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May 17, 2012 | 12:00 a.m. CST
The band name might bring the image of merciless mongrels to mind, but the rock group, Heartless Bastards, coming to Mojo’s on May 25, is anything but. Driven by the melodies and emotional reflections of the band’s lead singer and only female member, Erika Wennerstrom, the four-piece group exposes its heart and soul on its new album, Arrow, and on tour in Columbia next Friday.
Although she formed the band in 2003, Wennerstrom is the only original member. Lineups have changed, but one thing has remained the same — the soulful sound Wennerstrom belts from her low register. Now the Austin-based quartet, which has been together for the past four years, has been attracting national attention with Arrow, its fourth album.
WHEN: Friday, May 25, 8:30 p.m.
When Wennerstrom began writing the lyrics for the album in fall 2010, she found herself stuck with an extreme case of writer’s block. So she took a break from the band and returned to her roots. After visiting friends and family in Ohio and spending time reflecting in Arkansas, in a cabin in the Allegheny Mountains and at a ranch in West Texas, she began to find herself, which was what she had been searching for all along. Because the band, which includes drummer Dave Colvin, bassist Jesse Ebaugh and guitarist Mark Nathan, had toured consistently for two years, Wennerstrom says it was important for her to have some time to focus on the sound of the next album. “I think some of the trips I took out to the West Texas desert inspired a lot of the imagery and space in the songs,” she says.
Although they took a few months off during fall 2010, the band picked back up the following February by touring with Drive-By Truckers. The quartet played on Conan in early April and began its national tour directly after.
On this tour, Heartless Bastards are playing bigger clubs than in the past — Mojo’s included. They’ll play Arrow in its entirety and songs from previous albums, including The Mountain.
With Arrow providing the basis for their latest tour, Heartless Bastards are pointed in the right direction — to Columbia.