Heartless Bastards on Austin City Limits ⓒ KLRU by Scott Newton

Heartless Bastards



Heartless Bastards Season 35 by Mike King

The Heartless Bastards bring their own version of old-school blues-rock to the Austin City Limits stage. Formed in 2003, the band’s constant Erika Wennerstrom, paves the way with piano, guitar and lead vocals that Rolling Stone once described as “channeling all the swagger and spit of a young Robert Plant.“

Known for her one-of-a-kind voice, which Paste calls “a mighty blues holler, projecting self-conflict not just to the rafters, but to the rafters in other states,” Wennerstrom said she can’t remember a day she didn’t want to sing. And with her third album The Mountain released in February, it’s not hard to see why. The album, which was written and recorded in Austin, is an “epic slab of country-grunge” (Entertainment Weekly) and “rousing rock’n’roll that’ll leave you aching for a roadhouse, sticky bar stool and a chipped glass of bourbon” (Spin). Dave Colvin and Jess Ebaugh add to the live sound, as the new rhythm section with roots in the band. “We recorded some songs together way back when but never got to play together live, because those guys were both in other bands at the time,” Wennerstrom said. “In a way, we’re just picking up where we left off.”

With a new hit album, a new sound and new members, not to mention a great vocal base, it’s no wonder the band is getting acclamation left and right. Blender wrote, “With steel guitars, fiddles, banjos and newspaper-scrap reports of floods and desolation, The Mountain is as fierce as any past Bastards recording, just more honed and hellbound.”