music, and I believe that music has saved my life in so many ways,” Wyatt says. “And that belief is a powerful thing.”