Hearing Headwater is like listening to the West Coast of Canada in song. Freewheeling, fierce, sentimental and sexy, the Vancouver, B.C., band has earned its reputation as one of the finest acoustic roots groups around the old-fashioned way – they work their asses off.
Formed in 2003 by childhood friends Jonas Shandel (vocals/guitar/banjo) and Matt Bryant (guitar/mandolin/vocals), the band’s sound reflects the upbeat chemistry of a songwriting partnership that is 15 years in the making. Growing up on the edges of the forested Lynn Headwaters Regional Park (hence the band name), Shandel and Bryant draw inspiration from the rugged Pacific wilderness.
The group released the folk-oriented debut album My Old Friend in 2006, and the follow-up Lay You Down in 2008. Most recently, Headwater hunkered down in local studios Heavyosonic and the Palace to record PUSH, which was released in the spring of 2012. More electrified and pop-inspired than ever before, the EP’s six songs range from organic acoustic numbers to atmospheric rock. Tracks like “Your Love” and “Sky Falling” find rustic bluegrass instrumentation going toe-to-toe with moody synth textures, while the new single “Fuel the Fire” pairs distorted electric guitar with flourishes of pedal steel. Tied together by rich vocal harmonies and hook-filled choruses, the collection reflects a diverse range of influences from heartland rock to classic new wave to unabashedly radio-friendly pop.
Over the years, the evolution of Headwater has seen very talented musicians come and go – as each has grown into their own musical style. As of 2013, Headwater is lead vocalist, songwriter, and multi-instrumentalist Jonas Shandel. Following the departure of founding member Matt Bryant, Jonas is taking Headwater farther than ever by collaborating with new singers, songwriters, musicians, and producers.
And as the band continues to evolve, the music just keeps getting better. Recently back from a songwriting trip to Nashville, Tennessee, Headwater is set to release a brand new EP within the next year. With a few new songs already added to the set list and all the old classics polished off, now is the perfect time to get re-acquainted with the new Headwater. Check the shows page for a list of all the upcoming performances – and get ready for Headwater to take it to the next level!