Wednesday, November 10, 2010

This Band is All Heart- Heartless Bastards

A guitar chord is struck. You experience the reverb going through you. You feel like you are in a garage listening to a blues rock band. Then you hear the voice of Erika Wennerstrom and you feel like you can’t move. You are struck by the power and emotion of her voice. The pedal steel guitar (not your typical country western pedal steel) enters into the sonic fray. The band then kicks into high gear and you just listen in awe. You stand there amazed as the band takes you on an emotional roller coaster ride. They bring you up and down, slow and fast, soft and loud. They are led beautifully by Erika who is the principal songwriter of this band, The Heartless Bastards.

Formed in Cincinnati in 2003 they quickly grabbed the attention of Patrick Carney who is in The Black Keys. I imagine he was also struck by the raw power of the band along with the passion and energy of Erika’s vocals. They were signed to Fat Possum Records . Erika then moved to Austin, reformed the band with new members and headed out to conquer the scene. The band released two critically acclaimed albums. After the second album the band once again reformed anew and released The Mountain in 2009. The new members added a lot of new instrumentation, which helped Erika broaden her writing style. They have been touring for a year behind The Mountain.

I will admit to totally being enamored by the songs and vocals of The Mountain. It was one of my top 5 albums of last year. Enjoy this version of the title track.

I have had the pleasure of seeing them live this past year and it was one of my favorite shows. If Erika’s voice doesn’t move you, then nothing will. She can flat out sing and deserves more praise with her great blues rock voice.

1 comment:

  1. Fletcher did a great job describing the power of the Erika and this band. Mix Chrissie Hynde, Lucinda Williams and Tina Turner and you've got the gutsy, aggressive and honest voice of this singer. The band is a fast moving train chugging, churning and barely staying on the rails. I was mesmerized by the diversity in the set - Done Got Old is a blues explosion, while Out At Sea celebrates garage rock. Into the Open opens with soft piano and whispers then breaks out into rock n roll power chords - it's a song with several movements that take us on a journey. The Heartless Bastards are one of the freshest new voices in rock today. With its unusual mix of blues, rock, country wrapped in a garage format, the band respects its roots, but has created a new sound of its own. This is a band to watch in the coming years. By the way, Erika says the name Heartless Bastards comes from a multiple choice trivia game. The question was "What was the name of Tom Petty's backup band?" One of the fake answers was "Heartless Bastards." Of course the real answer is "The Heartbreakers." When The Heartless Bastards played on Letterman last year, Dave said they were named after his in-laws. Go see this band - you will be amazed.